Elijah R. Freeman, January 2022's "Penhandler of the Month" had the opportunity to have one of his books reviewed, and he chose his 2021 summer release, The Hottest Summer Ever.
Now, we all know he can market a book, but can he write?
YES! Absolutely Yes! As you can see above, he received a Penhandler's Ink rating of: 4/5 Quills!
Veteran Indie Author, Elijah Freeman wrote a scorching novel I could not wait to read, and as expected, could not put down.
The story centers around the character, Richelle Kemoni Love (Kush); a young girl who sought refuge in the streets of Atlanta, GA, in an attempt to heal the wounds left by the murder of her father.
As Kush mourns the death of the only man she would ever love, she is forced to grow up in more ways than one. When she makes an irreversible decision to protect her mother one night, she finds herself in a youth detention center and eventually in a group home. Unfortunately, her mother leaves her there to rot, and Kush is forced to fend for herself.
As the plot unfolds, Kush meets a new friend; Redd, and a young woman; Chelsea, who would both change her life forever. Redd introduces her to the streets, and immediately enrolls her in on-the-job training for car-jackers, murderers, and robbers. Chelsea, on the other hand, introduces her to the bitter sweetness of romantic love and betrayal.
Before long, Kush becomes a ruthless savage in the streets. Eventually, she captures the attention of major players, and is recruited for the most dangerous job of her criminal career. A job that will prove to have haunting effects on the lives of everyone she loves.
Elijah R. Freeman does an amazing job of descriptive writing when it came to scenes from the main character's childhood. I was impressed at how well a male writer was able to make me "feel" the pain of a young girl losing her innocence. He detailed Kush's life before the streets so well, that I carried a sense of empathy for her throughout the story. This is what I call good character layering.
In conclusion, The Hottest Summer Ever started off very well-paced, but then it takes off like a rocket... fast... in some cases... too fast. Don't get me wrong, I love action-packed stories, but I think some of the scenes needed more details. I needed a break from the action from time to time to pull me in and make me love the characters, especially when it came to Kush's dealings with her mother and uncle. They were in the story, and then out of the story... just like that, and I thought that developing their characters more would have really added to who Kush really was. This was not your typical hood/drug-dealing/shoot everybody story because it started off as a coming-of-age theme, therefore, more tender loving care would have been perfect for certain scenes. I did, however, enjoy the Epilogue, but it seemed like there were scenes or pages missing from the ending. I thought it should have mentioned a part 2... it didn't. This story needs a part 2. Hopefully, there is a part 2... and soon... because I need answers. There are definitely some unanswered questions.
All in all, Freeman did a phenomenal job as a male writer writing from the perspective of a young girl. That took quite a bit of talent, and I was all the way here for the finished product. Hats off to the author! Great Job!