Better Must Come (Hardcover)

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Better Must Come By Desmond Hall Cover Image
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Barely Missing Everything meets American Street in this fiercely evocative, action-packed young adult thriller that looks at the darker side of light-filled Jamaica and how a tragedy and missing drug money helplessly entangle the lives of two teens who want to change their fate.

Deja is a “barrel girl”—one of the Jamaican kids who get barrels full of clothes, food, and treats shipped to them from parents who have moved to the US or Canada to make more money. Gabriel is caught up in a gang and desperate for a way out. When he meets Deja at a party, he starts looking for a way into her life and wonders if they could be a part of each other’s futures.

Then, one day while out fishing, Deja spies a go-fast boat stalled out by some rocks, smeared with blood. Inside, a badly wounded man thrusts a knapsack at her, begging her to deliver it to his original destination, and to not say a word. She binds his wounds, determined to send for help and make good on her promise…not realizing that the bag is stuffed with $500,000 American. Not realizing that the posse Gabriel is in will stop at nothing to get their hands on this bag—or that Gabriel’s and her lives will intersect in ways neither ever imagined, as they both are forced to make split-second choices to keep the ones they love most alive.

About the Author

Desmond Hall was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and moved to Jamaica, Queens. He has worked as a high school biology and English teacher in East New York, Brooklyn; counseled teenage ex-cons after their release from Rikers Island; and served as Spike Lee’s creative director at Spike DDB. Desmond has served on the board of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Advertising Council and judged the One Show, the American Advertising Awards, and the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival. He’s also been named one of Variety magazine’s Top 50 Creatives to Watch. He’s the author of Your Corner Dark and Better Must Come. Desmond lives outside of Boston with his wife and two daughters.

Praise For…

Intimate and lyrical, Better Must Come animates the razor-thin margin between hope and despair that Jamaica’s young sufferers reside on, and it does it with the vibrancy of your favorite dance hall riddim.”
— Jonathan Escoffery, author of If I Survive You, National Book Award and Booker Prize nominee

"Cleverly braiding together thriller, budding romance and biting social commentary, Hall’s compassion for his characters and their humanity shines through on the page. Better Must Come is as much about the power of connection, as it is just plain fun to read!" 
— Christina Hammonds Reed, author of The Black Kids, a Morris Award Finalist

"In this thrilling story of love and survival in Jamaica where the tentacles of gang life touch everyone - even those determined to escape - Hall reminds us that it's love that restores sanity, keeps ties strong, keeps us all moving forward. Told with fierce tenderness and humor, Better Must Come is a moving, fast-paced ride."
—  Erica Ferencik, author of Girl on Ice, a New York Times Editors’ Choice

Hall (Your Corner Dark) presents an expansive exploration of how class and privilege intersect within Jamaican culture through the eyes of teens in this intimately narrated tale told via Deja and Gabriel’s dual POVs. 
— Publishers Weekly

The nonlinear dual narration reveals how smitten both young people are and moves the story along swiftly toward Deja’s pivotal discovery of a dead DEA agent and a briefcase full of money, while Gabriel navigates the likelihood of betrayal and death as he struggles to find a way out of the posse. [...] Criminal intrigue and the unique vulnerabilities of Caribbean youth make for high-stakes hijinks with a lot of heart. 

— Kirkus Reviews

Hall showcases a Jamaica beset by poverty and corruption, a place where many try to escape their situations through crime and drug abuse. His gritty descriptions create the perfect backdrop for this tense thriller, creating a foreboding atmosphere where very few can be trusted and violence can erupt at any time. Yet, he also makes sure to show it as a place where family and community are strong, instilling young people like Deja and Gabriel with intelligence and compassion. A well-plotted, taut page-turner. 
— Booklist, STARRED Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9781534460744
ISBN-10: 1534460748
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English