I have a brilliant YA novel to share with you all today as I review Promise Boys by Nick Brooks. Many thanks to Nick and to MacMillan for my copy of the book, which I received via NetGalley.
A blockbuster, dark academia mystery about three teens of color who must investigate their principal’s murder to clear their own names—this page-turning thriller is perfect for fans of Karen McManus, Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, and Holly Jackson.
The prestigious Urban Promise Prep school might look pristine on the outside, but deadly secrets lurk within. When the principal ends up murdered on school premises and the cops come sniffing around, a trio of students—J.B., Ramón, and Trey—emerge as the prime suspects. They had the means, they had the motive—and they may have had the murder weapon. But with all three maintaining their innocence, they must band together to track down the real killer before they are arrested. Or is the true culprit hiding among them?
Find out who killed Principal Moore in Nick Brooks’s murder mystery, Promise Boys—The Hate U Give meets One of Us Is Lying.
As you will know by now, I am a big YA fan and I am always on the lookout for new and exciting books to recommend to my friends and their teenage children. Promise Boys is one such book that I have been recommending to just about anyone who will listen, and is a book that I feel will appeal to avid and reluctant readers alike,
Each part of Promise Boys starts with a collection of short snappy sections, each from a different point of view (these would work brilliantly as the start to each episode if Promise Boys becomes a TV series, which I really hope it does), before moving into longer chapters told from the perspective of each boy. These “soundbites” really grab the attention of the reader, making Promise Boys one of those books where it is easy to fall into the “just one more chapter” trap because some are only a couple of sentences long, and before you know it, you haven’t moved for hours. Despite the brevity of each of the short sections, I found each voice to be so distinct that I had a vivid image of the person speaking, both in terms of appearance and personality.
Following from such vividly written minor characters, as you would expect the three main characters in this book are beautifully created and heartbreakingly human. Are they perfect? Most definitely not, but it is this that makes each of them so believable, and I am sure that every young reader will relate to at least one, if not all, of these boys on some level.
Nick Brooks has a wonderful writing style that really draws you into the heart of the story, and it is easy to see that he is writing not from the point of an outsider looking in, but as someone who understands the very heart of the boys he is writing about. When Promise Boys released, I had the chance to attend an online book launch with the Nick, and he speaks so passionately about the unheard voices of Washington – the real life Promise Boys. He is truly a champion of building young people up to be the best that they can be.
I read this at a really horrible time in my life when I badly needed distracting, but doubted anything would work – this book did, and I thank Nick for that.