For those out there who seem to be half-accepted in some places, but have yet to find where they're seen as whole.
Good to know
Why I love it
Justin A. Reynolds
Author, Opposite of Always
Who am I?
Unless you’re my super pragmatic Dad—name your 5 closest friends, and that’s you—for most of us, the road to self-discovery is no straight line. Just ask 16-year-old Nevaeh Levitz, whose world is rocked when her Black mom and Jewish dad split, forcing Nevaeh to relocate from her affluent NYC hood to her mom’s more modest family home in Harlem. But while the physical move is certainly discombobulating, it’s easily the least significant shift, for Nevaeh quickly embarks on a seismic spiritual and emotional journey.
In less capable hands Color Me In could’ve quickly melted into a syrupy after-school special, or worse, a novel-length lecture chock-full of worn-out platitudes. But impressively, Diaz delivers a nuanced, thoughtfully-balanced approach to the easily incendiary issues of race, economics, religion, and education. Not only does Diaz draw beautifully flawed (read: messy) characters, but she somehow manages to infuse humor—I lost track of how many times I laughed audibly—and love; not only romantic, which I’m always a sucker for, but a rich affinity between family and friends.
And I’m not going to conclude this review with some cheesy joke like COLOR ME AMAZED because this story deserves far better. Diaz’s awesome debut is a timely reminder that, at our best, we are always evolving, steadily growing creatures. That who we are will never be easy to pin down—sorry, Dad. That in the end, we create ourselves.
COLOR ME IMPRESSED. (Couldn’t resist.)
Who is Nevaeh Levitz?
Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom's family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.
Nevaeh wants to get to know her extended family, but one of her cousins can't stand that Nevaeh, who inadvertently passes as white, is too privileged, pampered, and selfish to relate to the injustices they face on a daily basis as African Americans. In the midst of attempting to blend their families, Nevaeh's dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. Even with the push and pull of her two cultures, Nevaeh does what she's always done when life gets complicated: she stays silent.
It's only when Nevaeh stumbles upon a secret from her mom's past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has a voice. And she has choices. Will she continue to let circumstances dictate her path? Or will she find power in herself and decide once and for all who and where she is meant to be?
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West Covina, CA
As a biracial teen living in-between identities, for the first time, I connected with a character so deeply. It is inspiring to know that I do not need to choose, but rather embrace all of who I am.
It was a great read. It covered issues that many people face today in a light, but serious way. With a side plot of romance this books is great for anyone who needs a good read to boost them up.
Had a small difficulty with writing style, but this book was so much more than that. I adored Nevaeh and my heart hurt for her. Her character arc is beautifully executed. Ending was so gripping.
Littleton , CO
This book is so incredibly important right now. I love love LOVE the juxtaposition of the wealthy white Upper East Side and the working class black Brooklyn and how Nevaeh navigates both. 9/10
This book was so wonderfully written and unapologetically real. I loved how the MC found her voice, her place as a white-passing biracial young woman, and OWN her identity through the book.
Great read with a unique main character. Really made me think about interactions in the diverse world we live in. Loved watching Nevaeh work through finding herself, love, and family issues.
BRENTWOOD , NY
Loved this book. This hit so many important life events happening in todays society currently. The author touched on white privilege & black lives matter. Read this book in 4 days!! ￼
This book has really opened my eyes to things I have only heard talked about by friends and people that I have met. This book put everything that I needed to know into perspective.
Color Me In was such a fun book to dive into. I loved see the struggles and the growth for the main character. I also really enjoyed all the references to Harry Potter.
I was able to pass this book along to student who is an avid reader, and she devoured it. She is biracial and felt an immediate connection to the text and characters.
I got this for my daughter with my credit and she loved it. She is hard to please and has read everything. I appreciate that BOM offers YA books from time to time.
New York , NY
Incredibly relevant book, eye-opening and special. If you live in NYC/Westchester you will love the familiar locations. Loved the Fordham University shout outs!
A beautiful coming if age story about being multiracial and learning to love and accept all the pieces that make you who you are. Splendidly written Natasha Diaz
This book was a good balance of serious and breezy. I really enjoyed Nevaeh's journey toward finding her voice and embracing her beautiful, mixed heritage.
Beautiful book! Finally a book that focuses on what it's like to be biracial and how to deal with everything that life gives to you not being accepted
BETHEL PARK, PA
This book covers some very mature themes for a young adult novel! It is beautifully written and very timely. I highly recommend it!
Such a beautiful coming of age story. I loved this book, I loved the characters, and I loved the parallels to the author's life.
Nevaeh's growth was at times messy and uneven, but this is what makes it so realistic and satisfying.
This book really moved me. It has helped me better understand my students in a much deeper way.
a great YA novel about coming to terms with one's identity, one's past, and one's future.