UNDERRATED BOOK ALERT!!!
Oh, shoot. Wow. This book packs a punch.
I highly recommend the audiobook. It’s chef’s kiss.
Set in L.A., this novel examines racial tensions, grief and absolution, through the lens of two families tied together by a decades old crime.
Our protagonists, Grace Park and Shawn Matthews, aren’t even aware of their connection to one another until after Grace’s mother is shot outside of the family-owned pharmacy.
As Grace tries to grapple with why anyone would target her mother, she discovers a long-buried family secret.
Through this discovery, she learns why her sister, Miriam, hasn’t spoken to their mother in almost two years. Grace doesn’t know how to react, or how to deal with the fact that her mother isn’t who she thought.
Following a police shooting of a black teenager, as well as the recent release of his cousin, Ray, from prison, Shawn Matthews experiences a lot of painful memories coming to the surface.
In the early-90s, when Shawn was a kid, his beloved sister, Ava, was shot. After the beating of Rodney King by L.A. police officers, the city was in turmoil. Ava’s death occurred during that intense time period.
I’m trying to be very careful with what I write here. I don’t want to spoil a single thing for anyone who may want to read this.
I thought the choices Cha made in the format of this story were incredible. It is so well done. I became engaged extremely quickly, the characters definitely draw you in, and keep you wanting to know more.
I thought it was cleverly plotted, alternating between the past and present timelines, as well as between Park and Matthews.
While the historical aspects demonstrate that not much has changed, we are still fighting the same fights when it comes to racism, police brutality and cultural mistrust within cities, I also think there is a lovely underlining message of hope.
That change can come. That we can break the mold. That we don’t have to fall into the same patterns as those that came before us.
It really is a powerful message. One that I think is so important for a wide audience to ingest.
There were many times when a new fact would come to light where I would audibly gasp. It was rapid fire reveal, reveal, reveal, as it all comes together.
I felt so much for both Shawn and Grace, as well as their families. Imagining all they had been through, and the reasons why, really weighs on a heart.
This novel seems to be flying under the radar. I am really hoping this review will make at least one more person pick it up. The issues tackled are so topical and important.
Why can’t that person be you!? Seriously, particularly in today’s climate, this is such an important story. Grab a copy if you can. You won’t be disappointed.