How It Went Down

How It Went Down

by Kekla Magoon
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How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon

A 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.

In the aftermath of Tariq's death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.

Tariq's friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down.

This title has Common Core connections.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780805098693
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: 10/21/2014
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 420,226
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: HL560L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kekla Magoon is the author of several books for young adults, including 37 Things I Love and The Rock and the River, winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award. She is a New York City-based writer, editor, speaker, and educator.

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How It Went Down 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
I got way more into this than I was expecting. It’s the story of a shooting in an inner city told from the point of view of different witnesses and people connected to the person who was shot. No one has exactly the same story or feels precisely the same. I tried to understand each perspective and feel what they felt. It’s not really the type of story that gives you any answers. It may change the way you think about things though.
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
The multiple voices that tell the story in *How It Went Down* constitute a symphony of grief, rage, bewilderment, exploitation, and despair in the aftermath of a black teenager’s shooting death at the hands of a white man. Mirroring the too numerous cases we see in the news these days, the black teen (Tariq Johnson) might or might not have been armed. The shooter (Jack Franklin) might or might not have been justified in his actions. The witnesses—one a would-be do-gooder (white man Brian Trellis) and the rest members of a street gang that Tariq might or might not have belonged to—might or might not be telling the truth. The only thing that’s certain in this narrative—and all of the real-life narratives that this novel emulates—is that truth is a construct and reality (along with meaning) often eludes our grasp. Kekla Magoon skillfully orchestrates eighteen perspectives in telling the story of Tariq Johnson’s death and its aftermath. The shooting creates permanent ripple effects throughout Tariq’s community, among his family, close friends, and acquaintances. Reminiscent of Faulkner’s *As I Lay Dying*, *How It Went Down* eschews any pretense to narrative authority as it relies completely on the inevitable fallibility of first-person narration. Omniscience, Magoon seems to imply, is itself a fiction, and the only truth available to us is the one we are able to construct and live comfortably with. An undeniably stark and powerful work of fiction, this novel addresses one of the sad realities of racism in contemporary American culture. It examines not only the senseless violence that claims the lives of innocent victims—it also takes an unflinching look at the impact of that violence on the ones left behind to mourn.
marceyreads More than 1 year ago
This book is mentioned in my new blog feature: Curtain Call! It also mentions a tv/film.
TeacherAnn More than 1 year ago
Difficult because of the honesty, but beautiful and timely.