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How It Went Down

by Kekla Magoon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6143838,258 (4.1)9
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.

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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
I received this book in my first YA Quarterly box from Book Riot.

When it arrived this book seemed especially timely because there were riots happening in Baltimore because a young black man had been killed in police custody. The scenarios are not identical but both deal with young black men, killed in unclear circumstances by a white person. (Baltimore is more complicated that that but I'm not getting into all that here.)

How It Went Down is told from multiple POV the shooter, the witnesses, the family and friends of both and members of the media. It makes very clear the complicated feelings surrounding the death, illustrates how different eyewitness accounts can be and how vehemently people believe that what they "saw" was true.

It gave me an insight into the mind and day to day life of a young black man - something I think a middle aged white woman really needs to understand.

Despite the subject matter it's an easy book to read and quite enjoyable. It took me a month because it was a physical book and I tend to read at night on my kindle. I had to make time for this and when I finally did I read it in a single day. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
CW: Shooting of young black teenager

2.5 Stars ( )
  Mrs_Tapsell_Bookzone | Feb 14, 2023 |
This is a 2020 review, and I read it awhile ago. I read it twice and never reviewed it, apparently. The first read was stunning. The second, I knew what was coming and was able to form the beginnings of a review in my mind that never made it onto Goodreads or DreamWidth, evidently, which I am now rectifying. This is a book about a white man shooting a Black teenager, told from several different perspectives. A shopkeeper shouted for the teenager to come back and get his change, using his nickname, T. The shooter thought he heard the man yelling, "Stop, thief!" He thought a Snickers bar was a gun. I like Snickers, and this chilled me. A lot of what was in here was so sad, duh, but still. The little sister has an appearance and a few narratives, but her purpose was solely to soften up the dead teen. He took care of her in ways, as she is hinted to be intellectually impaired. She hides the knife found on his body and cuts her hand, though, too, so I guess that's another purpose for her. There were just a lot of characters and viewpoints in the book, which I sometimes find annoying. It's hard to get attached when there's so many, usually. Here, it mostly made sense. A preacher preys on a teenager and is a huge creep, plying her with alcohol, blabbing about his marriage while practically pleading for a sex act, and he kisses her. Eugh. And he still considers himself a holy man, and blahblahs about sin and forgiveness. I was -not- a fan of his. Another white guy basically harbors the shooter in his home since they're friends, and this is so realistic that the hair on the back of my neck stood up. He asks himself, would I be out there during the rally they're holding, too, if my friend weren't the shooter? and I wanted to cry. A lot of the writing just definitely asked tough questions and cut to the heart of a lot of matters, when the white guys were on the page. Everyone else definitely solidified relationships and fleshed out the dead teen, for the most part except the creepy damn preacher. The ending was--ehh. These books follow a format, which I understand and am fine with, and they often show moving on from the grief or starting the process of healing, which, definitely. Sometimes the endings can be ehh, and this was the case. Still a four and a half star read. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 25, 2022 |
Magoon focuses on the shooting of a black teenager and then tells the story from the many voices in his community, including near-strangers, best friends, family, and the people who think they know him best. It's a story about community as much as it is about racial tensions and the brutalizing of young black men. It's a poignant, lyrical story that slowly seeps out the heartbreak on each page. Worth the read. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kekla Magoonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boothe, CheriseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandez, Peter JayNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Floyd, Patricia R.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Free, Kevin R.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glymph, AveryNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hutchison, BrianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jackson, KoreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knight, EzraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peele, ShariNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Point-du-Jour, HubertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, Myra LucrietiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.

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