After his older brother is gunned down, six-foot-three-inch, 14-year-old Junius sets his heart on vengeance and makes for the Rindge Towers, a three-building slum uneasily shared by two rival pushers. What starts as a narrative limited to the point-of-view of the remorseless teen widens—and widens and widens—until it encompasses a huge cast of characters, including kids, cops, and a legion of small-time thugs. Harwood’s cutaway view of a single bloody day in a housing project is an impressive feat, undercut only by the sameness of some of the warriors, who come fast and furious with names like Big Pickup, Black Jesus, and Seven Heaven. Despite these monikers, there’s nothing cartoonish about the story, which powers forward with a blunt and violent vulgarity: “He pushed the door open and headed out to see what the fuck.” There is a mystery here—who really pulled the trigger on Junius’ bro?—but the point is clearly the bad-versus-worse decisions brought on by bloodlust. Given the characters’ brutality, Harwood’s empathy runs deeply indeed. --Daniel Kraus
So last time out, with Jack Wakes Up, I only got a single trade review--Publishers Weekly. Now, Booklist follows the superlative review of YOUNG JUNIUS in Publishers Weekly (see post) with one of their own.
There's ups and downs here, "Big Pickup" not a great name?? But this one comes firmly down on the good side of things. Here's how my agent, Stacia Decker, truncated the news:
"Harwood’s cutaway view of a single bloody day in a housing project is an impressive feat . . . Harwood’s empathy runs deeply indeed." -- Booklist on YOUNG JUNIUS
For the full review, you can see it on the YJ Amazon page for the book or... read on after the break...