Back to top

Extreme discipline is what it takes

Cover of Promise Boys
A review of Promise Boys by Nick Brooks

The students at Urban Promise Prep School must follow the "Principal Moore Method" for conduct and behavior at all times. Principal Moore is strict, but his method saves lives, or so the boys are told time and time again. Infractions include not walking on a line painted on the school floor, talking in the hallway or having unauthorized food in a locker or backpack. The infractions result in demerits that never get recouped. After a certain number of demerits, the students find themselves in detention, or even worse, expelled.

J.B., Ramón, and Trey are sent to detention for not following the "Moore Method" to the letter the same afternoon that Principal Moore is shot in his office. All three boys are suspects because of their proximity to the crime and motives that have been assigned to them by the media, the community and Moore's acolytes. Rather than crumple in the face of disaster, the boys decide to investigate the murder on their own to clear their names and provide answers.

This page-turner is a murder mystery that examines social justice and educational inequity as well as racial and socioeconomic prejudice. Told in a nonlinear story structure with events out of sequence, in flashbacks and flash-forwards, involving family, friends and classmates, Promise Boys is chilling and thrilling. You will be rooting for all three boys while suspecting that one or all of them have secrets they don't want revealed.  

Promise Boys was awarded the 2023 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award and is available in LINKcat and Libby in book and audio formats. The audiobook features a full cast and musical accompaniment.

May 13, 2024