Light It Up

Holt. Oct. 2019. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250128898.
Gr 9 Up–A community that had already experienced tragedy at the hands of law enforcement is once again dealing with the effects of police violence after the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old African American girl. A witness is left struggling to rein in his anger and support his family. The local community organizer sees the tragedy as an impetus for social change and possible promotion. The local gang lord uses the girl’s death as a way to solidify his authority within his gang and within the community. Her young friends are left wondering if they will be next. The policeman’s daughter has to deal with the tarnished image of her father. The alt-right see her death as an opportunity to insert their fringe ideology into a mainstream conversation. Many will try to co-opt her voice in an attempt to make sense of their own roles in this tragic event. Ultimately, it is her community that bears the brunt of the collateral damage inflicted by this event. This book provides a nuanced view of the ways the death of a young black girl affects a community. Different voices are fully expressed and the complex and flawed nature of each character is fully explored.
VERDICT Reminiscent of Magoon’s previous title How It Went Down and Ta-Nahesi Coates’s Between the World and Me, this is an important title for public and school libraries interested in thought-provoking portrayals of black life.

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