cover image Fire in the Streets

Fire in the Streets

Kekla Magoon. S&S/Aladdin, $15.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2230-8

Magoon (Camo Girl) lyrically explores political and social uprisings in 1960s Chicago through the eyes of 14-year-old Maxie Brown, who is determined to join the Black Panthers: "The Panthers are going to change everything. I've known it all along, but now I can feel it all the way through me." Between the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King's assassination, and the Vietnam War, it's both a dangerous and energizing time to be alive. Maxie lives in poverty with her older brother, Raheem, who could soon be drafted, and her overworked mother, who brings home deadbeat boyfriends. She splits her days between wandering the neighborhood with her friends; navigating a tumultuous relationship with her love interest, Sam, whose brother was killed by the police; and volunteering at the Panther office. When two members go to jail, the chapter leader asks her to look out for a traitor within the party, but her discovery forces her to reassess her loyalties. This haunting story features fully developed characters, poetic images, and a conflicted heroine whose substance mirrors the complexities of her era. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Aug.)