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.
Jennifer Hubert Swan

Jennifer Hubert Swan is the library department chair and upper school librarian at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Pratt Institute School of Information, where she teaches youth literature and library programming. She blogs at Reading Rants.

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