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Out of Darkness (Fiction - Young Adult) Hardcover – September 1, 2015
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
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
"The beauty of Perez's prose and her surefooted navigation through the dangerous landscape of the East Texas oil field in the late 1930s redeem the fact that anyone who dares read this agonizing star-crossed love story will end up in about six billion numb and tiny pieces. Absolutely stunning." --Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity and Michael L. Printz Award Honoree
"Pérez deftly weaves [an] unflinchingly intense narrative....A powerful, layered tale of forbidden love in times of unrelenting racism." --starred, Kirkus Reviews
"Pérez deftly weaves [an] unflinchingly intense narrative....A powerful, layered tale of forbidden love in times of unrelenting racism." --starred, School Library Journal
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The story is set around the New London elementary school explosion, which I knew nothing about. But apparently it is the deadliest school disaster in America. And it was gruesome. This is not a light read, and there are some very adult situations, but it is a book that exposes more of the country's racial cruelty to anyone who is not white. This book definitely goes in the We Need Diverse Books shelf.
The New London school explosion is a key event in the book, but that's not really what it's about.
I liked the structure of shifting among the different characters in short sections. Sometimes the pacing was a little odd, but it worked overall.