There's a terrible symmetry to this book in that it ends the exact same way it began: with a funeral for a young black teenager who's been shot to death. It's almost uncanny because there's the same pastor, same hymn, same everything. We get the sick sad feeling that violence is an unstoppable force in this neighborhood—and that this is going to happen again. And again. And again.
Still, it manages to end on a note of quiet hope as Jesse and C.J. leave the funeral together. They're mourning their dead friend, but they also feel a sense of relief that they won't be dragged into any more gang stuff. The last lines aren't exactly upbeat, but they suggest that things are going to change for the better:
As we walked, C.J. tried to push the conversation in a different direction, away from Rise. I could dig where he was coming from. (23.31)
We know that Jesse is going to move on; fingers crossed it's in the right direction.