Tutored by Allison Whittenberg (ARC)
Publication Date: December 14, 2010
Versions: hardcover, kindle
Received from: Around The World Tours
Summary (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.
I really enjoyed Hakiam and Wendy's love/hate relationship throughout the whole book. They were so different and their lifestyles were so different but they also had a lot in common. Wendy's dad is stuck on her having a better life. But all Wendy wants to do is go to a historically black college, but no one seems to understand that. So when Hakiam walks into the tutoring building to sign up for classes, he thinks Wendy is just some rich girl that wants to be white. But when he gets to know her, he starts to realize that her life isn't as perfect as it seems.
This plot line was very similar to Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. And since I loved Perfect Chemistry, I immediately liked this book and it was overall a great read. Allison Wittenberg is a great writer and brings up risky topics but she does so in a fun and real way.
Will I reread it?
I don't know, but I loved all the characters and what they had to go through in their everyday lives. I hope Allison Whittenberg will come out with some other novels because I have a feeling they will be just as good or maybe even better.