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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Chess Not Checkers is an enthralling young adult drama novel written by Tony Lindsay. Tired of getting bullied, Thaddeus Adams finally hits back at his tormentor, only to find himself expelled for his actions. After spending some time on his family's countryside farm, Thaddeus returns to Falcon City when his expulsion is revoked. But his return to his former school brings him face-to-face with his bully, Earl Jacobson, a member of the notorious neighborhood Sinnin' Gangsters, who swears vengeance on Thaddeus and his friends. Taking his imprisoned older brother Daniel's advice, Thaddeus somehow manages to fend off Earl's first attack. But when Earl is shot dead by a mysterious gunman, both the Sinnin' Gangsters and the cops see Thaddeus as their prime suspect. Meanwhile, his mother, Tabitha, opens up about her bigoted past.
Author Tony Lindsay spins an absorbing yarn about growing up in a rough neighborhood while navigating street thugs and familial bigotry. Chess Not Checkers is a coming-of-age story that implores you to be the bigger man and showcases the power of forgiveness. Earl is a promising teenager who finds himself torn between his mother's bigoted views and neighborhood bullies that torment him outside. His father seems to be the only one in the family who brings some sort of stability to Thaddeus's life, and it makes for an engrossing family dynamic. The narrative is well-paced, and the plot has its share of twists and turns to keep you hooked throughout the pages. If you're looking for a well-written young adult coming-of-age drama, Chess Not Checkers is the book for you.