*Starred Review* Jamal, 17, has a passion for journalism and exposing the truth, almost as much as he cares about doing the right thing. But when a government-imposed force preventing the transmission of digital media is activated in response to protests over the killing of a Black person by a police officer, his moral compass goes haywire. An impromptu crew of Jamal, hacker Marco, and former soldier Cat forms, and together they use their experiences, identities, and diverse areas of expertise to secure justice for the people of Baltimore. Reminiscent of Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give (2017), Jackson's too-close-to-home dystopian novel adds a level of thought-provoking complexity that will undoubtedly compel readers to grapple with the use and abuse of power by government entities. This is further bolstered through narrative exploration of what it means for people of color to support existing systems of law enforcement. Jamal, Marco, and Cat are a motley crew, but with their shared goal, there is balance to their trio that offers a glimpse into the beauty of justice-oriented allyship and organizing. Though the arc of friendship takes center stage here, a romantic subplot beautifully validates Black and brown LGBTQ+ identities. Fast-paced and action-packed, the story directly confronts the myriad deaths of Black people at the hands of police enforcement. Perfect for lovers of dystopian reads, Jackson's sophomore YA offering has a satisfying conclusion with room for more. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.Review by PW Annex Reviews
Amid civil unrest, the citizens of Baltimore are trapped within an experimental, impenetrable policing dome in Jackson's (Yesterday Is History) page-turning novel. After the acquittal of a police officer for the murder of Black single father Jerome Thomas, aspiring journalist Jamal Lawson, 17, arrives to document the resulting Black Lives Matter protests, hoping to secure his place to study photojournalism at Columbia University. Declaring a state of emergency, Maryland's governor and white chief of police, Ian Coles, erect the dome, which cuts off all communication to the world beyond it. Jamal is led to safety by Marco Gonzales, a tan-skinned, tight-lipped teenage hacker. As tensions run high and Coles begins using excessive force against anyone he deems "a problem," Jamal and Marco devise a plan to reveal the atrocities within the dome to the outside world. In a first-person POV that's both unafraid and unapologetic, Jackson brings a sci-fi twist to the reality of police brutality and the oftentimes literal silencing of marginalized peoples, putting queer people of color at the helm of effective change. Though the pace teeters near the end, this thrilling read will leave a lasting impression. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.(Mar.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly Annex.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 9 Up—"Journalists often ask questions to get to the truth." Jamal nervously and excitedly attends a protest against police brutality as a high school journalist, anticipating grabbing a few stellar photos for his college applications. Almost immediately, Jamal is put in an uncomfortable position with a cop at the event, where he meets an older student, Marco, who belongs to a secret society and has inside knowledge about the protest. Suddenly, the protest and surrounding city of Baltimore are cast under a mysterious dome that disables technology and traps the protestors. Orchestrated by the governor, the dome is intended to promote "law and order," though this approach may incite more violence than it prevents. Jamal and Marco now must fight for their freedom and lives. Combining contemporary and science fiction with a hint of the thriller genre, Jackson has created a stunning future United States in which technology is being used to control people and heighten racial tensions. Jackson brings together Black Lives Matter with an influence of the Hunger Games to ask questions such as: "Who deserves freedom?" and "Who is a criminal?" Teen readers will enjoy the social commentary and puzzling through those questions as they see representations of racial and LGBTQIA+ diversity. VERDICT This novel will keep readers on their toes, holding their breath, and hoping Jamal makes it out of the dome alive. A highly recommended, thrilling read.—Tracey S. Hodges Copyright 2022 School Library Journal.
"A high school junior teams up with a hacker during a police brutality protest to shut down a device that creates an impenetrable dome around Baltimore that is keeping the residents in and information from going out"--Review by Publisher Summary 2
The Hate U Give meets Internment in this pulse-pounding thriller about an impenetrable dome around Baltimore that is keeping the residents in and information from going out during a city-wide protest.Jamal Lawson just wanted to be a part of something. As an aspiring journalist, he packs up his camera and heads to Baltimore to document a rally protesting police brutality after another Black man is murdered.But before it even really begins, the city implements a new safety protocol...the Dome. The Dome surrounds the city, forcing those within to subscribe to a total militarized shutdown. No one can get in, and no one can get out.Alone in a strange place, Jamal doesn't know where to turn...until he meets hacker Marco, who knows more than he lets on, and Catherine, an AWOL basic-training-graduate, whose parents helped build the initial plans for the Dome.As unrest inside of Baltimore grows throughout the days-long lockdown, Marco, Catherine, and Jamal take the fight directly to the chief of police. But the city is corrupt from the inside out, and it's going to take everything they have to survive.