Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Team Seven: A Novel

Team Seven: A Novel
Team Seven: A Novel by Marcus Burke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Andre Battel is torn between the Jamaican upbringing his family is trying to instill and the neighborhood street gang that surrounds him. Team Seven takes the reader along the winding path of Andre from the age of eight into his teen years. Although he has real talent on the basketball court, he eventually falls into selling drugs for the local gang, Team Seven. Through a series of unforeseen events, Andre is not able to make his payments on the drugs he is responsible for and the actions that follow have the potential to cause additional damage. Most of the book is told through the voice of Andre, but sections dispersed throughout give the reader insight into his mother, his sister, his father and some of the Team Seven gang.

Team Seven fills a desperate niche that needs to be filled. Teens love to read stories that are similar to themselves and others love to live vicariously through books. Whether the reader is surrounded by gangs or just likes to read about this very tough life, they will get satisfaction from this story. The language is harsh and the truths presented are rough, but life is not always rosy and not every story has a happy ending. Burke wonderfully portrays the struggles of the inner city youth and brings the characters and their issues to the audiences who will devour them. Although this is his first young adult novel, I hope Burke spends time writing more books for these readers.

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