Set in Washington DC, The Night I Lost My Father’s Gun follows Elon, known to his friends as X, through one fateful day. We’re introduced to his high school, his friends, and his family situation.
This one is a bit odd in that the entire book takes place in less than 24 hours. Because of that there isn’t much room for the buildup and release of tension. We literally follow Elon from one task in his day to the next.
Unfortunately I was left wondering when the story was going to begin until nearly 93% of the novel was over. I’m still not sure how I feel about Elon or any of the characters in this book because I don’t feel like I got to know any of them very well. Half the time, I couldn’t understand what they were saying to each other because of the prolific amount of slang in the dialogue and narration of the text.
I wanted to like this one. The setting and cast of characters — urban high school and an ethnically diverse cast — made me sit up and take notice. I don’t see enough books that look or feel like this one. So I was looking forward to it, but there were just too many structural and dialogue problems for me to really enjoy it.
The only other works I can think to compare it to are Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova and Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, and only because they have urban settings with characters of color. There are no supernatural elements in The Night I Lost My Father’s Gun.
While this wasn’t my favorite, those who enjoy young adult novels with urban settings, tons of pop culture references, and atypical story structure might enjoy this.