I think I just found something interesting about the cover of a guy and a girl back to back but with their arms joined in the shape of a heart. Add to that the obvious race factor and I was suckered into turning this book over to find out a bit more.
What The Book Is About
This book explores first love, finding oneself during those tough high school years of cliques, and of course the hot topic of race. The book follows a boy named Walter who lives with his dad, a cop, and tries to lay under the radar in school. While I wouldn’t say he was popular, he wasn’t the target of very much bullying and got by with three friends – Nate, Kate, and, Jason. Things get a bit complicated when Walter’s world get flipped upside down by Naomi (who of course just so happens to be Jason’s younger sister). Naomi’s wit and Walter’s odd sense of humour connect the two and they find themselves in a relationship where they’re able to share their difficult pasts with eachother and essentially find a support system in each other. Things seem to be going well until and the pair is getting ready to come clean to their respective parents about their relationship but Walter’s dad cracks a case that finds him being launched from hero to racist cop in the blink of an eye. Tensions mount as the neighbourhood shines a spotlight directly on Walter and Naomi’s relationship – how could the son of a racist cop be dating a black girl; is this a slap in the face to the black community and a further confirmation that white men can do anything they want to the black community?
I have to admit I was skeptical to actually sign this book out. We all know how I felt about A Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park where I discovered that I’m a seemingly cold-hearted bitch that doesn’t understand teenage love. In a nutshell, I found that characters in both these books quite annoying as they described their love and heartache *insert eye rolls here*.
I think I gave this book a chance because of the race factor – again, I’m a sucker for books that explore the struggles of interracial couples. What a perfect world it would be if these issues were something that were only held in the world of fiction – sadly, they are strongly prevalent in society today. This book also explored the cruelty of the Internet and social media accounts, like Facebook. A lot of what we (think we) know about issues within or outside of our communities is learned by what’s on the Internet and social media. We’re often suckered into forming opinions based on what we read (a lot of which is just unfounded and untrue) which snowballs into bigger issues of stereotypes and prejudice that distort reality. This book was a great example of that and how faceless cowards take to the Internet to do/say things that are either untrue or that focus on shaming others.
Overall, I actually did enjoy this book. I thought the characters developed well and could actually picture myself within the story’s setting. I found Walter and Naomi to sometimes be wiser beyond their years (in a good way) and I think that had a lot to do with keeping my attention throughout the book (within very minimal eye rolls!).