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EVERY TIME A RAINBOW DIES by Rita Williams-Garcia Kirkus Star

EVERY TIME A RAINBOW DIES

By Rita Williams-Garcia

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 2001
ISBN: 0-688-16245-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

An immigrant teen is shaken out of his reclusive existence into a world of love and life when he witnesses a girl being raped and decides he must act. Thulani has cared only for his pigeons since his mother left Brooklyn to return to Jamaica to die. His older brother and sister-in-law, with whom he lives, are absorbed in each other and are routinely callous to his needs. His rescue of the girl from her three attackers catapults Thulani into the world around him. Mesmerized with the nameless girl’s suffering and a desire to know her, he resists her indifference and hostility to create a connection and through this struggle he grows. The writing is haunting and beautiful, with the island patois present in the rhythmic speech patterns of short sentences without a superfluous word. This is a romance told by a young boy becoming a man, learning about sex, work, lust, and honesty. Without becoming gratuitous, Williams-Garcia has found the right words poetically to describe anatomy and the sex that takes place, and does so without self-consciousness. It’s astounding to contrast the horror of rape with an honest depiction of love and sex as part of a young-adult novel. A simultaneous increase of distance from his brother’s family and as well as increased closeness is a delicate counterpoint to the main story line. Every aspect of Thulani is affected by his awakening to his choices. Guilt and concern, empathy, and attraction combine to set his feet off the rote path he has been mindlessly treading and into actively choosing his life. Even more outstanding than any of this author’s previous strong titles, this captures the grit and feel of urban living in a powerful, yet gentle coming-of-age story. Romance for realists. (Fiction. YA)