QuickLit Review: DARIUS AND TWIG – Friendship, Struggle and Triumph in Harlem — Walter Dean Myers’s 2014 Printz Honor Winner

Dariusw and TwigWalter Dean Myers’s 2014 Printz Honor winner, Darius & Twig, joins Myers’s long list of works featuring straight-talking, genuine characters dealing with real life struggles. In his latest novel, two high school friends encourage each other’s dreams as they fight to rise above the violence, and dream-killing streets of their neighborhood in Harlem. Darius, an aspiring writer, searches for his place in the world and his voice as he explores alternative lives through his fiction.  Darius’s best friend, Twig, battles a different set of problems: family and outsiders’ demands that he settle for less and forget about going to college, despite his conviction that he has what it takes to compete nationally as a long distance runner. Myers’s skill at crafting intimate portraits of young men facing high stakes in difficult situations, invites us to see the world of guns, crack, and random crime through a different set of lenses. Instead of moralizing about the effect of the mean streets of New York on young black and Latino males, Myers paints a world of loving families, wise and caring neighbors, and the true value of friends.

Sex  = 0

Violence = V (Although the boys witness drive-by shootings, fistfights and domestic abuse, Myers keeps the descriptions PG -13 with little graphic detail.)

Questionable Behavior = ? (Darius and Twig see and hear about drug abuse and gun play, they themselves do not participate.)