From debut author Charlene Allen comes a captivating YA contemporary mystery and coming-of-age story, celebrating the power of friendship, first love, and exploring the criminal justice system from the lens of restorative justice. Perfect for fans of Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, and Maureen Johnson.
In the game of life, sometimes other people hold all the controls. Or so it seems to VZ. Four months have passed since his best friend Ed was killed by a white man in a Brooklyn parking lot.
When Singer, the man who killed Ed, is found dead in the same spot where Ed was murdered, all signs point to Jack, VZ’s other best friend, as the prime suspect.
VZ’s determined to complete the video game Ed never finished and figure out who actually killed Singer. With help from Diamond, the girl he’s crushing on at work, VZ falls into Ed’s quirky gameiverse. As the police close in on Jack, the game starts to uncover details that could lead to the truth about the murder.
Can VZ honor Ed and help Jack before it’s too late?
This book was quite a ride and ended up being so much more than I originally thought it would be. It is an excellent debut, with amazing writing and an engaging story that tackling real world issues.
I found the characters very engaging and their stories to be very compelling, which really drove the story forward for me. The murder mystery aspect was engaging at the same time as being a very serious story components. There are a number of subplots that are sprinkled in, most were good contributions to the story but perhaps there could have been a little more focus on the main aspects of the story and less subplots.
I feel like the discussions of loss, the criminal justice system and especially racism were well handled and written and very important conversations to have. All in all I would definitely recommend this book as it’s a fantastic read.