Margin Notes



A real whodunit. Nick Brook’s Promise Boys is the story of a murder and the search for truth. Urban Promise Prep is a private school that “vows to turn boys into men.” The principal, Kenneth Moore, has proudly self-titled his strategies as the “Principal Moore Method” and is dedicated to the extremely rigid rules, with equally extreme discipline. It’s these strict policies that have landed three students in detention during the shooting that killed Principal Moore. Each of the three students had left detention at the time of the murder and fingers are pointing in all directions – after all, wouldn’t their punishments be motive? It becomes clear that unless these boys band together to find the murderer, their reputations will be forever changed.

Promise Boys is a fast-paced mystery told through multiple perspectives and a narrative mix of prose, text messages and police reports. Although there is a layer of systemic racism when it comes to criminal justice, the book focuses on the power dynamics within a school, between teachers and students as well as between staff members and within the students themselves. The varying perspectives show the labels and assumptions people place on each other and how that thinking changes when you dig beyond the surface. Students attend school together every day; but do they really see what is going on?

I would recommend this book to fans of Karen McManus, Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas. Every teacher has the mystery/thriller lover in their class just waiting to read this book!

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