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Avery Washington has spent his entire life in Patterson Heights, a Baltimore neighborhood with a mean rep. It's a good place to grow up—it has heart and soul as well as a few street hustlers, and plenty of solid families just like his. Then one day, his older brother Rashid ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Avery's life changes forever.
Once an A-plus student with hopes of going to college, Avery now has to rethink his future. While his parents struggle to cope with the loss of one son, Avery has to prove himself at his new school, and deal with pressures he can't admit to anyone—not even Natasha, the one person who seems to really get him. But now he'll have to choose between doing what's expected and being true to himself…between maintaining a reputation and growing up too soon….
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Avery and his brother Rashid are inseperable. Avery idolizes his older brother and aspires to be just like him. When Rashid is killed during a basketball court altercation, Avery's world is turned upside down. The familiy moves out of the Patterson Heights neighborhood into a small cramped apartment. Avery attends a new school, becomes depressed and stops speaking. His home life isn't easier. His mother begins a crusade to learn who killed her firstborn son and his father becomes distant from the family. When Avery attends group therapy sessions at "Let's Straighten it Out", he finally has a emotional breakthrough. Along the way, Avery befriends, Pretty Ricky and Natasha who both help him cope during this period. The last two chapters of this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. Patterson Heights was a page turner from author Felicia Pride. Not many teen books tackle the subject of sibling loss and therapy and vividly as Pride does. The scenes where Rashid speaks to Avery are heartfelt.
The Washingtons were a tight knit family; eating meals together, enjoying one another, attending New Saints Tabernacle on the Lord's Day. It was on a Sunday that tragedy struck. A mother and father lost their first born son. Avery Washington lost his brother and best friend. Rashid was shot down - the bullet wasn't intended for him. Avery was an A student and had been accepted into the accelerated academic program at Baltimore Central High. He looked forward to going to college with his brother, Rashid, who wanted to be a lawyer so he could fight for justice. After losing Rashid, Avery went numb. Family life began to fall apart, his grades no longer mattered to him and he increasingly secluded himself in his bedroom. It was only the memories of good times spent with Rashid that helped him make it through each day. Life became somewhat bearable for Avery when he joined Straighten It Out, a program for youth, and even more bearable when he met Natasha Mayfield. Still, he wasn't going to be satisfied until he confronted the person who killed young Rashid, robbing him of life and the chance to live his dreams. Even though Avery's mother, Yvette, was referred to as crazy, I fully understood her reaction to her son's death and totally sympathized with her. I felt for Natasha and all she had been through in her life. Ricardo (aka Pretty Ricky) I'm not sure what to say about him but he sure wasn't the type of guy Avery needed to be around. And Trevor? It wasn't in his heart to be anything like his dad but he had to front to please him - that was disappointing. It did help to know why he did what he did and how he felt about it afterward but I couldn't sympathize with him because the boy did make a choice to take a life. This is realistic fiction. The characters are believable, the profanity isn't pervasive, I learned a bit about Baltimore and the author includes important messages for young people (Two thumbs up for Chapter 22!)