Book: “The Knockout Queen” by Rufi Thorpe
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating: 5/5 Stars
“The Knockout Queen” tells the dysfunctional story of two teenagers, Michael and Bunny. These two characters both come from the famed town of North Shore, but they couldn’t be more different. Bunny is a tall, athletic and popular girl at school while Michael is a quiet outcast struggling with his sexuality. The book covers the topics of self discovery, identity and human connection against the backdrop of the high school experience.
To say this book took me by surprise would be the understatement of the year. I thought I had picked up a YA novel that would be an easy and somewhat mindless read that I could just breeze through. I have never been more wrong. From the very beginning of the story, author Rufi Thorpe grabs the reader and stubbornly refuses to let go. She provides a hyper-focused view and clarity of what it means to be a struggling teenager. Rather than reading this book quickly, I found myself taking my time and thinking critically about the plot and its impact on the main characters.
Through out the book, Bunny and Michael are both troubled in their own way and face their own set of problems. The author takes her time to expertly build these characters and then she throws them into some extremely turbulent situations. As readers work their way through the story, it becomes clear that these characters walk a blurred line between good and evil. The duality of morality is beautifully exposed in this book and will leave an imprint in the heart of the reader.
Recommendations: This book is not for the faint of heart, but worth reading for a glimpse into ethics and identity through the eyes of two unsettled teenagers.
Trigger Warning: Violence, Sex, Drug Abuse