Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Synopsis: A story of resilience and loss, love and family, Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift testifies to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

Review: This is a very interesting subject and when I heard about the novel, I was curious to see how the author was going to treat it in this story.

Moss is a boy touched by discrimination and racism. Having lost his father, an innocent victim, killed by the police, he often now has panic attacks. But now, this time, he will decide to move on, to stand against the system when his school begins to turn into a prison. It is first of all the random search in the lockers, the brawls between the police and the students when they have not done anything and of course, the truth is camouflaged. Then eventually things go further, much further.

The author addresses a topic that is not simple. It shows us a horror lived daily, a completely unfair thing. And yet even peaceful resistance causes problems beyond what anyone would have thought. My heart squeezed more than once in the face of all that. I was wondering if things could work out by the end of the book, if the events would finally have consequences for the people involved. Yet nothing is simple but Moss will fight for it!

I also found that the nascent story between Moss and Javier was very touching. They learn to discover each other, to understand what they feel and I found that it was full of sweetness.

It’s a rather difficult novel but one that makes us think. An interesting novel.

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