BOOKS

Darkskin and Redbones

186p. (Hard Knocks High: Bk. 2). Jank Publishing. Oct. 2017. pap. $9.95. ISBN 9780984557219.
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Gr 8 Up—In this latest installment of the gritty young adult series, readers are introduced to Mahogany Brown, a 16-year-old student of Bronx High who is grappling with colorism and peer pressure in her high-stakes and unforgiving neighborhood. After getting jumped by a lighter-skinned girl, Mahogany is rescued by Karisma, a streetwise classmate who frequently cuts school and shoplifts. Karisma introduces sheltered Mahogany to the fast pace of the streets, where "thugs" and "thug-divas" entice and excite. The protagonist desperately hates her dark skin and wishes for a lighter complexion and longer hair with the hopes of attracting a boyfriend. When she meets Makai, a boy from across the street who takes an interest in her, Mahogany begins to question her morals and strict religious upbringing. This is a very familiar cautionary tale that is sure to please fans of Midnight by Sister Souljah and Cassandra Carter's Fast Life.
VERDICT This may be well received in a collection where street literature circulates heavily.

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