Release Date: September 13, 2016Published by: Feiwel and Friends
Read from: September 16-September 19, 2016Stand-aloneSource: TxLAFor fans of: Contemporary, Magical Realism, Religion, YA
Sixteen-year-old Latoya Williams, who is black, attends a mostly white high school in the Bible Belt. In a moment of desperation, she prays for the power to change her race and wakes up white.
I think when I first heard of this book I was a little taken aback by what the synopsis was about. I was also a little sad because I saw that the book was about an African American child who wishes she was white. I'm comfortable in my own skin NOW, but at one time in my life I wasn't always co comfortable with me.
"A powerless people turns on itself."pg. 28
LaToya Williams is black. She believes that white people have everything easy. They have money and so many other things that LaToya's family doesn't. One night she cries to Jesus to make her white, and lo and behold, Jesus has completed the task for her.
As stated, I was a little taken aback about this book. But I went back and did some research. The author of this book struggled with being comfortable in her skin once upon a time as well. It made me think about how I was once the same way. At one time I attended a Catholic school that ranged from kindergarten to 8th grade. I was one out of three people IN THE ENTIRE SCHOOL who was black. (Yes you read that right. And furthermore, the other two were sisters.) I was friends with many of the students, but I was also just not particularly happy. Although my hair was long, all the girls had long hair and they had ponytails that swung when they walked. It may seem dumb, but I was so jealous my hair didn't do that. I remember thinking I which I had "white hair." So, with that being said, I can't say that this book was offensive to me. To be honest it hurt a bit. All the things she mentioned not being comfortable with were a lot of the things that made her beautiful. *SPOILER* When she realizes this in the end, this is the key to why representation matters. Imagine someone who continues to grow up and never sees LaToya become comfortable. But I know I don't speak for everyone. This is only my experience and I can see others having some differing opinions.
"Black skin was filled with so many barriers, so many restrictions, so many.."pg. 78
With that being said, I cannot say that this book isn't pretty radical though. But I think it was done that way because the author wanted to clearly depict that the change wasn't going as good as she thought it would.
"Unfortunately, sometimes what we want is not always what we need."pg. 157
I wish it had been a more indepth look at Toya's black side though. All she did was complain about it. And when things finally turned out for the better for her, the book was ending. I wish I had seen more of her saying "Screw what I wanted before, I AM LOVING THE SKIN I'M IN NOW." Especially as a teen. I feel like she should've at least started thinking more along these lines versus, "being white wasn't cool because they aren't as great as I thought."
"His lowly condiment request possessed the power to improve my day, and that's too much power for anyone, especially [him]."pg. 164
As far as the writing style, I can truly say I wasn't impressed tho. I know it was for teens, but it should've been targeted to middle grade readers. I HATE when I have to say, this but it really read young like. I can see myself handing it to a middle grade student, not a high school student.
"No matter what he did, said, or wore, he was still black. And in Montgomery, Alabama, black is a threat..."pg. 164
This book is definitely an important read. It made me think of my childhood and my journey to learning to love who I am. Undoubtedly, there were some hiccups, but I'm glad I read it. I'd like to let other BW read this book and have their opinion on it as well. Just to get some more opinions on it. I plan to let my Diverse Reads Book Club read this coming soon!
Overall, I give this
Real rating 3.5 stars!