The Latte Rebellion by Sara Jamila StevensonYoung adult realism
I had some real problems with this book. I wanted to like and it seemed like just the kind of book I could really get into: plucky heroine striving to right the wrongs of the world and the culture around her.
In it, Asha wants to escape the confines and rules of her extremely strict parents after graduation for some fun before going to college. Along with her friend, Carey, Asha starts the "latte" rebellion after being teased about her heritage and race at a pool party. She decides to use "latte" as a way to bring awareness to her race as mixed heritage and comes up with the idea of selling t-shirts to make money to fund her trip. Soon, though, the world at large gets in on the action and takes the rebellion much farther than Asha ever dreamed, launching her in trouble with school, her parents, and her friends.
Sounds great, right? Right from the start, I had real issues with the main character. This may be a fault with mine--anytime I dislike a main character, I end up really hating the book. And, Asha is so dislikable. I cannot get behind a heroine whose only goal is to make money for a summer vacation. The idea of mixed-race awareness is clearly of secondary importance to her, if that. She repeatedly lies to her parents and her friends. She treats her friend Carey in the most selfish way and then is surprised when Carey wants to abandon their friendship. She loves the fame of the group, but doesn't really want to do any work towards the mission. Plus, for a girl who chafes at being labeled, she labels and categorizes everyone she comes across. Their isn't anything wrong with the plot, grammar, or writing style, but the main character makes this a book I couldn't recommend to young readers for any reason.