By Any Means Necessary

Page Street. Oct. 2019. 320p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781624147999.
Gr 9 Up–Black, gay 18-year-old Torrence “Torrey” Aloysius McKenzie becomes a freshman at San Francisco State University when his Uncle Miles passes away unexpectedly. The bank is foreclosing on the apiary Uncle Miles leaves him. He is unable to focus on his classes and renewed relationship with restless junior-high school crush Gabriel London Silva. He deals with some thorns in his fight to save the apiary—his homophobic grandfather Theo wants nothing to do with it, nor with him, and unscrupulous real-estate businessman Richard Mathew stalks and pressures Torrey to sell the apiary for gentrification purposes. Torrey has to make a decision to leave his traumatic past behind or move on with his life. His actions threaten his mental health and his relationship with Gabe. Readers will be unable to put this fast-paced and witty novel down. Montgomery covers topics such as homophobia in the Black community, family dynamics, opioid addiction, gentrification, and community organizing. Readers will find refreshing Torrey’s relationships with Black women, especially Aunt Lisa and CAKE (Clarke, Auburn, Kennedy, and Emery), and his knowledge of beekeeping and honey harvesting. The images of CAKE as Black STEM women and community activists present diverse images of Black women, and the usage of social media and technology will resonate with young people.
VERDICT Readers will fall in love with this honest novel, which will instruct them to employ self-care and live their best lives.

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