RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksYoung adult fiction has not shied away from difficult subject matter, and one could not have hoped for a better book about police brutality against young black folk. Angie Thomas...has delivered a powerful novel that strikes to the heart of contemporary race relations in the United States. Moreover, she pulls no punches in educating her readers about the difficulties facing young African Americans growing up in a culture that incarcerates and murders them at alarming rates. Part of what makes The Hate U Give so powerful is that Thomas doesn’t pitch the novel as merely an exploration of the emotional aftermath of trauma, but rather explores through Starr and her family a longer history of traumatic relations between whites and blacks in this country ... The Hate U Give functions not only as a timely, potent story but also as a deeply pedagogical novel, reminding black kids in similar circumstances that they are not alone while also educating naïve white readers about what it’s like to grow up black ... Sherman Alexie has said that the best children’s books are \'written in blood,\' by which I believe he means that we should be giving our young people books that frankly and honestly address the insane contradictions and glaring errors of how we live with one another. There’s plenty of blood in The Hate U Give, but there’s also plenty of hope.
Laurie Halse Anderson
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books\"Part of the power of Shout — perhaps the most significant contribution of any memoir of childhood sexual assault and abuse — lies in its ability to provoke [specific kinds] of recognition among some of its readers ... If Shout only shouted, it would be sufficient as a memoir, one that is regrettably still needed today. These stories need to be told — and heard. But the book does so much more ... [Anderson] offers rich metaphors and language play to explore how someone can work through that pain — never forgetting it, never not feeling it in some way, but acknowledging it, and recognizing it in each other ... Part of what makes Shout so compelling is that Anderson gives voice to her own assault — and her attempt to recover from it — at the same time that she implicates a larger culture of patriarchal sexism in enabling such assaults ... If anything, I would have wished for more of this in Shout — not to take the place of the necessary and difficult telling of painful stories of abuse, but to offer additional ways to think about, to feel, to experience sexuality in all of its intimate, befuddling complexities. I wanted more of the poetry of creation, not just accusation, however necessary the latter is. To be fair, such a balancing act might not be appropriate yet...\
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksOne of the more difficult dimensions of reading Mean is the sense one gets of a life spoiled, damaged, likely beyond recovery. The loss is poignant ... Language becomes the artful manner through which Gurba can articulate the particularity of her experience while connecting it to the abuse that others, like Sophia, have suffered ... In Gurba’s hands, the interruption of straight chronology serves more than just rhetorical or dramatic effect; it foregrounds the burdens of memory on the body ... Mean demands our attention not only as a painfully timely story, but also as an artful memoir ... Mean is a powerful, vital book about damage and the ghostly afterlives of abuse.
PanThe Los Angeles Review of BooksTurtles All the Way Down (spoiler alert) doesn’t promise or offer much of a happy ending. Our heroes won’t find love, and there’s no suggestion that Aza will ever escape her anxiety disorder. Green is to be commended for keeping our eyes on the tough stuff … What bothers me about the story, however, is less what we are asked to focus on and more the distance Green maintains between his key themes … What is ultimately missing in Turtles All the Way Down is a clearer recognition of the proximity of the novel’s themes, particularly Aza’s phantasmal anxieties and the very real economic circumstances that at times peek around the corners … Turtles All the Way Down moves toward a mystified acceptance of things as they are — a move made all too clear in Green’s explanation of the book’s title.