How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon is a great choice for fans of realistic fiction as well as reluctant readers. But what really makes it unique is how it’s all about perspective — it’s told from different points of view, and different characters disagree about larger philosophical issues (like what kind of person Tariq was) but also about what each of them saw with their own eyes. This would be a great choice for a teen book discussion, because it would definitely inspire conversation! Or, hey, how about as a companion piece to 12 Angry Men?
BTW, my next “in depth” episode isn’t ready yet, so I’ve moved it ahead to next week. That’s because December is usually when I talk about my favorite children’s and young adult books of the year, and I’ve been so busy with reading YA stuff lately that I need to catch up with some more children’s titles. So tune in for that next week!
Tariq is a young black teenager who might or might not have been a good person. He might or might not have wanted to be in a gang. He might or might not have had a gun in his hand. But he was shot in front of a bodega in his neighborhood, and now he’s definitely dead. That’s the one thing that everyone CAN agree on.
Lots of people had their own opinions about Tariq — friends, neighbors, family members, and strangers. Everyone had their own opinions about what kind of person Tariq was, about whether or not he set the events in motion that led to his own death, and even about what they saw just before and just after he was shot. The problem is that many of those people, even the ones who were out on the street at the same time and who saw what happened, don’t agree with each other.
Finding the truth about Tariq might be harder than you think.