Title: The Boys Who Woke Up Early
Author: A.D. Hopkins
Genre: Fiction, historical
Rating: 4 out of 5
Western Virginia in the days of the Ku Klux Klan is where Stony starts his junior year of high school. The town is poor, and those who live in town don’t associate with the hillbillies in the woods and hollers. But Stony has a crush on Mary Lou Martin, one of the country girls, and he can’t figure out how to cross the divide.
Then Jack moves to town. Jack dresses like TV detective Peter Gunn and plays jazz clarinet, and soon he and Stony are good friends. Jack convinces Stony they’ll be detectives, and soon the boys are spending more time at the sheriff’s department than at home. If only Stony didn’t have a history as a juvenile delinquent.
Soon the boys run up against the district attorney and find themselves involved in a raid on an illegal speakeasy…just before they face off with the Klan in their attempts to keep their town safe.
I kept telling myself I’d put this book down because the writing wasn’t quite up to par, but I enjoyed the story so much that I finished reading it. This book is decidedly not in favor of the Klan. It’s set just when the fight for equal rights begins, when discrimination is the norm, and only a few people are waking up to the awareness that the way things have always been isn’t the way they should be. I enjoyed the story of Stony’s realization that his small mountain hometown needs to make some changes.
A.D. Hopkins is a former journalist. The Boys Who Woke Up Early is his new novel.
(Galley courtesy of Imbrifex Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)