- “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez
- Young Adult Historical Fiction
- Read as an ebook.
- 5/5 stars
- Finished August 21, 2017
“This is East Texas, and there’s lines. Lines you cross, lines you don’t cross. That clear?”
New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them.
“No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs.”
They know the people who enforce them.
“They all decided they’d ride out in their sheets and pay Blue a visit.”
But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive.
“More than grief, more than anger, there is a need. Someone to blame. Someone to make pay.”
Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history—as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.
Wow, wow wow. I never expected this book to take my breath away in every way, but it absolutely did. I can’t remember how I found this book, but it’s one of those books that I think found me through some sort of book fate and I am so glad that it did. Honestly, it is probably my favorite book of 2017 so far. (I have 2 months to go, and my favorite book of last year was read in December so…).
This book follows Naomi, who moves to New London, Texas with her half siblings to live with her former step-dad. Her mom passed away while they were married, and he left Naomi, along with her half-siblings with their maternal grandparents. However, he has now found a job on the oil rigs, and with the fancy new school being built, it seems like the perfect opportunity to finally be a dad.
I really don’t want to give away too much, and while the synopsis is accurate, in that it deals with racism, but it also deals with many many other topics, and I think this book is best when entered with no clue what exactly you’re getting into. Perez writes characters that will forever stick with me, and that even when I think about now, two months after finishing the book, haunt me and make me want to cry. One reviewer said this book will leave you in a million numb and tiny pieces, and it’s so accurate.
With that said, I will say that this book is about a million times more than just a love story, and as someone who is trying to read more diversely, this book is one of the many reasons that remind me why we do that.
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