Young Readers Will Devour the Fast-Paced Safe Passage by G. Neri

Posted March 22, 2024 by Richetta in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Graphic Novel / 0 Comments

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Young Readers Will Devour the Fast-Paced Safe Passage by G. Neri

I received this book for free from Hear Our Voices Book Tours and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Young Readers Will Devour the Fast-Paced Safe Passage by G. NeriSafe Passage by G. Neri
Illustrator: David Brame
Published by Lee & Low Books on March 26, 2024
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels / General, Young Adult Fiction / People & Places / United States / African American & Black
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
Source: Hear Our Voices Book Tours and the publisher
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Goodreads

From Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author of Yummy G. Neri comes an epic journey across the South Side of Chicago for Darius, his little sister Cissy, and his best friend Booger as they set out to find an armored truck that has lost a payload of cash.

Thirteen-year-old Darius is going through a rough time. It's almost been a year since a terrible act of violence took the life of his mother and left him with a wound both in his leg and in his heart. With his stepdad out of work; his little sister, Cissy, always on his case; and the looming prospect of foreclosure on their house, he feels his world closing in on him.

But Darius's best friend, Booger, has a plan. A Brinks armored truck has crashed on a nearby highway and money is blowing everywhere. If they can get across town and back safely, they just might get rich! But to do it, they need to cross through some of the most dangerous streets in Chicago, staying ahead of the gangs that rule those neighborhoods.

Before long, their adventures blow up on social media as Booger documents their search for riches, and everyone is after them. Can they get home without falling victim to the violence of the streets? Sometimes, on the streets of Chicago, there is no Safe Passage.

🚸💰⚠️Welcome to my stop on the Hear Our Voices Book Tour for Safe Passage by G. Neri and David Brame🚸💰⚠️

So this book started a tussle in my family of who was going to get to read it first. My kids love graphic novels so when they saw it on my desk, both of my older children gravitated to it. I tried to throw up the mama block by telling them hands off because I was on a deadline. But as soon as I turned my back daughter was cozied up in a corner with it. Then when she put it down, in swooped my son who snatched it up while it was still warm. Meanwhile, I’m looking around for my book!

They were hooked as soon as they started reading. My son finished it first on the drive home from school and then my daughter grabbed and finished it once we got home. So that is how I became the last one to read it…and I’m the one writing the review. Go figure! But good problems to have.

Surviving the South Side

I include that anecdote, because it is a testament to how good this book is. There is a moment in Safe Passage that I saw my son react so strongly too and I’d never seen him that immersed before. It’s not an easy story to read. But it’s an important experience to read about. Kids trying to make it to school. Kids who want to play outside. Kids who want to live carefree without worrying about being shot or homeless or hungry. Looking at the story of a neighborhood from an inside perspective instead of from headlines.

It’s a story that you will possibly finish in one sitting because you will be so dedicated in what will happen to Darius, Cissy and Booger as they journey through the South Side of Chicago. And for the record, Booger is not a popular character in my home. My daughter had some harsh words for him. But Booger is an example of what can happen to a young boy who is surrounded by gang culture and making really bad decisions because of what and who he sees as role models. 

Highlights

A few highlights I wanted to point out: 

  • I loved seeing the family relationship between Darius, Cissy and Darius stepfather. They love each other and pray for each other and their safety. Darius’ stepfather doesn’t have a job and they are about to be evicted. But he is still a loving father and does his best by searching for a job every day. 
  • The men in the neighborhoods work together to create the Safe Passage so that kids can get to and from school safely. Many of them are fathers and/or ex military. They recognize the Chicago area as being way to similar to Fallujah. It’s a terrifying comparison. 
  • The vulnerability of Darius. He looks out for his sister no matter what. He also struggles with the trauma of losing his mother and being in this environment. He has to operate in this heartbreaking space of being a young boy and a vigilant man trying to survive everything day. 
  • The rules. Follow the rules.

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