Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

A dazzling novel about a young black woman who walks the streets of Oakland and stumbles headlong into the failure of its justice system–the debut of a blazingly original voice that “bursts at the seams of every page and swallows you whole” (Tommy Orange, best-selling author of There There)

When I saw that the author wrote this at 17 and lived on the streets of Oakland, I was floored.

The language is what I would expect from a teenager. All the feels are there.

Kiara and her brother, Marcus, live in East Oakland. A roach-infested hovel. That is all they can afford and they honestly can’t afford that. While Marcus is pretending to make a rap record, Kiara is hustling all over the dirty streets of Oakland looking for money. Their family fell apart long ago when her mom went to prison. Just teenagers themselves, Kiara also looks out for the little boy next door whose mother is an addict and never home.

After one drunk misunderstanding with a man turns into a career on the streets called night crawling. And since the johns are the cops, she is in it until they say she isn’t.

But then her name is connected to an internal investigation in the police department. A huge scandal involving officers and prostitutes.

The last thing Kiara wants is to be in any kind of limelight. She just wants to live.

This book was not pretty to read. It was raw, ugly, and made me cry and cringe quite a bit. But I am glad I read it and I hope we hear from this author again!

NetGalley/  June 7th, 2022 by Knopf Publishing Group



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