I Should Have Never Joined A Gang Review

Picture books are a way for authors to tell a story to people of all ages through powerful images and compelling almost-poetic writing. This book truly tries to reach out to the readers, leading them in the shoes of a young boy who gets wrapped up in the wrong crowd. He simply wants to fit in and have popular older friends in the neighborhood, but then a drive-by shooting turns his entire life upside down. The main character doesn’t understand how those who promised to be his friends would beat him as a part of an “initiation,” and he starts to realize that those who claimed to be his family were truly just using him. But by then, it might be too late.

Although this book is a picture book, it is definitely not appropriate for young kids. It has a few graphic pictures/scenes that would just be too much for an elementary schooler. A middle schooler might pretend to dislike the picture book, but the message will definitely stick. Even I am thinking about it hours later as a college student. I do think that some of the best good that this book could do would be to teach adults the mindsets behind some gang members. The kids hanging out in front of the liquor store aren’t hardened criminals, they are kids who are on the wrong path and who think that they are having fun with their friends. Maybe more adults will have more sympathy after reading this simple picture book.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for an eye-opening story of the truth about many gangs.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 books


Some Boys Review

WARNING: This book deals with sexual assault. If you don’t feel comfortable reading about this, then please skip this. This is not a spoiler, the whole book is about this one topic. 




Grace was raped by the town’s star athlete/girl magnet Zac. Since everyone in the book loves Zac and he has video proof of her at the time not sounding like she was raped, no one in the towns believe her. In fact, they hate her and think that she simply regrets sleeping with him. She is brutally verbally abused by girls that she thought were her friends, because they think that she stole Zac and is now trying to drag his name through the dirt. She has panic attacks daily because of all the stress she is going through. Her mother tries to help her, but she thinks that her best plan of action is to move away, which Grace does not want to do. Grace has the stress just building up until she accidentally damages school property. Her punishment is to spend a week cleaning out school lockers.

Ian is Zac’s best friend. He had a crush on Grace, but after the whole incident where she claims that Zac raped her he is glad that he never dated her. When he loses his cool, he almost gets kicked off the lacrosse team, the one thing he is relying on to get into college. As his punishment, he is forced to clean out school lockers for a week. What no one knows is that he saw Grace that night, unconscious in a field after the party, and so he is trying to align her story with Zac’s and is struggling between standing behind his friend or standing behind Grace.

This story is definitely a difficult book to read. It is hard to see Grace suffer the way she did every day, and have people still not believe her. I read it fairly quickly on ebook, and it is written in double POV, but it is a very smooth read. I liked how Grace stayed strong for the book, she never decided to give up, or pull back her rape allegations. Even when everyone else was telling  her that she was lying, and the video of her was still out there, she still stood by her facts. Ian irritated me for some of the book, as he went along with his friends for most of the book in attacking Grace. Even if he didn’t verbally abuse her himself most of the time, he usually didn’t stop his friends or Zac from doing so.

The ending of the book really seemed to be too fast. After the whole book was this huge buildup the ending simply seemed underwhelming. I won’t spoil anything, but I am just saying that I didn’t like it very much. This book was a generally interesting and unique read though. It will just be the ending that will be keeping it from a 4/5 rating.

Overall Rating: 3/5