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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Black Snow is a young adult novel by Larry Vick, set in the 1950s. Aaron lives with his mom and dad in the projects in East New York. He's in the second grade, and he's working hard to be the smartest kid in class. It's something he and his Uncle Teddy talk about a lot. Uncle Teddy's not a real uncle, of course, but he and his mother, Aaron's Aunt Moira, have even set up a college fund for him. Teddy and his father, Rufus, were childhood friends who served in the US Navy together. Rufus works on a fishing boat, but Uncle Teddy stayed on in the Navy. Aaron has a hard time with the other kids in his building. Although his parents are both African American, Aaron’s skin is almost white and his hair is red. His best friend, Buddy, ends up having to stand up for him all the time when the other kids pick on him for being different. Aaron feels pudgy, weak and helpless, and he knows his father wishes he were more like Buddy.
Larry Vick's historical coming of age novel, Black Snow, is set during the Christmas season. However, this holiday is changed forever by the chain of events Aaron believes he set in place when he unleashed a torrent of hateful epithets at his best friend during an altercation. Black Snow is written from Aaron's perspective. He's an introverted and intelligent boy who's different, and it defines his existence. I was instantly caught up in his story and found myself profoundly moved by the tale that unfolds. Vick's writing is spare and elegant, and his characters are sharply drawn, complex and very human, especially Aaron, who somehow in this holiday season marred by tragedy finds his inner core of strength. This is a most marvelous and moving story that Larry Vick has crafted, and I'm hoping to read more offerings by this very talented author. Black Snow is most highly recommended.