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Kindness for Weakness

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3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  645 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
A fifteen-year-old boy from an abusive home desperately seeking his older brother's love and approval starts pushing drugs for him and suffers the consequences.
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published May 1st 2013)
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Sarah (YA Love)
Review originally posted at YA Love

Shawn Goodman’s sophomore release, Kindness for Weakness, made me feel an array of emotions: hope, grief, dismay, and more. I absolutely loved Something Like Hope, so when I featured Kindness for Weakness on Waiting on Wednesday, Shawn offered to send me an ARC of it. I had requested a copy via NetGalley, and hadn’t received a response yet, so I accepted his kind offer. Regardless of how I received a copy of this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to
...more
Suzanne
Jul 02, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
A strong 3.5, especially because of its potential boy appeal and reluctant reader appeal. Always nice to have those qualities for the recommendation arsenal.

James tells his story in first person, a story of poverty, isolation. He subsists in a home with a weak mother who bends to the will of her meth-head abusive boyfriend and has already lost one son because of it. Louis simply left, remaking himself as a bodybuilder and a drug dealer to gain some control. He has cut ties with his family even t
...more
Rose
Initial reaction: Probably somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars. I'm not sure, I don't think I've quite recovered from the ending and how the book really took a dark turn after some time, though it was dark to begin with in this story of a boy who was caught in a very tough lifestyle, made terrible choices, had some glimmer of hope in stages, but ultimately...no, I think I'll leave that for my extended review.I thought this book was very well done. Really wish I'd read it sooner.

Full review:

I thin
...more
Brownie
May 30, 2013 Brownie rated it liked it
"... I smile inwardly, thinking that maybe there are such things as second chances."

There are, James, and I wish you would have realized sooner that strength isn't just a bodily measure. I wish you could have been the one to rise up against the tide of hate and fear. You should have gotten that second chance.

Review of SLJ Teen:

"Kindness for Weakness follows the story of James, a teenager who has lived his whole life surrounded by a lost and broken family. With an alcoholic mother and an abusive
...more
Andrew Hicks
Nov 06, 2014 Andrew Hicks rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Kindness For Weakness reminded me a lot of Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers. Each book is centered around a teenage male protagonist who's incarcerated in a juvenile detention center. And each is a good kid, smart and focused enough to himself out of his situation, if he can just resist the bait put in front of him by the brain-dead future cons trying to drag him down. An authority character in Lockdown compares it to a bucket of crabs - that rare individual with a chance of reaching the top ...more
Abbe Hinder
good

I was really rooting for this one. I loved the beginning, it's very strong and exciting. It starts with a flashback and then we learn about where it sort of began.But after awhile, James's story starts to get boring and at many times, he feels like a brick wall, only relying on books and other people to build his character up.

There are manybook references in this novel! Too many for my taste. I can deal with one or two butKindness for Weaknesshas around four book references which I found too co
...more
Cathy Blackler
Jun 01, 2013 Cathy Blackler rated it really liked it
Goodman's heart wrenching account of boys trying to become men gives readers a glimpse into the darkness that takes over without the proper guidance during this critical journey. I have a fondness for books that reference other books, exposing the layers and connections a reading life can offer, and this one is filled with literary references that serve as anchors during the storm. Sadly, I see too many of my students within Goodman's characters; boys who believe in the "kindness for weakness" p ...more
Luella
Oct 22, 2013 Luella rated it really liked it
Good book. Its about a young man who is looking for someone to show him how to be a man. His mother has remarried a man who treats her like dirt. His older brother moved out of the home leaving him there by himself. The stepfather hits the mother and the young man. The older brother wants nothing to do with the family nor his brother, except when he gets his younger brother to do something illegal that changes both their lives forever.
C.R.
Jan 14, 2014 C.R. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
3.5-4 stars

A gem of a book. Discovered this book while growing through New YA section at my local library. The title caught my eye and I was highly surprised at how much the book grasped me. As a YA fiction fan, Its funny enough to say that I've never read a book that deals with the juvenile incarnation system and boy was happy to read such an honesty and enlightening story. I think everyone grows a lil bit rough, James was an easy retable character who has to learn what it means to be a man ins
...more
Merrilyn Tucker
Jul 11, 2014 Merrilyn Tucker rated it really liked it
If you are kind, then certain people think you are weak. In the world James lives in, he is considered weak and that is a liability. He is a lonely teenager living a life amongst lowlifes and criminals and he wants something better for himself, to become a good man. How does he go from where he is now to where he wants to be? James decides to help his brother, Louis, by selling some drugs for him as a favor. Of course, James gets caught and is thrown into juvie. This place is tough, but there is ...more
Gwynette Koch
May 26, 2016 Gwynette Koch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angie
Jul 05, 2015 Angie rated it liked it
I wasn't sure what to expect from Kindness for Weakness, since the blurb is very vague. What I got was a really dark story about a boy who has no one but himself, and is trying to survive a difficult situation while finding connection. James has a terrible home life, and he's just trying to get by. He starts working for his brother as a delivery boy. James has no idea what he's delivering, but he wants to do well for his brother. Then he gets arrested and thrown into juvie where he needs to toug ...more
Ali
Aug 02, 2014 Ali rated it really liked it
I began reading with a completely misplaced assumption that this novel belonged in the same genre that Sarah Dessen might fall into, that being short, uplifting, girly, young-adult books that fly by in a tornado of page turning. Though I can assure you most of all of those categorizations are untrue,the latter still stands; while the story of this 15-year-old underprivileged boy's trials and epiphanies while doing time in a youth correctional facility will always be a good story, I was not expec ...more
Trimble
Jan 01, 2014 Trimble rated it really liked it
Although Kindness for Weakness isn't your typical "happily ever after" story, be prepared for a seriously eye-opening experience. Expect to be educated, and while you may feel terrible throughout the process, you will likely have a new-found appreciation for your life. After discovering what the title Kindness for Weakness means, you will have a better understanding of a broken system and broken lives. Author Shawn Goodman has insider knowledge of New York's juvenile justice system as he worked ...more
April
May 09, 2013 April rated it really liked it
You guys, I just recently gobbled up Kindness For Weakness by Shawn Goodman which really hit my intellectual sweet spots. I mean, I started this book the same day that I DNFed a contemporary book and basically read all of Kindness For Weakness in a single sitting – including about 88% of the book while I was on the exercise bike. Goodman’s book has a stellar main character and then actually made me think deeply about issues in our society AND made me want to read this classic Jack London book th ...more
Jacob Sieberg
it was good
Kelly O'Brien-Yetto
This book reminded me of "Tap Out" which I also read this summer. Both profile poor boys in upstate NY who are faced with tough home lives and negative influences. James, the protagonist of this story, is a bit more of a wallflower, a bit sweeter.

The author is a school psychologist and has worked in NYS juvenile detention centers, which I sensed as soon as I started reading and confirmed in his bio. You could sense how badly the author wanted his readers to have this perspective and understand w
...more
Sara
Jan 19, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing
"James is weak. At, least that is what everyone (including James) thinks. With an stoned mother, and her abusive boyfriend, things cannot get any worse for James.
That is until, his brother lands him in jail.
Now, he has to survive abusive guards and mental criminal. But, with his current state, he probely will die in the first week. He has to become stronger. Even if he has to die."

This book reminded me a lot of Monster, and I know readers who like that, will love this book. With well built chact
...more
Christie
Dec 27, 2015 Christie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, favourite-books
One of my students recently read Shawn Goodman’s novel Kindness for Weakness and when she returned it to my classroom library, she told me that she loved it so much that she’d asked for her own copy for Christmas. Her endorsement encouraged me to read the book and I am so glad I did even though it broke my heart. Seriously.

James is fifteen. He lives with his drug-addicted mother and her scummy, drug-addicted boyfriend, Ron, in a one-bedroom trailer. His older brother, Louis, moved out two years
...more
Jennifer
Nov 25, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
James is a 15 year old boy who has no friends. His dad left, his mom is an alcoholic who doesn’t look out for him, and his stepdad is a bully who beats him.

The only person in James’ life that he can trust is his brother Louis. Louis left the house about a year ago and has been dealing drugs. He drives a nice car, lifts weights and has lots of girls. James idolizes his brother, even though he knows what Louis is doing isn’t the best thing.

When Louis’ partner joins the armed forces, James is recru
...more
Laura Aase
Aug 27, 2015 Laura Aase rated it it was amazing
This was an incredibly powerful story. James considers himself weak and invisible. He is living with his drunk mother and her meth addict boyfriend, he's skinny and shy, his strong, handsome brother moved out 2 years ago and is "working" and never contacts James - he's basically overlooked by the world. When Louis (brother) asks him to work for him with some deliveries, James is thrilled to have a connection with someone . . . until he's caught, arrested, and sent to a horrible juvie. The horror ...more
Donna Burtwistle-Popplewell
Nov 03, 2014 Donna Burtwistle-Popplewell rated it really liked it
A highly recommended novel---James is a thoughtful and lonely 15 year old, desperate to find his way. Ignored by his demoralized mother, regularly tormented by his stepfather, and kept at arm's length by his older brother, James fills his days by walking the streets, reading novels recommended by a teacher who sees brilliance in him and generally hoping that he will soon develop the courage to be strong and face his abusers.

When his brother uses him for the illegal delivery of drugs, he is arre
...more
Nina
Oct 05, 2014 Nina rated it really liked it
This is one of those books you want to hand to a teen who you see could go down a bad path. We see them daily, try to befriend them, talk to them, encourage them. It's a great cautionary tale - not quite 'Catcher in the Rye' as the heading suggests, but certainly a Walter Dean Myers/ One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest book baby.

It follows the story of James, whose home life is beyond desperate, his big brother Louis who deals and blows him off, his mother who is a shadow of her former self after his
...more
Betelhem   is reading all about it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy H
Nov 20, 2014 Amy H rated it it was amazing
This is going on my top 5 favorite books.


I have worked in juvenile placement for a long time. This book is totally true. This story follows a boy who has a broken home and no one to look up to. His brother is a big time drug dealer and sends him to be his mule. He of course get arrested and now has to spend the next year in placement

This story then shows a innocent boy learning to be a man in placement. He is faced with tons of new life choices. IS there anyone he can trust? the only thing that
...more
Shannon Grieshaber
James is a lost boy. Dad left. Mom is a mess; she lives with her boyfriend, Ron, who is awful. Of course, James lives there, too, but there is no room for him. Literally. He sleeps on the couch. He spends as little time at "home" as possible, preferring to walk and walk around his town - occasionally stopping by the river to read a book or watch the fishermen. James does have someone to look up to - his brother, Louis. Louis couldn't stand Ron, so he left home at 18. He has his own apartment, an ...more
Ariel Russell
Jul 31, 2014 Ariel Russell rated it really liked it
Shelves: lib-678
Kindness for Weakness Shawn Goodman

Bibliographic Information:
Goodman, S. (2013). Kindness for weakness. New York: Delacorte Press.

Genre: Fiction (Secondary)
Format: E-book
Award Source: Quick Pick Winner

This book is about hope, despair, grief, isolation, tug of war, change and sorrow. Some of the events that occur are a part of the stories of the life of teens today. This family goes through hard times struggles and good times too. With the help of mentors it appears as if the story is going to tu
...more
Mangoboi
Jan 28, 2016 Mangoboi rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Camille
After reading this moving, life based Novel by Shawn Goodman I rated this book a four star for the author used great technique when conveying its universal ideas. 'Kindness for Weakness' by Shawn Goodman is a novel about a boy who has nobody (according to him) and is on the edge of breaking and letting go. For him there is no hope, even his family to him don't seem to care enough, but In time, he realizes it has come time for change and he is determined to become "strong" although he misunderst ...more
Golden Secondary School
James is struggling. His step father is making his life miserable and his mom will not put a stop to it. His older brother got out when he could and now James is left to fend for himself. His solution: leave the house whenever possible, even if it's cold and lonely.

When his brother offers him a chance to help out with "business", James is all too happy to oblige. Not only will it give him some cash, it will also give him a chance to hang with his role model/older brother. When things go sideways
...more
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“If life is hard and we don't celebrate the small accomplishments, what's left?” 5 likes
“Maybe Wolf Larsen was right, and life is simply a mess. Maybe the strong eat the weak so they can stay strong. Maybe that's all there is.” 1 likes
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