YA SECOND OPINION: Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence

Review published on October 11, 2016.

When I requested Orangeboy to review, I didn’t realise it was a children’s book  – but what an eye-opener!

Marlon, 16 year old black boy living in London, has an older brother, Andre, who got mixed up with a bad crowd, crashed his car when chased by another gang, and his best friend, Sharkie, was killed.  Andre was badly brain-damaged and now has very little memory.  The boys’ mother, Jenny, really encourages Marlon in his daily life, schooling, etc. not to get involved in the gang warfare.

This book covers everything and it’s certainly not the Famous Five  –  gangs with young boys maybe 11 years old, drugs, guns, callously beating up others, terrorising and setting fire to the houses of gang members’ families, car chases, total disregard for any sort of law and order.  Will Marlon stay on the yellow brick road, or go the way of his brother, Andre?  Read on and see if you find this portrayal of lifestyle today as horrifying as I did.
Would this make a good group read?  Depends on the age/outlook/interest of your group!

Deirdre Spendlove 3/3

Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence
Hodder & Stoughton 9781444927207  2016

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