⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Pros: powerful, important, written in a blunt but beautiful way
Cons: heavy subject matter which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's worth noting
TW: sexual assault, abuse of power, police brutality, intimidation, violence, suicide, death, violence and racism
I got the opportunity to read this beautiful, heartbreaking, scary and honest novel by Leila Mottley early courtesy of NetGalley and I feel like I was genuinely blessed as a result. I got to read this before it blows up and I absolutely believe it will blow up. AS IT SHOULD. I loved this book so much, I will probably read it again just because I feel like I wasn't *prepared* the first time but as it stands right now, here are my thoughts on Nightcrawling.
The story follows a 17 year old Black girl named Kiara as she attempts to survive the difficult hand she was dealt. Her family has been shattered by grief and loss; her mother is in jail, her uncle abandoned her after finding a good life for himself. The only two left are Kiara and her older brother Marcus who is trying and failing to make it big in the rap scene. He can't keep a job, only wants to focus on his music, all the while, they are slowly inching closer to eviction and losing everything. As a result, Kiara is feeling the pressure and bearing most of the weight. She ends up walking the streets alone, searching for jobs and all but stumbles into being a sex worker.
This book is filled with so much sentiment, love, hurt, disappointment and anger; it had me very stressed out, but it's such powerful story and so well written that I know I will read it again. I had to take breaks a few times just because some of the scenes were so difficult to read. I, personally, have a very hard time whenever sexual assault, rape, etc. are heavily present in a book- especially when they involve children. This book was no exception but I was rooting for Kiara the entire time, so I couldn't turn away.
After I finished, I read the author note and learned that the book was inspired by a real life case from 2015 where the Oakland Police Department were involved in and covered up the sexual exploitation of young women in the area. Leila went on to speak on how it felt like an important story for her to tell because so often, the stories and voices of Black and LGBTQIA+ survivors are overlooked or ignored. I am telling you, this book was an incredible body of work. I am still shook I got to read it early.
Leila Mottley is an extremely talented writer; I can't wait to read more things from her in the future (and some others from the past.) The book released June 7, 2022 and it can be ordered on her website and Amazon . Add it to your goodreads lists, put it on your wishlists; support this story, support this author. Thanks again to whoever hit the "approve" button on my ARC.
Also, please enjoy my GoodReads review and follow me there if you'd like! This review is a great summary of all the things I plan to discuss at length below.