Nala’s life revolves around Imani, the cousin that she lives with, Tye, the boy she is crushing on, and her Grandma, whom she visits at her senior residential complex with Grandma’s friends. Imani is completely engulfed in her activist work at Imagine Harlem, and she is very enthusiastic about recycling. Tye has recently joined Imagine Harlem, and he wants Nala to be an activist, as well. Nala is a bit overwhelmed by their passion for the environment and zeal for social justice.
But she has a solution. She will become whoever it is that she thinks Tye wants.
Nala lies left and right to impress Tye. She professes to be a tree-hugging vegetarian. She falsely claims that she volunteers at a senior residential center. She even makes a faltering speech about doing the right thing at an Imagine Harlem event. But her heart is not in the social change movement. She wants to stop the dishonesty and be who she was meant to be. She is not ultra-prepared and she does not have her life figured out yet. She simply wants to enjoy a leisurely teenage summer with her friends, the food carts of Harlem, the festival, and the local creamery. Family and friends lie at the very heart of this teen’s existence.
Sugar Hill, Harlem, is Nala’s universe. The girl loves spending time with her grandmother and the other older folks who reside in the senior living complex. During her frequently lengthy visits, the group discusses young people today, the lives of other residents, and the decor in the apartment complex. One day, one of the older women commented on the need for a redesign of the lounge space. Visual art on the walls would definitely spruce the place up. With that, Nala was up and running with grand plans for a photo legacy project to adorn the walls of the home. She even dragged Tye along with her to help.
I am a big fan of Renée Watson. This novel is fun.
by Miranda McDermott