by Nicola Yoon, published 2016
“My mother, the pacifist, would kill me dead if she knew what I’d just done. I rescheduled my interview. For a girl. Not even a Korean girl, a black girl. A black girl I don’t really know., …who might not even like me.”
Let’s go right to the warning first regarding this young adult book: There are definitely R-rated scenes in it. But if you are okay with that, this contemporary work of fiction hits all the elements our young people are facing: race relations, stereotyped prejudice, immigration madness, and of course, teenage love, which is completely blind to all of the above. I started reading this book not sure I would get very far at all. I had a huge dose of skepticism. But I could not put it down at all.
Young adult fiction is not a genre I know much about. What do young adults (is that what a 14-year-old really is?) want to read about? My reason for including this young adult book on the website is that I think it hits the emotional volatility that young people go through, dealing with parental expectations, too many hormones, and lack of self-identity.
The book also nicely contrasts the idea of a rational, mechanical world view, and a poetic, imaginative world view, helping the readers realize we need both to navigate this very unpredictable universe.
I did take a look at the reviews on Amazon for this book, and there were definitely negative reviews, whose points were probably valid – improbable plot, lack of depth, etc. Nevertheless, I still feel it is a young adult book that may shed some light on standing up for oneself at a crucial time in life, and charting one’s own course, regardless of the consequences.