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Title: Southland
Author: Nina Revoyr
Number of Pages: 348 pages
Book Number/Goal: 44/75 for 2009
My Rating: 5/5

When Jackie Ishida's grandfather dies, her aunt finds in his closet a box of cash from the sale of his old store, along with an old will leaving the money to someone they've never heard of. Jackie agrees to help find this guy, only to find out he died. Was murdered, in fact, along with three other boys, in her grandfather's store during the Watts riots in 1965. As she and James Lanier, a cousin of the boy, look into the murders, Jackie learns more than she expected to about her grandfather.

I really loved this book a lot. It's set in LA, but not the Hollywood LA that you usually see in books and movies (it's so rare to see a portrayal of the LA I know and love). The main character is a lesbian, but it's not The Plot, just a fact about her (what? You mean there can be stories about gay people that aren't about being gay???). She's also Japanese-American, but this isn't a story about internment camps (they are mentioned, during some flashbacks in her grandfather's POV, but it's not the point of the story, and boy is that rare).

It's also a really neat story. My one complaint is that it's really tell-y. Like, it could have been cut down by at least a third if the author had just trusted the readers instead of having so much internal exposition about what people were thinking and feeling every step of the way.


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