In October 1995 in Gary, Indiana, Jamal is ready to get out of school to enjoy his weekend. But things turn for the worse when Jamal and his best friend Simon are wrongly accused and harassed by the police. While at the police station, Jamal falls asleep while waiting for his father. Suddenly, he wakes up in an unfamiliar police station and surroundings. Jamal has somehow been transported back to Chicago 1969. He quickly learns that he and the rest of his family are members of the Black Panther Party. Will Jamal embrace his new life or try to get back to his old one.
K.C. Taylor does a great job with incorporating history of the Black Panther Party into Black Leather Jacket. Taylor gives readers a good coming-of-age story of a young black teen in the 90s. Readers will see how Jamal’s eyes open up to the injustices that he and his best friend Simon faces. Taylor addresses police brutality and the Black Panther Party in a way that is not preachy and will be a good discussion book for YA readers. Black Leather Jacket is a clear winner for K.C. Taylor.
Reviewed by Radiah Hubbert