As y’all know (or if you don’t, feel free to check out this series!), I’m always looking for diverse stories to read and highlight. Recently Blink YA released three young adult novels and I snagged them right up! I’ll have reviews of the other two this month as well, but Joan Steinau Lester’s is an excellent one to share about first!
As a biracial teen, Nina is accustomed to a life of varied hues—mocha-colored skin, ringed brown hair streaked with red, a black father, a white mother. When her parents decide to divorce, the rainbow of Nina’s existence is reduced to a much starker reality. Shifting definitions and relationships are playing out all around her, and new boxes and lines seem to be drawn every day.
Between the fractures within her family and the racial tensions splintering her hometown, Nina feels caught in perpetual battle. Stranded in a nowhere land of ethnic boundaries, and struggling for personal independence and identity, Nina turns to the story of her great-great-grandmother’s escape from slavery in hopes of finding her own compass to help navigate the challenges before her.
I thought this book was an excellent read. While no two people’s experiences are the same, I thought Lester created an inviting story to talk about being biracial in America and search for identity. I really liked what she did with the story, from Nina’s own story to her great great grandmother’s experience.
It’s authentic and tugs at your heart as you read this journey of self discovery and while fiction, the character’s experience are what many deal with today.
While it would have been easy to get frustrated with a teen making decisions adults wouldn’t make, I think it made it more real. Going through high school, having a major life change (her parent’s divorce) and having to really take a look at yourself for the first time wouldn’t be easy. I appreciated the realistic approach.
A quick, engaging and insightful read, I recommend this to people interested in learning more about race in America, but also for people who enjoy stories of discovery and finding ourselves.
What’s a recent read you’ve enjoyed?
(Thank you to Blink YA for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)