So, I’m still not 100% on my rating choice. This one was hard as there were things that really irritated me but also it was super gripping after the 200 page mark… So I’m a bit indecisive.
Let’s start with what I didn’t like. The beginning was too much high school drama for my taste. That’s just personal preference but even in real life I was never apart of that side of high school or cared in the slightest. Most of it I just find petty. Which was my thoughts a few times in the beginning of the book.
The next thing I disliked was Chiamaka & Jamie as characters. Chiamaka did grow a little throughout the book but even in the end I wasn’t super impressed with her. Both here & Jamie were toxic & manipulative characters and while Chiamaka did call Jamie out on it eventually, no one really called Chiamaka out. Which was annoying. It was like it’s fine to treat people like that as long as you can give a reason how it benefits you. Oh and if you feel powerful while doing it! Uhmm, no, you’re just a shitty person.
The last point on my dislike list is the ending. Some things were wrapped up but I feel like there was sooo much left unanswered or half finished. I can’t go into details because spoilers but there was a character in jail, we never found out what happened. We never found out the actual details about Devon’s dad. What happened to Chiamaka’s love interest? Were they there the night shit hit the fan? They just kind of disappeared off the face of the earth. So yeah, I have a lot of questions…. And it’s a standalone, so I will never get them answered.
NOW onto the positives. This book was straight up GRIPPING in the last 200 pages.
It went like:
First 100 pages: meh, school drama
Next 100 pages: I’m curious but not hooked
Last 200 pages: holy fuck what is happening!
The last 200 pages had me hooked & I was so damn invested in this story that I read the last 170 pages in one sitting. That is the main reason it has such a high rating for me to be honest.
I enjoyed that we had both m/m & f/f representation as well as POC. I’m not sure I’ve actually read a LGBT+ POC character before but I could be wrong. Either way it was nice to see representation!
I did enjoy Devon as a character as well as Terrell. Devon was a very fleshed out character which I enjoyed. You see both his & Chiamaka’s struggles being POC. Devon especially as he is also Gay and doesn’t live in a great neighbourhood. His Ma is so precious too. Chiamaka we see a little bit of the struggle of having a white dad and how he doesn’t understand or really advocate for her as a POC. So there were a lot of aspects relating to POC experience covered in this book which was awesome to see. While I’m not POC myself and can’t directly relate this is definitely representation we need in YA books!
In conclusion I’m still confused about my rating. I hoped writing this review would help me weigh the good & bad but I still don’t know if I should rate this 3.5 or 4 stars. I’ll leave it as 4 for now but may adjust after thinking a bit more. I only finished the book about an hour before posting this. So it’s still fresh.