Following the overarching tale of Johnquell, an African-American teen living in Milwaukee, author Jennifer Morales spins an intricate yarn that spans nine short stories, all of which touch upon many of the most relevant social issues facing America today. People of all stripes appear, whether they be black or white, gay or straight, and everything in between, in an effort to bring the voices that are often silenced into the foreground.
After a freak accident seriously injuries Johnquell in the home of his neighbor, Mrs. Czernicki, the residents of his Milwaukee neighborhood begin to experience a series of events that cause them to question many of their preconceptions about their neighbors.
The vivid depictions of Milwaukee and its numerous, eclectic neighborhoods and people will ring true to those who have either lived in or visited the city.
Morales’s diverse cast of characters are portrayed with compelling realism, as the narrative leads readers through anecdotes about the Black Panthers, the social complexities of interracial relationships, and questions of sexual identity.
A former Milwaukee resident for more than 20 years and the first Latino/a elected to the Milwaukee School Board, Morales does not shy away from confronting many of Milwaukee’s problems, which are reflected in the stories throughout her book.