Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro | SLJ Review

Gr 8 Up –High schooler Moss is a survivor.

redstarOSHIRO, Mark. Anger Is a Gift. 464p. Tor/Tor Teen. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250167026.

Gr 8 Up –High schooler Moss is a survivor. He’s witnessed his father’s death at the hands of the police and has anxiety, but his friends and mother help him through panic attacks. He struggles with self-consciousness and body image, and his dating life as a large, gay, African American male teen has been nonexistent—until he meets Javier, an undocumented immigrant from a different school, and begins to fall in love. As Moss starts his junior year, metal detectors and random locker searches arrive at West Oakland High. Both new policies cause immediate issues for innocent students. Moss’s group of friends is affected and they begin organizing. Tragedy strikes during a planned school walk out, and Moss must stand up and fight for what is right. The heartbreaking last lines are a call to action; there is no resolved, happy ending. Part sweet love story, part social justice commentary, this title begs to be read and discussed. There are no good models of white ally-ship, and the title is stronger for this fact. In the same vein, the diversity of this title also makes it shine: sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, race, and ethnicity are all portrayed in Oshiro’s inner-city Oakland setting. This timely title will provoke much-needed discussion. VERDICT A strong addition to the current wave of excellent social justice–themed contemporary realistic titles. Give this to fans of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give.–Kristin Lee Anderson, Jackson County Library Services, OR This review was published in the School Library Journal April 2018 issue.

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