#BookReview: Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley @leilamottley @BloomsburyBooks @NetGalley

Hi everyone! Today, I have a book review for a great read from a new author, Leila Mottley. This is a stunning read from a 17-year-old debut writer. Amazing. I discovered this book via NetGalley Β >>>

About the Book:


A dazzling, unforgettable novel about a young black woman who walks the streets of Oakland and stumbles headlong into the failure of its justice system–a debut that announces a blazingly original voice.

Kiara and her brother, Marcus, are barely scraping by in a squalid East Oakland apartment complex optimistically called the Regal-Hi. Both have dropped out of high school, their family fractured by death and prison. But while Marcus clings to his dream of rap stardom, Kiara hunts for work to pay their rent–which has more than doubled–and to keep the nine-year-old boy next door, abandoned by his mother, safe and fed.

One night, what begins as a drunken misunderstanding with a stranger turns into the job Kiara never imagined wanting but now desperately needs: nightcrawling. And her world breaks open even further when her name surfaces in an investigation that exposes her as a key witness in a massive scandal within the Oakland Police Department.

Full of edge, raw beauty, electrifying intensity, and piercing vulnerability,Β NightcrawlingΒ marks the stunning arrival of a voice unlike any we have heard before.

My Review:



Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for a free Advance Review Copy of this book.

This is a stunning read from a 17-year-old debut author. The cover and book description intrigued me, and I am so pleased I received a review copy of this book. This is a gritty and heart-wrenching read, which contains some wonderful lines of prose. While the content is heart-wrenching and sad, it is an all too common life for far too many people. The descriptions of the apartment block and Oakland itself make the reader feel as though they are walking those streets and scraping by in the awful apartment right by the side of the main character, Kiara. The characters are excellently portrayed and felt real and alive. I could have throttled the brother, Marcus, for the position in which he left his little sister.

“The swimming pool is filled with dog shit and Dee’s laughter mocks us at dawn.” … From this graphic opening line, we are drawn with immediacy into the life of Kiara and her older brother Marcus, who ends up neglecting his younger sister when he focuses too much on attaining stardom as his uncle did. Abandoned after their father died and mother went to prison, this pair have only each other. Then Dee, the druggy neighbour, disappears and leaves her young son alone. Kiara adopts him and makes sure he’s fed and clothed and has a roof over his head. With no one to rely upon but herself, and unable to secure employment, her life takes a severe downward turn, and she finds herself drawn into a life on the streets, selling her body–something she never thought she would do. Below are some lines I absolutely loved …

“High Street is an illusion of cigarette butts and liquor stores, a winding trail to and from drugstores and adult playgrounds masquerading as street corners.”

And …

“His voice fills up the whole room and it’s like he’s gone to war with the air, leaving me with nothing.”

And …

“Her voice comes straight from the throat, like she’s holding so much more that she’s not letting out.”

I could go on and on. This is, quite simply, brilliant writing. While the topic is heavy, it is treated with sensitivity and honesty, and is well worth a read. Nightcrawling gets a resounding five stars from me.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER β€” Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! β€” An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS β€”Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA β€”Lots of issues with this book.


I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚


For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …


UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

24 Comments on “#BookReview: Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley @leilamottley @BloomsburyBooks @NetGalley

  1. Wow. A 17 year-old author with such a powerful voice and story to tell. The cover is stunning too. Thanks for sharing your review, Harmony. It sounds like a riveting, but heartbreaking read.

    • Wonderful writing for any age, but even more so for a debuting 17-year-old. Thanks, Staci πŸ’•πŸ™‚

  2. This book sounds amazingly written judging by your reaction and the pieces of prose you provided. I’m really impressed, and want to read this right away!

  3. Wow, Harmony! Did I read it right, that this is from a 17-year-old debut author? Amazing!! I love it when young talent shows up and this story sounds like a compelling and gripping read! Thank you for sharing!

    • It is so amazing! I hope she writes many more books. Thanks, Jan πŸ’•πŸ™‚

  4. HI Harmony, this is some book for a 17-year old to write. I suppose your ability to write this sort of story would depend on the exposures you’ve had during your life, regardless of age. Thanks for sharing your review.

    • Yes, I would think life experience is a necessary for something this vivid. Absolutely brilliant at putting it down on the page for any age! Thanks, Robbie πŸ’•πŸ™‚

  5. Nice review, Harmony! Mottley wrote this when she was SEVENTEEN? I’m astounded at the observations and maturity in the passages you quoted. She has a bright writing future ahead of her!