Team Seven: A Novel

Posted November 9, 2014 by The Book & Alcohol Girls in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

by Marcus Burke
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I received this book for free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Published by Doubleday
Team Seven: A Novel Book Cover Team Seven: A Novel
Marcus Burke

As Andre Battel, a native of Milton, a town south of Boston, ages from age eight through his teenage years, he grows away from his Jamaican family, discovers genuine prowess on the basketball court, and eventually falls into dealing drugs for the local street gang, Team Seven. But when Andre and his crew fall behind on payments, dire and violent consequences await. The story is told primarily through Andre's voice, but we also see the point of view of his mother, Ruby, a hardworking medical secretary; his older sister, Nina; his mostly-not-there and typically drunk-and-high father, Eddy, a halfhearted reggae musician; and Reggie and Smoke, the kingpin of competing drug crews.

What emerges is a rich portrait of a black family, a black community, and one young man poised between youthful innocence and ambiguous experience.

This is a fabulously written book! I should have not been able to relate to anything in this story, but I did. My hat is off to the author for making me feel what the Andre felt and understanding his struggles.

Andre is being raise with the values of his family, but his neighborhood is filled with gangs and drugs. He is constantly torn between what he has been raised to know is right and what his environment has groomed him to believe. Team Seven is the local gang and because of a series of horrible events, Andre finds himself tangled in a vicious web with them.

The story was well told and the POV alternated a bit, though it was mostly that of Andre’s. I have so much respect for the author and the way he gave a voice to the realities of this part of the would that I simply would otherwise have never experienced. Gripping and heart-wrenching at times, this was a powerful story. I experienced a barrage of feelings while walking in Andre’s shoes. When the story ended, I just needed a break to breathe and reflect on everything I thought felt while reading.

Team Seven was not my normal read, but I would happily read anything by this author. I was thoroughly impressed with the writing style and the storytelling.

4.5 stars and beer from the can on this one, folks!

This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

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