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Show Them You're Good: A Portrait of Boys in the City of Angels the Year Before College Hardcover – August 18, 2020

4.4 out of 5 stars 42 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Hobbs’s carefully observed journalistic account…widens our view of the modern ‘immigrant experience’ to include that classic crucible: high school and college admissions…An admirable addition to the growing body of literature that humanizes the struggles and expands the scope of our understanding of the lives of immigrant youth.” —The New York Times Book Review

“[The] young men [in Hobbs's book are] smart and curious, alert to the absurdity of adult life, keenly aware of grownups’ hypocrisy, and determined not to be seen as clichés. They faced all the messy realities of life — illness, poverty, unreliable parents — and 'pushed ahead anyway, in the very best way.'” —Boston Globe

“A well-written and utterly compelling read.” —Nicholas Sparks in Parade Magazine

“[An] exceptional work of investigative journalism. . . . A stirring examination of life in LA, the country’s political landscape, the flaws of the American higher education system, and the rites of passage from boyhood into manhood. Laced with compassion, insight, and humor, this appealing study deserves a wide readership.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“With [Hobbs’s] fly-on-the-wall reporting style, life happens and the boys emerge fully themselves: driven, funny, sweet, wise, terrified, excited. A uniquely illuminating window onto the lives of young people in the midst of a hugely consequential year.” —Booklist

“Hobbs gained [the boys'] trust, so he was able to examine their motivations and private fears in a manner that reveals them as both unique and, in many ways, typical of their age, culture and place...Hobbs wisely does not draw conclusions, since life is for living and there is much on the horizon for his young protagonists.” —Bookreporter

“This book is a magical portrait of young men who share one city but vastly different circumstances as they cross into adulthood. Each character shimmers with life as they struggle to find their place in contemporary society. The paths of these close friends converge in high school and diverge most poignantly four years later, as some achieve their dreams and others fall heartbreakingly short, while measuring themselves against one another. A beautiful story about the heartache and the joy of boys becoming men in a society that does not know how to recognize or welcome them equally.” —Helen Thorpe, author of The Newcomers and Just Like Us

 

“With extraordinary heart, grace, and empathy, Jeff Hobbs shines a bright light on the hopes and aspirations of four young men whose lives will profoundly move you. Enthralling and unforgettable, Show Them You’re Good is a deeply satisfying masterwork of nonfiction.”
Gilbert King, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Devil in the Grove

 “Kudos to Jeff Hobbs for immersing himself in an experience that few of us would care to revisit. His sensitive, beautifully rendered portraits of nine boys at two LA high schools are full of humor and insight.”
Mark Bowden, author of The Last Stone and Hue 1968

“This is a fascinating and engrossing look at America today that focuses on the pressures and inequalities of opportunity affecting high school students as they work to gain access to the best college they can afford. It’s also a book filled with joy, heartbreak, and love as we meet the parents, siblings, teachers, and friends who accompany these four on their journey from boys to men.”
Will Schwalbe, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Your Life Book Club and Books for Living

Show Them You’re Good is fair, painstakingly reported, suspenseful, ethical, and, above all, empathetic. Hobbs is obviously a remarkably good listener; these boys opened up to him because he earned their trust. The result was that he made me care—really care—about them.”
Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

“This book is such a deeply intimate and deeply moving coming-of-age story, one that wouldn’t let me go—and one that left me rooting for these boys, hoping that each of them finds their footing in the world. Once again, Jeff Hobbs has pulled off a remarkable triumph of empathy.”
Alex Kotlowitz, author of An American Summer

About the Author

Jeff Hobbs graduated with a BA in English language and literature from Yale in 2002, where he was awarded the Willets and Meeker prizes for his writing. He is the author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace and The Tourists. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
  • Hardcover : 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1982116331
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1982116330
  • Product Dimensions : 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Publisher : Scribner (August 18, 2020)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 42 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
42 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2020
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