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InstaReview: Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

"Art is the way we imprint ourselves onto the world so there is no way to erase us."

Nightcrawling is an explosive debut novel by Leila Mottley, loosely based off a real-life scandal involving the Oakland Police Department several years ago. But Mottley flips the script and tells the story from the perspective of the young woman caught in the middle of it all, who didn't ask for any of it. It is at times a painful and heartbreaking read, but we applaud what she is doing here, lifting up and centering the voices of people impacted by poverty and police violence in ways that often don't make the front page. Mottley's background as a poet is apparent as the story viscerally illustrates the hard choices people have to make to survive growing up poor in The Town. At points though, the prose felt overly literary and created a disconnect with the grittiness of the characters and their lives so its 4.5 stars from us. We look forward to seeing what other stories Mottley brings to the fore.


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