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Review: The Lure by Lynne Ewing

Title: The Lure
Author: Lynne Ewing
Year Published: 2014

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 275
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2014 Google Reading map): USA (Washington, DC)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book):  Fifteen-year-old Blaise Montgomery lives in the gritty outskirts of Washington, DC, where a stray bullet can steal a life on the way to school. Drugs and violence are the only way to survive, so Blaise and her friends turn to gangs for safety, money, and love. When Blaise is invited to join Core 9, one of the most infamous crews, she jumps at the chance. Though her best guy friends, Rico and Satch, warn her about the danger, she agrees to be beaten for a minute straight as pat of the gang's initiation ritual.

Now Blaise is finally part of a crew. A family. But things only get more dangerous when she becomes a member of Core 9 and tensions with a rival gang heat up. Trek, the head of Core 9, asks Blaise to be his "lure," the sexy bait he'll use to track down enemy gang members and exact revenge. Rico and Satch tell her it's a death sentence, yet Blaise can't resist the money and unparalleled power. A Trek puts Blaise in increasingly dangerous situations, she begins to see that there's more to lose than she ever realized--including Satch, the one person who has the power to get under her skin. With death lurking around every corner, should Blaise continue to follow the only path she's ever known or cut and run?

Review: What an intense book! And perhaps it felt more intense to me given where I am this week (Inglewood/Crenshaw area of Los Angeles), but I think Ewing has done a great job portraying the physical and emotional side of big city gangs, their appeal to young people, and the impact they have on families. Oh, and the summary from the book is spot on!

Blaise is a great character because she combines strength, love for friends and family (she is being raised by her grandmother), and a need to belong that feels very real. We all want to be a part of something, but Blaise shows us that a gang can be the logical choice. When everyone you know is associated with the gang, your friends are joining or are already in, and there really isn't another answer (at least in your own eyes), then joining a hard-core gang really is the only answer. Blaise knows it will be tough, scary, and dangerous, but she also knows as soon as she joins she'll feel taken care of and part of a larger family.

The action in this book is staggering. From killings to revenge to the use of girls as bait and "things," I felt dirty, anger, and fear for the characters. I do wish the author had a post-script about where she did her research (I love that part of a book) because without it, it's easy to tell myself that she has over exaggerated gang life. Unfortunately, I don't think she has.

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