What does it mean to be loyal? Having or showing allegiance is the definition of loyal, but is that all there is to it? Is it that simple?
In this book, we learn just how Khalil ended up in a wheelchair. By trying to prove himself worthy of being second in command in the gang Deuce Tres, he ends up losing the friendship of the gang members, but he also learns who really loves him.
This story is told through the eyes of two people: Tashera and her brother, Khalil.
Tashera loves her big brother Khalil, and she looks up to him. One day when she is home alone, Khalil is dumped on the doorstep of where she lives. He has been shot. Tashera can’t handle the thought of losing her brother, the one who is always there to help her when she needs it.
As he is lying paralyzed in the hospital, Khalil knows that what he did was wrong. When the police begin to question him about the robbery he had committed, they want to know who else was with him. Khalil is told that he won’t have to go to jail if he tells them who else was involved in the robbery. This means he could go home and be with his mom and Tashera. And he really doesn’t want to leave his little sister. Still, he refuses to rat out his “friends” even though they now refuse to have anything to do with him.
Now his sister is mad at him. He tells her to look up the word “loyal,” but she looks at what the word means differently than Khalil does. In Khalil’s eyes, he must be loyal to the gang. By doing this, is he also being loyal to his family?
I liked that Khalil accepted that what he did was wrong and that he didn’t try to justify his actions. As a person who at one time was paralyzed, I feel the author did a great job of letting us know what went through Khalil’s mind when he discovered that he couldn’t move his legs.
At the back of the book are ten discussion questions about gangs, family, and loyalty.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you would like your own copy to read, I have provided an Amazon link below.
Amazon Link: Loyal: The Prequel to Retaliation – a Review
I don’t know when he started looking so scary but Halloween is everyday for him and he ain’t wearing a mask.
My words got caught in my throat and my sobbing made me sound like a hyena.
Thinking about my sister dying was a nightmare even a hardcore gangster didn’t want to think about.
If anyone had wanted to create a loser poster, they could have taken a picture of me and put me on it.
I tried to teach her about loyalty, but in the end the most loyal person has been Tashera.
About the Author:
Yasmin Shiraz is an author, producer, and filmmaker.
She wrote the award-winning Retaliation novel series, which received a Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers nod from the American Library Association’s YALSA Division.
As a producer, she has filmed educational and thought-provoking documentaries that chronicle the lives, traumas, and experiences of youth. Her first production, Can She Be Saved?, is a documentary that examines violence among middle school girls.
As a speaker, she has created programs from her best-selling Blueprint empowerment series focusing on self-esteem, motivational, and educational tools. She regularly speaks at middle and high schools, after school programs, non-profit youth centers, as well as Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the country.
A sociologist by trade, Yasmin Shiraz has studied women’s issues, youth issues, urban conditions, social problems concerning minority populations, violence against women, disparities in the US educational system, and blue-collar vs. white-collar crimes. She applies her sociology training in educating and working with youth throughout the nation.