About This Book:
“It’s not like I never thought about being mixed race. I guess it was just that, in Brooklyn, everyone was competing to be exotic or surprising. By comparison, I was boring, seriously. Really boring.”
Culture shock knocks city girl Agnes “Nes” Murphy-Pujols off-kilter when she’s transplanted mid–senior year from Brooklyn to a small Southern town after her mother’s relationship with a coworker self-destructs. On top of the move, Nes is nursing a broken heart and severe homesickness, so her plan is simple: keep her head down, graduate and get out. Too bad that flies out the window on day one, when she opens her smart mouth and pits herself against the school’s reigning belle and the principal.
Her rebellious streak attracts the attention of local golden boy Doyle Rahn, who teaches Nes the ropes at Ebenezer. As her friendship with Doyle sizzles into something more, Nes discovers the town she’s learning to like has an insidious undercurrent of racism. The color of her skin was never something she thought about in Brooklyn, but after a frightening traffic stop on an isolated road, Nes starts to see signs everywhere—including at her own high school where, she learns, they hold proms. Two of them. One black, one white.
Nes and Doyle band together with a ragtag team of classmates to plan an alternate prom. But when a lit cross is left burning in Nes’s yard, the alterna-prommers realize that bucking tradition comes at a price. Maybe, though, that makes taking a stand more important than anything.
*Review Contributed By Kim Baccellia Staff Reviewer*
Rebels Like Us
What worked: This story is inspired by true events that happened in the South where a school's Prom was segregated. I liked that we're introduced to a diverse character who encounters racism and prejudice in her new school in a small Georgia town.
Anges "Nes" Murphy-Pujols is mixed but finds that some in her new school only see her skin color. Nes struggles with her new home and coming to terms with her mother's betrayal after she has to leave her one job after having an affair. The emotions of Nes are very real like when she misses her BFF back in Brooklyn and when she tries to move on after she finds out about her ex-boyfriend's cheating. I really liked when we see her in her new surroundings and her encounter with the cute new guy Doyle.
I did feel though that the real strength of this novel happens after Nes and Doyle come out together as more than friends and the reactions of the town and school.
The dialogue exchange is snappy between Nes and Doyle and even the mean girl Ansley who seems to run the school.
One scene stood out. The scene where Nes is pulled over by a police officer, who happens to be Doyle's cousin. His exchange is filled with racist comments and threats. Nes experiences first hand the racism based on her skin color. I've had friends that have had similar experiences.
Some of the pages seemed to drag while others were filled with tension as Nes realizes that she can make a small difference. In this case, it's to help with the alternative Prom.
The romance between Nes and Doyle starts out slow and then builds even when things stand in their way like his ex Ansley and centuries old tradition of segregation.
Engaging portrayal of a diverse teen trying to make sense of her new school while coming to terms with her own heart.
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