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  • Writer's pictureTheLittLibrarian

Promise Boys - Review

Updated: Jan 31, 2023


*I received a copy from the Colored Pages Book Tour via Henry Holt & Co. (BYR). All reviews are my own.*


**So I initially rated this story 4.5 stars, but I'm bumping it down to 4. The loss of the half-star resulted in listening to the end of the story via audio. Maybe because I didn't spend time with the narrators from beginning to end, it kind of messed up my perception of how I processed this story. Now for the original review.**


You know, I never trusted the idea of charter schools in urban areas. It's poised to be a haven for better opportunities for those attending, but are they really churning out winners? Are the schools setting up the students for excellence?


Alright! This was my first time reading this type of style narrative, and it was refreshing! Promise Boys by Nick Brooks kept me engaged as I flew threw the pages trying to solve the murder mystery. Who did it?


"The Urban Promise Prep School vows to turn boys into men. As students, J.B., Ramón, and Trey are forced to follow the prestigious "program's" strict rules. Extreme discipline, they’ve been told, is what it takes to be college bound, to avoid the fates of many men in their neighborhoods. This, the Principal Moore Method, supposedly saves lives.
But when Moore ends up murdered and the cops come sniffing around, the trio emerges as the case's prime suspects. With all three maintaining their innocence, they must band together to track down the real killer before they are arrested. But is the true culprit hiding among them?"

I thought this story would be another trauma-filled book with a sad ending, but the vibe didn't feel heavy. Yes, the story takes place in the hood, where the mindset is to get it how you live. And yes, there is a murder, and three boys of color are the main suspects. We already know how the narrative will go down with that one. But the story itself didn't feel like another punching bag, and it didn't feel like another story "we have to tell." Throughout the reading, I had high hopes for these characters by the end of the story. Especially after we got each suspect's before, present, and after POV.


I liked the writing structure the most. It gave people's accounts of what they saw, heard, and we can see plain old gossip weeding itself into facts. Seeing the writing play out how it did reminds me so much of how media and outside opinions control the public. They have a saying in journalism: "Control the media, control the masses!"


Overall I rated the book 4.5 stars. I enjoyed trying to figure out who the murderer was. The story was so appealing that I read the book in a few short days. This one is going on my bookshelf!


Promise Boys debuts on January 31, 2023.



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