My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 20th, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Romance, Racism, Poverty, Coming of Age, Poetry
I knew I would love this book the moment I read its description and saw that it was inspired by the author’s own past lived experiences. True events always make something more meaningful for me because if they’re developed well into a story, it makes the whole book so much more realistic and memorable. This is why I adore reading memoirs as much as fictional stories. Plus, the author’s note at the end is incredible.
Her writing overall is lyrical. She also included poems seeing that the heroine is a writer too, although she struggles to express herself. This is part of her character development: she needs to learn to voice her thoughts and feelings and not keep everything in. She has a long way to go, many realizations to make, but she is a strong character who cares about the people in her life and makes mistakes that she cares to fix.
There is no plot per se. It’s a story with a large set of characters, with the heroine in the center, but these characters all have their own stuff going on. In other words, they don’t depend on the heroine’s own existence to exist themselves. They struggle with their own personal issues and some, like Nevaeh’s mother, cousins, father and best friend undergo their own personal development or make their own realizations.
It is a debut absolutely worth reading. Although there’s no storyline per se, there are multiple situations that make this book and it tackles racism, poverty, discrimination, sexual assault and dependency. I found unsatisfying the ways in which Abby’s and Nevaeh’s father’s girlfriend’s characters were dealt with in the end—very poorly—and the pacing is slow, but other than that I can’t complain further because this story is of great quality.
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