Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.
Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.
When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.
An amazing gut punch of a book. Heads up – Oshiro faces police brutality (including murder by cop) straight on.
- The author is queer, Latinx, and lives in Oakland where the story takes place, so all kinds of own voices representation.
- Overall the range of rep is as wide as can be – black, brown, Latinx, queer (including bisexual, gay, lesbian, trans, ace, and nonbinary), undocumented immigrant, and adoption (specifically interracial adoption). One character uses a wheelchair, another has a chronic invisible illness, another wears a hijab. There’s rep for anxiety and mental illness as well.
- Specifically in regard to a nonbinary character, I love that Oshiro describes them in such a way that there is no clue what their assigned gender at birth was, or what gender people perceive them to be. It’s pure – they are them, and that’s just how they want to be.
- I had my heart ripped out and stomped on in the best way. It almost seems dystopian in a “this can’t be real” sense, but then you think about news you’ve seen recently and you realize it’s happening right now.
- The writing is solid. I believe all of these characters as people, and even though there are a ton of secondary characters I was able to keep them straight. Many got a turn in the sun and a chance to show their awesomeness.
- And the themes – the power of family, the power of friends, the power of gathering, the power of women in making change, the power of teenagers, the power of love. The power of saying their names.
My brain is still wrapping itself around this one so I’m having trouble finding more to say – just know that Anger is a Gift is amazing.
Thanks to Tor Teen and Netgalley for providing a review copy.