Burke’s debut novel is impressive; he invites readers to observe the embattled life of Andre Battel from the different points of view of a fascinating set of characters. Andre is a conflicted, complicated boy; his sister, Nina, is plagued by anger; long-suffering mom, Ruby, is trying to keep the family stable while his druggie deadbeat father floats in and out of their lives causing drama. With an obvious talent for senstive storytelling, Burke is definitely a writer to watch.
From age eight, Andre Battel has seen his drug-addicted father disappear from the home for months at a time, leaving disruption and pain for his family in his wake. Andre’s prowess on the basketball court provides him with opportunities to better himself, but Andre gets tangled up with the local gang, Team Seven. As Andre starts hustling weed for a rival drug dealer, the consequences for his actions put them all in danger, and Andre has to decide for himself what his future will look like. (DOUBLEDAY, Apr., 260 pp., $25.95)