Light it up

Kekla Magoon

Book - 2019

Told from multiple viewpoints, Shae Tatum, an unarmed, thirteen-year-old black girl, is shot by a white police officer, throwing their community into upheaval and making it a target of demonstrators.

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New York : Henry Holt and Company 2019.
First edition
Physical Description
358 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Kekla Magoon (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Magoon's latest novel houses an unapologetic, poignant narrative that forces readers to come face-to-face with the harsh realities of racial violence and racial profiling in America. Shae is a 13-year-old Black girl who leaves school one day and never makes it home. Rather, she is shot and killed by a police officer for doing nothing more than wearing headphones and simply existing, her body left lying in the street for hours. Her senseless death rocks her community and affects the lives of many around her. Following Shae's murder, unrest mounts in her community, and protesters bearing the message that Black Lives Matter clash with white-supremacist demonstrators. This tragic, timely story unfurls in vignettes told from various perspectives of those closest to Shae and her death, including an officer on the scene, Shae's friends, and her sister. Each voice tells of the personal impact wrought by Shae's death, while giving readers a gut-wrenching, viscerally true portrait of the light, hope, and promise that are snuffed out whenever another young Black life is taken by police violence. A powerful story of community bonds, injustice, and finding the strength to fight for what is right, this is less an echo of our times than a clarion call for action.--Enishia Davenport Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Coretta Scott King Honoree Magoon's stand-alone follow-up to How It Went Down catches up with the residents of the Underhill neighborhood after another incident: a white police officer shoots a 13-year-old black girl, Shae Tatum, in the back as she is heading home. Multiple points of view follow the killing's aftermath through the eyes of Shae's devastated friends and family, the daughter of the officer who shot the girl, the shooting's sole witness, the residents left grieving in the aftermath, and the black man whose PR job burdens him with ensuring the police department comes through the incident unscathed. When the grand jury verdict comes back, the residents of Underhill pull together, emerging stronger and more determined than ever. Not for the faint of heart, this fearless and realistic account of a police shooting challenges readers to think about these all-too-common events from every perspective. The novel doesn't shy away from the ugly and foundational role racism plays in American life, policing, and media coverage, nor does it neglect to examine black America's strength in the face of adversity. Like How It Went Down, this gritty, emotional tale will leave readers gutted and compelled to stand against flawed systems. Ages 14--up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown Ltd. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

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.--Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

In this follow-up to How It Went Down (rev. 11/14), Peach Street is seething. Two years after a young man was gunned down by police on the same street, the neighborhood must grapple with shock, loss, sorrow, and outrage after yet another "officer-involved shooting." Shae Tatum, a thirteen-year-old girl heading home from tutoring, has been shot from behind and killed. Protests erupt as the community seeks accountability and justice. However, the road to justice is riddled with many obstacles, as the voices of individuals from the neighborhood, law enforcement, and the justice system collide in a cacophony of opinions, perspectives, and alternate versions of the truth, as reported in the news and on social media. In a mesmerizing narrative told in a series of character vignettes, Magoon continues to explore systemic injustice and collective trauma while humanizing the people who are directly and deeply affected by them. The vignettes are often searing, heartbreaking, and raw; but tenderness, love, and hope are also prominent themes. Kimberly and Jennica, friends and roommates, navigate a changing relationship; Tyrell (whose best friend Tariq was the one shot and killed two years before), now at college, attempts to leave the sorrows of Peach Street behind; Will tries to make sense of the killings through his art; Brick, the neighborhood kingpin, threatens violence of his own while unexpectedly finding love instead. The masterful interweaving of stories provides a simultaneously intimate and bird's-eye view of a nation that preaches "justice for all" but has yet to fully grant it. Monique Harris November/December 2019 p.90(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

The shooting of an unarmed African American teen by police serves as catalyst for racial tension in a community still recovering from a previous tragedy.This time, Shae Tatum, a 13-year-old girl, is shot by a white police officer. Two years have passed since the killing of Tariq Johnson, and the community organizations that arose in the aftermath are more active. Social media scrutiny has intensified, with the media and police focusing on public messaging. The officer's family copes with being in the spotlight, and a minister who was in the limelight is now a senator. Tariq's friend Tyrell is now focused on college and reluctant to dredge up bad memories, but his white roommate, Robb, is intrigued by the shooting and seems insensitive to Tyrell's silence. The engagement of white supremacists and white women who protest in support of the police at Shae's funeral add new wrinkles. As tensions escalate, divisions harden while the police and community await the decision of the grand jury. This follow-up to the author's acclaimed How It Went Down (2014) uses multiple distinctive narrators, transcripts, and social media posts to convey the charged atmosphere as people must carry on with their lives while turmoil brews around them. The wide range of personalities, rich details, and nuanced connections make this a stellar and important read.This companion to a modern classic offers an even deeper, more layered depiction of the impact of a police shooting. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.