Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of Dig.

by A.S. King
High School    Dutton    394 pp.    g
3/19    978-1-101-99491-7    $17.99

David has never met his father and is tired of constantly moving around with his mom. Malcolm has already lost his mother and is about to lose his beloved father to cancer. Katie deals drugs out of a fast-food drive-thru window and longs for escape from her racist parents. Loretta lives in filth and poverty with an abusive family and copes by obsessively masturbating and imagining her entire life as a performance. The four teens are connected by “The Freak,” a mysterious girl who flickers in and out of their lives with prophetic messages. Interspersed among the protagonists’ voices are vignettes about a wealthy old married couple, whose millions from the sale of a legacy potato farm have brought them no happiness; and two violent brothers hiding a sinister secret. King’s narrative concerns are racism, patriarchy, colonialism, white privilege, and the ingrained systems that perpetuate them — issues that she confronts directly through her characters’ unique (and sometimes twisted) views of their world and the people around them. The author’s trademark surrealism and trenchant prose will speak profoundly to a generation of young people who are waking up to the societal sins of the past and working toward a more equitable future.

From the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Jennifer Hubert Swan

Jennifer Hubert Swan is director of library services and middle school librarian at Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City. She is also a visiting assistant professor at Pratt Institute School of Information, where she teaches youth literature and library programming. She blogs at Reading Rants.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind