Blood soaking into a
T-shirt, blue jeans, and boots
looks a lot like chocolate syrup
when the glow from the streetlights hit it.
But I know ain’t
nothing sweet about blood.
I know it ain’t like chocolate syrup
At 15 years old, Will knows the rules: Never cry. Never snitch. Always get revenge. And that’s what he’s going to do. His brother was shot last night, and Will is sure he knows the guy who did it. So, he’s got his brother’s gun tucked in the back of his pants and he’s waiting for the elevator to get down to the lobby. But before he gets there, he has to deal with some ghosts – in a very literal sense.
There was a lot of buzz about this novel-in-verse last year – it was nominated for a National Book Award and an Edgar award – so it wasn’t too surprising to see it get some attention from the ALA Youth Media Awards.
It’s a very timely, powerful book. The verse format makes it a quicker read than it looks at first, but those few words pack some serious punches. The main action takes place in a very short period of time and in one location, and the style brings us right into Will’s thoughts. The subject is serious, but there are moments of humor that remind you that Will is still just a teenage boy.
There’s a lot a food for thought in this novel – questions about responsibility and loyalty, right and wrong, choices and consequences. It would be good for a teen book group prepared to wrestle with those questions.
Source: Checked out from the public library
Reading Challenges: Counts for the Newbery Reading Challenge (Honor: 2 points)