Book Review: A Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High by Ken Corbett


This book is about a junior high boy who starts dressing up in make-up, high heels and dresses. Shortly after he starts dressing up, he is shot and killed by another junior high boy. At first this book was very interesting as the details of the case came out and thinking through what could have happened or should have happened and how we can make this world a better place going forward. However, the book didn’t always follow a chronological pattern and when it jumped back and forth, I found it hard to figure out how it was organized. I think it would have made more sense if it just worked it’s way through the trial in the order that the trial was taking place. The author definitely has an agenda so it isn’t just factual accounting of the case. Though I felt that book was just okay – I do think the topics and discussions it brings up are good ones to talk about and figure out and discuss. It wasn’t just a simple murder with a simple solution, it is complicated by the young age of the boys, the exploration of gender identity and racism, and the role that teachers play in schools. I don’t think I’d recommend reading this book but there is a documentary called Valentine Road about this same murder which might be worth checking out. I haven’t seen it yet but plan to watch it at some point.


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