By Joan Steinau Lester
Zondervan, $15.99, 222 pages
“Why do I have all these humongous issues when all other girls have to worry only about how good their hair looks?” complains 15-year-old Nina Armstrong, protagonist of Joan Steinau Lester’s young-adult novel, Black, White, Other.
Nina remembers a happy childhood surrounded by her parents, her brother, and her best friend, Jessica. As she enters high school, this simple portrait is shattered. Her parents divorced, her brother became a thief, and Jessica found a new best friend. Her African-American father rants about racism. The black girls at school think she’s playing white, and her white mother can’t understand what the big deal is, while her white friends, including Jessica, start to call her “ghetto.”
Nina has nowhere to sit at lunch and no one to turn to Nina is captivated by her ancestor, Sara, a runaway slave desperate for freedom. From Sara, Nina learns that she is a young woman with choice. She must not run from her problems, but offer friendship to those willing to partake and protect her heart from those who are too preoccupied with appearances to realize what the strong young woman she is becoming.
Reviewed By Emily Davis