Rating: 4 star out of 5 stars
But things happen that compel Ethan to flee his stifling community and find his way in the world beyond it. Totally out of his depth, he is sheltered by a remarkable group of people from a loving and accepting church. From them, he learns what family truly means and begins to construct a life free from the restrictions he’s grown up with. Little by little he dismisses the assumptions he was taught about the “evil” people in the outside world.
Amid all this, Ethan realizes something about himself when he meets rapper Kyan, a boy his age. Although he’s been brought up to fear and hate members of Kyan’s race, he can’t help falling in love with Kyan. Fueled by a new understanding and new friends, Ethan gains the strength and courage to conquer the confusing world he has been thrust into.
The book was not on my radar until my “Ethan” brought it to me. I had never read anything by this author so I didn’t know what to expect. I’m very curious about reading books pertaining religion tropes outside of Christianity. For me it’s nice to see how other people’s faith details how they will live their lives.
I think the author did a good job on Ethan’s questions involving the world. I don’t know any person that doesn’t have question about how the world works. I know from experience growing up in a Baptist church we were expected of certain things, and I had all these question about general people. It shows in the author’s writing his familiarity with curious. I’m not familiar with the Mormon religion, and I don’t know if what I’ve read is correct, but if it’s like this then someone needs to pray for the children involved. I loved Ethan, I didn’t see him standing up for himself. I did not see him standing up for other people or questioning folks.
I think the author did a very good job on Kyan. I seldom see African American YA male characters, but to see one who is not closeted, not scared to admit him being gay is amazing. What else is amazing is having a supportive mother like Kyan does. It brought tears to my eyes because she didn’t stop loving him because of that, she didn’t want him to rap. It seems silly seeing as this is present day, but her reasons are validated. I think this books shows courage, strength, and seeing good in people. If I had to find fault in the story it was my displeasure of the author having Kyan speak in constant slang or Ebonics. I will say, it turned me off in the beginning alot. I didn’t like it, still don’t like it, but it’s a part in the book Ethan mentions that he loves how Ky could turn off his street self, and turn on the son of a professor. I get it’s just a book, but I think we could have done without it.
I really enjoyed the diversity in this book. It had such a supporting cast, and I appreciated everyone in this book. I do love that it was such a positive note instead of the negative things like runaways, prostitution, or drugs something that could have easily happened to Ethan. It had sad moments but it’s life. I will probably be on the look out for more from this author.
Cover art by Anne Caine. I liked this cover a lot, it showed the boys in the most simplistic view. I liked that we didn’t get to see a full picture of Ethan seeing as in the book he talked about vanity being a sin, and trying to not gauge his looks in the mirror often. I think they did a very good job on the cover.