Book Review - For Lamb by Lesa Cline-Ransome

For Lamb
 is a triumph. It's not often a YA Book surprises you. But For Lamb trades in the thunderous action of what happens in so many historical fiction texts, and instead trades that in for a text that chooses to simmer instead. Like the pitter patter of rain, the text reverberates gently until it echoes, again and again until the sound is suffocating. For Lamb grips you from its opening pages, and it never gives a second for you to let go.

It begins with Lamb. And what I love about Lamb is she's not our typical protagonist. She's quieter. Nearly friendless besides her brother and mother. She is remarkable only in her singing prowess, and even that is subdued by her own shyness. Because of this, For Lamb feels more psychological. Our quiet protagonist creates a world of introspection. We spend more time in Lamb's thoughts then in the action of the story, and the payoff feels powerful.

But the scope of For Lamb is far and wide. A wide range of characters also tell stories from their perspective: mother, father, brother, uncle, friend and a few other unlikely characters give us a glimpse into their psyche. Chapters are brief so there is a sense of momentum with each page. 

The main story revolves around Lamb befriending an awkward and eccentric white girl Marnie (the daughter of the town optometrist) feels dangerous from the start. Besides the Jim Crow setting, there's a palpable sense of fear that builds throughout each chapter. Is it the secrecy? The cluelessness of Marnie? The warnings from her brother? It's all that and more, and it'll leave you breathless. I devoured the last 100 pages. A marathon session that I just couldn't put down.

And what's most appreciated is that there are no easy answers here. Lesa Cline-Ransome makes us feel unsettled. Then she forces readers to sit with the uneasiness and hit us again and again. No doubt, the content here is upsetting, but it's told with such grace and fervor, For Lamb is in a class nearly all its own in the YA genre. 

Release Date: January 10, 2023
MSRP: $18.00

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