A 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.
In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.
Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down.
This title has Common Core connections.
Structured similarly to Avi's Nothing But the Truth, this provocative novel set in a neighborhood ruled by gangs offers multiple, contradictory perspectives on the shooting of an African-American youth. No one disputes that 16-year-old Tariq Johnson was shot on the street by Jack Franklin, a white gang member, but the motives of both killer and victim remain fuzzy, as do the circumstances surrounding the shooting. The nationally renowned Reverend Alabaster Sloan claims that racial bias was involved and criticizes the police for releasing Jack. Locals have differing opinions, which spur more questions. Was the killing a matter of self-defense? Did Tariq have a weapon? Was he a gang member? Even eyewitnesses disagree on many points. Expressing the thoughts of Tariq's family, neighbors, friends, and enemies, Magoon (37 Things I Love ) creates a montage of impressions for readers to digest before drawing conclusions about the tragedy. Through this resonant chorus of voices, Magoon masterfully captures the cycle of urban violence and the raw emotions of the young people who can't escape its impact. Ages 14 up.
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How it went down
This book is amazing. I love books like this. I don’t like reading, and I got this book from the school library and it is like ugh. Unexplainable. Just too good for words.
I got way more into this than I was expecting. It’s the story of a shooting in an inner city told from the point of view of different witnesses and people connected to the person who was shot. No one has exactly the same story or feels precisely the same. I tried to understand each perspective and feel what they felt. It’s not really the type of story that gives you any answers. It may change the way you think about things though.