Bestselling author of The Killing Season and veteran Los Angeles Times reporter Miles Corwin spent a school year with twelve high school seniors -- South-Central kids who qualified for a gifted program because of their exceptional IQs and test scores. Sitting alongside them in classrooms where bullets were known to rip through windows, Corwin chronicled their amazing odyssey as they faced the greatest challenges of their academic lives. And Still We Rise is an unforgettable story of transcending obstacles that would dash the hopes of any but the most exceptional spirits.
Corwin's poignant portraits of the students and his sensitive evocation of the effort it requires for them to pursue their education are among the many strengths of the book. There's Olivia, the abused former runaway, ward of the county, and gifted student; Sadikifu, the promising Muslim rapper who constantly fights the gritty allure of gang life; and Toya, who lost her own mom to domestic violence and who struggles to balance schoolwork and motherhood. Corwin further explores the intricate intersections of affirmative action, educational expectations, urban neglect, and racism. By turns shocking and inspiring, this is journalistic work that gets to the core of its subject to reveal students who "value education, sacrifice much to further their educations, and overcome many obstacles--including even their own teachers--in order to obtain their educations." It shouldn't be so hard. --Eugene Holley Jr.