For many kids, a mistake made at age thirteen or fourteen—often resulting from external factors coupled with a biologically immature brain—can resonate through the rest of their lives, making high school difficult, college nearly impossible, and a middle-class life a mere fantasy.
“At turns touching and intimate, enraging and honest—this book, more than any other I know, forces us to see America’s youngest prisoners for what they truly are: just kids.”—Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Evicted
From time to time, readers have felt compelled to do something or give something on behalf of those who have put their lives forward in the hope that some greater understanding might come from having their stories told.
Four teenage boys are high school seniors at two very different schools within the city of Los Angeles, the second largest school district in the nation with nearly 700,000 students. In this “exceptional work of investigative journalism…laced with compassion, insight, and humor” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) Jeff Hobbs stunningly captures the challenges and triumphs of being a young person confronting the future—both their own and the cultures in which they live—in contemporary America.
An instant New York Times bestseller, named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Amazon, and Entertainment Weekly, among others, this celebrated account of a young African-American man who escaped Newark, NJ, to attend Yale, but still faced the dangers of the streets when he returned is, “nuanced and shattering” (People) and “mesmeric” (The New York Times Book Review).
Jeff Hobbs graduated with a BA in English language and literature from Yale in 2002, where he was awarded the Willets and Meeker prizes for his writing. He is the author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Show Them You’re Good, and The Tourists. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
Since 2014, Jeff Hobbs has visited over a hundred schools to facilitate conversations about access, entitlement, racism, classism, justice, and identity in modern day America.