Title: Hold Me Down
Author: Calvin Slater
Pages: 240 – according to pub info, but ARC had 294
Review copy: ARC via Publisher
Availability: On shelves now
Review: Hold Me Down is the second book in the Coleman High Series. In the first, Lovers & Haters, Xavier Hunter got mixed up with a rough crowd and his romance had a bumpy road. I didn’t read the first book, but the summary was embedded within the first few pages of this book. This required some information dumps that might not have been fabulous for readers familiar with Lovers & Haters, but would be helpful to readers unfamiliar with the first book.
Xavier Hunter has been through a lot in a brief amount of time. His father was incarcerated when he was six and recently his mother also began serving a prison sentence. Xavier has a younger brother to care for and is also trying to keep up his grades so he can go to college. This is already a lot to deal with, but then his father comes home and has become somewhat consumed with his Christian faith and is extremely concerned about the salvation of his children. This leads to a lot of clashes between father and son.
Added to this is an accusation of being a baby-daddy and a new girlfriend oozing drama. To top it all off, Xavier had snitched on the people he’d been running with the year before once they started bringing drugs into the school. Because of that, he has a price on his head.
Xavier still loves his ex-girlfriend, has family issues, people are trying to kill him and he still wants to stay focused on graduating and getting to college. The stress adds up and it starts to seem like just staying alive might be his biggest task.
This is what some might refer to as street or urban lit because it happens in Detroit and has African American characters. There is violence, but it isn’t graphic. Though there is sex, it isn’t described. The word ‘damn’ shows up a few times, but otherwise, there isn’t any other cursing. I saw a review of Lovers & Haters that described Slater’s writing as gritty, but I’m not sure that I would describe this book that way. Xavier deals with some very difficult and dangerous situations, but Slater keeps things relatively tame and hopeful.
Recommendtion: Borrow it someday. Hold Me Down would be a good fit for those who enjoy contemporary books with a little romance, high school drama, action, and a splash of danger. The storyline is interesting as are the characters even if they aren’t always likeable.