Light It Up by Kekla Magoon | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Light It Up by Kekla Magoon | Book ReviewLight It Up by Kekla Magoon
Also by this author: The Rock and the River
Series: How It Went Down #2
Published by Henry Holt and Company (BYR) on October 22, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Social Themes, Prejudice & Racism, People & Places, United States, African American, Diversity & Multicultural
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781250128904
Goodreads
five-stars

Told in a series of vignettes from multiple viewpoints, Kekla Magoon's Light It Up is a powerful, layered story about injustice and strength—as well as an incredible follow-up to the highly acclaimed novel How It Went Down.
A girl walks home from school. She's tall for her age. She's wearing her winter coat. Her headphones are in. She's hurrying.
She never makes it home.
In the aftermath, while law enforcement tries to justify the response, one fact remains: a police officer has shot and killed a thirteen-year-old girl. The community is thrown into upheaval, leading to unrest, a growing movement to protest the senseless taking of Black lives, and the arrival of white supremacist counter demonstrators.
This title has Common Core connections.

After reading The Rock And The River, I am a firm Kekla Magoon fan for life. As it turns out, I had another one of her books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read – Light It Up. However, that one was sitting on my shelf because I hadn’t yet read How It Went Down and Goodreads is showing this as How It Went Down #2. As it turns out though, this is a companion novel. I found that it was really easy to follow exactly what was going on. Light It Up is its own story separate from How It Went Down but there’s allusions to the other book which aren’t really hard to figure out if you just read a summary of it.

Light It Up is about what happens after a thirteen year old girl, Shae, tall for her age and listening to headphones, is shot and killed by a police officer in her neighborhood of Underhill. This story is told through multiple point of view characters, a twitter feed, and news reports on TV. The book opens up with Shae’s death, then goes onto the community’s response to what happened. From there, the case is taken to the grand jury to determine if the officer is culpable for Shae’s death. And after, is a response to the jury’s verdict. The point of view characters are male and female, Black and white, young and adult.

I thought that Kekla Magoon’s Light It Up was a richly told, heartbreaking story. It is a reflection almost of what happens all too often to Black people and Black children. Shae is essentially killed for walking while being Black and the book doesn’t shy away from that. It also doesn’t shy away from calling out clueless white people. There’s this character, Robb, who is a college student a few hours away. He is recognizing that what happened is messed up, but he still doesn’t really get it and won’t get it because he’s white. Robb does not acknowledge this though. I thought that his character was a strong way of calling this kind of thing out.

Overall, this book is a very fast read. The chapters are short and you can get through it in a night. It does not shy away from difficult topics. Reading this book was actually uncomfortable. However, it is the reality that Black people face. And well, I thought this was such a necessary read.


five-stars
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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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