What’s This Book About?
Genre: YA contemporary romance; retelling (‘Pride and Prejudice’)
Publication: 18 Sep 2018
Listening length: 6 hours (1x speed)
Synopsis: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.
Content warnings (highlight to see): as far as I read up to – classism – see theTrigger Warnings Database for more
What I Thought:
DNF at 68%
I’m so sad. I’d been so looking forward to this and the concept sounded amazing, and we got off to a really strong start.
However…I just really didn’t like Zuri. Initially I thought this was a great place to begin a nuanced and rich character arc, but I ended up liking her less and less the further we got. I get that she’s young, and there are many moments were her hostility is completely warranted, but a lot of other times it felt like Zuri was constantly jumping to conclusions and just plain rude. I get that the ‘Lizzy’ figure in the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ narrative can be judgy, but wow. Zuri took it to a whole new level. She also felt a little selfish sometimes, for example with Janae and Ainsley.
Zuri’s pride in her community was actually lovely to read and I didn’t want it to change at all, which is ironic because I think Zuri’s meant to represent the ‘Pride’ in P&P. Zuri actually felt even more judgy than Darius… One especially irritating moment was when Zuri was looking down on other participants at an open mic event (thank God not out loud/to their faces) with a very strong flavour that she thinks she’s leagues ahead. I don’t know…I never like seeing more experienced artists bash on less experienced ones rather than encourage/give constructive criticism.
[ID: Korean boy with brown hair and a striped shirt, BTS’ Jin, shaking his head and giving side-eye]
I also don’t understand why she and Darius would even like each other – the moment when they got together felt so random and contrived, and it’s like we skipped several steps from enemies to lovers. (Was there even a ‘mutual respect’ stage? Maybe I haven’t read up to it yet…but honestly I couldn’t care enough to make myself continue.) They seemed to flip-flop a lot with little explanation. (Highlight for spoiler) I could not BELIEVE, what with all her talk about having her sisters’ backs, that she would kiss Darius after what he did to Janae – she saw him whispering to Ainsley before Ainsley dumped Janae! At this point I only cared about what happened with Janae (Zuri’s sister) and Ainsley (Darius’ brother) and how the Warren-Layla-Georgia thing would get played out…so I read a summary instead.
[ID: Korean boy with blonde hair and black bomber jacket, BTS’ SUGA, shrugging]
That being said, I did love the poems (by Zuri) that we get interspersed throughout, Zuri’s ambition and dreams to go to a historically Black college, Zuri’s relationship with her family and others in her hood, and their pride in the mix of cultures in their block. Acevedo’s narration was also great and I’m looking forward to hearing her narrate her own audiobooks!