Read Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman Online


A fifteen-year-old boy from an abusive home desperately seeking his older brother's love and approval starts pushing drugs for him and suffers the consequences....

Title : Kindness for Weakness
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385743242
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Kindness for Weakness Reviews

  • Sarah (YA Love)
    2020-01-30 23:45

    Review originally posted at YA LoveShawn Goodman’s sophomore release, Kindness for Weakness, made me feel an array of emotions: hope, grief, dismay, and more. I absolutely loved Something Like Hope, so when I featured Kindness for Weakness on Waiting on Wednesday, Shawn offered to send me an ARC of it. I had requested a copy via NetGalley, and hadn’t received a response yet, so I accepted his kind offer. Regardless of how I received a copy of this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to offer it to my students.What I like most about Shawn Goodman’s writing is how honest and real it is. He works with troubled kids as a school psychologist and it’s evident in his writing. He really understands what teens are going through and how much they suffer. He understands what a bad home life can do to a teen. He knows how difficult it is for troubled teens to trust themselves and others. The characters in Something Like Hope and Kindness for Weakness display this deep understanding.James is a character I cheered for while reading. He’s really trying to find his way and learn what it means to be a man, to stand up himself, and how to trust himself and those around him. His mom is basically absent, her boyfriend Ron is abusive, and his brother isn’t the best role model. Thankfully James has an encouraging English teacher, but he’s really the only supportive person James has at the beginning of the story. He has so much potential if only he believed himself and had support outside of school. James’s character made me think of students I have at school. He’s a good kid that’s stuck in a bad situation and ultimately makes poor choices because of this. The reader, fortunately, can see his potential and goodness even if James can’t.I had a difficult time reading this because of the guards at Morton (the juvenile detention facility). They are brutal and horrible. There are some shining characters there like Samson and Mr. Eboue who really make a difference for James and some of the other characters. I hope the brutality at Morton is an exception and not the rule, but part of me thinks that’s not the case. I have had students like James and like the other characters in Kindness for Weakness. They may make bad decisions, but I know they need guidance and someone to believe in them. I don’t work in a detention facility so I can’t understand what that’s like, but the teacher in me hopes they can and are better than Morton. The setting Shawn Goodman created in Kindness for Weakness really plays a pivotal role in the book.I will admit that I had a difficult time keeping all of the characters straight and probably could have done without a couple of them. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The last few chapters had me racing to finish, but also cringing at the brutality. The ending, however, shocked me. I’m not sure what to think, and even though I was upset, the ending works. I’m even tempted to read The Sea Wolf by Jack London which plays a strong part in James’s development and the development of the story.Kindness for Weakness definitely has a place in classrooms and libraries. I highly recommend reading it and handing it to a teen reader.

  • Rose
    2020-02-13 23:52

    Initial reaction:  Probably somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars. I'm not sure, I don't think I've quite recovered from the ending and how the book really took a dark turn after some time, though it was dark to begin with in this story of a boy who was caught in a very tough lifestyle, made terrible choices, had some glimmer of hope in stages, but, I think I'll leave that for my extended review.I thought this book was very well done. Really wish I'd read it sooner. Full review: I think even after days of finishing this novel, I'm still torn from Shawn Goodman's "Kindness for Weakness."  It's a story of a 15-year old boy named James who comes from an abusive household where his stepfather hits him, his mother doesn't do enough for him, and the only solaces he has in his relationships are from his English teacher, who believes in his ability to excel, and his older brother, who makes a living from selling drugs.  After a particular run that stems from the product of misinterpretation, James ends up in Juvie with a lively group for company, including a black gay teen named Freddie who becomes his closest friend in the area.   The story then explores James trying to navigate the system and better himself while inside it, but while there may be hope on some levels within it, there's also a darkness that lingers throughout James's experience, ultimately coming to a head in the conclusion of the work that doesn't pull punches. I definitely appreciated the realistic portrayal of James' life through the narrative, the prose flows so well and linear - Goodman does an excellent job of navigating the measure of abuse, helplessness and yet kindness that makes James's character unique and identifiable.  Granted, the fact that he doesn't do more to defend himself may wear on some, but it's an apt expansion for a boy who doesn't feel like he has many options but tries to make the most of the situations that he's in.  He looks out for others where they may not look out for him, but at the same time, you see his rises and falls with the context of the situations he's in, and it makes his character and the actions put against him and those he's around that much more vivid.  I really think this is a novel that will resonate with those of its respective audience and beyond, and I would highly recommend the read. Overall score: 4/5 Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Random House/Delacorte Books for Young Readers.

  • Suzanne
    2020-01-22 23:06

    A strong 3.5, especially because of its potential boy appeal and reluctant reader appeal. Always nice to have those qualities for the recommendation arsenal.James tells his story in first person, a story of poverty, isolation. He subsists in a home with a weak mother who bends to the will of her meth-head abusive boyfriend and has already lost one son because of it. Louis simply left, remaking himself as a bodybuilder and a drug dealer to gain some control. He has cut ties with his family even though James desperately craves his attention and approval. Then Louis reaches out to the little brother left behind, the one who copes with kindness and interest from only one adult--his English teacher Mr. Pfeffer, who sees the intelligence in James and feeds it with good books and a root beer and conversation before school sometimes.James accepts Louis's invitation to hang out, and when that turns into making Louis's drug deliveries for him, he accepts that, too. Any hand extended, even a grasping one, is better than none for poor James. Picked up by the cops, James is soon in juvie, in Morton, where the guards have a reputation for "restraints," severe beat-downs that don't always come as a consequence of the inmate's violence.Some guards are brutal, and some are really there to try to help boys turn their lives around. Mr. E. helps run the afternoon group meetings and really gets the boys talking and thinking. He and Samson, who even helps James with some bodybuilding as a behavior reward, bring a Walter Mosley book study to the boys to get them talking about the streets, the value of human life, and what it means to be a man. Still, James is in danger for not falling in line with the powerful gangbangers and for befriending Freddie, a gay teen returned to Morton for stealing designer clothes. It's hard to stay under the radar under such conditions, and eventually, James will face a life or death challenge that will help make this book work for teenagers and keep them turning pages, hopeful that James will make it out of Morton alive.

  • Brownie
    2020-01-22 02:46

    "... I smile inwardly, thinking that maybe there are such things as second chances."There are, James, and I wish you would have realized sooner that strength isn't just a bodily measure. I wish you could have been the one to rise up against the tide of hate and fear. You should have gotten that second chance.Review of SLJ Teen:"Kindness for Weakness follows the story of James, a teenager who has lived his whole life surrounded by a lost and broken family. With an alcoholic mother and an abusive stepfather, James turns to his older brother, a bodybuilder and drug dealer, for the role model that he’s never had. A quiet and intelligent student, he is now determined to be strong and unafraid of the terrors that have followed him. However, James will soon learn that physical strength and superficial courage mean nothing in the face of reality. He will have to choose whether to defend himself or be kind, despite the face of weakness.Shawn Goodman has eloquently brought us to a part of our lives that is often hidden away—the inner turmoil of facing the cruel world with an open heart or a defensive stance. James is committed to get through a stint in juvenile detention, inspired by a list of books provided by his English teacher. He also has several adult figures to look up to, each showing him a different way to make that decision. Ultimately, through James’s challenges and suffering, we bitterly learn what that choice should be. An excellent read."

  • Abbe Hinder
    2020-02-04 23:41

    I was really rooting for this one. I loved the beginning, it's very strong and exciting. It starts with a flashback and then we learn about where it sort of began.But after awhile, James's story starts to get boring and at many times, he feels like a brick wall, only relying on books and other people to build his character up.There are many book references in this novel! Too many for my taste. I can deal with one or two but Kindness for Weakness has around four book references which I found too confusing to remember at times. I also dislike that the story ruins one of the best books ever--The Outsiders-- I mean, you just cannot do that. I'll let one book slide, you can tell me the ending of a Jack London book because I most likely will never read another book of his again but not The Outsiders!Not cool, man. Not cool.Short chapters help the books that I dislike a lot solely because I am more committed to finishing them which is the case with this one. Chapters are about three or four pages that literally fly by. Moreover, I liked that I got both sides of the story, not just the good and not just the bad. It starts at the beginning with one of the biggest mistakes in his life and how he came to realize many things about the people around him. The world building is pretty decently done, the Morton facility feels realistic and mysterious, a feeling that I think the author was trying to go for.Kindness for Weakness starts off great and had my attention from the very beginning but it quickly went downhill and lost it. Still, maybe I just the fact that I have extremely high expectations for novels that are me-novels and I'm very picky about everything with them. Nonetheless I recommend this to anyone who enjoys novels about messed-up teenagers like I do and don't mind all the spoilers on some great books *coughs* The Outsiders *coughs* and are not very picky about the characters either. I'm hoping that Shawn Goodman's other novel, Something Like Hope is much better than Kindness for Weakness. 

  • Cathy Blackler
    2020-02-17 23:06

    Goodman's heart wrenching account of boys trying to become men gives readers a glimpse into the darkness that takes over without the proper guidance during this critical journey. I have a fondness for books that reference other books, exposing the layers and connections a reading life can offer, and this one is filled with literary references that serve as anchors during the storm. Sadly, I see too many of my students within Goodman's characters; boys who believe in the "kindness for weakness" philosophy. "What's real strength, Samson? " he says. "It's when you're a balanced man. When you can think as well as you can use your body. And you have to know who you are and be OK with it. If that means that you're not ripped or tough or a badass, so be it," says Samson."But the most important part," he says, " is that you have to believe in something that is real and true. A lot of guys don't believe in anything. They will tell you what they're against, what they don't like, but they can't tell you what they are for. Because they don't actually believe in anything."

  • Gwynette Koch
    2020-02-05 22:07

    Personal Response: I gave this book five out of five stars. I really enjoyed reading this book and it kept my full attention throughout its entirety. I loved the way the author told the main character’s story. I could really feel what the characters were feeling. I felt like I was actually a part of the book; just another one of the characters. I liked how the author started the last chapter with the first chapter so that the book came full circle. I would definitely recommend this book, and I am excited to read more from this author. Plot: Kindness for Weakness is a young- adult fiction novel about a fifteen year old boy who was betrayed by his brother. James’s father abandoned him and his brother when they were still young, and after that his mother started to get into drugs and started to sleep around with other drug addicts. His brother, Luis, moved out as soon as their mother started to date a ghastly man named Ron who abused both their mother and them. After a few years Luis reached out to James and asked him for help in his “business” which was delivering drugs. One day as James was making his deliveries a cop pulled up and before he could say anything James took off running not knowing that the cop was just going to tell him to tie his shoe. After the cop caught James he found the drugs and arrested him. As the cop was escorting James back to the cop car, he saw his brother driving off. Even after his brother ditching him, he still did not give him up to the police. So James got sent to a juvenile facility called Morton. It took him a while to get used to the routine there but, eventually, he learned how to fit in. One of his friends there was a black, homosexual boy named Freddie. At the end of the book, Freddie was beaten by one the guards and James stepped in causing him to be beaten brutally. The book ended with James being taken off in a medical helicopter where he passed away with good thoughts in his head about his friends, his mother, and his brother.Characterization: James is a young teenager who had to grow up fast. He got sent to a brutal juvenile facility where prisoners could get beaten for no reason. James loves to read and find ways to relate his own life to the stories he reads. He is protective over his friends and his authorities. James grows into a man by the end of this novel in such a short period of time. Out of all of the guards, there is one that hates James and is more violent than the other guards: Horvath. Horvath is the guard that beats up Freddie at the end of the book, and kills James.Setting: This novel takes place in present- day New York at a juvenile facility called Morton. The significance of the setting is that so the reader can understand the types of technology and weapons they have in the juvy. Also because there are lots of gang related references throughout the book and there are gangs in New York. Audience: This novel would be appropriate for mature audiences (17+) who like realistic stories that tell about how a teenager grows into a man. This book would be enjoyed by either gender because there are no gender specific parts in the book. The reason that I would recommend this book to a mature audience is because of the language the author uses throughout this book is quite vulgar.

  • Andrew Hicks
    2020-01-22 23:07

    Kindness For Weakness reminded me a lot of Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers. Each book is centered around a teenage male protagonist who's incarcerated in a juvenile detention center. And each is a good kid, smart and focused enough to himself out of his situation, if he can just resist the bait put in front of him by the brain-dead future cons trying to drag him down. An authority character in Lockdown compares it to a bucket of crabs - that rare individual with a chance of reaching the top will be yanked back to oblivion by the resentful, hopeless majority.KFW has the depressing added bonus of asshole guards who derive pleasure from using violent restraint methods against kids who mouth off. Author Shawn Goodman manages to both villainize and humanize the guards - well, because it turns out one guard is worse than the other guard, so you get some contrast. There are a couple cool teacher/guidance counselor types on the horizon, too, to lend hope. In each case, with KFW and Lockdown, the message seems to be, the system sucks, but the individual can triumph, albeit with the odds heavily stacked against him. In Goodman's universe, though, the story grows more dim and negative as it goes, and the ending seems to suggest total blackness.One advantage KFW has over Lockdown - it gives us a real-time glimpse of James, the protagonist, before he's incarcerated. No dad, an emotionally paralyzed mom and an abusive stepdad (kind of a combo between the abusive stepdad from Eleanor & Park and Meth Dad from Crank). James' big brother, who's mostly a ghost in his life, is living large selling drugs and sucks James in as a courier. James barely gets a taste of the good life - literally a taste, as his super-brief foray into the good life is that he gets to buy himself a diner breakfast once - and he's busted, and his brother turns back into a ghost.Shawn Goodman is a school psychologist in real life. His dialogue and outlook ring mostly genuine - you can tell the dude cares, and you can tell this is a world he's used to being immersed in. Kindness For Weakness isn't completely satisfying, but it's a short, absorbing ride that'll make you appreciate the freedom you (presumably) have and empathize a little more with the good kids who just can't get out of that damned crab bucket.

  • Luella
    2020-02-09 23:41

    Good book. Its about a young man who is looking for someone to show him how to be a man. His mother has remarried a man who treats her like dirt. His older brother moved out of the home leaving him there by himself. The stepfather hits the mother and the young man. The older brother wants nothing to do with the family nor his brother, except when he gets his younger brother to do something illegal that changes both their lives forever.

  • Syd Dares
    2020-01-21 21:01

    Read this entire book in one sitting. Was left pondering the takeaway messages from it for quite a few hours before I organized my thoughts enough to put together a review. Fifteen year old James serves as a likeable, sensitive narrator. James comes from a broken home- his father left, his mother has given up on life, her drug-addict boyfriend beats him, and his older brother (whom James idolizes) moved out and left him to his own devices. James has been forced to look out for himself- ducking fights with his mother's boyfriend, scrounging food, walking the streets to avoid his home situation. James takes refuge in books and in discussions with his favourite English teacher. A good kid at heart, James gets drafted into delivering drugs for his brother. When he gets arrested and his brother leaves him to fight his own battle, he finds himself in a juvenile detention facility- the worst of the worst, where the other boys are cruel but the authorities are often crueler. While incarcerated, he learns valuable lessons about kindness, masculinity, role models, and the consequences of difference amongst individuals. James also begins to learn important lessons about the different types of strength, and conversely, the different ways a person can be beaten down and defeated. He begins to question the treatment he has received at the hands of his family- particularly his brother- and learns physically and mentally how to fight his own battles. As a reader, I could follow the gradual progression of James' innocent attitude- reminiscing about an idealized childhood with his brother, ignorant of what "juvie" would really entail- to one of questioning reality and accepting the need to build strong character and stand up for personal belief systems. He begins to question what his loyalty to his family has cost him.James, as a character, was the height of empathy, resilience, and innocence. Despite the bad lot that life had dealt him, he remained determined to be kind to others, to avoid conflict, to make something of his life. This attitude does little to help him in the system- he learns that "kindness" is often taken for "weakness" in the realities of everyday life, and learns there are consequences when you refuse to conform to social pressure. The ending of this book took me by surprise, but it shouldn't have. The author has worked with youth in these settings, and chose to weave a message into this mostly "fictional" account, which he acknowledges were based on real experiences he has seen throughout his career. The book set out to paint a poignant and accurate representation of the reality that so many youth face in our broken justice system. I finished this book with important questions about what more can be done for kids like James; not only did the book paint a picture of a justice system that did little to actually rehabilitate youth, but it also highlighted a system wherein children like James are allowed to slip through the cracks to begin with, and go unnoticed until they end up in these situations. A very quick read, and a worthwhile one with important messages.

  • Dylan
    2020-02-10 18:45

    I'm torn on this book. While I did really enjoy the writing and the characterization, this book was just SO hard to read and was incredibly depressing. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE hard-hitting contemporaries (in fact, I'm not a big fan of light/fluffy contemporaries) but usually, every book with this tone at least has SOME silver-lining, but this didn't. I'm giving it a 3-3.5 star rating because of the overall depressing reading experience and just some pacing issues I had with it, personally.

  • Eva
    2020-02-12 19:50

    This was SO DEPRESSING. I mean, obviously it was depressing, but seriously. Depressing. All the more so because it's based on true events.

  • Allison
    2020-01-26 02:08

    Kindness for Weakness was an amazing book! It is about this boy named James and he has no friends, nothing to do and a really bad family situation. His brother moved away and he is living with his mother and abusive stepfather. All he does is go to school, wish he had a different life and walk. He walks to forget about his life and think of what he could have instead. His brother calls him up one day and asks him to do him a favor. him and his brother go and sell drugs because his brother lost his drug partner and he got locked up. So now James is stepping in. He starts off fine but then he gets caught and gets sent to Juvie. While locked up, he gets beaten up by the guards even though he didn't do anything wrong. He meets a couple of new friends. and for once he thinks that he might be able to get out of there one day and make a new life for himself. But as soon as that thought comes into his mind one of his friends starts a riot with the guards and they have him tackled to the ground so James steps in and tries to get him off and he gets tackled too. The guard uses excessive force, chokes , and crushes his lungs in the restraint. He then gets rushed to the hospital by helicopter but just before they get there he passes away. His last thought before he died was that even though he didn't get a second chance, the people he loved will.

  • Jarod Whaley
    2020-02-03 18:52

    Kindness For Weakness by Shawn Goodman is about a kid who finds himself in the middle of family troubles and just wants out. His father left when he was just a little boy and his mother has been in and out of relationships ever since. She has found ways into cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. Her latest boyfriend has abused the family and ruined the relationship James and his mother did have. James has an older brother named Louis that has moved out and so they think, has started a great life. But when James pays Louis a visit, he realizes he’s dealing drugs and James gets caught up in the mess. As he is nearing his last run, the cops stop him to tell him his shoes are untied, but James runs. He finds himself in Morton Juvenile Center, one of the worst in the States. James is sentenced to 12 months in and he’s out free, back to his family and old life. But does he go back, will he make it out alive? I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is a very good book but has some loop holds within it. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good, short read and who likes a courageous, venturous young boy who turns into a man.

  • James Jessup
    2020-01-25 21:05

    I didn't enjoy this book. I feel like the plot wasn't exactly what i was expecting at the beginning. The author did a good job giving us descriptions about the main character but i feel as if the they could of given more background about the other characters. I wouldn't recommend this book. I feel as if the plot continued to change and i couldn't get interested to the book.

  • Angie
    2020-02-02 20:08

    I wasn't sure what to expect from Kindness for Weakness, since the blurb is very vague. What I got was a really dark story about a boy who has no one but himself, and is trying to survive a difficult situation while finding connection. James has a terrible home life, and he's just trying to get by. He starts working for his brother as a delivery boy. James has no idea what he's delivering, but he wants to do well for his brother. Then he gets arrested and thrown into juvie where he needs to tough up or get beat up.Kindness for Weakness is not an easy read. What goes on inside this youth facility is awful. The guards abuse their power and the nurse just wants to get the paperwork done. No one cares about the well being of these boys except for the counselors. James tries to keep to himself and doesn't cause trouble, mostly because he doesn't know how to fight and just wants to get out of this place unscathed. But he does find friendship with the one boy who the others (including the guards) warn him to stay away from.I have to say that I think Kindness for Weakness would have been much more interesting if it were from Freddie's POV. I didn't dislike James, but he was just this quiet, naive boy, biding his time. Freddie felt much more fleshed out even though he was just a secondary character. He has a much rougher time in juvie because he's gay and out. Freddie is not ashamed. He also has goals unlike the other boys. He wants to go to college, even though everyone keeps telling him it won't happen. I wanted him to get out and succeed! I can't say the same about James, since I figured he's a good kid and he'd serve his time and go home (or a group home, since his mom isn't exactly a fit parent).Kindness for Weakness does have a very unexpected ending. No, I won't tell you why it's unexpected. It just is. I haven't read many books with this type of ending, and it took me by surprise. If you think you know the direction that James' story is going, you're wrong.Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.

  • Ali
    2020-02-16 23:55

    I began reading with a completely misplaced assumption that this novel belonged in the same genre that Sarah Dessen might fall into, that being short, uplifting, girly, young-adult books that fly by in a tornado of page turning. Though I can assure you most of all of those categorizations are untrue,the latter still stands; while the story of this 15-year-old underprivileged boy's trials and epiphanies while doing time in a youth correctional facility will always be a good story, I was not expecting the weighty emotions Goodman would tempt out of me. Reactions of mine ranged from lighthearted delight to a fiery ember of hatred crying out for the cruelty experienced by the wards of government surrounding the main character and ultimately James himself. The setting is a little fuzzy in terms of time period, which can flawlessly fit the story into any age group mentality. I'm going to recommend this novel to my boyfriend, which obviously doesn't mean anything to the inhabitants of the internet, however, place trust in the assurance that he is very very very very very picky when it comes to reading. I know he'll love it, as will you.

  • Merrilyn Tucker
    2020-02-16 22:46

    If you are kind, then certain people think you are weak. In the world James lives in, he is considered weak and that is a liability. He is a lonely teenager living a life amongst lowlifes and criminals and he wants something better for himself, to become a good man. How does he go from where he is now to where he wants to be? James decides to help his brother, Louis, by selling some drugs for him as a favor. Of course, James gets caught and is thrown into juvie. This place is tough, but there is a reading class that helps James stay on course. One of his loyal supporters on the outside is his English teacher from high school. James learns lessons about life through stories and they help him see that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. This is a dark story, but insightfully told by Shawn Goodman, who is a school psychologist. Kindness for Weakness would be a good read for a boy who is struggling to establish his identity in middle or high school. Due to language and violence, this book is suitable for grades 7+.

  • Trimble
    2020-02-02 19:39

    Although Kindness for Weakness isn't your typical "happily ever after" story, be prepared for a seriously eye-opening experience. Expect to be educated, and while you may feel terrible throughout the process, you will likely have a new-found appreciation for your life. After discovering what the title Kindness for Weakness means, you will have a better understanding of a broken system and broken lives. Author Shawn Goodman has insider knowledge of New York's juvenile justice system as he worked with boys there for many years, and he did an excellent job of portraying it through these characters. The dialog, while often crude and appalling, I'm sure is very real. The characters are developed so well that you start to get emotionally involved, hoping that one of the boys will make good choices, and as a result their life will improve. Kindness for Weakness will primarily appeal to a male audience.For full review go to

  • jasmine
    2020-02-02 00:51

    dnf @ 48%i wanted to like this book a lot, i really, really did but for some reason, i was just bored as hell. maybe it's because i've been reading too many adult books for the mindset of a fifteen year-old boy with no life experience whatsoever to do much more than irritate/bore me, but everything this main character said or did felt whiny to me, personally. the whole point of this book, however, is that he's decidedly "not a man" and he's trying to, in a The Sea Wolf fashion, "become a man," so the way he starts out sniveling, naive, and overall incompetent actually may have turned out to be rewarding in time.... if i had just been able to force myself to finish it, but i was not. in fact, i probably would have stopped way sooner than 48%, if i hadn't been reading with lacey.

  • April
    2020-01-24 19:49

    You guys, I just recently gobbled up Kindness For Weakness by Shawn Goodman which really hit my intellectual sweet spots. I mean, I started this book the same day that I DNFed a contemporary book and basically read all of Kindness For Weakness in a single sitting – including about 88% of the book while I was on the exercise bike. Goodman’s book has a stellar main character and then actually made me think deeply about issues in our society AND made me want to read this classic Jack London book that kept getting shout outs. Y’all, this quiet book was such a great read. I am totally about to get gushy on you all.Read the rest of my review here

  • Amy Heno
    2020-02-08 22:59

    Wow. This was hard to put down; and when I did, I couldn't stop thinking about it. A powerful story of a young boy with no guidance or support who winds up in Juvie. Ironically, he learns to become a man, but also torn apart by violence and brutality around him. This books sheds light on too many areas we turn a blind eye to in society; especially for those young men most at risk living in a world where "kindness is a sign of weakness."

  • Jacob Sieberg
    2020-01-26 19:57

    it was good

  • Beetqueen
    2020-01-25 02:02

    Even if this book wasn't one of the Eliot Rosewater nominees for 2107, I'd want to read it because Ruta Sepetys, one of my favorite new YA authors (who also has a book on the Rosie list) has a cover blurb claiming this book is a meeting between "Monster" and "The Catcher in the Rye." To me, this is an intriguing combination, so I snapped it up. I found the story of James, a 15 year old kid who has been abandoned by his father, neglected by his mother, abused by her boyfriend and all but forgotten by his older brother who was supposed to look out for him, compelling. Even though he knows his brother is not on the level when he asks him to deliver "packages" for him, James agrees in hopes that they can be closer. Plus, he's so used to being so severely deprived, that the pittance his brother throws him for helping out is enough to make him nearly giddy. For the first time in a long time, his belly is full. It's hard not to sympathize with a kid like James. James becomes an even more sympathetic character when he gets busted while on a drug run with his brother. Despite the fact that Louis, his brother, takes off and leaves James totally alone to face the consequences, James doesn't rat him out. He doesn't want to be perceived as a cry baby weakling. He wants to show his brother that he is strong and can do his time at juvie. After all, he had an idea of what he was getting into and he made a choice. His understandably bad decision lands him in Morton, the one place he's warned he doesn't want to end up. Unlike many juvenile facilities, Morton tends to resemble jail more than a rehabilitation facility. James spends much of his time in Morton trying to figure out what true strength means. Most of his peers believe any sort of kindness is weakness. They believe they have to step to someone, even if it means more time in Morton, the hospital or the morgue. In one scene, Mr. E, who is leading a group session asks what they'd do if someone stepped on their squeaky clean Jordans without apologizing. Everyone except James believes a beat down is in order. Even when Mr. E tells them that their response will be the difference between them being part of the 86% who end up back in lock up and the 14% who make it out, few are willing to let the "slight" go because it would show too much weakness. This book is a great look at the toxic culture that exists which forces boys and men to be "strong," no matter what the cost. I think this is a really important book for teenagers, especially teenage boys to read. The amount of time James and Shawn Gooodman, the author, spend exploring what strength really means is important.

  • Alejandra Escalera
    2020-01-24 19:06

    HOW DID THE CHARACTER CHANGE OVERTIME ? WHAT DID HE OR SHE LEARN ABOUT LIFE? Kindness for Weakness main character changed through out the book. At first James (main character) is a innocent kid that has been through a lot with his parents and his brother. the story all turned around when his brother left from their house and decided to do drugs. Little by little Louis starts invoving his brother James into the drug dealing and gets caught. Eventually getting James to go to Juvinal and switch his whole life around.

  • Bella Hendricks
    2020-01-31 01:45

    A gritty, real look at one of the many screwed up systems that kids have to go trough in this country. The contrast of terrible people and glints of hope really showed what these kids go through, especially since it was written based on true stories by someone who witnessed things like this for years. Not the kind of book I would normally read but I was pleasantly surprised. Raw and well-written, I was impressed.

  • Carrie Steller McKneight
    2020-02-07 00:04

    I'm doing some volunteering at a lockdown facility for teens. I don't see violence from staff but hard to shake the tough guy attitudes these young people carry. I think the title and theme are accurate. We have to walk as if we are in other's shoes to better understand a world unfamiliar to us. This book does that.

  • Jessica (jessreadsalatte)
    2020-02-03 02:07

    This book reminded me a lot of a mix between The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger and Monster by Walter Dean Myers. The beginning wasn't something I was really expecting although as the book progressed, it was okay of a read.

  • Stephanie
    2020-02-07 02:42

    A quick, grossly sad read.

  • Mrs. Kenyon
    2020-02-08 00:48

    More of a 3.5 stars