By Melissa Scrivner Love | Published in 2017

Melissa Scrivner Love’s debut novel is captivating: the tale of a young woman, as she leads a gang in Los Angeles and upon facing death, affirms that she can only rely on herself, although others endlessly rely on her for comfort, safety and affection.

It is surely an interesting read – always enjoyable to hear an unconventional and culturally defiant story. Love constructs her female characters as if each one is meant to highlight opposing qualities in another. One strong, another weak. One drug-ridden and ignorant, another clean and sharp. Needless to say, the theme of female empowerment was lacking (despite the presence of the protagonist).

With Love’s background in television, I expected her to be more thoughtful with her dialogue – dialogue and action dominates TV writing. However, no character maintained a clear voice throughout the book. It was difficult to differentiate one’s perspective from another’s – I certainly felt a flatness because of this. Maybe that flatness was also due to Love’s evident lack of knowledge around gang culture. I am convinced that I know more about this topic than she does…


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