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When the Black Girl Sings
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When the Black Girl Sings

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  382 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
Lahni Schuler is the only black student at her private prep school. She's also the adopted child of two loving, but white, parents who are on the road to divorce. Struggling to comfort her mother and angry with her dad, Lahni feels more and more alone. But when Lahni and her mother attend a local church one Sunday, Lahni hears the amazing gospel choir, and her life takes a ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 996)
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Lisa
May 16, 2014 Lisa rated it it was ok
Recommended to Lisa by: CapCh10-14
Although the issues around race and identity seen from the point of view of an African-American girl adopted by white parents is of value, this book felt like a draft, rather than a finished work. It didn't hold together well enough, and most characters and relatanships weren't developed enough.
Anna
Oct 24, 2009 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really strong coming-of-age story about a young black female who was adopted by a white couple. She attends a mostly-white prep school in a mostly-white suburb and now that she's in middle school she's starting to realize that appearance matters and she becomes more self-conscious about her own "blackness." It's a pretty well-written and interesting story with quite a few plot lines going at once. Her parents start fighting and that leads to their separation. Lahni and her mom start to ...more
Laura
I bought this at the book fair. The school librarian tells me that students were uninterested in the book because the title was, in their words, "racist."

First off, I've noticed that my students really don't know what racist means. They know it's a perjorative but few of them use the word correctly. For example, one African-American student told the class that his mother was racist because she grounded him from his phone because he got in trouble at school... which tells me that students may nee
...more
Kristina Marie
Mar 16, 2009 Kristina Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
When the Black Girl Sings is a wonderfully written story about Lahni, a black girl adopted by a white family who are facing divorce, and her upcoming singing competition. Bil Wright succeeds in his manner of writing. It is loose and familiar while his timeline focusses mainly on the weeks before and of the competition. Although he does not deeply develop his characters this is what helps make his book light and fun. He frequently mentions the issue of her race but does not focus in on it to the ...more
Teresa in Ohio
Sep 24, 2009 Teresa in Ohio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wright-bill
Lahni in this story is a teenager struggling to find her place in middle school and her family. In addition to normal teenage issues, she must also deal with the fact she is adopted by a white family and she is black. She also attends all white girl prep school and the popular girls are either jealous of her, or mean to her. She has one friend who is there through it all. As she watches her parent's marriage fall apart and try to find her place in the world, she learns she is a great singer. Her ...more
Jean
Mar 18, 2009 Jean rated it liked it
I often entice junior high kids to read Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements with the casual remark "there is a lot of nudity in that book." (It is about an invisible boy) Bil Wright was apparently using this same strategy in When The Black Girl Sings. The opening chapter is set in a girl's locker room (and the girls are NOT invisible)! I liked this book better than some of the multi-cultural books I read last year for Golden Sower. However, I just kept thinking throughout the book that Layni was ...more
Eugenie
Jan 14, 2014 Eugenie rated it really liked it
This book was a great read. I think it touches on some of the real issues students face when we send them to "better" schools. Sometimes we want our kids to have the best education but we forget what that intels. To walk into a school and be the ONLY ONE of your kind and not truly know what that means I think that the main character showed courage and strength. L does not know what it means to be a young black girl and neither did her mother but I think that having the love of her mother AND her ...more
Gina
May 27, 2008 Gina rated it liked it
This is a good story about a young black girl in a school full of white girls, who discovers religion through singing. Good for about 8th grade and up. Will appeal a lot more to girls than to boys.
Kevin
Dec 05, 2014 Kevin rated it really liked it
Lahni is the only black student in her prep school and only black person in her adoptive white family. Her sense of self starts to crumble when her parents separate and she finds herself through song and her mother’s return to church. It’s really a simple story, but it resonated with me, perhaps because of where my family is at. (My only complaint was the fact that the book opens with 8th grade girls in the locker room showering and discussion of how some of the girls like to stand around naked ...more
Jody
Aug 06, 2014 Jody rated it liked it
This book does not reflect an experience I can relate to, but it's an interesting glimpse into someone else's life. There's a pretty big pro-christian theme too, but it's not suffocating.

Lahni is the only black girl at her private school and her (white) parents are divorcing. She's entered into a singing competition at school at the same time as she discovers singing with a predominantly African American church choir.

Some parts read as more of a sketch than a finished novel, but for all I know
...more
Zakiya the Walking Butterfly
Review can also be found on my blog: http://walkingbutterflyfeet.blogspot....

This novel was better than I thought it would be. Lahni really clicked with me, and the author had more than one plotline going on at once, which really added flavor to the book.

Lahni is almost in high school, she's nowhere near the top of the social ladder at her school (a school she doesn't even like at that), and then some crazy guy starts stalking her. But she finds a new homewhen she and her mom start going tochurc
...more
Kellyn
Contemporary, Identity, African-American, Adoption, Bullying

I have recently read two other books whose main characters are the only African-Americans in “white” schools. Here’s a third book.

Lahni attends eighth grade at an exclusive girl’s prep school in Connecticut. As the school year comes to an end, Lahni finds herself as one of three girls nominated for the annual talent competition. The stress in Lahni’s life keeps building as she prepares for the competition, attempts to maintain her good
...more
Scott James
Nov 06, 2011 Scott James rated it really liked it
I found "When the Black Girl Sings" by Bil Wright a very interesting book and kept you wondering what would happen. I rated this book four out of five stars because for the most part I found it interesting, but at some points it was a little boring. The story overall was about a black girl named Lahni who went to a private school and was the only black girl there. Lahni is an adopted black girl in a white family. Her bestfriend was Katie, and the popular girl at her school who is full of hersel ...more
Karissa
Apr 24, 2012 Karissa rated it liked it
This was a nice and quick read. Something to pick up when you want to pass the time.
Lahni was adopted by a loving white couple when she was a baby and goes to a private school where she is the only black girl. She is reminded of being the only black student every day by the popular school bully.

Lahni is a shy girl who likes to sing in her spare time and writes down songs but never thinks herself as talented. Until there is a competition at school and she must compete against two other students
...more
Jodysegal
Feb 10, 2010 Jodysegal rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Middle School
8th grader Lahni doesn’t understand why her parents forced her to go to the private Darby School. How could they get what it’s like to be the black girl in a mostly white school, when they adopted her into their white family in the first place? But they are her family and Lahni loves them. When Lahni’s Dad abruptly moves out, she begins to reassess where she fits in - at school, with her best friend, at home, and with her new church and choir. In this inspirational coming-of-age story, Lahni dis ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Aug 13, 2008 Jennifer Wardrip rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen for TeensReadToo.com

Lahni Schuler sometimes just doesn't understand her life.

She doesn't understand why a Caucasian couple would adopt an African American baby. She doesn't understand why they would enroll that girl in a private school where she is the only African American. She doesn't understand why some of the girls at the school are so snotty and so ignorant, especially towards her. And she definitely doesn't understand why her parents are co
...more
2AriaC
Dec 10, 2011 2AriaC is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am now more than half-way in the book on the twenty seventh chapter. So far i have read that Lahni is in a music competition, she is dealing with her parents seperation, church choir, and the worst part "Onyx 1".
Lahni has been preparing herself for the competition and she has chosen to sing a gospel song. The choir director at her church, Marcus, has offered to be the accompanist for her in the show. I feel she will win in the end. In her church choir, she has gotten a few solos with Cariet
...more
Sara ♥
3.5 stars. This was a really cute little book about a black girl, Lahni, who was adopted by a white couple when she was a baby. She's in the 8th grade now, and is trying to figure out who she really is while also dealing with her parents' failing marriage. She finds comfort (and passion) in singing her heart out with a gospel choir. (Which sounds UNBELIEVABLY AMAZING, and something I would LOVE to do... except I'm an alto, and we're always singing harmony...)

I loved the characters and I was REAL
...more
Hayden
Jun 10, 2008 Hayden rated it really liked it
This is a quiet little book about 8th grader Lahni, the only African-American girl at her fancy private school. She is also the adopted daughter of two white parents, now divorcing. It's really thoughtful in its portrayal of how much Lahni loves her parents, but still needs to find a connection to the African American community. She finds that connection through singing at a local church.

This book also does a good job of showing how especially scary divorce is for a kid in a multiracial family,
...more
Wisteriouswoman
Sep 14, 2014 Wisteriouswoman rated it liked it
It was interesting to read a book written by a African American man. We don't get a lot of those in the YA section. I had trouble being totally interested in finishing the book especially since it was so predicable. But I stuck with it because the character is likeable and I found the subject of the book refreshing. We need to see more books about young black women and the struggles they are going through. I especially liked hearing the dialect.
Alma  Ramos-McDermott
Jan 14, 2012 Alma Ramos-McDermott rated it it was amazing
Lahni has never thought of her life as being complicated until the end of her middle school year at her exclusive girls school. She was adopted by white parents as a baby but, as the only African American student, Lahni feels out of place. She has never spent time with other African Americans, and with her parents going through a divorce, she begins to question who she is and her role in her life as well as their lives. When she is entered in a singing competition at her school, she joins a loca ...more
Yvonne Powderly
Jul 03, 2011 Yvonne Powderly rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel. It may be predictable but touches on many teen issues, especially the ever present need to fit in and appreciate ones self.
Adopted by loving, white parents and taunted by classmates as the only African American girl in her elite, private school, Lahni Schuler, 14, is conflicted about her identity and deeply hurt by her parents’ separation.
When her mother takes her to an interdenominational church, Lahni is captivated by the soulful gospel singing. She joins the choir and rece
...more
Leah Goodreau
May 13, 2011 Leah Goodreau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a book quite like this before. It's a great read with a few moments that really ring true. Lani and the other characters were interesting and strong, but I didn't emotionally connect to the story. Her relationship with her parents and best friend represent something I've personally felt, but seldom read about, which I really appreciated. The ending didn't shine for me as much as some of the other scenes. The situation with Onyx 1 was a little confusing, though his interactions wit ...more
Kennedi Brooks
Mar 17, 2013 Kennedi Brooks rated it it was amazing
When the Black Girl Sings by Bil Wright
Lexile Score:730L
Genre:Realistic Fiction
Tags:African American, Gospel, Music,Adoption, Divorce
Plot Summary: The book is about Lahni Schuler who is the only black student at her private prep school. Lahni was adopted by two Caucasian parents. Her parents are on the road to getting a divorce. Lahni feels isolated because she is struggling to comfort her mother who is furious with her father. Lahni and her mother one day visit a church and Lahni falls in love
...more
Lydia
Sep 30, 2009 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-read
Wright writes a rather simplistic tale of a black female in adolescence adopted by a white couple. The parents are about to be divorced. Lahni attends an exclusive white prep school and is trying to understand who she is culturally. A very strange white boy, from the neighboring predominantly white male prep school, who thinks of himself as black is interested in her. Then, Lahni discovers gospel music.

I just found the plotting and character development a bit too simple. There was a lack of dept
...more
Erika Whitcomb
I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea what to expect but it had a great story line. I felt bad for Lahni at current parts. This is a quick read. If you are looking for something good to read and don't have a lot of time than this book would be a great choice.
Lesley
Dec 03, 2014 Lesley rated it liked it
A good "issue" book: an African-American girl adopted by white parents that touches on race identity, divorce, and, of course, adoption. The climax is the school singing competition, with all its nervous jitters. The strongest parts were Lahni's relationship with her mother and with the African-American members of the choir at the church they join. Less strong were Lahni's relationships with the other girls at her private school (not as fully developed) and with a white boy who stalks her becaus ...more
Nancy
While this book is not up to Wright's usual standards, teens will likely find something to identify with. Lahni is the African-American adopted daughter of a white couple. She attends an almost all white school, and has no black friends. The differences between her and her parents based on race are starting to trouble her, but she doesn't do more than tentatively ask questions. As her parents' marriage is falling apart, her mother starts taking her to church, where Lahni finds a place for hersel ...more
 Imani ♥ ☮
A good book. I mean, like really good. I'm not sure what kind of messages it could be putting into the minds of "young people". I'm also not sure why this book got such bad reviews. I read that some thought that there was some 'inappropriate' content in this novel but I don't believe this is so. If you think this book is bad, then don't read (or shall I say, don't let your children read Young Adult fiction at all). This is definitely not the most explicit I've read, and even mainstream books top ...more
Cole
Jun 18, 2009 Cole rated it liked it
I have to divide my review into two parts. The first half of the book would have been rated a 1 or a 2, but the second half was a 4 or a 5, so I picked a three.

The book is about a girl who has grown up with adoptive parents of another race. It is about her journey of being comfortable in her circumstances, her divorcing parents, and finding herself through music.

The second half of the book thankfully launches into much richer character development and storyline unlike the very one dimensional
...more
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