Tutoredby Allison Whittenberg
Wendy Anderson and Hakiam Powell are at opposite ends of the spectrum—the social spectrum, the financial spectrum, the opportunity spectrum, you name it. Wendy lives in an all-white suburb of Philadelphia, where she’s always felt like the only chip in the cookie. Her dad, who fought his way out of the ghetto, doesn’t want her mingling with “those people.” In fact, all Wendy’s life, her father has told her how terrible “those people” are. He even objects to Wendy’s plan to attend a historically black college. But Wendy feels that her race is more than just the color of her skin, and she takes a job tutoring at an inner-city community center to get a more diverse perspective on life.
Hakiam has never lived in one place for more than a couple of years. When he aged out of foster care in Ohio, he hopped a bus to Philly to start over, but now he’s broke, stuck taking care of his cousin’s premature baby for no pay, and finding it harder than ever to stay out of trouble. When he meets Wendy at the tutoring center, he thinks she’s an uppity snob—she can’t possibly understand his life. But as he gets to know her better, he sees a softer side. And eventually—much to the chagrin of Wendy’s father and Hakiam’s cousin—they begin a rocky, but ultimately enlightening, romance.
This edgy story about a star-crossed couple features strong African American characters and sparkles with smart, quirky dialogue and fresh observations on social pressures and black-on-black prejudice.
From the Hardcover edition.
The politics of ethnicity and class are heavily at play in this work of romantic fiction. Seventeen-year-old Wendy has been raised in a white suburb of Philadelphia by her overprotective father, who fears her exposure to the poor black neighborhoods he left behind. Wendy responds to his blatant stereotyping by becoming a tutor in just such a community, where she meets Hakiam. Newly arrived in the city, he's just the sort of boy her dad fears—he spent his adolescence being shuffled through foster homes and now lives with his cousin and her premature, newborn baby. Predictably, the two initially clash but quickly move past their sparring and become intrigued with one another, to the chagrin of both their families. The chemistry between the pair comes about abruptly, but the strength of this story lies in the dynamic between Wendy and Hakiam and in his experiences with her friends. Secondary characters are, unfortunately, not as well developed—both Wendy's dad and Hakiam's cousin are caricatures with whom readers will not be able to empathize. Ambitious and thought-provoking, if flawed. (Fiction. 12 & up)
- Random House Children's Books
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Random House
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 2 MB
- Age Range:
- 14 Years
Meet the Author
A Philadelphia native and a Virgo, Allison Whittenberg studied dance for years before switching her focus to writing. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin. Her middle-grade novels about Charmaine Upshaw, Sweet Thang and Hollywood and Maine, are available from Yearling, and her first novel for teen readers, Life Is Fine, is available from Delacorte Press. Alison enjoys traveling, and she loves to hear from her readers. Visit her online at www.allisonwhittenberg.com.
From the Hardcover edition.
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