This month, I am reading several YA books that I discovered on the SpeakLoudly.org website. These are books which certain groups have attempted to ban from classrooms as being obscene or too violent or too sexual. Excuse me? Have you talked to a teenager lately? I mean, really talked to them honestly? They are dealing with some pretty heavy issues everyday! Even if they aren’t sexually active, being bullied, coping with abuse or having body image issues, you can bet that someone they know is. Why do people take such issue with their kids reading about real-life situations? For the most part, these books promote positive, healing behaviors. They let teens know that they are not alone in their feelings.
Anyway…(hops off soapbox)…Thick is about a teenage boy, Nick, who has been arrested for murder. He tells you right off the bat that he is guilty. What the reader doesn’t know is who he killed and why. As Nick tells his story to his lawyer, the reader discovers Nick to be a sweet, but slow boy, whose alcoholic father abuses and the kids at school bully. Nick handles the abuse as well as he can and even puts himself in the way when he sees others getting abused. This makes the fact that Nick will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars the ultimate tragedy.
This book was a quick read, but it was interesting. I think we all have known boys like Nick at one time or another, so he is easy to relate too, even if you have never been in his situation. I assume this book has been banned due to the main character shooting someone. The shooting is not glorified or sensationalized. Nick is genuinely remorseful and makes no excuses to avoid punishment. In a time when bullying is in the national spotlight, I see this book as a good one to promote discussion.
Overall, I give Thick…
Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Voice – 3 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Quinton Aaron (Nick), Michelle Williams (Alice), Xosha Roquemore (Hope)