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What are your overall thoughts (SPOILERS)?
I listened to the audiobook and I thought it was exciting from beginning to end. They kept just the right pace in the development of trust between Lena and Campbell. They didn't automatically become friends, it was just little things here and there until they realize how much they've been through together then they start to bond. I love in the end that Lena and Black stand up for Lena in trying to save the things from her dad's store, Black turned out to be a good guy afterall.
What happened to poor Marcus though? They left him in the middle of a riot with a head wound. At least Campbell felt guilt about that.
I enjoyed this book. Being of different races I totally understand the concept of each character. I would love to see a book 2 to this book. So many things are left unanswered, for example what happened to Marcus? Milton change his mindf and how he treats people? Where is Lena parents? Did Campbell mom find out what happened to her daughter and dad?
I think the authors did a good job of creating believable characters in Lena and Campbell. Lena is, perhaps, a more well defined character than Campbell. She has more dialogue, and her conflict as far as her relationship with Black adds interest and depth to her character. She acts in the situation while Campbell seems to be more passive -she waits to see what Lena will do before she acts.
This book was exciting, dramatic, and entertaining, but it could have been improved in some ways. I enjoyed the excitement and the character development. Seeing the two girls slowly warm to each other was beautiful, at first only cooperating because had too, but in the end defending each other from harm However, a critique I have is that I feel the character molds the author picked were rather unfairly stereotypical, like Becky Campbell being awkward, naïve, and timid, while many of the black people in the book were portrayed as troubled makers, like the rioting protesters and Black's out of control gang. This is not an accurate description of real life, and people can not get lumped into a "White Girl" or "Black Girl" stereotype. This also meant that everyone of a certain race or culture in the book would have rather the same personality as their friends of the same race. I do not feel like this was a fair representation of people. And it was not with just the teens, the adults were prejudiced against them too, either because they were teenagers, they were black, or sometimes both. All in all, this was a great book, the only critique I have is the character stereotypes.
I really enjoyed the way the main characters interacted. The chemistry between them was dynamic and exciting but I wonder if we wouldn’t have gotten the same message, that they’re from different walks of life, if the authors hadn’t focused on race. I’m a little tired of racial tension themed stories. (And I’m saying that as a Black woman).
Riots and looting have never been a first option. Nor have they been planned. It is not how they occur. However, when a group of people feel systematically oppressed, when they feel their voices aren't being heard, when they don't have access to the same opportunities, when they feel disenfranchised, their emotions, their feelings of hopelessness, anger, rage, frustration, are like kindling, and all it takes is a match. In this case, when the white driver hit the lady.
I think it minimizes the history, the problems, the issues surrounding race relations, which is the catalyst for the root in the book, when you say that taking things that don't belong to you doesn't give you power. In that moment, it gives a sense of power and control, and acts as an outlet for the emotions stated above. I'm not justifying looting in this context, I'm just saying it is more complex than your post indicates.
Money does give you influence. But in a very real sense, it gives power....or rather, it's gives you a freedom to explore ways to use your inherent power. When you are free from the worry of livelihood, paying bills, preparing for the future, etc., there is a power that comes with that fredom.
Lastly, knowledge may be power. But everyone does not have equal access in terms of acquiring knowledge. All schools are not created equal. And not everyone has access to higher education, vocational schools, or additional training.
I think it is important to explore the events in this book, keeping in mind the complexity of these issues.
Overall, I loved the book. The two authors was a brilliant way to differentiate between the two girls. So many facets to this book.
I disagree with the people who say that Lena and Black’s friends were stereotypical. I feel that the African-Americans showed a spectrum of characters. Lena was a typical HS student, who, though she was very popular, was chasing after an older guy for love. People do extreme things in the name of love, including running into danger. But overall Lean was a good girl.
Black also turned out to be a good guy and stands up for what is right and part of his ignoring her turns out to be dedication to his music and also that drive to fit in with your friends. They would annihilate him for being “pussy-whipped” if he appeared to cater too much to Lena.
Marcus and his friends were typical young adult males with not much money but basically good guys just hanging out together.
And Black’s crony’s are a part of every society. Although they may be stereotypical of “black youth” they were just one part of a multi-faceted view of the African American community there.
I like the idea of this national book discussion. And what better than a book that delves into the issues of race, class and the increasing polarization in our country?
When I was a young adult living in a big city at the end of the 70s, there was all this optimism about integration, civil rights and the women’s movement. Sadly it appears all of these areas are still in a major struggle and under attack.
the two POVs in this book try to enlighten the audience on the cultural conditioning of each POV but remind of us of our common struggles and our inherent bonds. As I heard recently Race is a false construct. It’s a societal/cultural construct that we are not all the same human people. We need to support each other and work together to create the world we want.
I listened to the audio book and really enjoyed it. I like books that are narrated by different perspectives and I loved that there were two authors of this book...I felt that it made the personalities of the main characters more authentic.
About Marcus...didn't they say he ended up in the hospital? At least he was getting medical care. Don't know how it would end with his probation officer but glad that he didn't die.
I had the pleasure of enjoying the audio book. I loved the fact that there were two readers that represented the girls in the story. Excellent!!! The idea to enlighten their individual misunderstandings of each other and show how their ideology of that belief was reflected in their dealings with each other was amazing. People can be so insensitive to each other that the struggle to be able to see the world in another's view is difficult. That reflection in the story was authentic.
I was happy the soft spoken, frightened, Campbell spoke up at the end. It showed the girl who was her "questionable" friend that against it all she mattered more. At the end, to hurt one is to hurt them both. They both learned that in order to live they needed the strength of each other. The text message at the end speaks that truth the loudest.
I loved the book, too!
I do think the authors glossed over some things though, like Marcus, the police shooting, and Lena’s friends robbing Campbell’s dad’s store. I think there was some room to elaborate. It does kind of leave you with an uneasy feeling of unknowing as the two girls must surely have after a night like this, though.
I partly agree with what you said. Black and his crew WERE described in the stereotypical light, but I think this was also a technique of the author's to stimulate thought and discussion. I began to see more clearly how people were discriminating others and at some points in the book I found myself wondering "Do people really think that?!?!". Altogether though, I found the book interesting and a good read, it's not the usual type of book I read, but the global discussion part intrigued me and I found myself flipping the book. I live in a place where there is distinction between races that has been created by people all along the spectrum of diversity, but not in the same way as the book portrayed it.
This is my first time participating in the great read and I enjoyed the book, finishing it in one day. At the very end I felt sorry for Campbell, Lena is home safe with her Pops. Campbell and her father have much uncertainty ahead as they try to repair the damage and survive without the story. Black needs to wake up and realize how his music dreams are funded..
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