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The Crew: 05/16/08
The Crewis a mystery set in rough neighborhood in London among a gang of teenagers. The story is told from the point of view of Billy, the leader and Ellie, the youngest member.
Billy and his crew look after themselves because the local police don't seem willing to their part even when there is a missing bag of money, a pair of kidnappings and other related crimes. Billy isn't perfect; he's done his fair share of petty crimes but he's trying to do the right thing in this book.
Unlike (Un)Arranged Marriage, the parents and adults in this novel have good relationships with their children. This isn't a book about the power struggle between adults and teens and the way tradition can be used as a disguise for abuse. Instead, this is a social commentary on life in the inner city.
The city here is London so many of the cultural references are specific to that city but on a broader sense, the book is about the hardships and frustrations of living in any city center. Billy describes the poverty, the drugs, the apathetic (and sometimes corrupt) police force, prostitution and gangs. Billy running commentary often includes the why behind a character's actions which makes The Crew less of a collection of cliches and more of a living breathing microcosm.