Friday, December 18, 2009

Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwin

[description from goodreads]

This raw, moving novel follows two teenagers-one, a Mohawk-wearing 17-year-old violent misfit; the other, a gay 13-year-old cast out by his family, hustling on the streets and trying to survive. Acclaimed author Davida Wills Hurwin creates a riveting narrative told in alternating perspectives of their lives before and after the violent hate crime that changed both their futures. This tragic but ultimately inspirational journey of two polarized teens, their violent first meeting, and their peaceful reunion years later is an unforgettable story of survival and forgiveness.

This story is inspired by the real lives of Matthew Boger and Timothy Zaal, who have shared their story on The Oprah Winfrey Show and NPR.


So far, I have seen this book nowhere. Which kinds of sucks, because it's a really great book. It's powerful and sad but still quite enjoyable.

I already knew the general direction the story was headed because one time I saw the story this book is based off on an episode of Gangland*, but for once I didn't mind. Usually I don't like reading more character-driven books where I know what will happen, but this one was interesting enough to keep me reading. Though it took me a few chapters to get used to the constant change of POV, and to get over my initial confusion over who was talking (the narrators' names are not revealed until like half way through the book so often I was like "wait what who?"), I definitely liked both of the characters' narration. Both of them were quite different, as you can probably gather from the synopsis, and each of their points of view reflected that. Doug's narration definitely had a more angry tone, while Jason's is more desperate and sad.

The tones also helped reflect the personalities and motivations of the characters. Doug's angry tone showed just how mad he was at everything- his family, his living situation, etc- and how his anger caused him to do all sorts of awful things in an attempt to feel better about himself and make things "right." Jason's more somber tone reflected that he was hopeless after his family kicked him out, and how he wanted things to be better and would do anything to get there. Because of this, it was easy to see why both characters did the things they did, no matter how crazy or wrong their actions seemed.

Though at times the book was a little slow, and the ending, while hopeful and satisfying, a bit rushed, Freaks and Revelations is still a powerful, heartbreaking, great book.

*Don't judge me.

Book details: Little, Brown/Hardcover/$16.99


  1. Nice review. I've wanted to read this for a little while now...glad to see it's finally being promoted via blogs more. I first saw it in Romantic Times. they reviewed it there.


  2. I'm hoping to get this soon. It sounds like an amazing, heartbreaking book. Great review!