How It Went Down

How It Went Down

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780805098693
Branch Call Number: FICTION (TEEN) Magoon, Kekla
Characteristics: 326 pages ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.

2015 Read Brave Book

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Tigard_HollyCP Apr 23, 2020

Sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson was shot down by a white man in front of a bunch of witnesses. That, everybody can agree upon. But how it went down is all a matter of perspective. And let me tell you, we hear a lot of perspectives! Probably 15 or 20 different characters share the story of Tariq’s life and death from their own point of view. Kekla Magoon does a masterful job of fully developing the many facets of Tariq’s character, as well as race and class relations, and using so many unique voices to tell it. Though this is a book all about black, white and brown, it truly is a story of the gray areas between.

apollospacefan Jun 18, 2018

Topic is such an important concept to share with children. A very difficult read-aloud though. So many voices and so many the book its strength, but difficult to read together.

Aug 16, 2016

The start of the book was a little slow and took some getting used to with all the character jumping but once I got used to it I enjoyed the read.

LPL_KimberlyL Jul 07, 2016

This book is truly heart-wrenching, because it so closely relates to actual events that have happened, and are still happening today. It is also an intimate and beautiful portrayal of a community that is grieving, and struggling to come to terms with extreme violence when one of their own has been gunned down. An *extremely* important read.

Dec 12, 2015

This book was really good. The multiple characters preservatives got a bit confusing as to who was who at times. But that kind of added to it since everyone was supposed to be unsure of what happened to Tariq.

KateHillier Jul 18, 2015

Extremely topical and well organized. A young man is shot outside a store. The young man is black, the shooter is white. Some people swear he had a gun on him, others are adamant he did not. Was he a gang member? Or was he just living in a gang controlled neighbourhood? You never really know the answer. Tariq was known by so many people in different ways that everyone is biased one way or the other; and Tariq cannot answer for himself.

The book is told in changing perspectives. From Tariq's mother, sister, and grandmother. To his best friends. To his enemies. Everyone has an idea and a perspective about how and why the shooting happened and all may be valid in their own context.

I think I expected a little bit more from this book than what I got but that does not make it any less a good read. One death shatters a community and affects everyone's lives no matter how barely they knew Tariq.

Jul 05, 2015

How It Went Down, if a great portrayal of the race relations in the united states. It portrays Tariq as a young victim, and I think that that is important. I very much enjoyed it.

Apr 07, 2015

Beautiful, harrowing, and important. No one seems to agree on how it went down, why it went down, or if it should have gone down. Magoon paints a complex portrait of our society's reality and highlights the essence of our humanity. We need more books like this.

ChristchurchLib Dec 01, 2014

"Everyone agrees on one thing: African-American teen Tariq Johnson was shot and killed in the street. What's unclear is what happened before. The shooter, who claims it was self-defense, is a white gang member -- so was Tariq was in a gang too? Some eyewitnesses say that Tariq had a gun, but others say it was a candy bar. Everyone has a different story, and as Tariq's loved ones grieve, the police, the media, and the community all take sides. With brief, fast-moving chapters that reveal the perspectives of Tariq's neighbours, family, friends, and enemies, this complex look at an all-too-realistic tragedy is sure to get people talking." Teen Scene December 2014 newsletter

Nov 08, 2014

I really enjoyed this book about a young African-American teen named Tariq who is shot by a white man, Jack Franklin. Kekla Magoon tells what happened and the fallout afterwards in the local community and individuals connected to Tariq through short chapters told from different characters' voices. You get a compelling inside look at each person's personal reaction through the lens of their relationship to Tariq and their motives, whether positive or negative. In doing so, Magoon paints a thoughtful, complex picture of an emotionally and racially charged death. Readers are kept in suspense throughout the story as to the truth about disputed details of what happened and as to whom Tariq's allegiances - and therefore his own motives for his actions - belonged.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SPPL

To Top