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Book Review: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Summary:  
Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant re-imagining of this beloved classic.

 
Release Date: January 2019
Age Group: YA, Contemporary, Retelling
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:
I am always a sucker for a retelling of P&P. And about 50% of the time I’m disappointed with the conclusion, they always seem to fall flat. Why can’t they wrap up in blazing glory?!

Here’s what I loved:

  •           I really enjoyed Papi and Mama's strong relationship and presence. I especially loved Papi's voice--
"read to travel," Papi always says.
       The best advice. Ever. I swear I could shout that from the roof tops life a crazy woman
       and it still wouldn't be enough.

  •      The clash of culture within a culture (“the block”): Madringa herself and all that she represented, the meshing between Haitian and Dominican decent, and of course gentrification. 

  •         I enjoyed the poetry, haiku and metaphors that Zuri uses to express herself. They were clever and beautiful.

  •         The story is written in an easy manner that I think teens will enjoy.

  •         The characters fit into the basic blueprint of P&P but with a nice cultural twist. It was like stepping into another way of life. I loved learning all the common terms of the Benitez culture-- the corner bodega, the goddess Ochun, and what is bougee.

  •         For me this retelling kept reminding me of the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker. I think they would actually pair well together for a high school setting or cultural study.

  •          The discussion of “privilege” was done really well. Benitez versus Darcy. Black versus Black. London roots versus Dominican-Haitian descents. This block versus that block.
You do know there are black people who have money out there in the world, Z, right?  ~Janae


Here’s what I didn’t enjoy:

  •          If you are going to bring Darcy to my door you better bring a strong broody hunk. Darius was a hunk but pretty weak. I don’t think I was ever convinced that he was madly in love with Zuri. And Zuri sure wasn’t in love, she flat out said she didn’t know what it was yet. Meh.

  •          I just didn’t like Zuri. I liked her poetry and seeing how her world was expanding with life experience but she herself was too judgmental and rude. 

  •          The story is truly a telling. No build up. Very anticlimactic and P&P needs the build up! I need the moment when Elizabeth and Darcy realize they are both madly in love with each other.


  •      Overall, I liked it. I’d recommend it to teens, teachers and P&P fans. It’s an easy read. I don’t think a teen audience will pick it apart like I did.

I actually read half the book and started over with the audiobook. I wanted to make sure I heard all the terms and language correctly and not in my butchered Southern drawl. I am so glad I listened and got the full effect of what it means when something is bougee. 

 

This article originally appeared on I'd So Rather Be Reading

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Book Review: Uncharted by Erin Cashman

Summary: 
Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and paintings to reality—because in reality, her mom is dead, and it was all her fault. When she accompanies her father to the funeral of some family friends who drowned, she’s surprised to find her grief reflected in the face of Griffin Bradford, the son of the couple who died. Griffin is nothing like the carefree boy she once knew. Now he’s irritable, removed, and he’s under police investigation for his parents’ deaths.

One night following the memorial service, Annabeth’s dad goes missing in the woods, and she suspects Griffin knows more about the disappearance than he’s letting on. He refuses to answer her questions, particularly those related to the mysterious “expedition” his parents took to Ireland, where they went missing for seven months.

Annabeth fears her father isn’t lost, but rather a victim of something sinister. She launches her own investigation, tracing clues that whisper of myth and legend and death, until she stumbles upon a secret. One that some would die to protect, others would kill to expose—and which twists Annabeth’s fantasy and reality together in deadly new ways.

Release Date: September 2018
Age Group: YA, Mystery, Folklore
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Reviewed By: Nat

Review:
I loved Uncharted right from the prologue! It was a unique storyline that did a great job of blending several genres, I actually had a hard time deciding where to "shelve" it. 

The Mystery.
Right from the start my mind was coming up with all sorts of theories, all of which were wrong. I've read enough dystopian and paranormal books that it takes all of 5 seconds for me to turn any character suspicious. Sometimes I feel like I'm re-reading a story plot, like running in a circle, but Uncharted was fresh and new. I kept thinking of mystery islands, every TV show I'd ever watched as a kid that had a treasure map and referenced my crime show toolbox too (I'll always have a little Nancy Drew in me)!

Character Development.
It's rare in a standalone book that I feel like I was adequately introduced to all the characters. But Cashman doesn't waste time and lets you know enough about each person to leave you feeling something-- suspicion, regret, loss, sadness, hope. 

Annabeth was raw and real. I felt for her, was sad for her, cheered for her bravery and was hopeful for her. That's a lot of emotions for one character in 400 pages! I really enjoyed her growth and development; she wasn't perfect and she knew it.

Griffin. He will be a book boyfriend of every teen girl that picks up Uncharted. He was good looking, broody with a tender side and tortured. Just how we like them, right girls?! I would love to read a novella of his back story. *cough, cough hint to Cashman*

Love.
You know I need a little love interest, always. I'm happy to report there was no love triangle or instalove. It was subtle and obvious from the outside looking in but it didn't take away from all the mystery or thrill.

Parents.
I LOVE that this book had two sets of parents that loved their children. They weren't absent or totally aloof to what their kids were doing. There was a protectiveness that I related to with almost all the adults attached to Griffin and Annabeth.

More Please.
So the big question... will there be a book two... or three?! I'm intrigued. I'm invested. I hope it gets weird(er). I want to experience the mystery.



This article originally appeared on I'd So Rather Be Reading