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What are your overall thoughts (SPOILERS)?
I enjoyed this book overall, despite some negative reviews I read online. I found that the action helped it to keep a good pace throughout. It also touched on many important lessons and sensitive topics without coming across as "preachy." My favorite example of this was how it showed that "good people" can still have ingrained racist ideals/thoughts that they need to consciously work to expunge i.e. Campbell's assumption that Lena would be familiar and comfortable with the dangerous area they walked through together.
I listened to the audiobook and was irritated at times with Lena's narrator. Way too stereotypical....
I liked that we got to see the fight at the school start with the white visitor saying "boy" and "monkey" . Also was pleasantly surprised that Caleb , the drug dealer, was white.
Black surprised me in the end. I didnt expect him to stand up for Campbell. That was wonderful.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to it. I hope that it those who arent familiar with poverty/marginalization, read this and learn something.
Lena's comments about being seen as a pitbull while Campbell is viewed as a poodle were spot on.
Also, Campbell realizing that she could walk into the Walmart parking lot to Black's car while he could not was good as well.... so sad but true.
Campbell does run into a guy who was supposed to be watching her father's store, and he's a jerk.
From Campbell's perspective sure, he seems like a jerk, but put yourself in his shoes for a moment.
His grandfather is in danger in the heart of the unrest. A job is a job, and that's important, but family comes first, and no matter how good an employee he is, you can't expect him to put his life on the line for someone else's business when his grandfather needs his help.
On a separate note, given the parallels to the Rodney King riots in LA in 1992, I was wondering if there would be an equivalent to the "Roof Koreans". There was the mention of the couple at the hipster sandwich shop where the wife was guarding the doorway with a gun.
I liked the book and was glad I read it. I'm an adult, so don't read a lot of YA, but I do every so often and almost always enjoy the stories. This one had a serious message to tell and did so in an interesting way--through action and the dialog/interaction between characters. Very effective.
It took me a couple of pages to get used to Lena's speech style, but then it flowed and I could hear her voice in my head. I didn't really think of her dialog as stereotyped. If this is the way young people with her background usually talk, then it would be realistic, not stereotyped. I'm not sure I can judge whether her speech is common or not though since I'm not around it in RL.
The ending left some threads open, not totally resolved. I was okay with that for the most part, but I had gotten close to the girls and was left wondering about what would happen next. Between Lena and Campbell. With Lena and Black's relationship. With Campbell and her dad.
YOU are spot on. The only thing that surprised me that you were surprised at, given your other comments, was that the drug dealer was white. Who do you think all the suburban white kids get their stuff from? Not the suburban black kids. Not the urban black kids, either, because they are like Campbell - ultimately scared of them. Gotta find an urban white kid.
I personally loved Marcus and crew, they're the kind of guys my brother hung out with. Aside from smoking a little pot, never really got into Detroit's trouble, like Black and his group of friends (regardless of whether Black was directly involved..the guilt by association thing is real).
I thought the book was excellent. However, much was very similar to The Hate U Give.
These are both important messages that are helpful to understand various points of view.
Exactly. I truly enjoyed this book and was able to finish it in one sitting. I will say that I wish there was more explanation to why Lena was chasing her boyfriend the way she was. I think that the author did a good job trying to give Campbell some dimension.
Does anyone else have beef with that line that Campbell was “cut from the team” when Lena first remarks on her running skills? First of all, she was amazing at her old school and was looking forward to being scouted out for college at her meets.
Second: This is fall and track is in the spring! So what team is she talking about? Cross country? I can assure you the cross country team would take her.
I really enjoyed this book and got a lot out of reading it. I am glad that Lena was written by an african american author, otherwise I might have felt as other did and wondered if it were too stereotypical and a bit of a caricature. Ia also liked that Campbell’s family was not wealthy. That allowed us to see the erroneous ideas that both girls had about eachother. I liked that the assumptions didn’t just go one way.
To someone’s point that Nicky was a jerk. I understand why they think so, but yet I totally understood why he did what he did. He was protecting his family.
I was glad Campbell shared that her mom and she called/FaceTimed every day. Otherwise her mother”deserting her could also be villianized. Hearing her mom is still in touch all the time made me think her leaving really was just an economic necessity just as her dad not paying child support was a necessity and not him being a deadbeat.
So, so much to unpack in this story.
Finally I really would like to see a sequel. I want to know what happened to the characters after this. Black was made so stereotypical and one dimensional until the end. I would like to know where he goes from here. I’d also like to see if Lena and Campbell can maintain their friendship past this night. There will be a lot of pressure on them at school against their remaining tight. Is Marcus ok? Is Campbell’s dad able to rebuild?
I liked the book overall - the pacing and two different perspectives were nice.
Don't love Lena's bf, or that she put them in so much danger to get to him and his friends. Especially once she realizes he's playing games and never answers her right away and answers this unknown number immediately. Even more so when Marcus tells them to go home. She's come up with lies all night - she couldn't have told Pops she got separated when the fight started and was out of there as soon as it did? Would have saved Marcus from being beat.
But, if Lena hadn't been do focused on getting to Black, the story wouldn't have been as interesting. So I get it. But it made her less relatable for me. My parents are strict as can be, I wasn't allowed to date anyone in hs, I still can't relate to heading towards confirmed danger for a guy who is clearly not as into me as I am for him. He does redeem himself a bit in the end.
I agree with you regarding the portrayal of Lena and Black. I felt the dialect used was very authentic as were the views that Campbell expressed. As a part of a biracial couple coming from a very white upbringing, I can recall having some of the same fears and thoughts expressed by Campbell as I came to understand the differences AND the similarities between my culture and my husband's.
I love it! I was shocked to find out why some colored people don’t like cops. It opened my eyes about just how much people stereotype other people and now I know that these stereotypes are not true. We are all human beings in a world where we should be supporting each other. The book made me see, that yeah, some people might not have the most money or friends or fancy clothes, but in the end it doesn’t matter because it’s your heart that matters. I had no idea about just how extreme the protests that are occurring in the world. I feel like people try to make them seem less than they are, but this book opened my eyes, and will hopefully spread awareness to other people. I cringed when I heard about “the hood”, because so many people stereotype this “place” to bad blacks. However, they are wrong and now I see. There are bad people everywhere, and it doesn’t make you any worse because you are black. It makes my heart hurt because you do see people, who think another race is less superior. I see it at my school sometimes. I am glad this book was recommended to me, and I hope it sheds light on the topic of race.
Last thought: When you have two people who don't share the same view of the world, get together, there's a possibility that they can open each other's eyes to a different perspective, such as what Lena and Campbell did, even in that small degree. When you have whole groups of people trying to convince other groups of people to see from their perspective, gunfights, riots, and wars break out.
Wow Melissa, great catch! You summed this up so well that I feel dumb for having missed it. This point is now my actual best takeaway. Thank you 😊
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the dual points of view and how they each learn to confront their bias over the book. It was frequently terrifying, navigating the football fight and the street riot with the girls, and really brought home the reality of what that’s like. The authors skillfully wove in the underlying issues of racism and classism without being heavy handed. The girls, their families and friends all felt like real people to me. I’d love a sequel dealing with the aftermath and rebuilding.
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