Cover Image: How to Talk to Black People

How to Talk to Black People

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Member Reviews

Ivy lives in a poor household with her drunk, somewhat neglectful mother. She hates being seen as “poor white trash” by her classmates and reminds her regularly that that’s what she is. Therefore she carries around a huge chip on her shoulder. Typically I am the kind of reader that gets behind the underdog or underdogs of a story. But in this case Ivy isn’t extremely likable and makes it hard to get behind.

I am going to just put it out there that this was my third and final attempt to read this book. And this time I was able to finish it. That is not to say that I enjoyed it but I was able to get through it. I still couldn’t give it more than three stars. I realize that the author was trying to force the reader to look at how we view race, how we participate in racism, and how we need to realize what we need to do for change. And if this book was written for adults who have dealt with and or experienced more prejudice and racial injustices than I would probably feel differently. But this is geared towards teenagers who haven’t quite figured out who they are much less their beliefs. They are still surrounded by people (parents, siblings, extended family, etc) who play a significant influential role in their decisions. Therefore, this would be a book that I wouldn’t feel comfortable to hand to just any teen. This book would only be used with teens in an environment where it could be read and thoroughly discussed.
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I'm not going to lie it took me a lot to get through this book you're not the end of it I appreciate what was said and done but it wasn't my favorite. I didn't hate it but I don't think I would reread it again
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This book was an interesting read. I live in the rural south and my children have gone through schools that are very racially diverse, as financially comfortable white kids. They have had friends (thank goodness) from all different ethnicity, race, religion, sexuality and social class. Many of the characters in this book were stereotypical of kids that have gone to the schools or who live in our area and therefore believable. Even the ugliness of things said by Ivy from the beginning are understandable given her background and what she has been exposed to her entire life. If anything, it reinforces the need for books such as this one to open up the discussion rather than debate over how to speak to each other when our backgrounds are unique to our own conditions. In Ivy's case, she had ignorance from her family, loss of a parent and then neglect from the other and poverty to try to overcome in an environment of a well-heeled school system. So as awful as she was, I think her bravery in trying to keep going makes her a redeemable character.
So, although most likely for brevity, this seemed to have every stereotype possible to make the points on key issues, race, class, sexuality, it also hit many of these well. For my taste, I would have preferred a little more nuance and less obvious tropes but for the discussion purpose that this book was trying to meet, I think it does this well. I liked the willingness of the characters to have open and free discussions about social issues that were differences between them to better understand what life is like in someone else's skin. 
I agree with some of the other reviews that there were some issues that seemed to resolve too easily, that in my opinion, would be unlikely to occur in reality. And I would also say that, even if a child is the son of amazingly accomplished parents and gifted in his own right, is it realistic that he would call out the local neurosurgeon on stage in front of his entire class (as the new kid) and be able to recite his mother's research? Maybe....but most kids don't care that much about what their parents are doing honestly. This does not detract from the story at all and I would highly recommend this book.

#HowToTalkToBlackPeople #NetGalley
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This story adds another voice to the narrative m. It is important and it matters. This was not my favorite book on the topic, but it covered issues of racism adequately and told a heartbreaking, too often true, story.
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This book is a must read. Besides it being relevant in today’s time, it is very well written and teaches at the same time. I devoured this book and have already recommended it to people. The author states that she insisted that the book be published as written. I am so glad she did this. Kudos and thank you so much for this book   Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the arc of this book in return for my honest review. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on this review.
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Ivy is not a particularly likeable character. She’s got a chip on her shoulder about being ‘poor white trash’ as her schoolmates call her. Her best friend Magnus is a shoulder to prop her up, but she knows very little about him. When she gets teamed up with new schoolmate Alex (the only black student in their school), she can’t understand how her joke about picking cotton could be deemed insulting.
For such a short book, there’s a lot packed in here. It’s written from the view of someone who is - even though she has many disadvantages - privileged in comparison to many. She slowly has her eyes opened to how we can, often without being conscious of it, perpetuate stereotypes.
So many awkward scenes in this, not least the end situation regarding Alex.
Definitely a topical read, and one to get people talking, though certain events took place seemingly quickly.
Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this.
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Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy of How to Talk to Black People in exchange for an honest review. 
I think How to Talk to Black People serves a really unique need to address race and classism in an approachable way. This story is hard to read at times. The author's note is an important aspect of this book as it prepares the reader for what they are about to encounter. This book is not an educational tool as much as it is an example of what racism and classism can look like. I look forward to seeing how this manuscript is edited as the timing felt inconsistent at times.
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I’m not sure how to review this book. I don’t feel like it is my place as a white woman. This book covers important topics surrounding race and class. The book feels rushed but hopefully after final reviews it is more polished. If (as a white woman keep in mind) had to recommend one book on race to other white people, this wouldn’t be it, but it would included on a longer list.
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**i received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.** 
This book sounded so good.  Class, race, and how they impact us in unseen ways.  
Although the story is an important one, I found it hard to care about Ivy  and her experience.  The writing is often stiff and clunky in many ways.  I can concede that perhaps ivy is not supposed to be likeable but it makes the story harder to connect to. 
Magnus is adorably quirky.  He reminded me of the guy friends in ‘80’s cinema.  Even he couldn’t save this story.  With a little polishing, this book could be an important one. As it is, it was hard to get through.
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A special thank you to NetGalley and Kindle for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Can someone really see the errors of what they were taught and subsequently break through the boundaries that they have inflicted on others?  

Ivy lives in a trailer park with her drunk mother and is suffocated by the death of her father. Along with her second-hand wardrobe, she also wears a chip on her shoulder. Her only and best friend is the quirky and lovable Magnus who also happens to live in the trailer park with his grandmother after the death of his parents. 

There's a new student this year and he's quite impressive—Alex is smart, good-looking and fit. His mother is an award-winning surgeon and his dad was a famous basketball player. Ivy thinks she's hit the jackpot when she finds out that Alex is her lab partner. He's her ticket to an easy A.

But high school is a cruel place when you don't fit in. Ivy is trailer trash, Magnus is misunderstood, and Alex is the only black kid in the entire school. When the year is up, one of them won't see graduation.

How to Talk to Black People is an in-your-face look at how we view race, how we participate in racism, and how we need to be the catalyst for change. It is a challenge to its reader to do better, be better, and to set a better example. 

The note to the reader from the author, as well as the character Letitia, were the most compelling parts of the story. Leticia's poise, grace, and wisdom were both insightful and refreshing given the challenges the author seemed to have with the rest of the writing and by extension, the characters. At times the dialogue was clunky and awkward and it took away from the narrative. 

Understandably, the reader is not supposed to like Ivy—it wasn't so much that I didn't like her, I didn't like the way she was written and felt that this was some of the weakest writing from the author.  Magnus on the other hand was endearing and reminded me of Duckie from Pretty in Pink, projecting a gay vibe but secretly crushing on his best friend.

Where the author was most successful was with their intent. Writing from one perspective, Ivy's, was effective because all of the focus is on the messages, and there's a lot to unpack. The author doesn't shy away from how they present these weighty topics of racism and classism. 

My hope is that the finished product is more polished. In the note to the reader, the author seemed a bit defensive in regards to suggestions by a publishing professional to tone down Ivy and I have to agree.  I'm not suggesting that Ivy be changed to be more palatable—I think the author is trying to make their audience uncomfortable on purpose so that the reader is forced to examine their own actions/self. My ask is for the author to be more open to suggestion because the work is rough and there are characters that need work. These things detract from the story instead of enhance it.
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This had some really important messages in it that keep the conversation about racism going, which is great. The readers note in the beginning helped me to know what I was going into with the main character, even though there's truly no preparing yourself for how vile Ivy was. With that being said, I found the pacing to be off in this book a lot. Some of the scenarios felt really rushed and awkward, and there were times when some of the rough writing overshadowed the importance of what this book was about. Still a decent read, just not the kind of writing and pacing I personally prefer.
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**E-book provided by NetGalley**

This book started off so cringey. So, so cringey. However, the author's note at the beginning of the text really helped me stick with it and understand why it was written in such a way. 

For starters, I really wish I could know the author and take a look at his/her Facebook feed. At the beginning, the author states that a lot of the tough details and jokes she got straight from her personal Facebook feed. That blows my mind, but was a serious eye-opener to a lot of the race-related issues we still face today. 

There were some tough subjects covered in this book from racism to classism, but it was seriously such an easy read. I think that was honestly one of my favorite parts of the book. It's important to have an accessible text that talks about those issues that are so often ignored, and this book does a great job of that. 

Overall, aside from the tough issues, this book is also about teen friendships, and I think the author does a great job of exploring the complexities of those relationships and how different they are from adult friendships. She shows how easy it is to be on-again, off-again, but also how important those friendships are to surviving everyday life in high school which is no easy feat. 

I seriously enjoyed this book, and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning more about racism/how to combat racism with their friends & family. Great read!
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I missed reviewing this before the publication date, however, once I started it I knew I would finish it. I think it took me 3 days (amongst many other pressing to-dos) to complete. It is a very easy read about very difficult subjects. 

I think all reviews of this book should start with a disclaimer about the reviewer's race. That way other readers can gauge their responses better. I am white, born and bred in South Africa. The story in SA is a little different but still very much the same. I have known many Ivy's. I have grown up in Ivy's house. I have been Ivy. 

Reading has been the THING that has helped me to shake that cultural norm. Reading creates empathy with people whose experience you can not even imagine. I have read broadly, intentional seeking out stories different to mine. 

I have struggled with the question of how to respond to someone when they make a racist comment. I always feel so shocked at the audacity and yet immobilised. After reading this book, I feel that it is my duty to not be complicit in the dribble that people spout around me. I must confront the comment to make it clear that talking, let alone thinking, like that is unacceptable! 

Now to the writerly aspects of this novel. There is so much about this story that I love. I fell into the world wholeheartedly and didn't look back. However... 

It's obvious that it was rushed. I truly hope the ARC I read was edited and re-edited because there were many spelling mistakes, speech marks excluded and other grammar issues. The pace and subject of the story kept me hooked but I do feel it could have been more nuanced and maybe a bit expanded. I guess I wanted the story to be longer. In a way, though, I can see how it feeling brief is also part of the message.

The characters seemed to serve specific purposes and so, although layered, they sometimes seemed flat. The story culminates in Alex's mother giving a press statement. I felt like the whole story was shaped around that moment. Obviously, this is how stories work, but I could see the anonymous author with her pen flicking back and forth.

So, my final assessment is: this should be required reading, everywhere! once it is edited...
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This book is incredibly dull. I tried to get into it because the themes appealed to me. Especially because I teach in Appalachia, I thought this book would be engaging because of the issues with social class and race. But Ivy is boring, the story is hard to latch onto . . . I don't know. this one just wasn't for me.
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I disliked the beginning of this book so much that I thought about not finishing it. It started out with a very negative POV. IHowever, I kept in mind that one of the author's intents was to move people out of their comfort zone and kept reading. This book ended up being a powerful story about biases and prejudices, and not solely about black-white relationships. The author states that the attitudes in the story come from real life; it's hard to believe people are so ignorant in this day and age.  Even worse are those who hold these attitudes out of hate.  It's too bad that a major publisher didn't take this on, as the public would benefit if this message was wide spread. 
4 stars instead of 5 as the book could use some more editing and proofreading.
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Very powerful book , left me a bit speechless and unable to know what to write , a book largely about race and class is always going to be difficult to explain how you felt. The characters are well written, as is the book, but it’s difficult as a white woman to know what to write as I’ve never experienced anything due to white privilege I have in my life, but it’s uncomfortable as a white person to read as you recognise the worst of white behaviour and I wish these people didn’t exist, but the fact we still have white privilege I know it does way too much.  Uncomfortable as a white person as you feel ashamed, but you know what we need to all be uncomfortable and maybe things might change at least in some people 

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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I want to thank Netgalley for providing me an Arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This was a very powerful read.
Honestly I’m blown away and a little bit lost for words.
It was an amazing book that tackled a lot of very series issues like race and class.
I will be honest and say I cried a few times it was so good.
I give it 4 stars.
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I am not quite sure what to say about this book. It took me a bit before writing this review. The story is basically a YA friendship, but it is definitely more. It is about race and class. The author wrote this book with the explicit intention to probe those issues. In that way, the author is successful. There are many situations about inter-rational conversations that ring true. 

I didn't see the race of the author, and I have been trying to decide if it mattered. I wondered because I wondered if the author was more familiar with being the receiver of racism or the person who is saying racist things without realizing it. Either way, characters of all races are done well, so the author should be commended. 

The challenge I have is there is something slightly wooden about the writing. The dialogue is good but the rest of the description wasn't as strong. I don't know that it matters, though, bc the characters are interesting. 

Overall, a solid YA read, and a good one for most people to try. 

3.5
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I received an e-copy from @netgalley. I never feel like it is my place to review books such as this, as I am a white, middle class female. I’ve never had to deal with being afraid of the police, being worried about what you say or do, having to shrug off racist comments. This book I feel is different, as it is written from the perspective of a white person learning about why the jokes she makes are incredibly hurtful, and incredibly ignorant. I’m ashamed to say people like Ivy still exist in 2019, but they do. This book should be mandatory school reading so we can become better educated, and just better people. The reason I’m only giving this 4 stars is because Ivy was such an unbearable main character, although I am aware this was done intentionally. And now for (some) of my favourite quotes! I have so many!

“They’re is out of touch for what life is like for the rest of us.”

“One of these days she may learn to let her guard down, deflate her pride, or accept responsibility for her problems. One day, but most likely, not today.”

“Unknowingly, she had put him in the position to make a choice between who he is and what their friendship means.”

“Don’t you ever downgrade who you are, what you believe in, or allow yourself to become what people try to tell you that you are.”
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If you need a way to start a conversation, a way to spark change in society, I think I've found it. This book is cringe-worthy because the author hits the nail on the head. It is exactly what it needs to be. You will be begging Ivy to hold her tongue, to wake up. And when she finally does see her blatant racism and begin to accept others, you will want to cry for the pain she continues to endure. This book can be eye-opening and should get us talking about how racism is still possible in 2019.
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