Upon picking up SNITCH, I had pretty much no expectations. I didn’t expect it to be amazing; I was stuck at the airport, and expected it to be entertaining enough. I didn’t expect to really love it.

But I did! Julia is such a great character, Allison van Diepen is such a great writer, and, well, this is just such a great book! Now, of course, I can’t really comment on the authenticity of a book about gangs because I do not live in inner-city LA or Detroit or whatever (this particular book takes place in Brooklyn). I go to high school in a mostly suburban-to-rural district in North Carolina. There are still people in gangs around, yes, but it doesn’t totally dominate the way it does in Julia’s high school; it’s nothing like that.

Anyway, this book focuses on high school student Julia DiVino, who’s just trying to get through at her Brooklyn high school where gang lines are clearly marked, where gangs are everywhere. She’s not a member, though her friends Marie and Black Chuck do belong to gangs.

Julia’s life is going along fine, until Eric Valiente enters it. He’s new in school, and all the girls are drooling over him. But, for some reason, he’s interested in Julia. And he’s not the gang type, right?

Nothing is as it seems, and nothing will stay the same. Julia has hard choices to make, and then she’s got to deal with the consequences, whatever those may be.

I’m not sure I described the book well enough, but, trust me, it’s awesome. I wasn’t planning to buy this one at the bookstore, but I had some extra time so I picked it up, read the first couple pages, and I was hooked. Allison van Diepen really draws readers in, makes you believe this world (one so different from mine), makes you believe these wonderful characters. I literally couldn’t put this book down. It’s almost 300 pages long, but those pages totally flew by. If we’re lucky, there will be a sequel to this book, and, in the meantime, I certainly plan on picking up van Diepen’s first novel, STREET PHARM.

Five Stars

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