I hope one day my family gets to a place where we can be thankful just to be thankful and not because we’ve compared ourselves to someone who has less than we do.
Fiction – Young Adult
A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success, from acclaimed author Renée Watson.
Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.
But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.
Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.
This beautifully written book tells the coming-of-age story of Jade, a high school student living in a poverty-stricken neighborhood while attending a prestigious school across town. As much as Jade wishes she could stay at her previous school with her existing friends, it’s clear that her scholarship allowing her to attend a school that could potentially provide so many more opportunities to her—both personal and educational—is where she needs to be. As she looks forward to her future, Jade tries to discern what it is she is really looking for in life. She wonders what it takes to be a successful woman of color in this society.
Through her mentor, she ends up learning more about herself than she could have imagined. Her eyes are opened to both her weakness and strengths and what she can do with those. The things that Jade struggles with personally are so relatable. I think we can all, in some way, relate to not feeling good enough. Feeling judged. Feeling like we can’t figure out where we quite fit in in this world. And this story does an exceptional job exploring these issues.
As a white woman, I know I cannot personally relate to the stereotypes and discrimination Jade faces on a daily basis. However, it was such a great reminder to me that these are things that people of color are dealing with often. I want to be aware of and empathetic to that. I also want to do what I can to protect the rights of minorities so that one day, hopefully, this isn’t an issue any longer.
Honestly, I highly recommend this book! It is a quick read; it is eye-opening and honest. I plan to read some other books by this author soon! Let me know what you thought if you’ve read this!