Retaliation – a Review

This is a book that every young adult needs to read.  Retaliation is avenging an injury or wrong a person has done to you by returning some injury or wrong to that person.  Through an engaging story, this book explores how deeply violence exists in many communities and the measures some families will go through to protect themselves.

RetaliationI have always said that drama belongs between the pages of a book.  And that is exactly what this book is full of.  Marion Barry High School in Washington, D.C. is a hotbed of violence and gang-related activity.

Every young person needs to read this book.  No matter where you live, there is drama between the students at any school.  This book shows what can happen when you let your feelings take control and allow them to control your actions.

Tashera is a good girl.  She doesn’t start fights; she doesn’t get in fights.  Since fighting is all around her that is a surprising thing.  Her brother was a member of a gang, and she saw how it affected him.  He was shot during one of the robberies his gang was committing and is now paralyzed as a result of that.

Ahmed, her boyfriend, might not have been the best choice of someone to be romantically involved with.  He is an athlete, and all the girls want him.  So he was used to getting anyone he wanted until he met Tashera.  He had to work to even get the privilege to hold her hand.  And now he is in love with her.

When one of his former girlfriends decides to take revenge because she feels Ahmed rejected her, she and her friends beat up Tashera.  Tashera’s life is changed forever.  Through violent tendencies and misconceptions about what is going on, the violence only escalates.  Other family members become involved, each one seeking retaliation for what was done to Tashera.

Every parent or person who works with young people needs to read this book.  DaCalia, Jessica, and Alexandra – the three girls who beat the crap out of Tashera – each has their own reasons for behaving the way they do, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be punished for their actions.

Sheila, Tahsera’s mom, only adds to the drama when she strikes out to protect her daughter.  But were her actions wise?

Richard is the one member of the family who went to college and did something with his life.  He became a lawyer and showed that there is hope for those who want to better themselves.  Since he is an attorney, Tashera’s mom reaches out to him when she needs help.

If you happen to work with young adults, questions for discussion are provided at the end of the book.


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  If you would like your own copy of this book, I have provided Amazon and Smashwords links below.

Amazon Link: Retaliation

Smashwords Link: Retaliation

Recommended Articles:
Accused – a Review
Yasmin Shiraz Interview – Characters, Violence, and Writing
Why So Serious? – Guest Post by Yasmin Shiraz

Favorite Sentences:
I used to have friends in like 3rd grade that lived in the Deuce Five area, but now if I see one of them, they act like they don’t know me, and I gotta act all rumble tumble or they’ll try to punk me.

In their neighborhood, you could barely survive if you didn’t have some kind of protection.

The gang was a part of who he was, and even for the love of Tashera, he wasn’t sure he was ready to let it go.

All that stuff you were saying about choosing the life you want and being positive, it sounds good, but it doesn’t work around here.

New Words Learned:
divalicious – a stylish and fabulous diva. It is a blend of two words: diva and delicious”

punitive – serving for, concerned with, or inflicting punishment

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.  (Amazon)

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