Rated: 4 Stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Debut YA author Natasha Díaz pulls from her personal experience to inform this powerful coming-of-age novel about the meaning of friendship, the joyful beginnings of romance, and the racism and religious intolerance that can both strain a family to the breaking point and strengthen its bonds.
Who is Nevaeh Levitz?
Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom’s family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.
Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can’t stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she’s always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.
It’s only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?
I requested this book from NetGalley because I knew I was going to love this story and just look at that cover. It’s stunning.
We are introduced to a 16 year old girl name Neveah who is biracial, Jewish and African American. Her parents are divorced and forced to moved to Harlem from her suburb home in NYC. She moves in with her extended family only to have her cousins dislike her because they think she privileged and looks more white than black with perfect hair ( I can remember kids not liking me in school because (in their words) I have “white people hair”. Which really did bother me. I guess as an African American your hair is only to look a certain way). Her father also wants her to have a belated Bar Mitzvah and start attending Temple. To educate her and be more connected with their heritage, and because of all this she now struggles with her identity.
One Day Neveah travels up to her attic and finds her mothers diary and discovers reasons as to why her parents got divorced and more about her mother’s struggles in her marriage.
I really enjoyed this coming of age debut novel. I loved character development, it was beautifully written and feel like many can relate to this story. I would so recommend this book.
And if you’re wanting to know how pronounce Neveah it’s Nuh-vay-uh.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.