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Kindness for Weakness

The New York Times Book Review - Ethan Bronner: "Growing into manhood—the theme of this finely executed young adult novel—isn't easy for teenage boys, even those from the most stable homes. All share the challenge of grasping the difference between strength and tyranny, feebleness and compassion. But for James, the test is as hard as it gets…a gripping tale with important lessons for any young man."


Starred Review, School Library Journal, June 2013: "Gripping action, gritty dialogue, vivid characters, and palpable tension permeate the brief chapters of James‘s powerful, honest, compelling narrative."


Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2013: "Goodman’s background as a school psychologist is evident in his deeply felt characters and well-realized setting.Readers who are not familiar with the often-harsh conditions of the juvenile justice system will receive a realistic and compelling examination of adolescent life behind bars."


Publishers Weekly, April 15, 2013: “Goodman... expresses harsh criticism of the juvenile justice system while telling a deeply personal story of an abused teen’s struggles to free himself from the constraints preventing him from reaching his goals.” Book Club Pick, May 31, 2013 "Kindness for Weakness is about a guy with a painful past you'll be rooting for from beginning to end...In this coming-of-age tale, kind-hearted James struggles to resist the all-consuming vicious cycle of cruelty in the prison."

“In the spirit of [Walter Dean Myers’s] Monster meets The Catcher in the Rye, Goodman’s masterful story will remain with the reader long after the last page, echoing the raw truth that perhaps a real man is one who is both brave and scared.”

—Ruta Sepetys, author of Between Shades of Gray

“Shawn Goodman leaves his huge heart on every page of this brave and truly beautiful novel. Kindness for Weakness is a daring, dazzling leap into the dark passage that is the journey to manhood.”

–Paul Griffin, author of Burning Blue

“Shawn Goodman takes us inside the gritty world of our juvenile justice system with the authority of an expert, the unsparing eye of a social reformer, and the verve of a master storyteller.”

—Jordan Sonnenblick, the author of Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie

“A gripping story of a boy’s climb to manhood on his own terms”

—Paul Volponi, author of The Final Four

“The main character, James, is an authentic young man with real feelings and fears, and the reader will be seized by his plight and determination not only to survive, but to better himself.”

—Todd Strasser, author of Give a Boy a Gun

YALSA selection for Best Fiction for Young Adults of 2014

YALSA Quick Picks selection Texas selection for 2014

Tayshas Reading List Bank Street’s Best Books of 2014 for Children and Young Adults

Finalist for Central New York Book Award