What struck me about this book (apart from the hard-hitting subject matter) is its unique crafting. Magoon clearly wanted to tell the story of a shooting incident where a white guy killed a black guy and got away with it from a rounded perspective. She wanted to include the thoughts of a large cast of characters who were involved with the victim in various different ways. The obvious approach would have been to write in the third person omniscient point of view (but wait, this isn't going to be a rant on POV in YA fiction ... well, maybe just a little). Instead, Magoon decided to tell the story in multiple alternating first person (present tense) POVs from the large cast of characters. While this could have been confusing and lost the reader, it actually ended up, for me at least, garnering the best of both worlds: the immediacy of first person present tense coupled with the larger world view of third person omniscient.
Magoon has to do some fancy footwork to avoid losing the reader in the narrative. She does this by creating strong distinctive voices for the ENTIRE cast of characters, which is no mean feat. She has to write in the heads of each individual character separately and she does it brilliantly. Additionally, she has to weave in little reminders in each passage of who the character is and how (s)he figures into the story. Again, this could become clunky and awkward but in Magoon's hands it flows incredibly smoothly.
Additionally, through the multiple viewpoint storytelling the reader is able to pick up the truth of the key aspects of the incident. Did the victim have a gun? Was the shooter really acting in self-defense? Who was really responsible for the tragedy? She also manages to develop authentic relationships between characters and character growth of the key figures in the story. Even though there are a lot of moving pieces, the key characters do have rounded and satisfying character arcs.
I'm looking forward to reading more of Magoon's work and I may just fangirl her in January and become an autograph hound!