My suggestion to you is read this book. Then, read only the chapters labeled "The After." Then, only the chapters labeled "The Before." This will help to clarify the timeline of this story.
This novel is told in multiple timelines and it can become confusing. For young adult readers, I fear this will inhibit comprehension and put them off finishing the story. This is why I give the book only 3 stars. That being said, the varied timeline also adds to the mystery of what exactly happened to Monday Charles. This mystery is not made entirely clear until nearly the end of the book.
Claudia Coleman and Monday Charles have been best friends for most of their lives.
Monday lives in the projects with her mother and three siblings. Her mother, Patti, is foul-mouthed, and insulting to her children. They do not have much and Claudia is mostly kept in the dark about the difficulties of Monday's life.
Claudia lives with both of her parents in a modest, clean, home. She is an only child and is dearly loved. Her home-life is safe and supportive.
Claudia's mother was unable to have additional children, so she very easily opens up her heart and her home to Claudia's best friend, Monday Charles.
Monday spends most of her free time with Claudia. They are more like sisters than friends. So, when Claudia spends her summer vacation with her Grandmamma, as usual, but doesn't receive any letters or calls from Monday, she is really upset. Then, when she returns home, and Monday doesn't answer her calls or come over to see her, she grows worried.
Monday's family tells Claudia that Monday is with her father, her aunt, and other excuses for why Monday is missing weeks and weeks of school. Claudia knows, in her gut, that something is terribly wrong.
Monday would never abandon her like this. Claudia is not going to stop searching for answers until she finds the truth about Monday.
While a confusing read due to the shifting timeline, this is a very important story. Tiffany D. Jackson exposes society's apathy towards girls of color. She criticizes the lack of effort and concern on behalf of social services and law enforcement when it comes to the welfare of black children living in the projects.
It hurts to read this story. It is painful.
However, it reminds us that we all have an obligation to advocate for the young people of this country.
3 out of 5 stars
Review by Mrs. Sanborn
Jaime Sanborn's Book Reviews by Jaime Ann Sanborn, MLIS, SLMS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://jfsanborn.blogspot.com.