FICTION

You Look Something: An Indigenous Coming-of-Age Novel

Wyatt-MacKenzie. Apr. 2020. 248p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781948018746.
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Gr 10 Up–Julie, 20, is a freshman in college. Part Cherokee, she is pale and tans regularly to make her skin golden. The question, “What are you?” comes up occasionally, because people perceive her as “not white.” The novel covers that and other trials and tribulations of college, reflecting Julie’s age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. Her best friend, Zadie, provides mental and emotional support. Her boyfriend, Ezra, is a random dude she met at a party, but the relationship, she believes, keeps her “sluttiness” in check—he’s not abusive like her ex, and her family likes him, considering him good husband material. They move in together, and their relationship is punctuated by passive aggressive fights. Eventually Julie demands an engagement ring, despite not wanting to marry Ezra. She urges Ezra to study abroad with her. In London, Julie finally considers where her life is heading. Her first-person narrative is gritty and honest as she develops her identity. The characters in this novel grapple with sexuality, abortion, drugs and drinking, and feeling like an outsider due to class and cultural differences.
VERDICT An engaging and realistic novel, this is a good purchase for libraries serving slightly older teen readers.

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