I don't read a whole lot of Graphic Novels. I guess I just find myself having a hard time getting into them. This one though, Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri and illustrator Randy DuBurke touched my heart and I knew that even if I didn't give a "proper" review of it, I at the very least wanted to share about it with you.
Roger is 11 years old and lives on the Southside of Chicago in 1994. Yummy, another child Roger's age, nicknamed because of his attraction to candy, joins the Black Disciples, one of Chicago's most ruthless gangs (and the gang Roger's brother also happens to be a part of). When Yummy decides to prove his worth to the gang by shooting a rival gang member he accidentally shoots and kills a young girl.
Yummy goes on the run, eventually deciding he just wants to go home. He is just a little kid after all. What ends up happening to Yummy is just as devastating as what happened to the young girl, shot by a bullet meant for someone else, leaving Roger and his neighborhood to process a whole lot of tragedy.
Robert "Yummy" Sandifer was a real boy and this is a true story, seen from the eyes of a fictionalized Roger. It's gritty, it's honest, and it's devastating. And it's also SO important. Kids need to read this book and see what can truly happen when certain choices are made, that we may never be able to take back. Gangs aren't cool. Guns aren't cool. People die. Kids die.
I really enjoyed the illustrations, though I did find myself wishing they were done in color. But, I was reading from an ARC, so the final product may be with color, I'm not sure. I just found it a little hard to distinguish the characters from the background at times, but not often enough that it would be bothersome to everyone...I think I was just being a bit picky!
Again, an important read, but a good one at the same time. Some books are important, but boring...not the case with Yummy. I think high school classrooms and libraries need to buy copies and copies of this and public librarians should have this in their mind for all the reluctant readers we know out there. This will get their attention full and clear, teaching them a lesson in the process.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
Young Adult/Graphic Novel
Lee and Low
Review copy received from publisher
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