Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You're Jealous because I WON!

OUTSIDE: Bright and cold. Important--NO SNOW.
LISTENING TO: White Stripes on shuffle. So bummed that they are parting ways.
READING: Warped by Maurissa Guibord
BREAKFAST: a cocktail of Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey. And vitamins. Yuck.

At last (told you it takes me forever to do anything), I'm posting my first 2011 Debut Author Challenge review!

I actually won a copy of this book through a contest on Twitter--having to tweet about my favorite warm beverage which was, at the time, a cup of Alice's Tea Cup Christmas blend and a cookie. Personally I think it was the mention of the cookie that won the day, because I never win random drawings, but luck was with me and I WON... 

From the first time I heard the premise of this book, I really wanted to read it. The folks at Flux do a tremendous job at intros, so I'm not even going to try to do my own:

"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."

Interesting premise, and without giving any spoilers, I thought that Sarah Jamila Stevenson brought the reader through Asha's ups and downs in this adventure to a very satisfactory conclusion.  What really hooked me though was how very realistic and true the story and the characters were.  Asha is absolutely believeable and imperfect--in a very good way. Her flaws and the self depreciating wit with which she delivers observations about herself, her friends, her family, her situation, made her a strong character with an appealing fragility and humility about her. This is not an easy thing for a writer to pull off. Asha is someone you'd want to be friends with (if she were real, of course).  Then there were characters I wanted to smack (come on, Carey!) and hug (Miranda). 

I love when I have an emotional reaction to a book--to me it means that the writer brought me into the world he or she has created; SJS did this and more. Now, some personal notes--points that were little treats and made me smile while reading...

* This book is going to make the tour of my house--we are a mixed race family, and there are several challenges that the rebellion members face that we've come up against. I like the overall attitude of the characters--its very uplifiting but realistic too.

* LOVE the "exhibits" and illustrations throughout the book.  I later discovered that the art was the work of SJS herself. One thing that came immediately to mind when I first saw them was "Persepolis" and I wondered if SJS had read any of Marjane Satrapi's work.  It's like comparing peas to apples, I know, but I may have to ask her that one day (answer will be posted if I manage to collect it!).

* I thought it was hysterical that Asha and co. refered to themselves not only as "Lattes" but as "Brown." My husband (half Pakistani, half Irish) has been doing that for years. I laughed out loud every time I came across it.

* Equally cool is the companion website to the book. Click the picture below (one of SJS's illustrations) to visit:

Don't be jealous because I won (I never win anything, really!). Instead, why not visit  Flux and get your own copy. Or visit your local bookstore--if they don't have it, ASK FOR A COPY--good for you, and the author too.

I'm really impressed with myself that I am trucking along with this challenge!  Next up, WARPED!


  1. Thanks so much for the review! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :) And yes, I've read Persepolis (both of them) and love it. Actually, I'd love to do a graphic novel myself someday.

    Cool that your husband is half-Pakistani--that's what I am, too!!

    - Sarah

  2. I was born into a mixed race family and now I'm raising my own so I'm eager to get my hands on a copy of this book. Thanks for the great review!

  3. Thanks for stopping by! I don't want to pigeon hole this book--because I think any teen reader would be able to relate. Asha came alive to me as a person. My son graduated high school last year and she seemed like so many of his friends--the things she said, her manner of speech, etc. But there is that twist of her being a child of several distinct cultures--not only incorporating the nationalities of her parents, but American culture as well, that was very interesting and well done. Daughter (13) is reading it now.

  4. The Latte Rebellion is already on my to-read list, and your review just makes me want to read it even more. Congratulations on your win!

  5. Beautiful post combining mocha latte, cookie, and a COOL book! Wow. P.S. Kid Creole: "If it weren't for my cream-and-coffee color, I'd be a diety." Actually, he is a deity. :-) Times were tough adjectivally, though, before the mocha latte craze... and I want one right now.