The first 200 pages were not written well. I was bored and felt growing discomfort with the mangled Middle Eastern culture this fantasy book was premised on. At least the next 150 odd pages picked up a little in terms of plot and also storytelling, so I didn’t end up thoroughly hating Rebel of the Sands. Still, this book has so many problems, I’m relieved I didn’t order the sequels before finishing this one first.
Young adult books set in college, or even about the summer before college, aren’t all too common. That’s why I was surprised when I first learnt that American Panda is set at MIT. Well, Mei is 17 years old as she enters a year early but it works out well for this book. Mei had a sheltered upbringing, which is very evident as she tries to find her place at university.
No contest, The Hate U Give is the best young adult novel that was published in 2017. It’s filled with heart and soul, takes an honest look at racial discrimination, and doesn’t hold back any punches. It’s so honest and raw that it hurts to read and it’s precisely because of that that everyone and anyone, young or old, needs to read The Hate U Give.