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Desmond Hall

Book - 2021

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Green yearns to leave Jamaica and study in the United States, but when his father is shot he is forced to give up his scholarship and join his uncle Joe's gang.--Provided by Publisher.

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YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Hall Desmond
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Location Call Number   Status
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Subjects
Genres
Young adult fiction
Published
New York : Atheneum [2021]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
" A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book" -- Title page.
Physical Description
373 pages ; 22 cm
Audience
Ages 14 up.
Grades 10-12.
ISBN
9781534460713
1534460713
9781534460720
1534460721
Main Author
Desmond Hall (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Set on the island of Jamaica comes a fresh story of a Black teen torn between family obligation, romantic love, and an opportunity for a better future. For 17-year-old Frankie, getting a full scholarship to the University of Arizona is a dream come true. But then Frankie's dad is seriously wounded in a gang-related shooting and urgently needs expensive medicine. Desperate, Frankie turns to his Uncle Joe, the don of a gang that illegally grows and sells marijuana. Joe offers the money on the condition that Frankie gives up his scholarship and joins Joe's gang. Meanwhile, Frankie has started a relationship with beautiful Leah, who is also Black, but there's a wrinkle: her father is a dirty cop, complicit in Joe's gang's activities. When Leah is accepted to art school in the States, Frankie is desperate to go with her, but how? Jamaican-born Hall's highly readable, well-plotted fiction debut is distinguished by its Caribbean setting and use of Jamaican patois, which provides verisimilitude. These rich details support the story's appealing characters, making for a compelling read. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

In Jamaica, "so bankrupt it could hardly afford hope," Franklyn Green, nearly 18, dreams of an engineering scholarship to the University of Arizona. Preparing to leave the small town of Troy, Frankie must recalibrate when his widowed father, Samson, is hit by a stray bullet at an election party thrown by Frankie's uncle Joe. Considering the hatred between his father and uncle, and with no other option, Frankie joins Uncle Joe's gang to pay for his father's life-saving treatment. As he navigates this new life, Frankie starts dating his private school classmate Leah, the artistic daughter of a corrupt cop who works with his uncle. But after saving his best friend, Winston, from a rival gang, "posse life" becomes lethal, and as the election draws near, a turf war begins to drag Frankie in, threatening everyone he knows. Jamaican-born author Hall adeptly presents Frankie's constant battle between the life he's dealt and the life he desires. While his portrayal may leave a cutthroat impression of Jamaica without clear context, Hall offers vivid imagery, genuine dialogue, and a powerfully persistent protagonist in this fast-paced debut. Ages 14–up. Agent: Faye Bender, the Book Group (Jan.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—Jamaican teen Frankie Green has been working hard at his school to earn a scholarship that would allow him to move to the United States to attend college and pursue his dream of being an engineer. He wants to earn his degree and then return to Jamaica to help improve the infrastructural gaps he sees all around him. He lives with his strict dad but is torn between what his dad wants and the Rastafarian posse life of his uncle, Joe. He does not see this life as one he aspires to, but when his dad is shot in the crossfire at an event hosted by Joe, Frankie needs to make hard decisions and sacrifices. In order to secure the medical treatment his father needs, he agrees to join Joe's posse and give up his scholarship. With each successive difficult choice, his limited options become less and less appealing. This all eventually reaches a crisis of gang violence followed by an opportunity for a happy-ish ending with Frankie's love interest, Leah. Gritty and full of detail about life in Jamaica, this eye-opening novel will allow readers to identify with a teen doing his best in a difficult situation. VERDICT This novel will appeal to readers of Ibi Zoboi's American Street and Jason Reynolds's Long Way Down.—Kristin Lee Anderson, Jackson County Lib. Svcs., OR Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A teen on the brink of winning the heart of his crush and accepting a scholarship that will help him escape poverty in Jamaica is instead forced to join his uncle’s gang to pay for medical expenses in the aftermath of his father’s shooting. A first novel. 60,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Green yearns to leave Jamaica and study in the United States, but when his father is shot he is forced to give up his scholarship and join his uncle Joe's gang.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

American Street meets Long Way Down in this searing and gritty debut novel that takes an unflinching look at the harsh realities of gang life in Jamaica and how far a teen is willing to go for family.Things can change in a second:The second Frankie Green gets that scholarship letter, he has his ticket out of Jamaica.The second his longtime crush, Leah, asks him on a date, he's in trouble.The second his father gets shot, suddenly nothing else matters.And the second Frankie joins his uncle's gang in exchange for paying for his father's medical bills, there's no going back...or is there?As Frankie does things he never thought he'd be capable of, he's forced to confront the truth of the family and future he was born into'and the ones he wants to build for himself.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“One of those tales that ties you up, turns you inside-out, wrings you like a wet cloth.” —Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author of Long Way DownAmerican Street meets Long Way Down in this searing and gritty debut novel that takes an unflinching look at the harsh realities of gang life in Jamaica and how far a teen is willing to go for family.Things can change in a second:The second Frankie Green gets that scholarship letter, he has his ticket out of Jamaica.The second his longtime crush, Leah, asks him on a date, he’s in trouble.The second his father gets shot, suddenly nothing else matters.And the second Frankie joins his uncle’s gang in exchange for paying for his father’s medical bills, there’s no going back...or is there?As Frankie does things he never thought he’d be capable of, he’s forced to confront the truth of the family and future he was born into—and the ones he wants to build for himself.