Out of darkness
Book - 2015
New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive. (Set during the 1937 New London school explosion, the deadliest school disaster in American history.).
- Tayshas Reading List, 2016-2017
- Young adult fiction
- Physical Description
- 402 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
- Young Adult.
- Michael L. Printz Honor, 2016
Américas Award, 2016
Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award, 2016
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 400-401).
- Main Author
Pérez's latest—following The Knife and the Butterfly (2012)—is a powerful work of historical fiction set in New London, Texas, that revolves around events leading up to the horrific 1937 school explosion that killed close to 300 people. This gripping story centers on high-school senior Naomi, a Mexican American girl who recently arrived from San Antonio with her half siblings, twins Beto and Cari, and their father, oil-field worker Henry. Naomi's struggle to learn how to take care of the household chores is complicated by her dark past with Henry and the overt racism she faces in the segregated town. She reluctantly befriends and then falls in love with an African American boy, Wash, who is both brilliant and kind to her younger brother and sister. Pérez's skillful use of multiple perspectives creates a full and well-rounded sense of place and story. Elegant prose and gently escalating action will leave readers gasping for breath at the tragic climax and moving conclusion. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 9 Up—The tale's layered plot begins with a prologue set hours after an actual deadly U.S. school disaster in New London, TX in March 1937. Readers are plunged into the grief and horror of the moment long enough to meet important protagonists and wonder at the event before being transported back to September 1936. From this point, the book focuses primarily on Naomi, a 15-year-old of Mexican heritage, and her younger biracial twin half-siblings. Recent arrivals from San Antonio, the children are all living with the twins' white father, and Naomi is forced to navigate the racially divided oil-mining town, learn to run a household, and to face her increasing interest in an African American youth. This third person story, recounted in multiple perspectives, slowly discloses the origins of the teen's apprehension for the recent transition. The insertion of black-and-white photos and stark black pages interrupt the narrative much like the metaphoric explosions in the lives of the diverse protagonists. Additionally, an increased use of white space leading to the book's climax seems to slow, and almost stop time. This book presents a range of human nature, from kindness and love to acts of racial and sexual violence. The work resonates with fear, hope, love, and the importance of memory. The author's note and acknowledgements pages give more background on the disaster. VERDICT Set against the backdrop of an actual historical event, Pérez's young adult novel gives voice to many long-omitted facets of U.S. history.—Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, IL [Page 128]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Loosely based on a school explosion that took place in New London, Texas, in 1937, this is the story of two teenagers: Naomi, who is Mexican, and Wash, who is black, and their dealings with race, segregation, love, and the forces that destroy people.Review by Publisher Summary 2
A 2016 Michael L. Printz Honoree"This is East Texas, and there's lines. Lines you cross, lines you don't cross. That clear?" New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive.Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history—as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.Review by Publisher Summary 3
Loosely based on a school explosion that took place in Texas in 1937, tells the story of two teenagers--Naomi, who is Mexican, and Wash, who is black--and their dealings with race, segregation, love, and the forces that destroy people.