Cover Image: Garvey in the Dark

Garvey in the Dark

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Member Reviews

The story of the Covid pandemic through Garvey’s eyes was a powerful and poignant one. The inclusion of the Breonna Taylor and George Floyd murders and how such traumatic experiences impact kids of Garvey’s age was eye opening. 

This novel covered kids experiences dealing with mental health, world events, daily news and their lives turning upside down. These things are too much for a lot of adults to handle let alone elementary, middle grade and high school aged children! 

The author does a good job of conveying how the world has been impacted and changed over the past 2+ years!
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This was a nice look at Covid from the point of view of a middleschooler. It didn't blow my socks off, but I did find it relatable.
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Garvey's Choice is one of my favorite middle grade novels and I never imagined that we would get to revisit Garvey's world.  This novel shows how that world deals with the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Short and sweet novel and verse. I honestly would have loved an even longer story. It was well written. I felt as if I was reliving my own COVID experience all over again.
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Garvey’s Choice is one I read to my students and used as a poetry mentor text. Kids loved Garvey and now the story continues AND with a new way to connect-through the pandemic. It’s a beautiful story.
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The setting for Garvey in the Dark by Nikki Grimes will seem familiar to today’s readers who have experienced all of Covid and its fallout. Looking ahead to future readers, it will become historical and give a picture of the great pandemic to generations to come who did not live through it. From the beginning of the crisis, Garvey looks to a short holiday from school that turns into a long term problem with his mother figuring out how to teach remotely, his father allowed to work as an essential until he contracts Covid, and newscasts filled with the history of Emmitt Till and present day Breonna Taylor. 

Woven skillfully into that setting, the likeable protagonist Garvey deals with relationships with friends, family, and community that are common to every generation. The extras come in episodes like the night his father comes home with face masks and the demand, “You go anywhere, you wear these. Clear?” Garvey’s take is “This Dad’s a little scary.” His dad becomes even more scary when he comes down with a severe case of Covid.

In signature Nikki Grimes fashion, tiny phrases produce a big picture in an amusing way. She introduces Garvey’s friend as “just Emmanuel, or Manny for short, the other tenor from chorus who sings in the key of we.” 

All of this hopeful novel in verse is written in the ancient Japanese poetry form called tanka. Nikki’s description of the form and the way she used it is described in the delightful back matter. The book is worth reading once for the story line and again to see how Nikki used the tanka to make it sing. Middle graders through adults will enjoy this book.
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Important read for middle graders. Although quarantine is behind us, this book gives a voice to that scary time that readers will find relatable.
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It ended too soon but I enjoyed every minute of it.
Nikki Grimes put the feelings and emotions surrounding the COVID pandemic into verse. I was transported right back to 2020 and all that happened during that time.

The cover ties in well with the story but I wonder if the image presented depicts a middle grade male or a young adult. Other book covers in this series show a middle grader.
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Another gem from the incomparable Nikki Grimes that explores COVID-19 through the eyes of Garvey, a musician, brother, friend and black boy. This moving novel in verse couldn't be more timely, and will surely resonate with any middle grader who lived through the early days of COVID, especially if they were personally affected by the virus.
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This novel-in-verse is a perfect snapshot of one Black family's life in California from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic until August 2020. The mother is a teacher and the father is an essential worker. The book is extremely quick but packs a lot - including the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. I never read "Garvey's Choice" but didn't feel like that hindered what I took away from this book.
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Garvey in the Dark is a novel-in-verse about living through 2020, the year of a pandemic, murder wasps, and the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. The book touched on some understandably dark and crucial issues, but none of them were fleshed out to satisfaction. With only 91 (mostly half-filled) pages, I finished the story in less than an hour. This was not enough time to discover anything about the characters to make me like them. (Apparently, this novel is a sequel to a book I did not read, which may have had an impact; I treated this as a standalone title.) The characters do not feel developed, even though Garvey is the narrator. I could not see his image in my mind or really get a feel for him as a person. His friends were shown only in snippets.

Most of the book felt like showing instead of telling. I wanted to see their interactions, especially him and his family, but almost everything was his descriptions alone. The poetry aspect did not work in the narrative's favor, as it made the chapters very short. Some of the poems felt disjointed while others flowed together like a typical prose novel. I would have preferred one or the other – a book of poetry or a novel-in-verse – instead of trying to mesh the two together. I understand the author was using a very specific style of poetry, and the style worked. The poems themselves just felt like they didn't always flow.

Finally, this is a more subjective take on the issue. COVID-19 was a horrible time, but most of the families I personally knew were never this affected. They didn't wipe down all their groceries or worry about their perfectly healthy family members dying overnight. My essential husband never lived in another room when he got sick or bagged his clothes after leaving the store. Garvey is a child, so the anxiety is understandable. However, more context of the family would have helped me understand the panic. This was not my experience, so it felt unrealistic to me. I'm not saying every book needs to be relatable to every reader. However, I wanted to understand why Garvey's family specifically felt the need to act in this manner. Were there immunocompromised people in the home? Was there a previous scare of a family member getting sick? More information and more showing, as opposed to telling, would have really helped me out in that aspect.
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Thank you to Astra Publishing House, Wordsong, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of Garvey in the Dark. 

Having really enjoyed Nikki Grimes's previous book Garvey's Choice, I was excited to see another book starring the same character. This time the book centers around Covid and the lockdown phase. Unfortunately, I just didn't connect to the characters this time. I didn't get really invested in the story until the very end which was really disappointing. As another reviewer said, the formatting of the digital ARC was off which may have impacted my feelings. It was definitely a struggle to read it with the formatting issues.
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Nikki Grimes brilliantly captures the effects of Covid-19 on a family through the eyes of Garvey a middle schooler. With so much trauma in the world, this book remains hopeful even while showing the negative and the positive effects of the disease. This is a must have for my middle school library. 

I had not read Garvey’s Choice, Grimes’ first novel in tanka featuring Garvey, but that did not impact my enjoyment of this book in any way. I did immediately read Garvey’s Choice - another five star entry. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC digital copy. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.

To be honest, I would not have chosen this book if I’d known it speaks about Covid because I tend to enjoy reading as an escape. However, the writing style (tanka) truly made this exceptional. The formula feels somewhat like a disorganized pattern (5-7-5-7-7) which matched the topic well.

4 out of 5 stars and my respect to the author.
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I think this is a great book about Garvey and the relationship with his dad. It goes through covid 19, and how it affected his relationship with his dad. He is finally happy, until his dad gets sick.
The story takes us through how he is no longer being bullied and his relationship with his friends as well. I'll be recommending this one to my fellow #bookstagram readers.
Thank you to #net galley for allowing me to read this #arc
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A wonderful book in verse taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic in California. Told from the point of view of Garvey, a kid who is just finding his place in his family, learning guitar and enjoying his life when the pandemic invades and strips so much of what he loves away from him. 
I haven’t read many novels in verse but I really enjoyed this. The impact that is made using so few words is remarkable. If kids are feeling ready to read novels set during covid, then I think this one is a great choice. I can imagine it being chosen in schools to be studied in years to come by children who didn’t live through this time, to give them a picture of what it was like. I hope it will be, in any case. 
Thank you to NetGalley for the digital review copy 
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Novel in verse
I received an electronic ARC from Astra Publishing House through NetGalley.
Grimes uses verse to continue Garvey's story. Readers see their lives as Covid begins in March 2020 and then see how it directly affects them when his father becomes ill. Middle graders will connect to the emotions and actions as it is recent enough that they also lived through the joint traumas of Covid and the protests for justice.
Grimes is a master of this craft and captures the gamut of emotions through her poetry. She conveys so much that will resonate with readers and open opportunities for dialogue for families.
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Any book by Nikki Grimes is a treasure. Garvey in the Dark is another of her poetic stories that hits home as she delves into a young man who has to deal with the isolation of Covid and a father who falls ill. Music grounds him and provides comfort and hope during a period when he needs an outlet.
Nikki Grimes knows how to tug at heart strings while taking us into the world of her characters. By the end of this story, you are rooting for Garvey as he digs his way out of the dark. Grimes way with storytelling through verse will keep you enthralled.
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Grimes uses the traditional Japanese tanka poem style to tell the story of Garvey's life from January through July 2020, from the first whispers of a mysterious disease through the murder of George Floyd and the protests that follow.  Although not that long ago, this still feels like history told through a middle school lens.  Garvey's father fights Covid at home and Manny's Gram ends up in the hospital.   I was moved to tears as Garvey and his friends figure out how to bless the heroic people working at the hospital.  It is hard to know how readers in a few years will relate to the book, but middle grade readers today, I think it will let them remember their own emotions from that eventful year.  And, I hope there are more Garvey stories to come.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the early copy of this book.

Written in verse, this is the story of a family in California in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic entered the country and everyone's lives.

I love the characters and seeing how the pandemic impacted Garvey and his friends. It made me wonder how the teens, my own included, processed what we were going through, especially in the early days. While we were thrown together more as a family, were we available for the children or were we too wrapped up in our own worries and pressures that we were actually less connected and less aware of how they were being impacted. I am a teacher and I very much related to the mom in the story. I also couldn't help but flashback to so many of the fears and decisions we made in an attempt to keep ourselves and our family safe.

As COVID-19 stories begin to appear on the shelves, I wonder whether kids will be ready for them. Do they want to read a book about a historical event that impacted them in such a traumatic way? My father, a WWII vet, used to avoid movies and books about the war. He would say he lived it and didn't need to live it again. The memory of this conversation with him goes through my head every time I read a book about a lived experience of my own and those of my students.

The biggest issue I had was that the formatting of verse novels and graphic novels seem to always be super wonky on my kindle when I download from NetGalley and I prefer not to read on the app on my phone so reading this was a little challenging at times. With that said, I devoured it in less than 24 hours. This is definitely a book I will add to the collection.
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