Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Randi Pink
Publisher: R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company
Into White is a coming of age story about Latoya, a high school junior who hates being black. After another black student bullies her, she prays to God to make her white. The next morning, she wakes up white with blond hair, blue eyes, and a skinny butt. After discovering this, Jesus appears in her room to tell her that her prayer was answered. She goes to school with the intention of being popular, but her new life is harder than she expected. Toya experiences things she never would have if she was "invisible" like she used to be. She is nearly raped by the college jock and ogled by the boys in her class. The popular girls want to hang out with her, but Toya discovers they are shallow and prejudice. She begins to fight against prejudice while being white, but takes the lessons with her when she changes back to her real self at the end of the story.
This novel is written by Randi Pink who grew up in Alabama. Her experiences helped to shape Latoya's growth and acceptance of who she was in the novel. While set in high school, this book is geared towards older middle school students who are about to enter an age when they discover who they are. The novel is enjoyable as a story, but certain aspects have shortcomings. For instance, Toya and her brother are juniors and seniors but act very juvenile. Also, the initial bully in the story makes fun of Toya, but then is revealed to have a crush on her. Pink wants to show how black people don't support each other, but the revelation of the crush seems a bit out of the blue. Also, the multiple appearances of Jesus seem almost disjointed. Pink's characterization of Jesus is obviously intentional, and yet her description of why He decides to make Toya white is a little unclear. Overall, the story is enjoyable and shows a different perspective of what it's like to grow up black.
*Contains moderate sexual content, mild violence, and mild language.