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Light It Up

(How It Went Down #2)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  401 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Told in a series of vignettes from multiple viewpoints, Kekla Magoon's Light It Up is a powerful, layered story about injustice and strength—as well as an incredible follow-up to the highly acclaimed novel How It Went Down.

A girl walks home from school. She's tall for her age. She's wearing her winter coat. Her headphones are in. She's hurrying.

She never makes it home.

In t
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Henry Holt & Company
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Ms. B No, I read Light It Up first. I didn't even realize it was a 2nd book until I added it to Goodreads.

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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  401 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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While this book covers some incredibly important topics, it just really was hard for me to connect with it through so many narrators. It almost felt like I was viewing it through a cloudy window instead of being right in the heart of the issue.
How It Went Down was a great book, one that Angie Thomas credits with breathing life into The Hate U Give.

Light It Up is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in a long time. Two years after Tariq is shot and killed in How It Went Down, thirteen-year-old Shae is killed by Officer Henderson in the same neighborhood. This is the story of how that neighborhood comes to terms with yet another senseless killing, told through multiple perspectives, all authentic. Those familiar with the companion n
Ms. B
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2020
Even though the reader knows how this will end, my heart was breaking when it did.
What happens when a white cop shoots and kills a young black teen? Through a cast of many (Zeke & Kimberly, Brick, Jemica, & Melody, DeVante, Robb, & Tyrell and Tina to name a few), we find out what happens (view spoiler) in one neighborhood.
I loved that we got to know the characters. Along with their reaction to the shooting, we learn their personal stories, drama
J.T.  Yorke
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
While this book hits on some very important and interesting points about race relations in America, the delivery kind of fell flat for me.

I really enjoyed How it Went Down but for whatever reason I couldn't relate to the many narrators in light it up. There are a few characters I really liked, Tina, brick and Tyrell. Other characters just didn't do anything for me.

I also feel like this book is something that could be marketed as new adult rather than young adult. Most of the characters are adult
Abbey Pasquence
With more perspective than All American Boys, and more nuance than The Hate U Give, Magoon's tale of the shooting of an unarmed Black teen amazed, horrified, and will stay with me for a long time. The vignette style of storytelling made it feel like a quick read (even though the font was teeny tiny). Magoon handles a large cast of characters well, fully fleshing them all out so they feel real enough to @ on Twitter. The second person perspective of The Witness draws the reader into the world in ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!

I have been excited to read this one, and it does not disappoint. The *many* perspectives help provide not only a more comprehensive approach to the main events but also offer insight into how these characters relate to each other and to an unexpected point: how Shae's murder is front and center at the start but later becomes background as the characters move forward...or at least move in some other direction.

As with any multi-perspective work
Staci Vought
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was so realistic and challenged me to think much more deeply about racism and police brutality than any other fiction novel. It was raw, well written/authentic. It was a little hard to keep all the perspectives straight at first, but I got used to it very quickly and was amazed by how fleshed out each perspective was. I was worried that this book would feel forced or cliche after The Hate U Give, but it stands apart due to how it is written and how deep the emotions run. Well done - th ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up.

"There's nothing left to say. The system is broken. The scales are tipped. No balance. All the fault slides on way. We are two black men, carrying the weight of the world. Black men. We are always guilty. Always to blame."

This book was so. good. So good. If you told me Kekla Magoon wrote this book yesterday, got it published overnight, and had it put into my hands today, I would have believed you. It's a 2019 release, and while I get that was just half a year ago, it feels
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great follow-up to How It Went Down that still deals with police brutality and how it impacts communities of color. I would recommend everyone read the books in order to get the most out of this one, since it helps to know the character backstories. It goes into new perspectives and personal conflicts with complexity and nuance.
As much as I liked How It Went Down, the author's previous venture into BlackLivesMatter and social justice territory, I appreciated this one even more. Readers will be able to follow the plot and pick up on the characters and how they relate without having read the previous book, also set in the Underhill neighborhood, but I wouldn't suggest it since the new book gains emotional strength from the writing but also from the effects of the violence and murder that occurred in its predecessor. Two ...more
I didn't realize this was a sequel at first, and kind of wish I'd re-read How It Went Down before diving in. So glad to see the strength and growth some of the characters showed! And Robb--oh, Robb. You are me, and we are embarrassing.
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a digital arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am also honored to have a signed copy by the author that I received at the ALA conference.

This book revolves around the circumstances of a thirteen year old black girl's death at the hands of a white police officer. What happened? Who saw it? What can the the black community do to stop this? Will the police officer get in trouble for killing the girl? Why or why not?

Light It Up contains m
I received an ARC of this book from BookCon in 2019, and I hope this review will help give Light It Up the recognition it deserves! Content warning that the book contains descriptions of police brutality and anti-Black racial slurs.

This is actually a follow-up to an earlier work by Magoon (How It Went Down), but I didn't even know that fact until after I'd finished it, so it definitely reads as a standalone. The book broken up into multiple, often recurring, perspectives from people in the commu
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-2020, blm
"Yeah. They're cool with domestic terrorism and long as it's ultra-wack white Christian's doing the terrorizing." 115

"You want to call it "riots" because you want the focus to be on so-called black violence and so-called black criminality. You want to do anything possible to justify the reality of police officers acting with lethal force on a community." 13

"You want to say it's okay for a police officer to respond with knee-jerk lethal anger at the mere idea of a threat against his person, and a
The delivery of the story with the multiple voices over several days paces the book in a way that is riveting, intense, realistic, and personal. This is book still probably can't top my love of The Rock and the River, but in terms of it's complexity and emotional depth, it's pretty darn close.

A white copy shoots a thirteen year old black girl as she heads home from tutoring. She had earbuds in and was running basically because it was unsafe for her to be outside. He instantly understands the gr
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: high-school-ya
A black girl walking home from school in a big puffy coat doesn't stop for an officer when he tells her to, she's got headphones in and doesn't hear. The officer makes a snap decision and shoots installing killing the thirteen year old girl. This book follows what happens after different voices from around the community, twitter threads, and news reports all come together to give a complete view of the impact of a snap decision made by a white cop.

This book gave me full body chills. The fact th
Amanda Baker
3.5 stars: Another moving book about the struggle between blacks and whites. A young 13-year-old girl was shot on her way home on a winter evening. Through many points of view we see the build up of a guilty/not guilty decision that will be made by the courts on the shooting. While many of the characters say "we already know how it will turn out" it was stil an emotional book filled with happiness, sadness, fear and joy. I am not sure what else I was looking for, but it felt like something was m ...more
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, library, ya, nwa
This picks up in the same neighborhood with many of the same narrators as How It Went Down, but it's not exactly a sequel, as each could be read as a standalone. It covers a wide range of perspectives around the aftermath of a police officer killing an unarmed black child, and a lot of it is tough to read, but so realistic. This would be an amazing teaching tool for teaching current events and different perspectives to older teens.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There was some continuity that affected my understanding of the relationships between characters, but it was a great book. It was by no means a very happy book, but it was important. Everyone's perspectives surrounding police brutality were represented, in my perspective. It also has very powerful arguments against racial bias in the news transcript sections.
Monique Maggiore
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was such a powerful read!!!! I loved the plot and the plot structure. This book was so realistic, and felt that many young adults should read this book. This book had great narrative with many viewpoints told throughout the novel. Since there were many characters, I felt the character development could have been better.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Powerful; painful. Probably more New Adult than Young Adult because of age of main characters and their actions. Maybe a little didactic at times but sometimes we need to be preached to in order to be woken up. Heard Keckla Magoon speak when she was first starting out and I am glad to see her rise to an author of importance.
Addie Thompson
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-2020
I want to sit with this a little while before I write a full review...but I’ll say this: Hands down the most heart-wrenchingly, beautifully crafted and raw depiction of what it means to be affected by an act of Police Brutality. I’ll leave it at this for now, #BlackLivesMatter
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can’t believe she wrote this before George Floyd. I want to recommend it as a stand alone, but it makes so much more sense if you’ve read How It Went Down. It’s hard to follow so many different viewpoints, but it pays off to see it from so many different angles.
Janelle Dazzlepants
Really devastating and topical.

I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives and switch between prose and verse - especially how Kekla Magoon wrote the kids' perspectives! The kids are such a highlight of this story.

The characters here all feel so distinct and they're all flawed; while this murder takes place in the foreground these people are still navigating romance, family, friendships, university, and life in the background.

Also the way in which this depicts an ignorant white boy virtue-signa
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
The content is very important. The character development was lacking. There were too many characters/subplots or maybe it was how they were portrayed. Keeping track of who was speaking yanked me out of the story.
Wow. That was a powerful book. I picked up this book because of the summary--13 year old girl, unarmed, is shot in the back by a police officer for essentially jogging while black. It's implied that she had her earbuds in as she did her usual routine of jogging and didn't hear the officer when he shot her. When I first started the book, the style of it kind of threw me because the story moved along from different perspectives and I was not yet familiar with the characters. But it didn't take me ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: high-school, high
Light It Up by Kekla Magoon, 358 pages. Henry Holt, (Macmillan), 2019. $19.

Content: Language: R (100+ swears 35 'fs'); Mature Content: PG 13; (teen intimacy) Violence: PG 13; (police brutality, attempted sexual assault).



While hurrying home from school, 13yo Shae Tatum is shot and killed by an on-duty police officer. The community of Underhill is turned upside down - angry, afraid, confused, and grieving. Told in vignette's, the aftermath is rec
Angela Critics
I don't even know how to begin to talk about this book. It's powerful. I'm not even sure how to begin to describe how it left me feeling. I didn't realize that it was a companion/sequel to How It Went Down. You don't need to have read that book first. But if you have, it adds another layer of meaning to this story. I couldn't put it down, but at the same time, I knew that I didn't want to read how it came out. In the end, I finished it in one day. But it will affect me for much longer. Read this ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I like how it switches perspectives but still allows you to get attached to the characters.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Light It Up was another stop on my continued search for a standout book in the YA racial bias-police brutality subgenre to gift my niece.
**Any textual references made unfortunately will not include page numbers, since I read the novel in digital format.
The writing is far superior to that of Dear Martin, I'm Not Dying with You Tonight, and The Hate U Give, which was refreshing. And though many had qualms with the format, I very much appreciated it. This topic isn't easy to take in, especially in
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