Browse Category: Reviews

a place for wolves

Hey so remember when LONG WAY DOWN broke me?

A PLACE FOR WOLVES just did it again.

I finished it at about 4 this morning and immediately closed my Kindle app and sat in silence until sleep claimed me.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. But even the most sensitive among us should read it anyway.

The novel, by Kosoko Jackson, centers around James Mills, a young, gay Black boy adopted into a white family constantly on the move for philanthropic reasons. This time, they’re in Kosovo, and shit pops off almost immediately. The entire read, you’re left wondering just how bad it can get for James and his boyfriend Tomas, trapped in the crossfires of a country exploding into violence.

The answer is real bad.

Like. REAL bad.

I’ve never read anything with such an engaging amount of tension paired with an enormous amount of heart. James is sympathetic and frustrating and real. He makes ugly choices. Ones I’m not sure I could make as someone twice his age, let alone as a teen. It’s heartbreaking and tense and just…a ride.

Highly recommending this. I was tense for the entire read, but in the best way. It’s a peek into a really awful moment in history, but more importantly, it’s just a really wonderful read.

living dead girl turns 10

Living Dead Girl
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.

Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.

Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was. 

 

Most days I really don’t give much thought to the passage of time and my (advancing) age. But then something happens like my niece’s four-year-old offering decorating tips or my knees sounding like the Snap, Crackle, & Pop Revue first thing in the morning to bring home the fact I’ve been standing on this spinning rock for more than a minute.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t necessarily a sad epiphany.  I’m grateful to draw relatively healthy breaths each day. And I’m even more appreciative of the fact that some really amazing books are part of my journey. One of them, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, is Elizabeth Scott’s LIVING DEAD GIRL.

From a scale of Damn I Wish I Wrote This to I’ll Never Be The Same Again, how good is LIVING DEAD GIRL?

 

Content warning for pedophilia, abuse, kidnapping 

Through sparse and skillful prose (I mean, not a single word is wasted), Scott takes readers through an unimaginable and forsaken hellscape of an existence with the utmost sensitivity and care. “Alice” is a ghost of a girl, known as Kyla when Ray snatched the ten-year-old away from her family with unsettling ease. She’s done everything she can to survive while the adults around her can’t detect the damage Ray’s done and the danger she’s in. Alice lives knowing that freedom is tantalizingly within reach, if only someone would see, and that ultimately she may have to save herself.

Ray thinks he’s special. He cares for his “Alice” and isn’t like those “perverts” who harm children. He’s done everything to keep Alice his little girl forever, but despite his efforts, including feeding her as little as possible, she’s getting older. He’ll need another girl soon and he’ll do whatever it takes, use whoever it takes, to make that happen.

Y’all. Y’ALL.

When I say this book takes you through it! It’s easily one of the most unflinching and unsettling stories I’ve ever read. LIVING DEAD GIRL is that steep, steady climb at the beginning of a huge, rickety, wooden roller coaster and that first, regrettable, stomach-churning drop…except it never ends.

You’re doomed. And so is Alice.

 

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long way down

That’s it; that’s the whole review.

Oh, I need to say more? Okay, um…

Okay. I got this.

…I don’t got this. I’m still in my feelings.

You know how sometimes you remember something that happened to you when you were young that at the time seemed okay but then you think harder about it as an adult and you’re like, holy shit that was actually awful, and you feel off for the rest of your life the day?

That’s how LONG WAY DOWN feels.

Jason Reynolds paints an amazing picture of just a few seconds in the life of Will, whose brother was shot as part of some gang-related violence. It’s legitimately just seconds that pass, and yet it feels like hours, days, a lifetime–and not in a bad way.

A series of poems gets us right into Will’s head, into that elevator with him, and we dread each floor down a little more than the last. The setup is brilliant. The imagery is gorgeous. I’m immensely envious at Reynolds’ ability to craft an entire setting in just a few verses.

You need to read this book. Hell I might need to read it again. But, like, later. When my heart stops hurting a little.