Review From User :
"We all make assumptions about each other. It doesn't matter if you're family or a
stranger on the subway; we do it everywhere, even here, in our safe spaces, where we're
supposed to love each other up and down."
With straight brown hair and pale skin, no one realizes 16 year old Nevaeh is half black.
She's not popular at her white NY prep school and with her black fam, she sticks out like a sore
thumb. So where does she fit in When her dad (white, Jewish, and filthy rich) is caught
cheating on her mom, Nevaeh moves in with her family in the city with her grandpa, aunt, and
two very opinionated teen twin cousins - causing Nevaeh to confront her biracial heritage - and
her privilege - for the first time.
Color Me In is a truly phenomenal debut, following a richly complex character who
struggles to figure out who she is. An ode to the multitudes girls of color contain within themselves, I was deeply impressed by how many themes operated inside Color Me In - impressed at Diaz's ability to balance those themes and to fully explore each. Some of my favorite elements were:
1. Loving a parent with deteriorating mental health
2. Balancing multiple ethnic and religious identities
3. Coming of age
4. First love
The writing was lyrical, but easily digestible with hilarious dialogue which alleviated tension brought in by heavier discussion topics. I enjoyed moments where Nevaeh has to confront her privilege and
how to use it so much. She is a regular kid - she makes mistakes, but it was elating to watch her learn from them.
Diaz gives us a refreshingly real story about growing up, especially in a New York
setting. I found myself relating so much to Nevaeh as someone who is both biracial and a New
Yorker. It pulled at my heart to watch her learn how to love, how to be a good friend, how to
be who she is, and to learn about how the world sees her. For "Color Me In" I only have two points of criticism:
1. Didn't like the way fat characters were described
2. All of the female antagonistic characters embodied either the "airhead" or the "she devil" stereotype . The attitude that female villains should be either hyper sexual or unintelligent is outdated and should be retired from our literature.
Other than those things, I dig this story and will be 1. Buying it and 2. Reading it again and
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?