I'm early, for once. Autobiography of my Dead Brother is about the friendship of two boys in Harlem. The narrator, Jesse, is drawing the life of his best friend, Rise, but is having trouble because as the story progresses, he realizes that he doesn't really know his best friend. Rise becomes involved in dealing drugs and their club turns into a gang. All the while, Jesse grapples with the best course of action (sticking by his friend or staying our of trouble).
I hate that this culture exists. I hate that there are 14-year-old boys who think they need to act tough to be respected. I hate that there are parents who try their best to help their children out of this situation, and yet the children are nevertheless stuck.
That being said, I liked this book. (How unexpected.) I can't say I enjoyed it because it was painful to read about these boys. But that made it a good read. I was able to connect to Jesse (not so much Rise or Mason) and even his parents a little bit. I realized at the end that CJ (the musician) is like the angel on one shoulder, and Rise is the devil on the other. And I liked that the whole time I knew which was the right thing to do, and I kept rooting for him and pleading for him not to go where Rise invited him. I like that I was able to connect with the characters, despite my complete removal from their situations.