Bang! by Sharon G. Flake

Ages 12 and up

Mann is still struggling with the loss of his kid brother, Jason.   Even though the apartment has been cleaned up, Mann can still “see the blood” from where Jason died after he was shot.  In a world of poverty, crime, and shootings, Mann has to face life and learn how to deal with it himself.  After another incident, Mann’s father makes some decisions to harden his son, or to help him “be a man.”  Mann’s father has been reading about manhood initiations in Africa, and believes that some of the same acts might save his son.  Unfortunately, it might kill him first.

This book gives an authentic look at what life is like in the inner city, and how parents, and their children try to survive.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars


  After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick

Ages 9 through grown-up

In this sequel to Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie (one of the best books ever!), Jeffrey is in 8th-grade, and dealing with the effects of chemotherapy and radiation while being treated for leukemia when he was four.  He has a pretty severe limp and his brain isn’t as efficient with certain things, especially math.  This is nothing compared to what his best friend, Tad, has to deal with.  Tad dealt with cancer twice, and is virtually stuck in a wheelchair.  The boys support each other as they deal with life as 8th-graders, including issues like parents, siblings, girls, and something that “nobody is talking about.”

My Rating: 4.5 Stars



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