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The Reformatory by Tananarive Due

Set in the sweltering summer of 1950's Jim Crow Florida, The Reformatory is an unputdownable, page turning historical novel that explores the horrors of racism and injustice for the living... And the dead.

Twelve-year-old Robbie Stephens, Jr. is sentenced to six months at the Gracetown School for Boys, a reformatory, for kicking the son of one of the largest landowning farmers in theirs small town in defence of his older sister, Gloria.

At the reformatory, Robbie is plagued by the abuse of the men in charge and the ghosts of tormented boys who have attended the reformatory before him. Through his friends Redbone and Blue, Robbie learns the reformatory rules for survival. Meanwhile, Robbie's sister Gloria rallies every family member and community member she can to find a way to get Robbie out before it is too late.

I have been in a pretty severe book slump for the past few weeks. No books have held my heart or attention... Until Tananarive Due's The Reformatory. This is one of the longest books I've read this year at a whopping 567 pages! But I easily could have continued on Robbie and Gloria's journies for another 600.

Tananarive Due's writing is completely engrossing. I was utterly transported by her lyrical, haunting narration and her indepth character develeopment. Paired with the fact that the book was inspired by real life people in Tananarive Dues family and the events at the Dozier School for Boys, I haven't been able to stop thinking about about this story. The book is graphic, terrifying, and difficult to read from time to time, but it's so important to remember the stories of the people who endured these horrors not long ago.

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