Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson


The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson
"Hoping to raise money for a post-graduation trip to London, Asha Jamison and her best friend Carey decide to sell T-shirts promoting the Latte Rebellion, a club that raises awareness of mixed-race students.

But seemingly overnight, their "cause" goes viral and the T-shirts become a nationwide social movement. As new chapters spring up from coast to coast, Asha realizes that her simple marketing plan has taken on a life of its own—and it's starting to ruin hers. Asha's once-stellar grades begin to slip, threatening her Ivy League dreams, while her friendship with Carey hangs by a thread. And when the peaceful underground movement spins out of control, Asha's school launches a disciplinary hearing. Facing expulsion, Asha must decide how much she's willing to risk for something she truly believes in."- summary from Amazon

This is one hell of a debut- it's smart, well-written at a good pace, and also fun. The story starts with the incident that starts the Latte Rebellion and then shifts to the following year after things get out of hand and Asha is at the disciplinary hearing. Each chapter is like this- the majority of it starting in the summer and going chronologically with a few pages at the end taking place at the disciplinary hearing the following April. In the last 60 pages or so, the story catches up and we see what happened to bring about the hearing as well as how the hearing ends, and Asha's life in the following months. It was a wonderful, compelling way to tell the story.

The pages flew by for me and I was surprised at how many pages I'd read after just a half-hour or so. I loved this story and it was a lot of fun to read, but it also raised some interesting questions and revealed prejudices against mixed-race people. I'm not a mixed race person, but the attitudes some people have in this book had me wanting to punch them. It bugs me that people in the real world have this attitude too; I mean, we're in the 21st century- can't we just get over petty things like that? This book is for anyone who's been treated poorly because of who they are, because of something they can't help- gender, race, sexual orientation. It's heartening to read a book like this that gives a voice to the unheard. I was proud of everything Asha and her friends did, as well as everyone who supported the Latte Rebellion, though it may seem weird to be proud of fictional characters, lol.

Speaking of the characters, they were all wonderful (well, you know, except for the ones I wanted to punch) and I loved how multi-layered everyone was. Stevenson did a fantastic job writing her characters and I really enjoyed spending time with them. I liked the extra touch of including the evidence for the hearing at the beginning of each chapter, some of which included drawings. It made the whole Latte Rebellion thing come together for me, being able to see the things they made to promote the cause.

Overall, an amazing debut and one I think everyone should check out. I cannot wait to read more from Stevenson.

FTC: Received paperback from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks so much, James, for the kind words and the awesome review! :) You made my morning.

    ReplyDelete