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on Nov. 13, 2012 :
Disclaimer: I won a free e-copy of this book from a giveaway by the author.
First of all, I have to say that this is probably not a book I would have picked up off the shelf for myself, had I not won it. However, that being said, I'm glad I got the chance to read it, because it was a really good story. The characters are fleshed out really well, and there were plenty of times where I could definitely picture the scenes in my head, just based on the writing and character descriptions.
Clay Cove is in a neighborhood gang, The Locals, with his two brothers and a bunch of their friends. The whole point of their gang is to keep their part of the neighborhood clean and safe, both for themselves and for non-gang-members. However, there are other gangs around, most notably The Hakers, who are violent and push drugs. The Hakers are trying to encroach on The Locals' territory and sell drugs there, and Clay and his group want no part in it. They fight for their turf, but it soon becomes clear just how hard that's going to be.
This book gives a very clear depiction of what gang-life could be like, especially in a somewhat-small area. The gangs themselves are not huge, and, The Locals at least, started out as a group of friends that just got tired of how things were going. Not only does the reader get to see the fights, the violence, the drug use, etc., but we also get everything from Clay's point of view: how he feels about his fellow members, his involvement in the gang itself, what living this way has done to him and those he loves. As the story progresses, things get worse and worse, and you can tell that it's starting to break Clay, bit by bit.
Like I said, this is probably not something I would have read on my own, just because it's not my usual type of read. But now that I've read it, I'm glad I did, and I would recommend it to those who might live in a "rough" neighborhood, or who work with disadvantaged youth, or just anyone who might like a glimpse into gang life, other than what you see on those "reality" TV shows.
(review of free book)