Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.Blended by Sharon M. Draper
Published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books on October 30, 2018
Genres: Middle Grade Fiction, Contemporary
Format: Hardcover (308 pages)
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads • Bookhype
"You’re so exotic!” “You look so unusual.” “But what are you really?”
Eleven-year-old Isabella is used to these kinds of comments - her father is black, her mother is white - but that doesn't mean she likes them. And now that her parents are divorced (and getting along WORSE than ever), Isabella feels more like a push-me-pull-me toy.
One week she’s Isabella with her dad, his girlfriend Anastasia, and her son Darren living in a fancy house where they are one of the only black families in the neighborhood. The next week she’s Izzy with her mom and her boyfriend John-Mark in a small, not-so-fancy house that she loves.
Being split between Mom and Dad is more than switching houses, switching nicknames, switching backpacks: it’s also about switching identities. If you’re only seen as half of this and half of that, how can you ever feel whole?
I was super excited to discover Blended, because I knew I was going to be able to relate to Isabella. We both have a Black father and white mother, so what does that make us? Isabella has never really thought about her race or what she identifies as until her parents divorce. She notices that she gets odd looks when she’s with just her mom, but not with her dad. Then the subject of racial discrimination comes up at school and she wonders if the world sees her as Black or white.
Blended deals with some seriously heavy topics, which surprised me. It’s not that I didn’t think kids knew about this stuff, but it just surprised me. After a class discussion, a student puts a noose in Isabella’s best friend’s locker. A situation which scared everyone and raised a ton of questions. Then something happens to Isabella and her stepbrother toward the end of the book.
I am torn on the ending though. Something super traumatic happens which I never saw coming. But then, everyone goes home and life goes on. That’s all well and good, because I do love a happy ending. However, this was huge! There needed to be some kind of aftermath, discussions, something! There was more time given to the incident which happened with Imani at school.
If the ending had been a bit more fleshed out, this would have easily been a 5-star read for me. It’s relatable, eye opening, and relevant in today’s world. I’d highly recommend it to everyone.