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Anger Is a Gift

Review

Anger Is a Gift

As ANGER IS A GIFT was my most anticipated read of the year, I am happy to say it didn’t disappoint. ANGER IS A GIFT is Mark Oshiro’s debut novel, which follows our main character Moss, who, with a group of his friends, start protesting at their school. The reason for these protests is because there have been many choices the school has made to “protect” its students when it has only made them more furious. These choices include things such as adding metal detectors into school and placing police officers in these schools as well. ANGER IS A GIFT is a story of police brutality, racism and protesting. It is an extremely detailed, violent and necessary novel that shows the way people react when forced into hard situations.

'ANGER IS A GIFT is a story of police brutality, racism and protesting. It is an extremely detailed, violent and necessary novel that shows the way people react when forced into hard situations."

First of all, I would like to point out that this novel is filled and filled with diversity, which made this book more enjoyable for me. It had black characters, Latinx characters, Muslim characters, ace characters, bisexual characters, transgender characters, etc. There was even a disabled side character who played a big role in the story, which surprised me. What I loved about the diversity though was that it felt very natural throughout the entire novel. Even with this gigantic cast, Mark Oshiro was able to flesh out all of these characters enough to make them feel like real people.

This book has a male-male romance between Moss and another boy, and it’s the cutest thing ever! The two were such a sweet and likable pair that I didn’t mind the romance one bit. In fact, I loved all of the relationships between the characters in this book in general! The friendships, the romances and family relationships were all things I just adored.

I just loved the entire idea of ANGER IS A GIFT in general. Specifically, I love the how the quote “anger is a gift” is used throughout the story. It plays on that idea (at least, in my opinion) that in order for change to truly happen we need to be angry about things to the point when we have to do something. ANGER IS A GIFT reminds me a lot of the music video for “This Is America” by Childish Gambino, where it follows that theme of ignoring what is truly going on behind the scenes.

As for the writing, I did find that Mark Oshiro tended to write more detail than necessary; there were tons of moments where the writing felt like it needed to be shortened a bit more. This was the same for the length of the book in general; it an extremely long contemporary that had a longer plotline than needed. Also, this book is written in third person, which almost never happens in contemporary novels. I don’t like third person point of view most of the time, but I was able to enjoy it here.

I could go on and on about why I loved ANGER IS A GIFT, but I won’t because that would make this review too long. Once again, I would recommend this to people who are fans of the “This Is America” music video and fans of Jason Reynolds.

Reviewed by Marco M., Teen Board Member on June 28, 2018

Anger Is a Gift
by Mark Oshiro