Book review: Anatomy of a girl gang, by Ashley Little

Little Anatomy of a Girl GangLittle, Ashley. Anatomy of a Girl Gang. Arsenal Pulp Press. 2014. $16.95. 254p. PB 9781551525297.

Members of the Black Roses, a female gang in Vancouver, originally bond over the losses in their lives before escalating to violence and crime. The alternating chapters narrated among gang members will have readers fascinated by this urban tale of gang culture even after they’ve guessed at the ending.

Little manages a difficult feat: her narrating characters’ voices read differently from each other. Chapters telling the same story from different perspectives truly sound different, and Little has managed to capture the voice of an urban gang, the reasons the girls would join, and the way that the gang devolves into violence. The book’s darker tone and gritty writing style perfectly match the story being told.

Anatomy packs an emotional punch and is a recommended read for anyone who works with young adults in urban settings. This book would be a good addition to an adult collection at a public library, but would also do well as a read for young adults to enjoyed S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders.

Jenni Frencham, Librarian

Cesar Chavez Middle School, Hayward (CA)

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