Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Freaks and Revelations (YA review)

Jacket description:
"This raw, moving novel follows two teenages--one a Mohawk-wearing, Pink-rocking seventeen-year-old neo-Nazi; the other a gay thirteen-year-old cast out by his family, hustling on the streets and trying to survive. The novel alternates perspectives, telling the story of the boys' lives before and after the violent crime that changed both their futures. This is a tragic, but ultimately inspirational journey of two polarized teens, their violent first meeting, and their peaceful reunion years later. It is an unforgettable story of survival and forgiveness, of the journey from fear and hate to hope and tolerance.

This powerful story is inspired by the real lives of Matthew Boger and Timonthy Zaal, who have shared their story on The Oprah Winfrey Show and NPR."

Explicit, gritty, and well-written are the terms that come to mind when describing Davida Willis Hurwin's novel for teens. There is a myriad of language, violence, sex, and drug use throughout this book, so much so that I found myself cringing as I turned the pages, but I just had to keep turning them. I wanted to know what happened to these boys and found myself deep in their lives...wanting to help save them both.

Being that I'm a bit of a prude when it comes to books...yeah, I'll admit it...I typically have a hard time enjoying a book filled with cursing, drug use, etc. But I think the fact that this particular book was based on a true story...that these boys actually lived these scary lives, helped to push my hyper-sensitivity to these things aside. I still don't know that I would hand this to my thirteen-year-old, but those in high school can certainly learn a thing or two from these boys and their experiences.

The writing is fantastic and as I mentioned, definitely will keep you turning pages. It's horrifying the things that these kids went through, especially the street life for such a young boy. I find it absolutely amazing that these boys, now men, work together after all years of struggling against hate and with hate, building tolerance in our country.
I encourage everyone to read this, perhaps just for your own learning process and intrigue, but also for a possible discussion opener with your children. This book could save someone's life.

Overall rating: 3 out of 5
I want to reiterate the mature subject matter in this book. Please preview it before handing it off to your teen. 

Freaks and Revelations
Davida Willis Hurwin
240 pages
Young Adult
Little, Brown
November 2009
Review copy received from publisher

To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon. I am an Associate and will receive a small percentage of the purchase price. Thanks!


Myne Whitman said...

I like the synopsis and being a true story makes me more interested. Thanks for the review.

Amanda said...

It was really good, Myne. A little too...uh...provocative for my taste, but that's just my own taste!