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Young Junius Hardcover – November 9, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After his older brother is gunned down, six-foot-three-inch, 14-year-old Junius sets his heart on vengeance and makes for the Rindge Towers, a three-building slum uneasily shared by two rival pushers. What starts as a narrative limited to the point-of-view of the remorseless teen widens—and widens and widens—until it encompasses a huge cast of characters, including kids, cops, and a legion of small-time thugs. Harwood’s cutaway view of a single bloody day in a housing project is an impressive feat, undercut only by the sameness of some of the warriors, who come fast and furious with names like Big Pickup, Black Jesus, and Seven Heaven. Despite these monikers, there’s nothing cartoonish about the story, which powers forward with a blunt and violent vulgarity: “He pushed the door open and headed out to see what the fuck.” There is a mystery here—who really pulled the trigger on Junius’ bro?—but the point is clearly the bad-versus-worse decisions brought on by bloodlust. Given the characters’ brutality, Harwood’s empathy runs deeply indeed. --Daniel Kraus

Review

"Searing... a vicious black comedy of murderous errors. Harwood pulls no punches."
--Publishers Weekly 
--Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Tyrus Books (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935562282
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935562283
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,088,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas J. Meyer on October 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Harwood's portrayal of a day in the life of a young man searching for his brother's killer in the bleak and hopeless Rindge Towers of 1980s-era Cambridge, Mass. is soaked through with detail, color, kick-you-in-the-gut honesty, and straight up action. He gives each participant in this story the breath of life and makes certain that no one seems squeaky clean or irredeemably malicious. They are complicated and real, and the situation that young Junius Ponds finds himself in has facets he never fully realizes. Despite this depth, the action moves quickly and Harwood skillfully paints each scene for the mind's eye as if it were playing out on the big screen.

Do yourself a favor. Pick up this book and give it a chance. It's a great introduction into Seth Harwood's work, a collection that includes other outstanding offerings in the Crime genre in the Jack Palms series (in which an older Junius Ponds makes another appearance). Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Makes you consider inner city life. Hard start to the book, nearly put it down several times. Glad I went on. Many relationships to consider. I feel after reading this book, it has given me much to weigh. Not my usual reading material, but I am glad. my horizons have been broadened.
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Format: Paperback
Young Junius is non-stop action; Young Junius has interesting characters; Young Junius is over the top in violence, drugs and squalor; Even years after reading Young Junius it still sends shivers of fear down my back - it is the stuff that nightmares are made of!

BUT

Hidden between the violent lines of Young Junius, there are sensitive parts. People not part of the drug culture try to live normal lives - and give some guidance to young victims like Junius. There is sibling love, loyalty between friends, true heroism of law enforcement - and a comic walk-on by a character who looks like a well known fellow author of Seth Harwood's, a leader in the podcast and publish business model.

If you follow the progression from Seth's "Jack Palms" series, through Young Junius and to his just published In Broad Daylight, you will see the growth and development of a future serious author, who although now genre specific, may one day use his proven story telling, characterization and wordsmith skills to write novels that will be considered of literature grade.

If you want to read a good crime thriller, full of violence and in-your-face dirt that will haunt you for years to come, read Young Junius - you'll never forget him! And you'll never forget Seth Harwood who, between the lines of Young Junius, shows real talent and depth.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel moves ahead with the immediacy of a fully-automatic Tec-9. It explodes into the world of drugs, territorial gang wars, poverty and violence. You can't read part of this book, the fate of 14-year old Junius Posey is precarious from the first page, and he never seems likely to escape. He survives despite making choices that make sense only to a boy who seeks revenge for the murder of his older brother. He does have street-schooled awareness and determination, but would still die except for an opponent, who for reasons of his own, protects Junius.

Set in 1987 in three public housing high rise buildings called the towers, the motivations, relationships and loyalties of the drug dealers that run the towers are detailed. When you read Young Junius, stories in the news about the deaths of young men fueled by drug use are no less sad, but you are in a world where violence is inevitable.
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Format: Paperback
I love Young Junius for the same reason I loved "The Wire". Aside from being very well written, it does justice to urban black people. Seth doesn't ignore the reality of life in the hood by portraying his cast as angelic Cosby type characters, but neither does he show them as a stereotyped group of cracked out morons blasting away at everything they see.

In short, Young Junius is an intelligent, tight and exciting story absolutely worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover
Harwood lifts the lid off a public housing project in Cambridge, Boston, exploring the pressure cooker environment that forces young black men into a life of drugs and violence in a 36-hours-in-the-life story of young Junius Posey. It's an impressive plate-spinning act of multiple voices and points of view, all leading to a dramatic crescendo where everything and everyone in the story come together. From Junius and his friend Elf to Junius' stouthearted mother and drunkard father to bent cops to gang leaders to crack fiends, he jams the story full of well-crafted characters and makes us believe in and empathize with them as individuals. Strong recommendation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gritty, gripping read reminiscent of the heartbreaking fourth season of The Wire - the one that focused on Michael, Dukie, Randy, and Namond's summer working the low rises. In fact, if you tossed in a drunk McNulty, the book reads like a bonus season of that show. When you stop to catch your breath from all the white-knuckle action and suspense scenes, you'll feel a double dose of sadness. First, because Junius and his colleagues are way too young to get firmly sucked into a life without hope. Second, because the violence they perpetuate, and ultimately suffer, is utterly meaningless. Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing. Especially life in the Boston projects in 1987.
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