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Darkness Before Dawn by Sharon Draper


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What’s done is done, what’s gone is gone. One of life’s lessons is always moving on. This passage from Darkness Before Dawn by Sharon Draper shows teenagers that death may be hard to, but life still moves on. Draper, who taught high school English for 25 years, is more than qualified to address teen issues. She has been active in the National Board For Professional Teaching Standards and was named National Teacher year in 1997. Her other books include Tears of a Tiger, Forged by Fire, Romiette and Julio and Double Dutch. Draper may want to teach teen readers that you can still move on with life even after a tragic death you have to over come.


The setting for Darkness Before Dawn is Hazelwood High School. The book is told from the point of view of Keisha, who is still hurt by the suicide of her former boyfriend Andy. A year later, life is finally looking a little brighter for Keisha. Twenty-three-year-old Jonathan Hathaway, the son of the principal at Hazelwood High School, is tall, dark and handsome like a “lemon drop wrapped in licorice.” He treats her like a woman, not a girl. Although he is her type and all, everything Jonathan does remind her of Andy. Eventually, Keisha was able to be in a relationship with Jonathan. But her parents don’t want their 18-year-old daughter dating a college student. Keisha starts to sneak out and go on dates with him. Suddenly, this intoxicating relationship takes a frightening turn. Keisha is once again plugged into the darkness she fought so hard to escape. Will Keisha ever be able to find her way back into the light?
My favorite part of the this book is when Keisha takes Andy’s little brother, Monty, on their school picnic trip to Hazel Wood High School. I like this part because Monty gets sad because he starts thinking of his brother, who passed away. Keisha then explains to him that Andy is here right inside his heart. This advice cheered Monty up for a while.


“Darkness Before Dawn” is worth reading because it teaches teenagers that it may be hard to overcome a death of a person but you always move on with life. I agree with the narrator’s point of view because if I was in a relationship with a person since seventh grade to 11th grade and he was my first love, it would be hard for me to date someone else. I would be extremely picky about my next boyfriend.

I would recommend this book to my older sister. She lost her best friend in eighth grade. They had been friends since the first grade; so losing her made her really picky about who she may trust again or get to close to. She is now a sophomore in college and still hasn’t getting over her death. She still cries once in a blue moon. So I truly recommend this book to her and others who are living with the same situation. It shows teenagers that life is not always going to be about fun, most teenagers will deal real-life issues such as death.



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