What would happen if God went insane?
While you try to answer that unfathomable question, I will give you the answer ... Read 'Bloodlight.'
Harambee K. Grey-Sun crafted something completely new. Religion and storytelling is weaved through a YA book about a black high school wrestler named Robert Goldner. The setting seems to be very current but society has changed a lot. Racism is a huge issue. Not that it isn't now, but it's basically regressed. The visible divide isn't there, but yet it is. It's kind of hard to explain.
Robert is that black kid who wants to do well. And because he wants to do well, and be better, he gets takes a lot of shit for it from the other black kids who think he doesn't act like he should. Let me say that the one giving him the hardest time acts mostly like a classic buffoon. So not only is their this white/black thing but theirs also a black/blacker thing ... Plus ... Theirs the light skinned/dark skinned thing. Robert is a star wrestler at his high school. One of only 3 blacks on the team. At a huge meet, Robert 'trips' and nearly destroys his opponent. The things that begin happening to him are completely beyond his control. For a long time, it frustrated me because the reader is given no explanation. I got about 60% along before anything started to be explained, even a little. Hallucinations, skin conditions, and tricks of the light make Robert think he's losing his mind.
In the beginning of Bloodlight, Robert finds his friend, Davin, looking strung out outside a party. He's taken away to a hospital that no one wants to go to. And by my account, it's that hospital the government would take you to when you have a mysterious disease they want to study (of course it's explained differently in the book but that's the lamens gist of it). By the end of Bloodlight, Robert has kind of become self-aware and ready to embrace what's happening while learning what he can. Albeit ... He's most likely about to see Davin in book 2.
Most of anything else I can tell you would be a spoiler (outside of the first line of this review) so I'll just say that the author has written this beautifully. The world building is on-point, I 'saw' every single character with clarity and felt everything Robert went through right down the accusations of his sexual preference. I gotta say, Robert is mature for 16-17. I think that's a huge reason why this is one of the first YA books that I've read and have not been annoyed by the main character in some way. A bit of a warning ... The book drags quite a bit up until the halfway point, but once you're past there, it's smooth sailing. All I want now is book 2.
3 1/2 Stars
IR: Robert (black) Leigh (W/A)