"The tenderness and truth of the book moved my heart. As well as the enormous love." - Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple Identity Crisis. As a biracial teen, Nina is accustomed to a life of varied hues mocha-colored skin, ringed brown hair streaked with red, a darker brother, a black father, a white mother.Read more...
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"The tenderness and truth of the book moved my heart. As well as the enormous love." - Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple Identity Crisis. As a biracial teen, Nina is accustomed to a life of varied hues mocha-colored skin, ringed brown hair streaked with red, a darker brother, a black father, a white mother. When her parents decide to divorce, the rainbow of Nina s existence is reduced to a much starker reality. Shifting definitions and relationships are playing out all around her, and new boxes and lines seem to be getting drawn every day. Between the fractures within her family and the racial tensions splintering her hometown, Nina feels caught in a perpetual battle. Feeling stranded in the nowhere land between racial boundaries, and struggling for personal independence and identity, Nina turns to the story of her great-great-grandmother s escape from slavery. Is there direction in the tale of her ancestor? Can Nina build her own compass when landmarks from her childhood stop guiding the way?"
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-07-18
- Reviewer: Staff
Like the current U.S. president, Nina Armstrong is biracial. Unlike him, the character is a teenager, and her black father, Silas, and white mother, Maggie, have decided to divorce. Nina lives with Maggie, a lefty whose family roots are in union organizing; her little brother, Jimi, lives with his dad, who is busy rediscovering his African-American roots, which include an enslaved great-grandmother Sarah, whose story Silas is writing. Nina is emotionally, socially, and historically conflicted: who is she, and whose is she? She's got white friends and black friends who inhabit different peer worlds, and the family tension shapes everything. Lester (Fire in My Soul) conjures a credible plot and complications; divorce is a fact of life and racially mixed heritage is conspicuously becoming one. The simple contrapuntal narrative of Sarah Armstrong's escaping slavery distinguishes the book emotionally and psychologically, raising it above other issue-oriented YA novels. Lester writes with social sensitivity and an ear for teen language and concerns. This is engaging treatment of a challenging subject that comes with little precedent. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)