Light It Up

Light It Up

by Kekla Magoon


$16.99 $18.99 Save 11% Current price is $16.99, Original price is $18.99. You Save 11%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Told in a series of vignettes from multiple viewpoints, Kekla Magoon's Light It Up is a powerful, layered story about injustice and strength—as well as an incredible follow-up to the highly acclaimed novel How It Went Down.

A girl walks home from school. She's tall for her age. She's wearing her winter coat. Her headphones are in. She's hurrying.

She never makes it home.

In the aftermath, while law enforcement tries to justify the response, one fact remains: a police officer has shot and killed a thirteen-year-old girl. The community is thrown into upheaval, leading to unrest, a growing movement to protest the senseless taking of Black lives, and the arrival of white supremacist counter demonstrators.

This title has Common Core connections.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

★ 08/05/2019

Coretta Scott King Honoree Magoon’s stand-alone follow-up to How It Went Down catches up with the residents of the Underhill neighborhood after another incident: a white police officer shoots a 13-year-old black girl, Shae Tatum, in the back as she is heading home. Multiple points of view follow the killing’s aftermath through the eyes of Shae’s devastated friends and family, the daughter of the officer who shot the girl, the shooting’s sole witness, the residents left grieving in the aftermath, and the black man whose PR job burdens him with ensuring the police department comes through the incident unscathed. When the grand jury verdict comes back, the residents of Underhill pull together, emerging stronger and more determined than ever. Not for the faint of heart, this fearless and realistic account of a police shooting challenges readers to think about these all-too-common events from every perspective. The novel doesn’t shy away from the ugly and foundational role racism plays in American life, policing, and media coverage, nor does it neglect to examine black America’s strength in the face of adversity. Like How It Went Down, this gritty, emotional tale will leave readers gutted and compelled to stand against flawed systems. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown Ltd. (Oct.)

School Library Journal

★ 09/01/2019

Gr 9 Up—A community that had already experienced tragedy at the hands of law enforcement is once again dealing with the effects of police violence after the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old African American girl. A witness is left struggling to rein in his anger and support his family. The local community organizer sees the tragedy as an impetus for social change and possible promotion. The local gang lord uses the girl's death as a way to solidify his authority within his gang and within the community. Her young friends are left wondering if they will be next. The policeman's daughter has to deal with the tarnished image of her father. The alt-right see her death as an opportunity to insert their fringe ideology into a mainstream conversation. Many will try to co-opt her voice in an attempt to make sense of their own roles in this tragic event. Ultimately, it is her community that bears the brunt of the collateral damage inflicted by this event. This book provides a nuanced view of the ways the death of a young black girl affects a community. Different voices are fully expressed and the complex and flawed nature of each character is fully explored. VERDICT Reminiscent of Magoon's previous title How It Went Down and Ta-Nahesi Coates's Between the World and Me, this is an important title for public and school libraries interested in thought-provoking portrayals of black life.—Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2019-07-21
The shooting of an unarmed African American teen by police serves as catalyst for racial tension in a community still recovering from a previous tragedy.

This time, Shae Tatum, a 13-year-old girl, is shot by a white police officer. Two years have passed since the killing of Tariq Johnson, and the community organizations that arose in the aftermath are more active. Social media scrutiny has intensified, with the media and police focusing on public messaging. The officer's family copes with being in the spotlight, and a minister who was in the limelight is now a senator. Tariq's friend Tyrell is now focused on college and reluctant to dredge up bad memories, but his white roommate, Robb, is intrigued by the shooting and seems insensitive to Tyrell's silence. The engagement of white supremacists and white women who protest in support of the police at Shae's funeral add new wrinkles. As tensions escalate, divisions harden while the police and community await the decision of the grand jury. This follow-up to the author's acclaimed How It Went Down (2014) uses multiple distinctive narrators, transcripts, and social media posts to convey the charged atmosphere as people must carry on with their lives while turmoil brews around them. The wide range of personalities, rich details, and nuanced connections make this a stellar and important read.

This companion to a modern classic offers an even deeper, more layered depiction of the impact of a police shooting. (Fiction. 14-18)

From the Publisher

"A clarion call for action." —Booklist, starred review

"A stellar and important read." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This gritty, emotional tale will leave readers gutted and compelled to stand against flawed systems." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Nuanced . . . . Thought-provoking." —School Library Journal, starred review

How It Went Down:

A Coretta Scott King Honor Book

“The layered voices tell a story both simple and complicated, heartbreaking and maddening.” —The Chicago Tribune

“In How It Went Down, Kekla Magoon deftly renders us witnesses to an all-too-common news flash in uncommon, unflinching prose. Gripping to the end.” —Rita Williams-Garcia Newbery Honor winner, National Book Award finalist, and Coretta Scott King Award winner

“A hard-hitting look at the ripple effects of one act of violence on an entire community. How It Went Down is engrossing and real—it's the right book at the right time.” —Coe Booth, LA Times Book Prize winner

“Magoon masterfully captures the cycle of urban violence and the raw emotions of the young people who can't escape its impact.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

How It Went Down is a snapshot in time, a fascinating study of people caught in the crosshairs of an 'Event.' . . . A particularly timely tale that can create dialogue and provide understanding about the decisions other people make, and the actions they take.” —VOYA, starred review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250128898
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: 10/22/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 282,322
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile: HL480L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

Customer Reviews