Absolutely ADORED this debut romance novel! I wasn't expecting to just LOVE it as much as I did, but once I started reading I simply could not stop. IAbsolutely ADORED this debut romance novel! I wasn't expecting to just LOVE it as much as I did, but once I started reading I simply could not stop. I loved everything about it and cannot wait to see what Casey comes up with next!...more
Color Me In is such a wonderful #ownvoices debut novel -- not only is it beautifully written, it is also an important story with lessons that are moreColor Me In is such a wonderful #ownvoices debut novel -- not only is it beautifully written, it is also an important story with lessons that are more important than ever in today’s world. Although it is a work of fiction, it hews closely to the author’s lived experience, which you can feel shining through on each page. You often hear authors speak of the book(s) of their heart, and it certainly feels this is that book for Ms. Díaz.
Nevaeh feels like she just doesn’t fully fit in anywhere -- not with her mother’s Caribbean-American, Black Baptist family and not with her Jewish father and grandmother, Bubby. Nor does she feel fully at home in either her grandfather’s Harlem neighborhood or her incredibly white, affluent private school in a ritzy section of New York City. She finds herself challenged on all sides: by her Black cousins, twins Jordan and Janae; by her former friend turned enemy and racist tormentor, Abby; and by her own secular Jewish father, who has decided to force her to have a (very) belated bat mitzvah, despite historically telling her, “It’s not about being Jewish.... It’s about being a Levitz.” No matter what she does, she cannot seem to be comfortable in her own skin in any of these places or with any of these people. And to top it off, the one person she has always been able to count on to truly see her for who she is, her best friend Stevie, seems to be pulling away from her.
Nevaeh’s story is one of a struggle to figure out her identity and just where she fits in the world. Her cousins seem to think she’s not Black enough, and that she clearly doesn’t understand the privilege she gains from being able to pass as white. She definitely doesn’t feel Jewish enough to have a bat mitzvah, as she has been completely disconnected from the religious Jewish experience her entire life. She feels like she stands out like a sore thumb at the Baptist church where her grandfather is a pastor. On top of all of this, her mother seems disinterested in everything since separating from her father and having to move with Nevaeh back to her father’s Harlem home, where Nevaeh’s aunt and uncle and cousins also live. What on earth can she do to finally become comfortable in her own skin?
Nevaeh’s journey to figure out the answer to that question is fraught with difficulty, but it is also utterly sweet and satisfying. While we all undertake a journey to find out who we are, Nevaeh’s unique circumstance of multiple ethnic, racial, and religious identities to navigate makes hers especially difficult. While at first she wants to cower away, ultimately she faces the hardships, the pain, the awareness of her own privilege as compared to her family, and all the rest head on. Nevaeh writes to deal with all of the questions she has, although she never shows her writing to anyone; however, we are privy to her private thoughts, and this is my favorite aspect of the book. The poems she writes are stunning, thoughtful, and beautiful in and of themselves, on top of the rest of the story. She grows into a confident, strong young woman who has really done the hard work of examining both her hardships and her privilege.
Color Me In is an incredible contemporary debut that is so timely, one that teaches all of us important lessons. I thank Ms. Díaz for baring her soul and sharing her own life story with us through Nevaeh, and I hope any young person who is struggling to fit in or to be comfortable with who they are will pick this up. There is so much beauty and heart to this story, and I highly recommend it.
Rating: 4 stars!
**Disclosure: I received an early e-copy of this book for purposes of this blog tour. This review is voluntary on my part and reflects my honest rating and review of the book....more
While I cannot rival my husband for dedication to and knowledge of the Star Wars films, books, and everything canon, I am a big Star Wars fan myself,While I cannot rival my husband for dedication to and knowledge of the Star Wars films, books, and everything canon, I am a big Star Wars fan myself, so I was thrilled when I saw Ms. Córdova was contributing a book to the Star Wars world. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate was a blast from start to finish. It’s one big adventure, much like the SW movies themselves, mostly taking place in one day – which turns out to be a very long day for our characters! After her parents’ deaths, Izzy finds herself an orphan and owner of her own ship in her teens, and she becomes a smuggler to survive. When Izzy returns to Batuu for a job, she is reunited with Jules, her childhood best friend, whom she hasn’t seen in 13 years, since her parents woke her in the middle of the night and flew away from the planet without looking back. After Izzy’s and Jules’ deliveries are mixed up, they must work together to make sure the right people get the right packages, all while trying to avoid angering either Jules’ boss (and the recipient of Izzy’s package) or the local mob boss who controls the planet. Hijinks ensue, and Izzy and Jules have to face down danger in various forms while also trying to figure out their feelings for one another.
Like I said, this book is a fun adventure that I flew through. It is also clean and the writing is accessible enough that I’d be totally fine with allowing my 11-year-old son (who has been raised a Star Wars fan, thanks to my husband!) to read it himself. Based on how this book ended, I have a feeling that we might see more of Izzy and Jules, and their interactions with the First Order and the growing Resistance, in future books from Ms. Córdova. But have no fear, as this is a complete story in itself and does not end in a cliffhanger! I would recommend this book to any fan of Star Wars, of course, but even if you are not a huge fan yourself, don’t hesitate to pick it up if you love adventure, science fiction, worlds with alien creatures, and the like. It’s a fast read with fun characters who find themselves in sticky situations!
Rating: 4 stars (plus 3 suns and 2 moons!)
**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for purposes of this blog tour. This review is voluntary on my part and reflects my honest rating and review....more