SandlynnParticipantDecember 14, 2018 at 11:30 pmPost count: 85
Continuing with the Alphabet Variation Challenge:
For letter “P,” I read Ibi Zoboi’s Pride, which was published in 2018 and was chosen by my book group.
Pride is a young adult novel which is loosely based on the Pride and Prejudice story. The setting is modern day Brooklyn in an area of the borough that is populated by African American, Hispanic, and Caribbean ethnicities. There are five daughters in the Benitez family who share an apartment with their parents in what seems like a rather large brownstone. Our heroine is Zuri Benitez who is an 18 year old high school senior, applying to colleges, and torn about leaving her neighborhood and all she knows. She is also a talented poet with a pride in her family and her culture. Into this setting arrives a new, wealthy family by the name of Darcy that has completely renovated a building across the street and made it into a single family home. When the girls see that the family is also African American, they speculate about the family’s background – are they in sports? Are they in entertainment? But, they soon learn that the father is an investor, interested in real estate, and the mother has a posh British accent. The oldest boy, Ainsley, is in college, just like the oldest Benitez sister, Janae. The second eldest boy, Darius, is a high school senior applying to colleges, like Zuri, and the boys’ little sister, Georgia, is in boarding school. Considering the similarities in ages, soon the Benitez’ landlady begins to speculate on whether the young people might become romantically involved. While it looks like Ainsley and Janae are initially very compatible, Zuri and Darius butt heads from the beginning, each misconstruing the others’ true motivations and outlooks on life.
I enjoyed this story when it explored the culture of the Benitez family and their neighborhood or when it briefly touched on the experiences of the Darcy family as wealthy African Americans facing prejudice from their white cohort. But, it wasn’t quite as successful when the author tried to fit the Pride and Prejudice plot into the story. Even though the romantic elements were nice, I just didn’t feel the attraction between Zuri and Darius beyond two people becoming friends, who might one day become romantic … but not now. If the author had just written a story unentangled with P&P, it probably could’ve explored the more interesting aspects of the story like gentrification, like Caribbean/Haitian culture, like wealthy African Americans facing the same bigotry as those less well off, etc. So much to explore. Since I think this missed the mark, I’ll give it a C+/B-.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 16 down, 2 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q, I, O, P …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 14 down, 4 to goSandlynnParticipantDecember 31, 2018 at 3:50 pmPost count: 85
Continuing with the Alphabet Variation Challenge:
For letter “K,” I read Elle Kennedy’s The Deal, published in 2015.
This book is the first in Kennedy’s Off-Campus series, and I really enjoyed it. The story focuses on Hannah Wells and Garrett Graham, both juniors (if memory serves) at Briar University. Graham is the captain of the University’s winning hockey team and the son of a hockey legend. Hannah is a music/vocal major, the daughter of working class parents, and is also recovering from a tragic event from her teen years. Although Hannah has eyes for a football player in her philosophy class, Garrett tracks her down and begins pestering her to tutor him in philosophy as she was one of the few students to receive an “A” on the mid-term and his “D” grade could potentially hurt his eligibility to play on the hockey team. After Garrett discovers Hannah’s interest in the football player, he offers to help her attract him if she will tutor him for a make-up exam that could save his place on the team.
The premise of this story seems pretty pedestrian, but the actual telling of it is anything but. Kennedy’s characters are fully realized and multi-layered. Hannah is recovering from an assault when she was 15 that almost destroyed her and her family, but she doesn’t wallow in the past. She is also competing for a music scholarship that will relieve the tuition burden from her financially strapped parents. Garrett, although the son of a wealthy, former hockey star, is desperately trying to get out from under both his father’s shadow and his ironclad control. The story takes the time to have Garrett and Hannah get to know each other. Although there is definitely plenty of sexy elements, Garrett and Hannah don’t immediately jump into bed, which makes their eventual intimacy so much more meaningful. I really appreciated the time the author took developing the relationship, as well as building the world around the characters and making us care about their friends and their future. I would give this a B+ and look forward to the rest of the series.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 17 down, 1 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q, I, O, P, K …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 14 down, 4 to go
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