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Love, love, love , this book.. my teenage boys are reading it now and they love it too... Very relatable.. !! I would recommend this book to any and everyone.. who loves to read. And is from NYC of course...
Excellent book for middle school kids. This coming-of-age novel is very unique, written in hip hop language. Tackles issues such as toxic masculinity, friendship, keeping family secrets, learning how to cope with unfavorable circumstances at a young age, and journaling.
From page one of Torrey Maldonado's
, the author grips the reader with the almost audible voices of the protagonist and his friends, creating a crystal clear picture of what it is to be a boy growing up in Brooklyn's Red Hook Projects. What I loved about this book is its interrogation of what it really means to be a "man". Justin and Sean, the leads in the book get lots of definitions of manhood -- from their peers, their teachers, the neighborhood boys, and their mothers -- but in the end discover what it means for themselves. A necessary read for boys, girls and the adults in their lives.
I counsel children who've experienced trauma in the form of domestic violence, community violence and abuse. This book was amazingly helpful in aiding me in connecting with a Latino teenager I'm working with who has had several forms of trauma including gang involvement/recruitment. He really connected with the characters in the book and it peaked his interested in reading. Thank you Torrey Maldonado- please write more!!
It breaks my heart to write this review, because there are so many wonderful elements to this book. I am a middle school teacher in Brooklyn, and Torrey Maldonado captures the reality of the lives of so many of the students I teach. He also addresses the important topic of what it means to be a man, and has his protagonist Justin think critically about all the influences or "traps" in his life that keep him from being his most authentic self. Middle school boys desperately need stories like this! However, I have to give it a two-star rating because Maldonado constantly uses homophobic language. True that many boys speak this way, but that Maldonado perpetuates the idea that gay men are not "real" men is seriously troubling. LGBTQ youth are bullied at much higher rates and in large part because of the stereotypes and falsehoods that this book includes over and over again. It would have been so easy for Maldonado to address this issue, but he never does. I kept hoping until the very end that one of the characters would explicitly address the dangers of homophobia and stereotyping and how wrong it is, but it never happens. What a disappointment. Teachers should avoid this book at all costs, unfortunately.
This book will appeal to middle school students, especially those who are wondering what their place is in a world that seems confusing or unfair. It is written in the language and with the emotions of young boys coming of age in the hood