I Am Alfonso Jones
by Medina, Tony; Robinson, Stacey (ILT); Jennings, John (ILT); Stevenson, Bryan (FRW)






The Hate U Give meets The Lovely Bones in this unflinching graphic novel about the afterlife of a young man killed by an off-duty police officer, co-illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist John Jennings.





Alfonso-black teenager, gifted student, the son of a wrongfully imprisoned father-is shot dead by a police officer. His crime? Shopping for his first suit to celebrate his father's release. Alfonso awakens on a purgatorial ghost subway. There "ancestors"-spirits of past victims of racial violence-guide him through his life, his parents' lives, even the life of the officer who shot him, as well as showing him the consequences (and lack of consequences) that follow his death. Medina, likewise, guides readers through the world that contemporary African Americans live in, a world where justice does not seem to exist. Yet, he preserves a thoughtful perspective and a sense of balanced humanity through Alfonso's loving family and his school cohort, and he staves off suffocating solemnity with a lyrical turn of phrase and insightful allusions to literary ghosts. The illustrators evoke honest emotion but allow figures to burst with an animated energy that offsets the high verbosity. Warning: there are no happy endings here. The book ends, but Alfonso's purgatorial quest for justice does not. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.





From the afterlife, black teenager Alfonso Jones, a 15-year-old victim of police brutality, watches the effect his murder has on his loved ones and community.The first page is dedicated to the image of a sole speeding bullet, which catches up to fleeing Alfonso on Page 2 in a powerful, heart-rending image. The next few chapters flash back to Alfonso's life: biking around Harlem, spending time with his mom, and joyfully learning his wrongfully convicted father will be released from prison. Narrator Alfonso chronicles his fondness for playing trumpet, acting, and his fellow thespian Danetta. As the pair shop for a suit for Alfonso to wear to his father's release, Alfonso is murdered by a white off-duty police officer. Afterward, Alfonso finds himself on a subway with strangers who turn out to be ancestors: all are unable to find peace when there is no justice. There are no pat solutions here, and readers are left to wonder if Alfonso will ever leave the ghost train. One of the final pages includes images of real victims of police brutality, and the book closes with a vigil for Alfonso. Some of the most profound truths come from Alfonso's grieving survivors. "We're not going to let you make a circus of our pain. Our black misery is not for your white amusement!" declares his mother; his grandfather reminds readers, "Too many of our people are getting vacuumed into the prison industry, or killed for no rational reason whatsoever but the skin they're living in…." Painfully important. (Graphic fiction. 12-18) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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