Jo reviews Teen books

Published: 23-Nov-2021

Jo reviews Teen books: King and the dragonflies by Kacen Callender

King and the Dragonflies

Kacen Callender   King and the dragonflies  Boston-Globe Book Award Winner 2020

A delicate, beautifully told story of a young boy who is grieving whilst facing other life challenges. King is trying to navigate his life since his beloved older brother Khalid died suddenly of a heart attack, no longer there to advise and guide him. They had shared a bedroom and King had been enthralled with Khalid’s dreams during which he talked out loud about beautiful worlds. It seems to King that Khalid is still there, somewhere, maybe in the form of a dragonfly. As well as missing his brother, King is grappling with understanding his feelings of both friendship and attraction for his two best friends.  When one of them is in danger, King tries to do the right thing to help him hide from his violent father.

All the characters felt real, bringing both their strengths and their flaws to the story. I especially connected to King’s parents, who were struggling to do their best to cope with their own grief, as well as support King.  This book covers some heavy topics: loss and grieving; sexual orientation; racism, and domestic violence.  But it is handled so thoughtfully and with care that I believe a keen reader from intermediate age upwards could appreciate and enjoy it.

We will put it into our Teen fiction collection – it is one of those books that could be read by intermediate age upwards.