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Promise Boys by Nick Brooks: Blog Tour

Happy Black History Month! I’m back from another unintentional hiatus to talk about a book I devoured recently, Promise Boys.

Cover of Promise Boys by Nick Brooks

Title: Promise Boys
Author: Nick Brooks
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Pub Date: 1/31/23
Genre: YA Mystery
Goodreads Link

Promise Boys Description

The Hate U Give meets One of Us Is Lying in Nick Brooks’s Promise Boys, a trailblazing, blockbuster mystery about three teen boys of color who must investigate their principal’s murder to clear their own names―for fans of Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, and Karen McManus.

The Urban Promise Prep School vows to turn boys into men. As students, J.B., Ramón, and Trey are forced to follow the prestigious “program’s” strict rules. Extreme discipline, they’ve been told, is what it takes to be college bound, to avoid the fates of many men in their neighborhoods. This, the Principal Moore Method, supposedly saves lives.

But when Moore ends up murdered and the cops come sniffing around, the trio emerges as the case’s prime suspects. With all three maintaining their innocence, they must band together to track down the real killer before they are arrested. But is the true culprit hiding among them?


I’ll never get enough of murder mystery books set in high schools, and this book surely didn’t disappoint. The format of multi-POVS, transcripts, texts, and articles made it very easy to get through but hard to put down. I really loved that we got to dive into each character before the POVs started bouncing back and forth as it helped me really connect with and understand J.B., Trey, and Ramón as individuals. The more information we learned, the more I needed to know how the characters were going to put together all the pieces of what happened.

As much as Urban Promise Prep was created to keep kids from going down the wrong path, the structure of the school sounded like a prison in itself. Principal Moore and the other staff traded joy and comfort for obedience and discipline. I loved how the book focused on how Black and Brown boys are already at a disadvantage in society, and how an investigation like this plays off of harmful assumptions and can ruin lives and futures. The mystery of the book unraveled nicely, and somehow I didn’t guess the culprit until it was revealed. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and feel like it’ll be a great book for young readers who’ll be able to see themselves or their experiences in these boys and the friends that loved them enough to fight for them. 

*Thanks to the publisher for the ARC and finished copy. All opinions are my own*


Photo of author Nick Brooks
Photo credit: Dante Bailey

Nick Brooks is an author and award-winning filmmaker from Washington, DC. He is a 2020 graduate of USC’s TV and Film Production program. His short film, Hoop Dreamin’, earned him the George Lucas Scholar Award and was a finalist in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Film Fest. He is currently in development for his first feature film, We Were Born Kings, with Mandalay Pictures. Before becoming a filmmaker, Nick was an educator working with at-risk youth and many of his stories are colored by his experiences with the children and families of his community. He is also the author of Nothing Interesting Ever Happens to Ethan Fairmont. Follow Nick on Twitter and on Instagram.

Where to Buy

Bookshop | IndieBound | B&N | Book Depository | Amazon

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