Garvey in the Dark

Recorded Books. Jan. 2023. 125p. $8.99. ISBN 9781705091609.
Gr 4-8–Garvey found his voice in Garvey’s Choice, his singing so splendid his father “once said./ “Your voice could wake/ the dead.” Shippy returns to narrate prodigious poet Grimes’s companion title, again written in modern tanka, as Garvey faces 2020’s COVID-19 lockdown. Schools close, activities are cancelled, shopping devolves into a toilet-paper-grabbing stampede. Garvey’s mother must adjust to teaching on screen, as Garvey and older sister Angie endure virtual learning. Only Dad is allowed to leave, until the “Invisible Beast” makes him a dangerous prisoner in his own house. Outside, racist violence continues to kill—“Breonna Taylor,/ George Floyd, and way too/ many others.” Garvey must reclaim his inspiring voice: for family, justice, himself. Shippy consistently imbues Garvey with deliberate determination, confronting frustration and fear amidst unprecedented uncertainty.
VERDICT A pandemic novel might seem premature, but Garvey’s authenticity should resonate broadly with youthful audiences.

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