Bangladeshi-American high schooler Naeem is caught in a catch 22. The cops discover stolen goods that his so-called friend Ibrahim put in his backpack. Now, he has to choose between being prosecuted for a crime he didn’t commit or being an informant on his Muslim community. Tasked with reporting any suspicious activity in the area mosques and Muslim youth groups, Naeem feels increasingly conflicted about his role as a “watcher” and what that means for his family and those around him.
Ivy League-bound Justyce McAllister is one of the few African American students at his prep school. After being racially profiled while helping a friend, he decides to study Dr. Martin Luther King’s teachings to see how they apply to his life today. As he navigates the complex racial dynamics at his school, he is forced to confront the grim realities of being an African American male in the US - when every encounter with the police could lead to a life or death situation. Nic Stone’s debut novel shines a harsh light on the issues confronting young African American youth today from implicit bias, racial profiling, gang membership, multi-racial relationships, police brutality and more.
For Will, there are only 3 rules he needs to live by:
#1 - No crying
#2 - No snitching
#3 - Revenge: If someone you love gets killed, find the person who killed them and kill them. Now that his brother Shawn has been shot dead, Will is trying to decide how he’s going to live by these rules. With his brother’s gun tucked in his jeans, Will takes the longest elevator ride down. Stopping on each floor, the elevator is haunted by memories? Ghosts? of all the people around Will who have been shot. Each “talks” to Will as he tries make sense of who they are and why they are in the elevator. Before he reaches the lobby, Will will have to make a decision - is he going to be a rule breaker or get revenge.