I Think The World Owes Me An Apology by Fike Daodu
A YA Novel independently published (04/30/21)
First reviewed through Reedsy Discovery as an ARC
“After all, if you look for something, you’ll see it. Even if it’s not there.” (Location 1917, Kindle edition).
Amina has been going to the same school for years but she’s never tried to stand out. Amina naturally stands out as the only black teen among the small conservative predominately white Academy and town. It’s not until the new girl shows up and doesn’t let herself be othered without a fight, that Amina will step out of the shadows to get her voice heard.
Race, Identity, Othering, Racism, High School, Drama, Friendship, Family, Conservative Town, Voice, Student Elections, Politics
The world needs this book. Period.
This novel is an embodiment of the term ‘microaggression,’ but it is so much more than that. I will never have the experience of being a young black woman, but maybe through books like this one, I will understand my own privilege (but really, it’s not about me). Maybe being the odd one out isn’t always like this, but maybe it is. Amina and her family live in a small and predominantly white town as one of the few black families. Amina goes to the local Academy for high school as one of two black students – she is the only black female. When she describes the stereotypical high school lunchroom cliques, she doesn’t have a group. Amina has lived as different since it was pointed out to her at six years old. Six! I can’t imagine being othered from such an early age and yet Daodu puts me right there into Amina’s shoes. And Amina is a very self-aware teenager. Painfully self-aware. Every single slight – micro or macro – she expresses to the reader so that you can start to understand what it’s really like to be her and what it means to be a minority within a prejudiced and racist world.
This book made me so angry and I’m intensely impressed with the author for the way she wrote this story and the way she created a complex character like Amina. I raged at the bad and cheered for the good. I felt so much for Amina’s struggles and despite the world pressing down on her, she is still a hopeful and positive person. At times I could feel Amina’s anxiety coming alive from the pages and I could identify with that emotion.
A lot of story happens within this fast-paced novel. The ending packs a punch and is intensely satisfying though I was still a bit saddened by the twist it took to get there. Saddened by the prejudice, saddened by the ridiculous othering, saddened by the power some people have over others, and saddened by my own unrealistic expectations showing how little I might understand about others. Read this book and others like it and you too can experience some empathy. I even had an ‘aha’ moment when Amina and her family experienced the n-word in two completely different settings and how they reacted to it and what it really meant to them.
If you like well-written books about identity and high school drama, you will definitely enjoy this novel.
This novel was independently published on 04/30/2021 and is available on Amazon here.
TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0
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