Light It Up by Kekla Magoon
Reviewed by Mrs. Walker
Light It Up is an extremely topical novel about racism and police shootings in the USA. The tragic events that take place in this book are, sadly, exactly what has just made headline news around the world, “Georgia killing echoes brutal days of vigilante lynchings”, (NZ Herald 11/05/20, p.A23). Yet another young, unarmed, innocent, black man, gunned down by white supremacists, who claimed they thought Ahmaud Arbery was a burglar. He just happened to be going for a run when he was attacked and shot.
The opening scene of Light It Up describes The Incident, which has just happened. A young girl, only thirteen, is running home in the Winter dusk, when she is shot in the back by a police officer.
In a very dramatic format, fifteen different characters, or voices, including TV interviews, prose poetry and a Twitter feed develop the story.
This book is a fantastic read; perfect for reluctant readers in years 9 & 10, who want short chapters, great male and female characters they can relate to, and a good strong theme. It’s a very sad story, which broadens our understanding of current social history.
I recommend this novel to everyone who has enjoyed The Hate U Give, or The Help. As the author, Kekla Magoon, says in her acknowledgements, she hopes her book will bring “awareness to acts of bias and violence occurring in our midst. I hope the book sparks conversation, reflection, and a desire to work for equality and justice for all.”
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