|Comments: Jason is a smart, handsome basketball player with a hot girlfriend and a not-so-attentive (and not-so-nice) Dad. Kyra is super-smart, super-driven and doesn’t care about fitting in with the crowd. She’s got her friends and her goals and that’s good enough for her. When they are paired up to work on an English paper, they begin to see what’s underneath the surface. I hate to spoil this, but their inevitable hookup isn’t the end of the story, it’s the beginning as they struggle with developing a relationship based on trust and communication.
I’ve been recommending this book to my teens for years because for a long time, it was one of the only contemporary African-American teen books that dealt with things like dating, relationships, family issues, and school, instead of racism, poverty, slavery, gangs and drugs. (I’m pleased that’s starting to change). I especially like that both characters are from middle class to wealthy families, which is the reality for many of the teens in my town. I know my teens love this one, and Played, Davidson’s second book.
The problem is that with all of the things this book has going for it, it’s just not a very good book. While Jason and Kyra’s relationship is fantastic and well-described, the rest of the narrative falls completely flat. It seems like there are a lot of rookie mistakes like too many faceless named secondary characters that serve no purpose, needless point-of-view shifts and lots of exposition in the narration. As the story progresses, the writing does get better, as the focus is mostly on the relationship which is the most successful part of the book. This is frustrating because it’s clear that Davidson has a lot of talent in crafting characters and with some more editing this would have been a fantastic book.