Summary and book reviews of Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro

Anger Is a Gift

by Mark Oshiro

Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro X
Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2018, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2019, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
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About this Book

Book Summary

A story of resilience and loss, love and family, testifying to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.

Moss Jeffries is many things - considerate student, devoted son, loyal friend and affectionate boyfriend, enthusiastic nerd.

But sometimes Moss still wishes he could be someone else - someone without panic attacks, someone whose father was still alive, someone who hadn't become a rallying point for a community because of one horrible night.

And most of all, he wishes he didn't feel so stuck.

Moss can't even escape at school - he and his friends are subject to the lack of funds and crumbling infrastructure at West Oakland High, as well as constant intimidation by the resource officer stationed in their halls. That was even before the new regulations - it seems sometimes that the students are treated more like criminals.

Something will have to change -but who will listen to a group of teens?

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes again, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

1

He saw the lights first. Blue and red, flashing in a regular pattern. Lots of them, scattered south of the station in the parking lot, and he couldn't help himself.

Moss had boarded the train in San Francisco that afternoon expecting nothing out of the ordinary, just a normal ride home with his best friend, Esperanza. The train was crowded, plenty of people eager to get back home at the end of the weekend. They'd been lucky to find an empty set of seats near one of the doors. Moss had leaned his bike up against the side of the car and scrambled to claim the spot next to Esperanza. But then their luck had worn off. The train now sat motionless, caught between the Embarcadero station and West Oakland, where both of them were bound. Moss closed his eyes and sighed.

"We're never going to get off this train, I swear."

He looked over at Esperanza, who had taken her half of the headphones out from her left ear. Moss could hear the tinny sound of Janelle Monáe as he removed...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Discussion Questions

  1. What emotions did you experience as you read Anger Is a Gift? When a scene made you angry, were you able to imagine how those feelings could become a gift? Which moments in the book made you feel hopeful?
  2. Moss lives with panic attacks and other effects from the trauma of his father's violent death. How does he cope with his fears and flashbacks? How does his story help us understand the experience of being a survivor?
  3. Esperanza's parents, Rebecca and Jeff Miller, are wealthy and white; their life in Piedmont is very different from that of Wanda and Moss Jeffries. The author writes, "Piedmont was full of people who liked to tell outsiders that they lived in Oakland. A certain amount of street cred came with ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

It is no secret that contemporary young adult literature has been becoming more political, addressing the real problems and challenges faced by teenagers in the United States today. Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro is a welcome addition to the contemporary YA oeuvre, taking readers inside a brutal reality that too many young people today know well. It is a narrative about intergenerational trauma, about hope, and about finding strength in one's family and community, executed in a way that will keep readers turning the page.   (Reviewed by Michelle Anya Anjirbag).

Full Review Members Only (606 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An emotional roller-coaster... Oshiro deftly captures the simmering rage that ultimately transforms Moss from a quiet teenager to a committed activist against a brutal, menacing system.

School Library Journal
Starred Review. A strong addition to the current wave of excellent social justice–themed contemporary realistic titles. Give this to fans of Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give. Grades 8 and up.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A masterful debut rich with intersectional nuance and grass-roots clarity, Anger is a Gift is hella precious, hella dope.

Author Blurb Marieke Nijkamp, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before I Let Go
Raw, unflinching, and full of heart. Anger is a Gift is a masterpiece.

Author Blurb Adam Silvera, New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the End
Anger is a Gift is an explosion of fury and revolution. Mark Oshiro's beautiful and brutal debut proves that not only can anyone be a hero, but great change comes when the heroes work together.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Intersectional Representation in Young Adult Narratives

Intersectionality DiagramIntersectionality is a term coined by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw almost three decades ago to explain how the oppression of African-American women was compounded by both race and gender. Essentially, she described the intersection of identities as affecting how much or how little power someone has within a society. It is a once-primarily academic and legal term that has become ubiquitous in the current zeitgeist of identity politics and racial justice. However, when talking about different kinds of representation encoded within novels, especially young adult novels, it is a really useful tool with which to interrogate what kinds of diversity we are seeing, and to determine if it is done in a way that engages with the real aspects of those ...

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