Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

White library with lots of stairs and "Contemporary" text
Book Genre Block - "Emotional" Person standing between bright earth and desolate earth

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Emotional. Timely. Racial Injustice. Broken Systems. Family. Heartbreaking.

This beautifully written book brings a timely, emotional story to its readers. I could not stop reading this one.

This story follows a young girl whose family has been torn apart one piece at a time. Her father to prison, and then to disease and death, her mother locked away, and now her brother has stopped helping support the two of them. The burden of paying rent and the bills falls to Kiara. It’s not easy for a 17-year-old to find and hold a job though, and time after time she is told no. When one night she is mistaken as a prostitute, and she accepts payment, she unknowingly steps into a life and scandal she can’t back away from.

This story was so emotional and upsetting, and it was an absolute must-read. The life Kiara is faced with isn’t one she asked for. As we follow her attempts to find jobs and to reach out for help, it so quickly becomes apparent how someone can end up on the street. The thing that was so frustrating for me was watching her go through this and not being able to help her.

When her prostitution job gets her caught by the police, and subsequently brought into sex ring with the police, ugh my heart hurt for her. It just felt like there was no way out.

So, this isn’t a heartwarming story that you’re going to feel elated at the close, but you will feel changed, and sometimes, I think that’s better.

Content Warnings:

Drug use, child neglect, prostitution, drowning, gun violence police abuse of power.

Where to Find This Book:

Amazon ~ Goodreads
LibroFM – Use code lfm137076 to get one month free!

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)

Kiara and her brother, Marcus, are scraping by in an East Oakland apartment complex optimistically called the Regal-Hi. Both have dropped out of high school, their family fractured by death and prison. But while Marcus clings to his dream of rap stardom, Kiara hunts for work to pay their rent–which has more than doubled–and to keep the nine-year-old boy next door, abandoned by his mother, safe and fed.

One night, what begins as a drunken misunderstanding with a stranger turns into the job Kiara never imagined wanting but now desperately needs: nightcrawling. Her world breaks open even further when her name surfaces in an investigation that exposes her as a key witness in a massive scandal within the Oakland Police Department.

Rich with raw beauty, electrifying intensity, and piercing vulnerability, Nightcrawling marks the stunning arrival of a voice unlike any we have heard before.

Just the Facts:

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Pub Date: June 7, 2022

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I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.

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