OFF-COLOR by Janet McDonald

OFF-COLOR

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Issue-driven but spirited, this posthumously published work tackles the meaning of race. Fifteen-year-old white Cameron loves her neighborhood of Midwood, Brooklyn. She’s got her three best girlfriends, a school she’s perfectly comfortable playing hooky from, and Coney Island. When the nail salon where her mother works closes down, their rent becomes prohibitive and they move across Brooklyn to the projects. Cameron fears culture shock in her new black neighborhood. Even more startling, she sees her father in a photo for the first time—and he’s black. This possibility never occurred to her; she’s got blue eyes and Norwegian ancestors, so how could she be black? What does it mean to be interracial, especially when it’s a surprise? Cameron makes new friends—“Ja’Qualah, Boomshaka, DéWanda, and Illnana”—who are “bolder and brasher” than her old white friends but have fewer prospects for success in life. Dialect is spelled out (“’teef’,” “hunnid percent”). Environments and characters are both energetic and stereotypical, though McDonald makes good points about race. Somewhat sloppy—especially in the ever-shifting narrative perspective—but lively. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-374-37196-8
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2007




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