Determined to avenge her sister’s murder, Alex disguises herself and joins the gang responsible for the shooting. To identify the one who pulled the trigger, Alex must put her own life at risk in a world of dangerous criminals. But the longer she plays her new game, the more the lines blur between loyalty and betrayal.
*May Contain Spoilers*
This book was terrifying -in a real life, I can't believe this happens, kind of way. Cheryl Guerriero tackles a very intense topic with her novel, Girl on Point - gangs, murder, drugs, robbery. A topic, a world, that we all know exists, but a world that some of us don't experience everyday, or never experience at all. And that makes this book a terrifying representation of a real world problem, thrilling and frightening and heartbreaking.
Alex is a teenage girl who loved basketball and planned on going to college. But when her sister is shot in a shady convenience store while their team is at an away basketball game, everything changes for Alex. She falls into a deep depression and dreams of escaping the pain of her grief. Yet, she can't let go because whoever killed her sister is still out there somewhere. Though it was difficult, I can totally understand how someone would refuse to let the death of their family member go. Especially when it's a gang related murder. I couldn't imagine anyone I know going to the extremes that Alex goes to in this book, but with her psyche so damaged and overshadowed by injustice and depression, I can't say I wouldn't believe that someone would do this. Alex is determined to find what the police missed so she decides to do anything she can to be a part of the gang who killed her sister with the hope that she'll uncover some actual evidence.
After Alex becomes a part of this violent world, who she is and who she is pretending to be blend together, until her character is so blurry it's hard to see the real her. She starts participating in crimes in order to become closer to this gang of young girls. She starts doing drugs and drinking because they do -- and she wants to fit in with them. Alex wants them to trust her. She doesn't kill anyone, but she takes part (and sometimes the leading role) in these crimes. And then she realizes that she is a criminal. She has become one of them. Alex sacrifices everything to find out who killed her sister down a rabbit hole that, to me, could only end two ways. One possibility, Alex is killed by the gang she tries so hard to bring down. Or two, Alex is arrested right along with the girls, as she is no longer the innocent. This all adds up to an incredibly intense novel that is moving, heart-wrenching, down right scary, and confusing. The main question I couldn't stop asking myself was: can I blame her for trying this? The police had reached a seemingly dead end and instead of suicide, Alex chose to try to find her own answers. In a lose-lose situation, can we, as readers, see the justification of this behavior? I think so. And I think that's why anyone who reads this book will understand and connect with Alex. We may not like her choices or her actions, but we can see how the death of a sister and a police case that's quickly going cold could push someone to that edge. Which makes it all the more terrifying.
Because of the drug use, the criminal activity, the cursing, and the violence in general, I can't recommend this book to everyone. It feels too real, which is a good thing with this topic. The author did an amazing job at capturing this part of the world, making it feel legitimate and believable. It provides a view of a part of the world that tends to be ignored, except for those who live in it. That gives this book power, evoking sadness, a sense of unfairness, and a hope that future generations find a solution to this kind of violence.
Rating: 4/5 Cups