Highlighting: Dystopic Reality
Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Quite a few plots of the sf/fantasy series I've highlighted here follow directly upon the heels of the devastation brought on by global climate change. One place that has already seen such devastation in reality is the city of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. And now again, just during this writing, Haiti (in particular) in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. This book, by the author of
Towers Falling, highlighted last month, takes place in New Orleans' low-lying Ninth Ward.
It is vital to have a government that recognizes the reality of climate change, if we're to have any hope of halting or reversing the tides, to avoid bringing on all those post-apocalyptic novels.
Sold by Patricia McCormick
Lakshmi is a 13-year-old from Nepal who is sold into prostitution in India.
Sold is a spare and devastating verse novel that tells her story and that of the circumscribed world in which she lives, until hope arrives, so alien to her now that she doesn't know whether or how to trust it.
Hillary Clinton has a plan. And she has been working on this issue for decades. Just saying.
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers and On the Run by Alice Goffman
On the Run isn't a YA book; it's a first person (by an outsider who embeds herself in the neighborhood) recording and analysis of the lives of people in a Philly neighborhood enmeshed in a vicious cycle of criminal justice and necessary injustice. Where attempts to get jobs or go to the hospital or attend public places are just as likely to land people in the system as the criminal acts they might undertake instead.
Lockdown is an unrelated story of a kid in juvenile detention who is offered a work project to help toward getting out -- and the place that made the connection for me is where he says that of course he wants to get out and not come back, but he's going back to exactly the same neighborhood where he went wrong before. How is he going to escape the cycle?
Again, we need leaders who work toward breaking the cycles (even cycles they contributed to) that lead people into the criminal justice system. Who work to understand the problems of implicit bias and systemic racism in our country and work to confront them, rather than pretend they don't exist.