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Author: Magoon, Kekla
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Year Published: 2014
ISBN: 9780805098693
Grades: Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, Grade 8, Grade 9

How It Went Down

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In a rundown neighborhood where poverty and gangs rule almost everyone’s lives, a 16 year old African American boy wearing a hoodie runs from a corner store.  Behind him someone calls after him; a car stops in the street.  A shout “He’s got a gun” and Jack Franklin, a middle-age white man. Shoots Tariq twice, killing him before help can arrive.  The police with their own prejudices towards the community release the shooter who claims it was in self-defense even though there was no weapon found on Tariq’s body.  Magoon deftly narrates this story through seventeen very different characters each offering their own opinions and biases about the shooting and the community. With each new character the reader gets to know Tariq just that little bit more but never enough to know what he was really up to. With no real ending to the story How It Went Down will leave readers with more questions than answers making them ponder what they think regarding race, poverty, human nature, and who Tariq was. With short chapters this compelling book is a rather quick read that people will not be able to put down. How It Went Down is a multilayered heartbreaking story in which everyone has an opinion on what happened but the only one who really knows can’t no longer voice his story.

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