Summary: The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson really struck a chord with me for a couple of reasons: I could truly see such a situation happening in the real world, and I have seen how quickly my students this past year got caught up in every passing cause du jour (Kony 2012, anyone?). That said, this is a book I would recommend to many of my students, because it has a great plot, a strong lead character, and a great message.
Asha Jamison and her best friend Carey want to raise money to pay for a trip to London when they graduate from high school. To make matters more complicated, they need to do it without their parents’ knowledge, because they know they’ll never be allowed to go and the money will go toward college instead. What are a couple of girls to do?
The pair gets an idea that mixes their love of coffee with their frustration at a society that forces them to check a single box to define who they are. How can a girl like Asha choose ONE box to sum up her family when she’s part Irish, part Hispanic, and part Indian? In that moment, the Latte Rebellion is born: T-shirts are a great way to make money, and there are lots of other people at their school who don’t fit into the either/or category. T-shirts to celebrate all the different shades of brown that come from the mixing of cultures – a quick and low effort money maker!
But their cause spreads faster than they had ever imagined! Latte Rebellion chapters spring up all over the nation, in high schools and colleges. More web sites pop up supporting the cause, and with the attention comes violence and backlash. Can friendship survive the fallout of a viral phenomenon? Can Asha’s grades survive the time that the Rebellion is sucking up? And will she be able to finish her senior year, or will the Latte Rebellion get her expelled?
A great story about what happens when a great idea gains a life of its own, and how one girl steps up to take her own life back in the aftermath. Asha is a great character who is stands up for what she believes in, even when the consequences could truly crush her dreams.
13 and up
Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: mild
Nudity/Adult Content: mild