Book Reviews

Review: By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery

By Any Means Necessary is a story of family, friendship, and our past. It is a emotional book that examines racism, homophobia, and our difficulty in leaving behind the past.

Summary

On the day Torrey officially becomes a college freshman, he gets a call that might force him to drop out before he’s even made it through orientation: the bee farm his beloved uncle Miles left him after his tragic death is being foreclosed on.

Torrey would love nothing more than to leave behind the family and neighborhood that’s bleeding him dry. But he still feels compelled to care for the project of his uncle’s heart. As the farm heads for auction, Torrey precariously balances choosing a major and texting Gabriel—the first boy he ever kissed—with the fight to stop his uncle’s legacy from being demolished. But as notice letters pile up and lawyers appear at his dorm, dividing himself between family and future becomes impossible unless he sacrifices a part of himself.

Review

(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I am struggling to put words to my feelings about By Any Means Necessary. Featuring a black gay main character, Torrey is always conscious of the way the world and his family sees him. Montgomery examines the experience of being the first generation in his family to go to college and his race with both humor and weight. But even more than who Torrey is, By Any Means Necessary is a story with complex layers: toxic relationships versus friendship, the struggle of gentrification versus the economic inequality of people of color, and more.

By Any Means Necessary is also a story based in friendship and found family. There’s such a fantastic core of side characters that you find yourself reading not only for Torrey but his friends. Torrey seems to hold the weight of the world on his shoulders – not only because of his poverty, his biological family that seems to have deserted him, or the task of saving the apiary, but also because of the balance Torrey struggles with in figuring out when to walk away. What can we truly save? The balance between where we are from and where we’re going – especially as the first generation in his family to go to college.

By Any Means Necessary is a powerful book that has guilt, love, and honey all wrapped up in one. How important it is to be able to choose. The differences between obligation, duty, and free will. To be able to honor the pieces of ourselves as a whole. It’s an important story of self-discovery.

Overall,

There are about a billion ways you can get lost in By Any Means Necessary. You might have heard about this book because of its college setting, or its bisexual Afro-Latinx love interest or black gay MC representation. By Any Means Necessary examines Torrey’s identity and the way his blackness and sexuality intersect and effect his relationships. But there’s even discussion of self-care, when we have to move on from what we think, toxic family members, the balance between moving forwards and walking away. Or you might just love bees.

Find By Any Means Necessary on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.

Discussion

What is your favorite character who has a unique hobby?


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