In Darkness by Nick Lake
Set in Haiti the story alternates between the present and the past. In the present Shorty is buried alive after the 2010 earthquake. Surrounded by darkness Shorty decides to share his story to pass what little time he has left. Shorty tells all including, his love for his Manman and twin sister, and what lead him to join a gang in his Site Soley neighborhood. In the past Toussaint L'Ouverture is about to become the oldest general to lead a revolution. There's an overlap between the two stories that Lake handles with a smooth hand.
In Darkness pulled me in hard from the beginning. Just two pages in I was reminded of Zusak's The Book Thief, partly because Lake was able to make the darkness feel like a real presence. And partly because Shorty was calmly telling his story and willing to accept what would come. I loved Shorty voice it felt real and honest. I truly appreciated the author's seamless inclusion of L'Ouverture and the revolution for freedom. I thought the author did an excellent job bringing Haiti and Shorty's Site Soley neighborhood to life. A 2012 favorite.
An excerpt of Now - Shorty's chapters
An excerpt of Then Toussaint L'Ouverture's chapters