Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Stephen Emond
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Walter lives in the big city with his police officer dad. He meets Naomi Mills and they quickly fall in love as teenagers do, not realizing that any repercussions might occur because of their relationship. The biggest problem is something that shouldn't ever be a problem - race. Walter is white and Naomi is black, which doesn't matter to them but does matter to both of their families, especially after Walter's dad is accused of racial profiling and starts being investigated. Walter eventually learns to stand up for himself and those he loves, make peace with people he feels have wronged him, and take a deeper look at what personal prejudices he might hold onto without even recognizing it.
This book is a great exploration of many relevant themes that kids today are faced with: racism and all of its implications, social media as a way for people to anonymously share their hate and strong opinions, and families that look less than ideal. Stephen Emond does a great job of showing these themes in a realistic and matter-of-fact way without being preachy or condemning of any one way of thinking. Walter and Naomi are wonderfully flawed characters that readers will love to get to know, and the pages of the story are interspersed with lovely, noir-style watercolor and pencil drawings done by Emond. This book is a must-read for teens who like an unconventional romance and the drama of being a teenager in today's world.
*Contains mild language, mild sexual content, and mild violence.