CBR 11 Bingo – Youths
This is the second novel by Angie Thomas, the author of The Hate U Give. I have to imagine even if she keeps writing and publishing novels, it’ll be awhile before she outpaces the magnitude of that first novel.
The thing is, I think this one is better for a few reasons. That’s not to say I really had much criticism for the first novel, only that this one is more fully realized and I would argue is more clearly populated by more rounded characters. In addition, this novel takes on issues of respectability politics head on and allows us to process a more complicated character.
The plot here is that Bri is a wanna-be rapper trying to step out of her father’s shadow, a local rap legend who was gunned down by gang violence. She breaks out at a freestyle battle, taking on and destroying the son of her father’s former manager in the battle. From this fame we return to her high school where a couple of white security guards manhandle her and accuse her of drug dealing, and in the rage and frustration of this experience, she writes and records a single that expresses through irony and metaphor her anger and tries out the idea of “becoming to the stereotype she’s being saddled with by people around her”. As with most irony, those who want to choose to take it earnestly and the song, the violence, and others in the novel begin to spin out of control.