I feel like Nandy can easily be seen as an unlikeable character. She is a popular Black girl who is obsessed with cotillion, gets relaxers, and prefers Lana Del Rey (that didn’t age well) to rap; she gives off this respectability politics vibe that makes her initial prejudice feel particularly harsh and unforgivable. I think teenagers are more nuanced in their thinking and acceptance now and Nandy felt like she was from another time.
I mean, Nandy continues to be judgemental even when her group of equally affluent and diverse friends call her out. And it’s not even like he’s a stranger, they were very close friends. At first, I thought this was an excuse she was using because she was hurt that she and Trice hadn’t spoken in several years, but this never seemed to be the case. Even though this is a romance I felt like Trice should have left Nandy alone and focused on the people who actually wanted him to feel at home.
Trice also learns to cope with his pain and trauma through writing, but he still can’t stay away from his troublemaking friends from his old neighborhood.
Overall it’s easy to root for Trice as he finds a home in the affluent Pacific Hills. I liked how unique each member of Nandy’s friend group was and no one fell into the “spoiled-rich-kid” cliche. There is also plenty of drama and love triangles keeping the plot afloat even if the main conflict/romance didn’t quite land for me.
I kind of feel like I’d rather watch All-American.
So I’m assuming Lindenwood and Pacific Hills are Expys for Englewood and Beverly Hills and I can’t figure out why the names weren’t used. I’m guessing the author wanted more room to build her own world ?
Okay, I have one more nitpick. Nandy was really into B2K when she and Trice were seven in 2007. I’m not sure B2K would have been as popular back then.
1/2 of the blogging duo at Books and Sensibility, I have been blogging about and reviewing books since 2011. I read any and every genre, here on the blog I mostly review Fantasy, Adult Fiction, and Young Adult with a focus on audiobooks.