web site hit counter Out of Darkness - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Out of Darkness

Availability: Ready to download

“This is East Texas, and there’s lines. Lines you cross, lines you don’t cross. That clear?” New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. “No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs.” They know the people who enforce them. “They all decided they’d ride out in their sheets and pay Blue a visit “This is East Texas, and there’s lines. Lines you cross, lines you don’t cross. That clear?” New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. “No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs.” They know the people who enforce them. “They all decided they’d ride out in their sheets and pay Blue a visit.” But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive. “More than grief, more than anger, there is a need. Someone to blame. Someone to make pay.” Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history—as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.


Compare

“This is East Texas, and there’s lines. Lines you cross, lines you don’t cross. That clear?” New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. “No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs.” They know the people who enforce them. “They all decided they’d ride out in their sheets and pay Blue a visit “This is East Texas, and there’s lines. Lines you cross, lines you don’t cross. That clear?” New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. “No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs.” They know the people who enforce them. “They all decided they’d ride out in their sheets and pay Blue a visit.” But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive. “More than grief, more than anger, there is a need. Someone to blame. Someone to make pay.” Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history—as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.

30 review for Out of Darkness

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Gut. Punch. This is a powerful, painful story not about the school explosion, though that plays a part, but rather, about the lives of marginalized individuals in history. Set in east Texas in the 1930s, this story told in alternating POVs explores a Mexican girl coming to terms with her family's heritage; a white man's interest in ownership and power; a black man's interest in being and doing good; romance; and so much more. It is not an easy read in the least, but Perez does an outstanding job o Gut. Punch. This is a powerful, painful story not about the school explosion, though that plays a part, but rather, about the lives of marginalized individuals in history. Set in east Texas in the 1930s, this story told in alternating POVs explores a Mexican girl coming to terms with her family's heritage; a white man's interest in ownership and power; a black man's interest in being and doing good; romance; and so much more. It is not an easy read in the least, but Perez does an outstanding job of making it compelling. These are rich, layered, tough characters in a rich, layered, tough environment. Their stories are worth reading about. My one complaint, the one thing that bothered me, was this (view spoiler)[ the epilogue. It felt too much like trying to make a closed, happy ending. It's obviously NOT happy, but it was too much a happily ever after in a story that didn't need that. Beto WAS the hope; we didn't need to be told he was. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    I am known for being soulless and hard, but this book has broken me in about a hundred ways. Brilliant. Heartwrenching. Brave. Intricate. I will say more coherent things in the morning maybe, but DAMN. Okay, here's the rest of my review: http://mclicious.org/2015/08/02/out-o... I am known for being soulless and hard, but this book has broken me in about a hundred ways. Brilliant. Heartwrenching. Brave. Intricate. I will say more coherent things in the morning maybe, but DAMN. Okay, here's the rest of my review: http://mclicious.org/2015/08/02/out-o...

  3. 5 out of 5

    K.

    I don't even know how to rate this book. Like, it's an important book. And I liked the characters. But it's also possibly the bleakest book I've ever read and I hated so much of what happens in the story because it filled me with so much rage. Full review to come. Hopefully a rating will come with it. ____________ Okay, so. I'm going with a 2.5 star rating at this stage. Because even though I think the story is incredibly important and wonderfully diverse - I mean, it's set in the Texas oil field I don't even know how to rate this book. Like, it's an important book. And I liked the characters. But it's also possibly the bleakest book I've ever read and I hated so much of what happens in the story because it filled me with so much rage. Full review to come. Hopefully a rating will come with it. ____________ Okay, so. I'm going with a 2.5 star rating at this stage. Because even though I think the story is incredibly important and wonderfully diverse - I mean, it's set in the Texas oil fields in the 1930s and it's the story of a Latina girl and an African American boy falling in love - it's just so dark and bleak and miserable to read that I can't really give it anything more than that. I honestly would even hesitate to call this a young adult book. Because even though that's clearly the intended audience and that's the age of the narrators, it deals with so many incredibly serious issues and there is so much of those issues on the page that I genuinely doubt I'd ever recommend this book to a teenager. I mean, just knowing that this is about an interracial relationship in 1930s Texas should be enough to tell you that this book isn't going to be the happiest of stories (don't get me wrong - I LOVED the relationship between Naomi and Wash. But Texas. 1930s. Interracial relationship. You know?). But when you add in the fact that this is about a seventeen year old girl whose stepfather considers her his property and that he's entitled to do whatever he likes to his property, things become even more bleak. Honestly, this could have been a 3-3.5 star book for me if it wasn't for the way the story ended. I know that a happy ending was always going to be difficult. But, like, (view spoiler)[an ending where a seven year old girl dies in a gas explosion and as a result of the gas explosion, the African-American kid is nearly lynched, the Latina girl gets raped by her stepfather (a man, I should add, who's been molesting her from the time she was ten) in front of her beaten-and-tied-to-a-tree boyfriend and her traumatised seven year old brother, the Latina girl and the African-American kid get shot and killed by the rapist, child abusing stepfather, and the seven year old brother then shoots and kills his father (the rapist, child abusing stepfather)? (hide spoiler)] OOF. The general reaction to this book, based on the Goodreads reviews, seems to have been a lot of tears. In contrast, this didn't make me teary. It just made me angry and then sick to my stomach. Whether that's a sign of incredible writing or not, I leave entirely up to you.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I don’t get book hangovers very often but when I finished reading OUT OF DARKNESS I swore, I took the names of various deities in vain, and I stared off into space for a few minutes. I was physically exhausted by the time I read the last line. This book will just tear you apart from the inside out and spit you out on the back end. OUT OF DARKNESS is a dark book that deals with some really rough things like blatant and violent racism and statutory rape. At times it’s a difficult book to read but i I don’t get book hangovers very often but when I finished reading OUT OF DARKNESS I swore, I took the names of various deities in vain, and I stared off into space for a few minutes. I was physically exhausted by the time I read the last line. This book will just tear you apart from the inside out and spit you out on the back end. OUT OF DARKNESS is a dark book that deals with some really rough things like blatant and violent racism and statutory rape. At times it’s a difficult book to read but it’s so damn compelling I dare you to willingly put it down. If life didn’t get in the way I have no doubt I would have just plowed through this in a (very long) sitting. The story itself focuses on a real event that happened in East Texas where leaking gas caused a white school to explode back in 1937. The majority of the events that happen around that particular moment are fictional but they’re not outside the realm of reason. Some of the things are outlandish and grotesque and as a human being you’ll have a hard time fathoming how people can think in such ways and act in even worse ways. But when you sit down and you really let that darkness in you’ll know that while these specific events may be fictional what they’re based on is not. This country went through some dark times and that kind of thinking runs deep, even today, and hopefully dragging it out into the light in such a way gives people a reminder that this wasn’t that long ago, racism isn’t dead, and if we allow this ignorance to come back into the light this is the kind of fear that everyone would be living in. Perez switched POVs between Naomi, Beto (Naomi’s little brother), Wash (Naomi’s love interest), and Henry (Naomi’s step-father), with a sprinkling of The Gang thrown in, this mob mentality thought bubble that isn’t specific to any one individual but the collective brain of those thinking the same things. It didn’t need to be specific and that was the point. It’s a look into the hive brain functioning in East Texas and it’s meant to be horrifying. I’ll start with Henry first because he’s just repugnant. But getting into his head you see his thought process. I don’t think it’s meant as a way of understanding why he did what he did but it allows you a look behind the curtain to see how he’s reasoning with himself and how his mind is breaking down everything that’s happening. There’s a high level of expectation and ownership because he’s a white man and certain things should be bestowed upon him. Henry has a very solid ideal of what his life should be like but when reality doesn’t match up with that he doesn’t know how to cope so he allows his anger, his frustration, and his scapegoating to really rear its ugly head and take his failings out outwardly, where he thinks they belong. As a rational human being reading his sections it’s horrifying because there is nothing rational about Henry. Naomi, Beto, and Wash are just trying to exist in this really messed up world. Naomi and Wash are well aware of the world of racism around them and they try to function around them as much as possible. Beto just loves who he loves and skin color means nothing to him. He recognizes right from wrong and knows enough that even when someone of authority does something wrong he shouldn’t blindly follow. He’s not aware of the blatant racism around him, being light-skinned and able to pass for white. He doesn’t see how people treat Naomi or Wash (in part because they don’t allow him to see it) and when he does see injustices toward them happening he doesn’t fall into the hive. He hurts when people he loves hurt and it’s heartbreaking to see him in pain. Naomi and Wash are two just incredibly endearing characters that are immediately likable. Naomi is a little more outwardly bitter (for lack of better words) and evasive toward people because of how she’s been treated in her past while Wash, at the insistence of his father, has adapted to it in a way that forces him to kowtow to people spitting on him. Each have adapted to shut out the world around them and function as best they can but when they find each other and those public barriers come down they can finally be who they really are and they both open up to each other. The ending, though, is what really destroyed me. No spoilers but I’ll just say things don’t get better. OUT OF DARKNESS is a difficult, brutal look at a window to our country’s history when everyone was suffering but some moreso than others at the hands of those who had it a little better simply because of skin color. It’s a look at what did happen in our past but it doesn’t mean this kind of thinking stayed in our past. It’s a rather apt book to read considering the talking orangutan running for Republican presidential nominee who has no problem publicly scapegoating minorities and wants to actually evict those people from this country. Racism is not dead. Not by a longshot and this book is a lesson in how bad it was and how bad it could be again. Lessons are hard learned and a lot of the people in this book didn’t learn them. Reading that should make your skin crawl. This SHOULD be a painful book to get through, in so many different ways. If it doesn’t tear at your soul a little it may make me question your humanity. 5 I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Laurence

    If you haven't read a book by Ashley Hope Pérez, you are missing a unique and empowering voice in young adult fiction. The author's work for Teach for America Corps inspired her debut novel, What Can't Wait. Her gritty sophomore novel, The Knife and The Butterfly, explored the consequences of gang violence. Pérez's third novel, Out of Darkness features a clandestine romance which dares to cross the racial divide of 1930's Texas. Inspired by the most deadly school disaster in American history, thi If you haven't read a book by Ashley Hope Pérez, you are missing a unique and empowering voice in young adult fiction. The author's work for Teach for America Corps inspired her debut novel, What Can't Wait. Her gritty sophomore novel, The Knife and The Butterfly, explored the consequences of gang violence. Pérez's third novel, Out of Darkness features a clandestine romance which dares to cross the racial divide of 1930's Texas. Inspired by the most deadly school disaster in American history, this provocative novel gives voice to those whose voices were silenced and whose histories were unjustly revised. In Out of Darkness seventeen-year-old Naomi moves with her half siblings to her stepfather's new home in an oil drilling settlement town. When their Mexican-American mother died in childbirth seven years earlier, Naomi became the surrogate mother to the twins. Now Naomi must balance the demands of being the only Mexican-American at her high school with keeping house for her Caucasian stepfather, whom she despises. A sign at the town diner: "No Negroes, Mexican or dogs." Beautiful Naomi becomes the object of desire and of racial prejudice. She finds secret pleasure with Wash, an intelligent boy who is a senior at the all black school in a segregated town. They imagine a future together with the twins, free from persecution. The writing is as lush and as beautiful as the landscape: "It was getting late, but time seemed to stretch like taffy. The pines stood out dark against the pinks and oranges creeping across the sky, and a breeze stirred around her. She found herself walking to their spot at the river. It was not a usual meeting time for them, but she couldn't help hoping." After an explosive and confusing start, the narrative down-shifts to an unrushed pace, building tension slowly and allowing for in depth character development. The chapters are told from multiple points of view: Naomi, her Born Again stepfather, her seven-year-old half brother and her boyfriend Wash. Their star-crossed romance is realistically rendered with adolescent lust and idealistic love. The pace accelerates to a page-turner ending that left me stunned and shattered. Although this tragic story was set in the 1930s, the central theme of racism still feels relevant today. Out of Darkness could have been published as literary historical fiction for adults. Since this novel includes sexual abuse, pedophilia and graphic violence, I would only recommend it to mature teens and to adults who aren't afraid to explore the dark side of human nature. Both Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal gave this soon to be released book starred reviews. Out of Darkness is Pérez's strongest young adult novel so far and shows a maturity of voice, technique and vision. I look forward to reading more of her work. Follow the link to my blog for the author's explanation about why she wrote this historical novel: http://blog.sarahlaurence.com/2015/08...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    You know what this book is about from the first page. The worst school tragedy in American history (I almost looked it up to see if it still was, but then I didn't want to know): a gas explosion in a Texas oilfield school that killed most of the students and teachers. It's also about racism, about family, about death and loss, abuse, and violence. And that's why I'm not really sure about how I feel about this book. It starts with the explosion and the community working to clear away the debris, You know what this book is about from the first page. The worst school tragedy in American history (I almost looked it up to see if it still was, but then I didn't want to know): a gas explosion in a Texas oilfield school that killed most of the students and teachers. It's also about racism, about family, about death and loss, abuse, and violence. And that's why I'm not really sure about how I feel about this book. It starts with the explosion and the community working to clear away the debris, gathering up pieces of the bodies, mostly of children. Then it rewinds a year, to show the events leading up to this. We're introduced to several characters: an African American teen boy, a Mexican girl, her little brother, their white stepfather. As they interact with each other, with the community, the whole picture begins to emerge. It's a tense book, with a lot going on, especially behind closed doors. And then there will be a chapter where you get to read about someone masturbating. And then the story moves on, and the tension ramps up, and . . . then there's some more masturbating. At first it was a character who was well . . . icky. The antagonist of the story. But then, possibly so that Perez is not seen to be preaching that only perverts and abusers engage in such behavior, she throws in scenes of pretty much everyone else doing it. Which just . . . irritated me. It distracted from the plot, slackened the tension, and felt like padding to a story I was racing to finish. There are a lot of little kids in this story, and I wanted to know if they all died! I didn't want to read about someone sitting in a tree, pleasuring themselves! (Which just doesn't seem safe!) And then I got the explosion. And it was horrible. Just a terrible tragedy. And the aftermath: heartbreaking. And then . . . It just keeps going, and getting more horrible. Unnecessarily horrible. Graphic violence. Rape. People being absolutely brutalized, in bloody detail. I literally thought I might throw up. And why? Why did this need to be on the page? I really don't think it did. It did not do anything for me except upset me. It was absolutely gratuitous.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2016/03... So this is being described as a novel about a major disaster--an explosion at a school in Texas in 1937--as a backdrop for a story about love, family, segregation, racism, etc. Which is accurate. But is also a novel about a young girl being molested by her stepfather. This is why trigger warnings are a thing! I don't want to read books about young girls being molested, I find it upsetting (I think understandably). I am especially tired of picking up YA boo http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2016/03... So this is being described as a novel about a major disaster--an explosion at a school in Texas in 1937--as a backdrop for a story about love, family, segregation, racism, etc. Which is accurate. But is also a novel about a young girl being molested by her stepfather. This is why trigger warnings are a thing! I don't want to read books about young girls being molested, I find it upsetting (I think understandably). I am especially tired of picking up YA books that I think are going to be literary and moving, and having them be super rapey. I mean, half the town thinks she should marry her stepfather, so gross! I cannot deal with this sort of thing anymore--and that's not even getting STARTED on the extremely crazy and bummerific ending--which I live-chatted in a Slack channel b/c I was so horrified (and bemused). One friend said it sounded like misery porn and I honestly have to agree. Ugh. Publishers, can't you use words like "harrowing" for stories like these, so we know? B-.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marika

    Beautifully told story, wonderful editing. But so, so bleak. Why on earth would anyone need to endure such a horrific tragedy in their leisure reading? I needed more hope. More joy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    YA is becoming diverse (THANK THE LAWD) in representing a variety of issues people of color have experienced. Furthermore, I was SO EXCITED to see an interracial romance that wasn’t black and white. PUN! Would that be considered a pun? Moving on!!!! Heartbreaking, beautiful, and superbly executed read about race, politics, and love that is very much relevant today. Let’s talk about my the tragical element. The two main characters mixed in with Naomi’s crazy stepfather and his lemme-get-advice-f YA is becoming diverse (THANK THE LAWD) in representing a variety of issues people of color have experienced. Furthermore, I was SO EXCITED to see an interracial romance that wasn’t black and white. PUN! Would that be considered a pun? Moving on!!!! Heartbreaking, beautiful, and superbly executed read about race, politics, and love that is very much relevant today. Let’s talk about my the tragical element. The two main characters mixed in with Naomi’s crazy stepfather and his lemme-get-advice-from-this-terrible-yet-i-know-of-plenty-that-still-exist-could-be-baptist-preacher relationship. When we meet Wash & Naomi---they were just radiating that Especially because (in my cinematic mind) Let’s just say that BOI: Meets GURL: and ensues. In the teenage-agnst-way because nothing says first love like a -whole-lotta-communication-issues. Yet, it was the undercurrents of the book that made it precious. Those menacing undertones like Naomi’s past and Wash's future. The fact that the “gang” was narrating and I’m like OH SHIT something is going to go down, and when I was younger that would bug me. The older I get---I treasure the wonderful moments, the moments that you're hidden in a tree and sharing love with one other person that gets you. Deadpool (the movie) had a fun quote: Here's the thing. Life is an endless series of trainwrecks with only brief commercial-like breaks of happiness. This had been the ultimate commercial break. Which meant it was time to return to our regularly scheduled programming. The fact that Perez (took the time) went and made the stepfather a well-rounded character blew me away. Don’t get me wrong, what he does is sickening and despicable, but i love that you get into his pysche. ESPECIALLY when I heard the stories in my own family line through convos with my mom that “back in the day” a LOT of young women were married off/abused by their older stepfather. Yet, no one is talking/writing about all the crazy justifications that happened in history. ESPECIALLY That the church LOTSA TIMES tried to put their “stamp of God’s approval on it...” I LOVED that she delved into that aspect. More importantly, I loved that the younger brother got to see the dichotomy of race relations. I'm always surprised at how much history we DON’T learn about (i don’t know why i’m always ending up surprised) This is a fascinating glimpse of a town right up to the tragedy and the individuals affected by the aftermath. I’m briefly touching a few themes. This book is an experience, which I feels makes you a better person JUST BY READING IT. I feel you go through if not a transformation a metamorphsis after from beginning to end. The best part is it looks hefty, but BOY does it read fast. I was hooked and felt I flew through the book faster than what I had anticipatd. For me, the heart and soul of this book revolves around the color lines. The internalized views of the town people as they treated Naomi differently than her step siblings. The fact that your ethnic differences can be looked at as an "exotic plus," which causes boys to want you and girls to hate you. OH MAN. Ashley Perez is a hell of an author. I was publicly weeping at the hair salon and two people told me they were obsessed with watching me read this book and wanted to know what story was I reading. I replied, "TRAGICAL!"

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Honestly this book bored me to tears, the chapters were very short and not concise. There are some books that start off very intriguing but a little bit too intriguing, if that makes sense? I feel that the author tried to sound spooky with the language but it frustrated the hell out of me. The synopsis did not even make sense, it was just a bunch of mini plots that was not consistent with the first plot. Who were the characters that suppose to make a difference? When is the story about to pick u Honestly this book bored me to tears, the chapters were very short and not concise. There are some books that start off very intriguing but a little bit too intriguing, if that makes sense? I feel that the author tried to sound spooky with the language but it frustrated the hell out of me. The synopsis did not even make sense, it was just a bunch of mini plots that was not consistent with the first plot. Who were the characters that suppose to make a difference? When is the story about to pick up? I wanted to be in the light after reading this snooze-fest, thank God I came 'out of darkness reading this travesty. Note to authors: Please save all the foreshadowing, if there is a BIG event happening. Also if you are going to have short chapters, at least let it be CONCISE! Terrible,forgettable, laughable and cringe worthy. NEXT!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    This book took my breath away. I'm not sure how "young" the "young adult" title goes, but I would be nervous to share this text with my 14-year-old sister (because of my ridiculous desire to shield her from some of the world's hard and ugly truths). So intense; a beautiful love story between Naomi and Wash, a story of the power and resilience of sibling love among Naomi and Cari and Beto, a story of the anger and hate and hopelessness that inspires rape, racism, and death. And ultimately, a stor This book took my breath away. I'm not sure how "young" the "young adult" title goes, but I would be nervous to share this text with my 14-year-old sister (because of my ridiculous desire to shield her from some of the world's hard and ugly truths). So intense; a beautiful love story between Naomi and Wash, a story of the power and resilience of sibling love among Naomi and Cari and Beto, a story of the anger and hate and hopelessness that inspires rape, racism, and death. And ultimately, a story of resistance and creation and the importance of owning and sharing your own story. "Smuggled in the back of the Chevrolet, smuggled into a memory, smuggled into a tree inside that memory, Beto was starting the work that would save him."

  12. 5 out of 5

    Knobby

    I usually love super bleak books, and this was beautifully written, but in this dawning age of our nation's history with our new president-elect and his followers I wonder if it's too close to what will become real (again). I usually love super bleak books, and this was beautifully written, but in this dawning age of our nation's history with our new president-elect and his followers I wonder if it's too close to what will become real (again).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aleya

    Wow. That was intense. Here's my review: https://suchanovelidea.com/2017/06/ou... Out of Darkness is a tough book to read due to dark themes, but readers should not be dissuaded. This book puts a spotlight on racism in the south. East Texas during the 1930’s was a highly racist time period for anyone who was not white. This book dives into racism that is not addressed often in young adult fiction. This book demonstrates the injustice of racism at that time period with an emphasis on Mexican Ameri Wow. That was intense. Here's my review: https://suchanovelidea.com/2017/06/ou... Out of Darkness is a tough book to read due to dark themes, but readers should not be dissuaded. This book puts a spotlight on racism in the south. East Texas during the 1930’s was a highly racist time period for anyone who was not white. This book dives into racism that is not addressed often in young adult fiction. This book demonstrates the injustice of racism at that time period with an emphasis on Mexican Americans and African Americans. This book is strong with the emphasis placed on racial issues as well as the theme of love. Naomi already had a strong family connection with her siblings, but she had yet to experience love. This novel dives into a realistic, but star-crossed, first love which is believable and powerful. There are aspects of this book that could be difficult for some readers to handle. Readers should be aware of issues of rape and molestation are within this novel. This could be a downside for some readers who are unable to handle these topics. These topics are highly sensitive and could evoke trigger warnings with some readers. All readers are sure to be made uncomfortable by these additions to the book. However, these issues did not take away from the story but enhanced it. They were included with good reason. The author handled them delicately and was not too heavy handed. This book could appeal to many young adults for the various themes. Young adults hoping to learn more about segregation and racism issues will find a lot to take out of this book. Those interested in love stories and family connections will find a heartwarming, if not also heartbreaking story. All of the themes within this book serve as appeal to young adults. This book is also a sort of history lesson on the tragic New London school Explosion of March 18, 1937. Young adults have a lot to gain from reading this book. This book is sure to stay within the minds of many people for years to come. It is a story that is not easy to forget.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marina

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a situation where it's not the book, it's me. I think... I think I pretty much hated everything about this story. I disliked most of the characters. I felt deceived by the summary of the book, because I thought this book was going to be about the tragedy of a school explosion. Instead it's about a sex-addicted white man who kills his Mexican wife because he can't keep his dick in his pants long enough, even though he knew another pregnancy would kill her. And even before she dies he turns h This is a situation where it's not the book, it's me. I think... I think I pretty much hated everything about this story. I disliked most of the characters. I felt deceived by the summary of the book, because I thought this book was going to be about the tragedy of a school explosion. Instead it's about a sex-addicted white man who kills his Mexican wife because he can't keep his dick in his pants long enough, even though he knew another pregnancy would kill her. And even before she dies he turns his sights on her little daughter, sexually assaulting her multiple times. Then even though they know he's a fucking creep, her grandparents still send her to live with him, and someone gets the fucking idea that they should get married. Her grandparents, her friends, their preacher, all think it's okay, because he's not her real dad. Like I don't think there are enough trigger warnings in the world to cover this book for the trauma I feel. Especially after they decide to blame the explosion on a black family and practically lynch them. They nearly get away, but because these fools are total morons, I can't even.... like what happens next has traumatized me. I've never been so angry and upset and disgusted because of the book. I'm so so angry. TW: pedophilia, graphic sexual assault of a minor, graphic racism, near-lynching of a black family, rape, dead children.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Rodriguez

    As soon as I finished Ashley's novel, I wanted to reread it as a writer. I want to pull it apart and study it because it's that good. One of the things I appreciate most was the slow burn of the narrative. The novel opens with the explosion, and then flashes back to show how the characters' live intersect before the event. The fuse lit in that opening scene coils through the narrative, gaining in intensity as the story leads back to the explosion and then its aftermath. The tension in Naomi's ho As soon as I finished Ashley's novel, I wanted to reread it as a writer. I want to pull it apart and study it because it's that good. One of the things I appreciate most was the slow burn of the narrative. The novel opens with the explosion, and then flashes back to show how the characters' live intersect before the event. The fuse lit in that opening scene coils through the narrative, gaining in intensity as the story leads back to the explosion and then its aftermath. The tension in Naomi's home, school, and community is palpable throughout the story and increases slowly as we're lead into the heartbreaking climax. Ashley masterfully balances the big picture and the smallest details. Her writing made me think of a photographer who could both go wide and capture a panoramic view and then zoom in for a close up and not lose anything in this process. She also beautifully balances the swoony magic of falling deeply in love for the fist time and the absolutely brutal realities faced by African-Americans and Mexicans at this time in history. BRAVA!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    This beautifully written, heart-wrenching book doesn't pull any punches. Although this is historical fiction, with its powerful exploration of racism it still feels very relevant today. I'm so glad this won a Printz honor because it jumped to the top of my reading list. Well done, Printz committee! This beautifully written, heart-wrenching book doesn't pull any punches. Although this is historical fiction, with its powerful exploration of racism it still feels very relevant today. I'm so glad this won a Printz honor because it jumped to the top of my reading list. Well done, Printz committee!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kimberli Heck

    This book....is everything. The story, the characters...the DEPTH. It has been a LONG time since I have read anything this captivating where I have sat for hours to just be with the characters.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This book will break your heart into a million little pieces and leave you thinking about the characters for days to come. It is warm and wonderful, gritty and hurtful. Naomi is of Mexican heritage. Wash is black. The year is 1937, and what these two young people are feeling is strictly forbidden. Naomi, her twin half brother and sister, and her stepfather (the father of the twins) live in an oil drilling community in east Texas. Naomi’s mother ( of Mexican heritage) died after the birth of the This book will break your heart into a million little pieces and leave you thinking about the characters for days to come. It is warm and wonderful, gritty and hurtful. Naomi is of Mexican heritage. Wash is black. The year is 1937, and what these two young people are feeling is strictly forbidden. Naomi, her twin half brother and sister, and her stepfather (the father of the twins) live in an oil drilling community in east Texas. Naomi’s mother ( of Mexican heritage) died after the birth of the twins. The stepfather (white) could out evil a fairy tale villain. Naomi is responsible for caring for the twins, caring for the house, providing meals, keeping up with the laundry, and attending school. Featured in the story is the true story of a schoolhouse explosion in east Texas in 1937. Many children were injured and many were killed, devastating a community. This accidental explosion and the pain and sorrow it causes is pivotal in the (fictional) events that follow. Racial injustice and burgeoning sexuality feature prominently in the story. Although I did feel that Naomi’s character was not explored fully, I give this book high marks for dealing with sensitive subject matter.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm sitting here pretty much blown away by the power of this stunning recipient of the 2016 Printz Honor distinction. I'm torn between a 4 and a 5 for the book simply because I wanted more at the book's conclusion. And oh, how I wish things could have turned out differently. As they grew more and more out of control and I could sense an ending coming that I did not want, I felt the same way I felt when reading John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Why did it have to be this way? But then again, give I'm sitting here pretty much blown away by the power of this stunning recipient of the 2016 Printz Honor distinction. I'm torn between a 4 and a 5 for the book simply because I wanted more at the book's conclusion. And oh, how I wish things could have turned out differently. As they grew more and more out of control and I could sense an ending coming that I did not want, I felt the same way I felt when reading John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Why did it have to be this way? But then again, given all the circumstances, how could it be any other way? Told by alternating narrators, including one group labeled "The Gang," those nameless, faceless individuals who egg each other one, throwing stones and ruining reputations by spreading gossipy poison behind others' backs, the story is set in East Texas in 1936 and 1937. Henry Smith, an oil worker, has been convinced by his preacher to do the right thing and bring his children to stay with him now that he's had a religious conversion. He also brings along his step-daughter Naomi Vargas, for whom he secretly yearns. But Naomi tries desperately to keep her distance while protecting her younger siblings, Cari and Beto, both of who are gifted and soak up every advantage offered by their new school. Because Naomi is Mexican American, most of her classmates are disdainful with the girls insulting her intelligence and threadbare clothing and many of the boys dreaming of having sex with her. Their stereotypical ways of thinking are woven into the book's very fiber, making readers wince at every encounter Naomi has with someone at school. When she and her young charges are befriended by Wash Fuller, who is black and whose parents have dreamed and saved for his college education, they have no idea how important those friendships will become or what they will lead to. Of course, Naomi and Wash fall in love, and in West Side Story fashion, dream of finding a place where they can be together. Wash is almost too good to be true, patient, caring, always where he needs to be. But the relationship is doomed after the school for whites explodes from a gas leak, and the desperate parents of the youngsters who died in the explosion are looking for scapegoats. Based on the worst school disaster in American history, this is a story that will force readers to look into their own hearts to ponder how they might have reacted and how the book's many tragedies could have been averted. The author vividly depicts the mundaneness of Naomi's daily life and her constant struggles to keep herself safe even while lacking financial resources or any other options than living with the volatile Henry. As for me, I keep thinking about poor Beto, clutching his beloved cat Edgar as he hid in the back of that car headed toward San Antonio. I also shake my head in astonishment at the lies that are taken for truth in so much of our history. If you haven't read this book, make time in your schedule to do so, but be warned: You will need some time to recover after you finish it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    An absolutely stunning novel. Loosely based on a school explosion in New London, Texas in 1937 which took the lives of 300 children. Love, family, friendship, and hope for a better future come up against the ugliness of racism, hatred, misogynistic treatment of women, and a cruel mentality of mob rule. It's not an easy book to read, and I'm surprised that it has been marketed as YA rather than adult fiction. There are many tough, gut- punching scenes, keeping the reader squirming but still compe An absolutely stunning novel. Loosely based on a school explosion in New London, Texas in 1937 which took the lives of 300 children. Love, family, friendship, and hope for a better future come up against the ugliness of racism, hatred, misogynistic treatment of women, and a cruel mentality of mob rule. It's not an easy book to read, and I'm surprised that it has been marketed as YA rather than adult fiction. There are many tough, gut- punching scenes, keeping the reader squirming but still compelled to continue. Very few books find me turning back to the first pages as I did here, needing to look at them with fresh eyes. I've given very few 5 star ratings over the years, but this one demanded such. This would be an excellent fictional choice for someone studying the history of racism. Highly recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul Ataua

    It is a great story, but the characters seem to have been cut out of the flimsiest cardboard and that makes it really hard to get behind them. Wash is a wholesome, kind-hearted ‘black boy’ and Naomi, a sweet romantic Mexican teenager, and as I read I could only see them as stereotypes. The third person narrative also helped to keep emotional involvement at arm’s length. Whatever power the story held, and it certainly wasn’t a simple shallow romance, was lost by the lack of real character develop It is a great story, but the characters seem to have been cut out of the flimsiest cardboard and that makes it really hard to get behind them. Wash is a wholesome, kind-hearted ‘black boy’ and Naomi, a sweet romantic Mexican teenager, and as I read I could only see them as stereotypes. The third person narrative also helped to keep emotional involvement at arm’s length. Whatever power the story held, and it certainly wasn’t a simple shallow romance, was lost by the lack of real character development and real emotional involvement.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jazmin Rodriguez

    i'm not a huge fan of historical fiction to begin with, so picking this up was different for me, but i am very glad i did. set in a period of extreme racism, jim crow laws, and overall hatred against people of color, i found this book to be equal parts beautiful and equal parts difficult to digest. given the context, there were certain words, phrases, and general POVs that, as a person of color specifically mexican like naomi, were hard to take in. but as a historical fiction, it makes sense why i'm not a huge fan of historical fiction to begin with, so picking this up was different for me, but i am very glad i did. set in a period of extreme racism, jim crow laws, and overall hatred against people of color, i found this book to be equal parts beautiful and equal parts difficult to digest. given the context, there were certain words, phrases, and general POVs that, as a person of color specifically mexican like naomi, were hard to take in. but as a historical fiction, it makes sense why the author chose to include the very real discrimination mexicans and african americans endured during that time. naomi felt so 'real' ad i don't think i've related more to a character before; her thought processes, her vulnerability, her strength and most importantly, her love for her younger siblings. her relationship with cari mirrored that of mine and my sister's which made the tragedy of the new london explosion all the more heartbreaking. a driving point in this book is obviously the relationship between naomi and wash. you knew they were destined to fall in love... and that it wouldn't have a happy ending, but i never suspected THAT kind of ending. without giving too much away, it wasn't pretty. the antagonist in this book could be many people - henry, the gang, the townspeople - but to me it was very evident that the antagonist was fear, blind hatred, and of course, racism. even the characters who weren't as discriminatory as the rest still said and acted in ways that proved they had the same thoughts about people of color that everyone else did, just less intensely. i could on and on about how much i liked this book, how much it hurt me, and how happy i was to read about someone like me being the central part but i'd end up spoiling it more than i already have. the new london school explosion was something i didn't even know really happened which is surprising since it was, and still is, the most deadly school tragedy in us history. i'm more inclined now to research the event myself. overall, this book is intense, beautiful, difficult to read at times, heartbreaking, and many other adjectives. i highly recommend it. i'm going to keep believing that naomi, wash, and the twins are living together in some out of the woods house in mexico, enjoying the freedom to live unapologetic and without discrimination; it's the only i'll be able to move on.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christen Bennett

    If you like living with the feeling of impending doom and waiting for the other shoe to drop, then you're going to love this book. This is a work of historical fiction, although very loosely based on the 1937 New London School explosion in Texas. Although none of the characters are real, much of Perez's depiction of life in Texas and the South in the 1930s rings true. Be forewarned that there is no hope in this novel. And I get that if the author wanted to maintain realism, there was no hope to of If you like living with the feeling of impending doom and waiting for the other shoe to drop, then you're going to love this book. This is a work of historical fiction, although very loosely based on the 1937 New London School explosion in Texas. Although none of the characters are real, much of Perez's depiction of life in Texas and the South in the 1930s rings true. Be forewarned that there is no hope in this novel. And I get that if the author wanted to maintain realism, there was no hope to offer, but this book covers some pretty heavy stuff--violence, alcoholism, child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, incest (sort-of), an attempted lynching, murder. It was a hard read. You almost need some kind of hope, even small, to get through it. If I hadn't needed to read it for class, I don't think I would have finished...or honestly, even started it. And I can't imagine how this is considered YA literature. I mean, I'm all for letting young adults read what they want to read--but if I, as a 29 year history major struggled with the content of this book, then I'm really not sure about the whole marketing it to teenagers thing. I don't know--I'm struggling with this. It's a well written book. There is a lot of truth in the society in portrays. I just feel like I could have done with out it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Krajewski

    Wash Fuller is a heartthrob when it comes to the girls in East Texas. He is smart, kind, and always knows exactly what to say. He charms Naomi Vargas's twin siblings, and pretty soon Naomi as well. Naomi sees so much good in Wash, and finds him a wonderful distraction from her drunk step-father, Henry. But Naomi is Mexican and Wash is Black, and it's 1937, so they know they cannot be together. They hide their relationship from everyone, or at least they think they do. There are eyes everywhere t Wash Fuller is a heartthrob when it comes to the girls in East Texas. He is smart, kind, and always knows exactly what to say. He charms Naomi Vargas's twin siblings, and pretty soon Naomi as well. Naomi sees so much good in Wash, and finds him a wonderful distraction from her drunk step-father, Henry. But Naomi is Mexican and Wash is Black, and it's 1937, so they know they cannot be together. They hide their relationship from everyone, or at least they think they do. There are eyes everywhere though. I don't even know where to start. Even though I knew some of the events that were coming, I still cried more than once. Ashley Hope Perez wrote a story of true love and inexplicable hatred. There were characters I hated, knowing there were real people that were just like them in the 1930s, and unfortunately even today. There were also characters I loved and rooted for. I will not forget this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pages For Thoughts

    The author took an awful event and made it even sadder by bringing attention to the controversy and racism surrounding it. Tragedies like the ones that happened in this book we all know that in some form, they did happen in that time period. And we as a species still deal with racism and prejudice today. Out of the Darkness is a strong wake-up call to the darkness inside humanity and makes us reflect on who we are and the choices we make every day. The story was a beautiful, romantic tragedy. Th The author took an awful event and made it even sadder by bringing attention to the controversy and racism surrounding it. Tragedies like the ones that happened in this book we all know that in some form, they did happen in that time period. And we as a species still deal with racism and prejudice today. Out of the Darkness is a strong wake-up call to the darkness inside humanity and makes us reflect on who we are and the choices we make every day. The story was a beautiful, romantic tragedy. The ending made me cry, and I was also angry, but at the same time appreciative and grateful for reading this type of story. Out of Darkness will be the saddest book you have ever read. But the story is so sad that it must be told. I highly, highly recommend this book. Read more of my review at http://pagesforthoughts.blogspot.com/...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa

    An interracial romance. Texas. 1930s. That's all you need to know that this book is not going to have a happy ending. Loosely based around the 1937 explosion of a white school in East Texas, the events here are mainly fictional but clearly focus on blatant, violent racism, rape, and child molestation (to a lesser extent). You can predict where the story is going at times but I think it paints an fairly accurate picture of this country's dark history. An interracial romance. Texas. 1930s. That's all you need to know that this book is not going to have a happy ending. Loosely based around the 1937 explosion of a white school in East Texas, the events here are mainly fictional but clearly focus on blatant, violent racism, rape, and child molestation (to a lesser extent). You can predict where the story is going at times but I think it paints an fairly accurate picture of this country's dark history.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Dark and painful to read. Tragic and gruesome. Bear witness to weak and broken humans tormenting others out of their own pain while religion gives them false hope and an excuse to do harm despite its good intentions. All stewing in a big pot of racism, toxic masculinity, selfishness and misogyny. Mysogynoir for good measure. Nuanced characters who are scarred and broken while attempting to shine and persist through the murky, fetid darkness. Get your shit together, humanity.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Perry

    What a devastating story! I listened to this one, and found that there were times when I had to turn it off and drive in silence for a little while to settle myself. The characters are very powerful. I have to say that I felt more fear and experienced more plot twists in this book than I did in the last book I read, which is marketed as a "psychological thriller." *Beware: there are graphic scenes and strong language. It is all true to the context, but disturbing nonetheless . What a devastating story! I listened to this one, and found that there were times when I had to turn it off and drive in silence for a little while to settle myself. The characters are very powerful. I have to say that I felt more fear and experienced more plot twists in this book than I did in the last book I read, which is marketed as a "psychological thriller." *Beware: there are graphic scenes and strong language. It is all true to the context, but disturbing nonetheless .

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    YA Disaster Novel The story is about a school that blew up because of a gas leak in March 1937. There are diverse characters that make up the novel and circumstances that lead up to the explosion and then a short description of the aftermath. I was never very engaged in the book. The characters only seem to exist as build up to the explosion and there’s the explosion and a short aftermath. It might have been better to balance out before, during and after. I just didn’t see much point in the chara YA Disaster Novel The story is about a school that blew up because of a gas leak in March 1937. There are diverse characters that make up the novel and circumstances that lead up to the explosion and then a short description of the aftermath. I was never very engaged in the book. The characters only seem to exist as build up to the explosion and there’s the explosion and a short aftermath. It might have been better to balance out before, during and after. I just didn’t see much point in the characters except to lead up to disaster. It’s very much like a disaster movie. Very shallow and the spectacle is too short. The aftermath even shorter. Disappointing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anoud

    This was brutal!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.