East is a fifteen-year-old gangster living in South Central Los Angeles. He works nights as a Yard Watcher, monitoring police and ‘U’ activity at one of Fin’s houses. Not long after his house is shutdown by the local police force, East and three other gangsters (one of whom is East’s younger brother Ty) are sent to Wisconsin by Fin to kill a witness. It doesn’t take long for things to go wrong and East eventually finds himself alone in a foreign environment.
I chose this book via LibraryThing because the description was intriguing. And for the most part the book delivered on this plot promise. Although I admit, I was skeptical of the “good kid with bad upbringing turns to a life of crime” scenario. I didn’t find East’s childhood backstory to be so full of trauma that he felt he had no choice but to become a gang member, but then again I’m not a black male living in a ghetto either.
At times, the book was slow and dragged a bit. There was a lot of monotonous driving/riding in the van at the beginning, when not much was happening. I also wasn’t a big fan of the author’s writing style. I think I get what he was doing. By keeping many, many sentences clipped and terse he was probably attempting to keep things as gritty and stark as possible. I found this choppy, stilted and somewhat off-putting, but despite all that the underlying story didn’t suffer.
I liked East. In fact, by the end of the book I wanted to bring him home with me and take care of him. The author did a wonderful job of conveying the inner and outer turmoil East experienced when wrestling with which path to take. If an author can make me feel that strongly about a character then I consider it a job well done.
5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton
eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.