Author: Ibi Zoboi
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
A coming of age tale about the triumphs of living in Bushwick. Zuri Benitez watched the fancy new Darcy family move in to a mansion across the street. She then meets Darius Darcy, who is the exact opposite from what she expected. Besides coming from two different worlds, these two will find they have a lot more in common. But Zuri is not ready to accept this yet, not with gentrification threatening her hood. Yeah.
The number of times the word Bushwick was used in this book was astronomical. Every page had the word at least twice. It got to the point that the word lost all meaning. So many synonyms could have been used. Like, yes we understand the book is about this hood in Brooklyn. We know the name now. This could have been better written with the reader in mind.
The main goal of this book was not to just be a Pride and Prejudice retelling, but to use that story in order to tell her main theme of gentrification and how it is affecting people and their homes. I just kind of wish this was written with a less harsh tone toward white people, although it does speak the truth. The is Brooklyn, where all people from different walks of life can congregate and feel at home. I am sorry that hipsters are ruining Brooklyn though.
Zuri is Haitian and Dominican and proclaims her blackness multiple times in the book. Yes, girl! Be proud. But when she continues to saying she is only black, I feel her Dominican heritage is just thrown to the side. Girl, you are hispanic/latinx, too. Don’t let the character Madrina be the only representation when Zuri is from New York City– the most diverse place in the world. Let people know that you don’t have to limit yourself to only one race (or gender).
The best thing about this book was the language. The slang used is exactly what native New Yorkers sound like. Living here for the past five years has led me to meet so many people who grew up here. I was able to learn their experiences as first gen or second gens who are trying to find their way in the world just like everyone else. This really felt like a perfect representation of New York City.
Unfortunately, that’s about as far as the yay’s go for me. This book really tried to rub me the wrong way at every angle. I really tried to get into this but even the romance was lacking. Although if you read into my Oh No’s you may find something you actually like in this book. So, don’t let my interpretation be the one thing that disregards you from this book.
“‘…So, seriously. You don’t got no trap music?’ I ask, trying to figure out the buttons on his dashboard.
‘You mean, do I have any trap music?’ He says this slowly, enunciating every word.
‘Hold up. Are you correcting me?’