Friday, January 28, 2011

The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

Title: The Latte Rebellion
Author: Sarah Jamila Stevenson
Publisher: Flux
Paperback, 326 pages
Date Published: January 8, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
Our philosophy is simple: Promote a latte-colored world! —from the Latte Rebellion Manifesto

When high school senior Asha Jamison gets called a "towel head" at a pool party, the racist insult gives Asha and her best friend Carey a great money-making idea for a post-graduation trip. They'll sell T-shirts promoting the Latte Rebellion, a club that raises awareness of mixed-race students.

Seemingly overnight, their "cause" goes viral and the T-shirts become a nationwide fad. 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, and her friendship with Carey is hanging by a thread. And when the peaceful underground movement turns militant, 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.
***

"Get ready to start your own rebellion after gulping down Sarah Stevenson's deftly written, multi-layered story about growing a voice, growing apart, and most of all, growing up girl." —JUSTINA CHEN, AUTHOR OF NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL
When Asha, a soon-to-be senior, gets called a towel head at the local community pool because she is: A) part Indian and B) has a beach towel on her head, she realizes the inequities that continue to abound in her world. On a whim and a joke, Asha and her best friend Carey conspire to create t-shirts to sell with The Latte Rebellion printed on them. The girls love lattes and joke that they themselves are lattes – the more ingredients, the better! Their money-making venture spins out of control and becomes an actual movement; a movement that Asha cares about, but not everyone has the same opinion.

The Latte Rebellion starts off slow, much like any grassroots group would. I enjoyed getting to know Asha and her family, and seeing how the Rebellion grew from being just a way to make some cash for a post-graduation vacation, into a movement that not only ignited the minds of others, but transformed Asha as well. The issues of race and inequality are tackled seriously, but never in a way that makes The Latte Rebellion an ‘issues’ book. Asha becomes the de facto leader of something that is so much bigger than her. And even though it gets out of control and it becomes too much for her to handle, living through that, growing through that, allows her to figure out who she is and who she can be.

Sarah Jamila Stevenson’s writing is realistic and fun. Each character brings something to the story, good or bad. I couldn’t help but be drawn to Asha’s sudden passion for the Rebellion and the realization that a single idea can wield so much power. Miranda’s go get-em’ attitude and overall awesomeness made me love her. Even the characters who I disliked contributed to the story and Asha’s growth.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is how it tells the story about how the Rebellion gets built up, but opens each chapter with snippets of its aftermath and the disciplinary hearing that results from some momentous occurrence. Throughout the book, the Rebellion becomes this tangible movement. Sarah’s propaganda drawings help to pull the Rebellion together and really make it feel like a real movement and I loved the code names Asha and her friends use.

The Latte Rebellion
is a different kind of contemporary story that explores what it means to be proud of who you are and how to be that person in the midst of something so huge, with such polarizing sides. The book made me want to join in the movement, go to the rallies, and fight for what I believe in. It also left me smiling, and if a book can do that, it can’t be a bad thing.

Opening line: The jeering male voice came from somewhere behind me, waking me up from a heatstroke-induced doze. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines:
What mattered was that people believed in the Rebellion, and if enough people believed, then we, like Thad and Greg with their clinic, might actually be able to change the world. ~ pg. 230
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Sarah Jamila Stevenson online:

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8 comments:

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Fabulous review, Nikki! I loved The Latte Rebellion, and I felt the message was so powerful...one that everyone needs to read and hear at some point. This is one I'll definitely recommend to others :)

aquafortis said...

Thanks so much for the thoughtful review, Nikki, and for featuring my book in your Dazzling Debuts. :)

- Sarah

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

Melissa - I couldn't agree more. In fact, your review of the book made me want to read it even more and I'm so happy I did.

Sarah - It was my pleasure to read the book. I'm hoping many others get the chance :D

Precious said...

Great review! I'm so happy that you liked this! I love the sound of it and after reading your review, it made its way in my wishlist. My school is a little rebellious. The students fight for lots of people, for lots of rights. There are tons of rallies and stuff. I guess I'll be able to relate. Because for me, those things are normal due to the frequency.

Lauren said...

Fantastic review. I actually had no idea what this was about till I read this, and now I'm intrigued. It sounds like it's really inspired you, which is always a good thing, especially if it's fun too.

brandileigh2003 said...

I've seen this one around and it sounds really powerful!
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Bere said...

Wonderful review, Nikki! You've really made me want to pick this one up. I believe this is the first review I've read of The Latte Rebellion and it truly sounds brilliant. I also love the title of the book hehe. Very unique. Thanks, Nikki! =)

~The Book Pixie said...

This one is on my wishlist and I think your review is the first I've really read of it. It sounds like an amazing and refreshing read and I'm looking forward to it. Excellent review! :D

~Briana

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