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304 pages, Hardcover
First published November 5, 2019
"You turn eighteen, and they find you. There is no other recruitment. Eighteen - old enough to have had your heart hardened, young enough that blood still passes through it. Not everyone is recruited, of course, but the gangs are smart. They pick people with nothing to lose. The ones who are angry. Those who join San Francisco's infamous Red Bridge Wars do so willingly."The ultimate war between the haves and the have-nots has waged on the streets of San Fransico for ten years. Three gangs run by teenagers are the players: Herons, Boars, and the mysterious Stags. The Herons are the tech companies and their families; their power and wealth drastically changing the city and displacing the poor. The Boars fight back, largely with violence. And the Stags? Well, some people say they don't even exist.
"Live fast, fight for what we want, then die and be remembered for all we accomplished."Despite this being a heavy book of loss, grief, and vengeance, it is also filled with hope. Of the little things we can do to make a difference: frequenting mom-and-pop shops when we can, questioning the status quo and, researching things for yourself instead of believing what you are told. It's a love letter to civil disobedience and paints a picture of potential ways bad actors can ruin the message.
"I figure, if anything, the city's myriad ailments help the Wars. It's like a cancer - there's no easy fix, and while the state and local government tangles itself in red tape, the Wars go on as a newer symptom masked by others."The book feels very punk rock to me, and nails the teenage optimism and fire to change the world for the better. They haven't been hardened by the reality of the world and complacent to let it simply continue as it always has. I haven't read The Outsiders, but this does remind me of my punk youth... and the Stags' methods for addressing the growing social inequality in their city reminds me a bit of SLC Punk. *choked sobbing*
"Society says we're bad, but we're doing what the police can't and the other gangs won't [...] We're smarter than they are, and doing the right thing.'"At the heart, this is a touching story of love, sacrifice, and revenge in a city at war between the haves and the have nots. San Francisco is a city where gentrification is evident on every street corner thanks to the growth of Silicon Valley, so it is the perfect setting for this story. Price did a fantastic job transporting the reader to the streets of the City, and she is definitely an author to watch. I look forward to reading her next book!
“You’re insane,” I say. A flood of worry hits me and I tack on a “sorry”.
I think Jax may actually kill me if he finds out I’ve left again.
We are wild, neon-blooded devils as we go into the night