Review: A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price

I read this in one sitting! I definitely picked up more Romeo and Juliet vibes from this than expected, but the themes of the Iliad are evident throughout – the underlying story being an important one of privilege and gentrification set in San Francisco.

“You turn eighteen, and they find you. There is no other recruitment. Eighteen – old enough to have had your heart hardened, young enough that blood still passes through it. Not everyone is recruited, of course, but the gangs are smart. They pick people with nothing to lose. The ones who are angry. Those who join San Francisco’s infamous Red Bridge Wars do so willingly.”

The ultimate war between the haves and the have-nots has waged on the streets of San Fransico for ten years. Three gangs run by teenagers are the players: Herons, Boars, and the mysterious Stags. The Herons are the tech companies and their families; their power and wealth drastically changing the city and displacing the poor. The Boars fight back, largely with violence. And the Stags? Well, some people say they don’t even exist.

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Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

4.5 stars to this unputdownable novel. The narrative gripped me with its first sentence and captivated me until the very end. The book begins with a trial, 14 years after Angela Wong was murdered by Calvin James. Georgina Shaw is on the stand at his trial testifying to what transpired on that night when she was sixteen years old. After fourteen years of hiding the truth, Angela’s family has closure. But the past holds many secrets and is more complex than anyone imagined. Continue reading

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Roberto to the Dark Tower Came by Tom Epperson

The book opens up with Roberto waking up in the middle of the night to receive a death threat on the phone, and the narrative counts down each day before the unknown man’s deadline. Roberto to the Dark Tower Came is overall a powerful novel about a young journalist in an unnamed South American country fighting for the truth in a region that journalists – and other subversives – are routinely murdered for doing their jobs. Continue reading

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Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

This is an incredibly powerful novel about resilience in the face of adversity and loss. It is about community. It is about taking a stand against the system of oppression, even if it seems hopeless. This is an incredibly difficult read, but it is such an important read. The Bay Area, and Oakland especially, has a long history of activism and holding the police accountable yet there is a long documented history of police brutality there. This novel shines a light on what it is like to be a person of color in Oakland. Compton. Chicago. And countless other cities around the United States. Continue reading

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