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The Latte Rebellion

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A Fun Story With A Great Message - Simply Fantastic

When Asha, a soon-to-be senior, gets called a towel head at the local community pool because she is: A) part Indian and B) has a beach towel on her head, she realizes the inequities that continue to abound in her world. On a whim and a joke, Asha and her best friend Car...
When Asha, a soon-to-be senior, gets called a towel head at the local community pool because she is: A) part Indian and B) has a beach towel on her head, she realizes the inequities that continue to abound in her world. On a whim and a joke, Asha and her best friend Carey conspire to create t-shirts to sell with The Latte Rebellion printed on them. The girls love lattes and joke that they themselves are lattes - the more ingredients, the better! Their money-making venture spins out of control and becomes an actual movement; a movement that Asha cares about, but not everyone has the same opinion.

The Latte Rebellion starts off slow, much like any grassroots group would. I enjoyed getting to know Asha and her family, and seeing how the Rebellion grew from being just a way to make some cash for a post-graduation vacation, into a movement that not only ignited the minds of others, but transformed Asha as well. The issues of race and inequality are tackled seriously, but never in a way that makes The Latte Rebellion an 'issues' book. Asha becomes the de facto leader of something that is so much bigger than her. And even though it gets out of control and it becomes too much for her to handle, living through that, growing through that, allows her to figure out who she is and who she can be.

Sarah Jamila Stevenson's writing is realistic and fun. Each character brings something to the story, good or bad. I couldn't help but be drawn to Asha's sudden passion for the Rebellion and the realization that a single idea can wield so much power. Miranda's go get-em' attitude and overall awesomeness made me love her. Even the characters who I disliked contributed to the story and Asha's growth.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is how it tells the story about how the Rebellion gets built up, but opens each chapter with snippets of its aftermath and the disciplinary hearing that results from some momentous occurrence. Throughout the book, the Rebellion becomes this tangible movement. Sarah's propaganda drawings help to pull the Rebellion together and really make it feel like a real movement and I loved the code names Asha and her friends use.

The Latte Rebellion is a different kind of contemporary story that explores what it means to be proud of who you are and how to be that person in the midst of something so huge, with such polarizing sides. The book made me want to join in the movement, go to the rallies, and fight for what I believe in. It also left me smiling, and if a book can do that, it can't be a bad thing.

Opening line: The jeering male voice came from somewhere behind me, waking me up from a heatstroke-induced doze. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: What mattered was that people believed in the Rebellion, and if enough people believed, then we, like Thad and Greg with their clinic, might actually be able to change the world. ~ pg. 230

posted by Nikkayme on January 28, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Meh... could have skipped this one.

I really wanted to like "The Latte Rebellion", but the book just didn't do it for me. I originally got into the book thinking it would be an interesting read about girls banding together to make a difference in the world, but there seemed to be very little of this. It...
I really wanted to like "The Latte Rebellion", but the book just didn't do it for me. I originally got into the book thinking it would be an interesting read about girls banding together to make a difference in the world, but there seemed to be very little of this. It didn't really bother me that Asha and Carey's plan stemmed from a marketing scheme to help them plan a summer trip, the fact that they did believe in what they were putting on the shirts made it okay for me. What I didn't like was how Asha and Carey fought the entire book. I get not wanting to lose an important friendship, but when your friend only has contact with you when it is beneficial for them, then that is a one sided relationship. I kind of felt like Carey was only Asha's friend to bum rides off of her to school, help her study for tests, and so she had somewhere to sit at lunch. Asha's character was also driving me nuts. She kept ignoring her schoolwork and then was shocked when she got back grades. It was also annoying because she kept whining about how unfair her parents were being, but she is the one who let her grades slip. There was a lot of time spent on Carey and Asha's friendship, on Asha's grades, and on love interesting- this just really detracted from the overall story to me.

Another thing I really didn't like was the portrayal of adults in the book. Almost every single adult thought the Latte Rebellion was a terrorist group or that teenagers were wasting time on something that wasn't important. I have to say that if my child were to start a group to raise awareness of important social issues, I would be so proud of them. I would not be ashamed and disappointed. I would of course warn them that sometimes acting on your beliefs could cause trouble, even if you have the best of intentions, but I would still stand up for them if the school tried to expel them. I can't believe no parent stepped in to talk to the school about how exclusive they were being to groups of students. I know this is a teen book and maybe teens wouldn't like adults taking charge, but that is usually what happens. Especially in a circumstance such as this where the school system is overreacting to a peaceful group trying to bring social awareness about mixed races. The schools reaction was actually pretty disgusting; I'm surprised more wasn't done in this area.

Overall, the book was okay, but honestly I could have skipped reading this one. Even though Asha did seem to want to bring awareness about mixed races to the world, I just thought "The Latte Rebellion" would have been a more successful book if more focus had been spent on the issues instead of Asha's personal life. I know that other people have really enjoyed this book, but I'm just not one of them.

posted by ABookDork on May 16, 2011

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  • Posted May 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Meh... could have skipped this one.

    I really wanted to like "The Latte Rebellion", but the book just didn't do it for me. I originally got into the book thinking it would be an interesting read about girls banding together to make a difference in the world, but there seemed to be very little of this. It didn't really bother me that Asha and Carey's plan stemmed from a marketing scheme to help them plan a summer trip, the fact that they did believe in what they were putting on the shirts made it okay for me. What I didn't like was how Asha and Carey fought the entire book. I get not wanting to lose an important friendship, but when your friend only has contact with you when it is beneficial for them, then that is a one sided relationship. I kind of felt like Carey was only Asha's friend to bum rides off of her to school, help her study for tests, and so she had somewhere to sit at lunch. Asha's character was also driving me nuts. She kept ignoring her schoolwork and then was shocked when she got back grades. It was also annoying because she kept whining about how unfair her parents were being, but she is the one who let her grades slip. There was a lot of time spent on Carey and Asha's friendship, on Asha's grades, and on love interesting- this just really detracted from the overall story to me.

    Another thing I really didn't like was the portrayal of adults in the book. Almost every single adult thought the Latte Rebellion was a terrorist group or that teenagers were wasting time on something that wasn't important. I have to say that if my child were to start a group to raise awareness of important social issues, I would be so proud of them. I would not be ashamed and disappointed. I would of course warn them that sometimes acting on your beliefs could cause trouble, even if you have the best of intentions, but I would still stand up for them if the school tried to expel them. I can't believe no parent stepped in to talk to the school about how exclusive they were being to groups of students. I know this is a teen book and maybe teens wouldn't like adults taking charge, but that is usually what happens. Especially in a circumstance such as this where the school system is overreacting to a peaceful group trying to bring social awareness about mixed races. The schools reaction was actually pretty disgusting; I'm surprised more wasn't done in this area.

    Overall, the book was okay, but honestly I could have skipped reading this one. Even though Asha did seem to want to bring awareness about mixed races to the world, I just thought "The Latte Rebellion" would have been a more successful book if more focus had been spent on the issues instead of Asha's personal life. I know that other people have really enjoyed this book, but I'm just not one of them.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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