Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review: Tutored by Alison Whittenberg

Warning: This book contains some offensive language.

From Goodreads: 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.

This was one of the books that I judged by the cover.  The pages of the book folding into a heart is just so simple, not to mention beautiful.
I loved how the author knew her characters so incredibly well.  It's not always easy to write a story where you can change your characters' perspectives but still keep them so true to themselves.  I admired the plot and the possibility of happiness, no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in.  All of the characters were incredible and easy to love, either for their harshness or for their openness to others who aren't like them.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something good in their lives and won't stop, no matter what people say.  It will probably bring a smile to your face.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and its characters.  Sometimes judging a book by its cover is the right thing to do.
Favorite line: "He walked up to her and looked in.  He pulled out the onesie with the strawberries and the ruffles and put it up to his chest.  "It doesn't fit," he said." 

Four out of four stars!


  1. Do you realize you have enough posts to have a "Older post" button. I still remember when there was nothing on this blog.
    Your rating in on 4 stars?

  2. @SteffI know! I noticed it last night and it makes me so excited!
    And, yes, it was a very good book!

  3. it's nice to see that there are some authors out there
    writing about other race, it sometimes seems like caucasian people
    dominate the YA genre, not that I complain or anything,
    I have nothing against anyone, I'm not african-american nor white,
    so I appreciate diversity while reading as well as in real life.

    added to my to-read list (:

  4. @melannie skoob
    Yeah, I normally don't even stop to think about race when reading a book, but this one really gets you thinking. It was wonderful.