Early Departures

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Sept. 2020. 480p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062748409.
Gr 9 Up–Jamal has a secret and it is a matter of life and death. Recently orphaned and living with his sister, Jamal is still grappling with his grief and the loss of a great friendship with his comedic partner in crime, Quincy. Jamal and Q were best friends until a tragic event tore them apart. During a chance encounter on the beach, their past misunderstandings and miscommunications resurface. Then, Jamal dies and has a chance to be brought back to life, and Quincy realizes that he has a second chance to reclaim their friendship and right old wrongs. He has to decide whether to keep holding on to the past, skipping school, and blaming others, or to forgive and enjoy life to the fullest. Although this book is about death, Jauncy (Quincy and Jamal) will have readers dying with laughter as Reynolds miraculously finds a way to couple tragedy and comedy. Q is brown-skinned with a Spanish surname and Jamal’s race isn’t explicitly stated.
VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone who is searching for light at the end of the tunnel.

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