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A Book We’re Loving: Kindness for Weakness

February 4, 2013

Today, we’re raving about an upcoming young adult novel that we found incredibly powerful and moving, Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman. The book isn’t out until May but we have a galley to give away to one lucky reader. If you would like a chance to read this novel, please leave a comment at the end of the post. We will choose a winner using random.org on Friday. U.S. residents only, please.

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Every once in a while, you read a book that just knocks you out with its raw power and truth. The novel Kindness for Weakness is that book. A mature young adult novel, this is the story of James, a bright, sensitive teen growing up poor and abandoned. He idolizes his older brother Louis, who moved out at the age of seventeen when the brothers’ alcoholic mother chose her meth-addicted boyfriend over him. When Louis asks him to deliver drugs for him, James jumps at the chance to be close to Louis any way he can. James is quickly arrested and sent to a juvenile detention center. Goodman has worked in centers like this, and his experience shows. The world of the detention center is richly depicted, full of boys and guards you won’t forget.

What I found fascinating about this book is that Goodman shows James’ struggle to become a man in all of its complexity. James wants to learn, be a loyal friend and take care of his family, but he lives in a world where he is forced to fight, to defend himself and to become strong. He has to learn what place violence will have in his difficult life. Goodman gives him a few male role models, two prison workers and a kind high school teacher, who take an interest in his development. Though the book is often sad and harsh, readers will root for James to succeed and survive.

I would recommend this book to parents, educators and teens. There is so much to learn from this thoughtful young man.

-Erin

Startlingly honest, violent and hopeful all at once, this isn’t a book to read if you aren’t ready for an emotional rollercoaster. Abandoned by his family (even though a few of them are still in his life) James is willing to do anything to regain a sense of normal. So when his older brother has a “job” for him he is willing to put his own life on the line. A trip to juvie is the result of this “job” where James learns the true meaning of family, self and friendship. Gritty and full of content this is definitely 14+.

-Nic

Kindness for Weakness is also available to Net Galley readers. You can find it here.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2013 8:48 am

    Wow, this sounds like a gut wrenching book. The things some kids have to endure. I’d love to be entered for a chance to win.

  2. February 4, 2013 8:48 am

    I imagine this will be a book to put in the hands of some students needing their own kind of role model. I’d love to win the galley. Thanks for offering.

  3. Annemarie O'Brien permalink
    February 4, 2013 9:05 am

    Can’t wait to read this book!

  4. February 4, 2013 10:25 am

    This sounds like an awesome book and would be an excellent addition to my classroom library!!

  5. February 4, 2013 11:37 am

    I would love to read this book.

  6. February 4, 2013 1:05 pm

    This is going on my TBR calendar as soon as it releases, unless, of course, I could win the giveaway copy!

  7. Denise DuFort permalink
    February 4, 2013 1:54 pm

    Sounds like a great read -I’ll be looking forward to it!

  8. February 5, 2013 11:44 am

    This synopsis sounds like just the kind of specialized world about which that it is privilege to read. I often wonder about getting weird jobs just to discover the world within. This world in particular sounds rich and worth exploring.

    • March 3, 2013 5:22 pm

      Hi Ronald,

      you’ve won the galley from this drawing! If you’d like it, please send us your mailing address and we will get it to you right away.

      Thank you!

      Random Acts of Reading

  9. Loren permalink
    February 6, 2013 11:25 pm

    Sounds pretty amazing! I’ll definitely be buying this book for my library when it comes out in May.

  10. March 3, 2013 5:24 pm

    I’d definitely enjoy a copy of this book!

  11. May 11, 2013 12:26 am

    Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe this website needs a
    great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the info!

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