A review by vickycbooks
A Love Hate Thing, by Whitney D. Grandison

I had really high hopes for this one, but it ended up falling a little short for me.

Personally, I found the framing around Pacific Hills as a great community that everyone aspires to live in to be...uncomfortable? deceiving? It's a rich neighborhood, and even as a semi-diverse one, I found it weird that it was being framed as a good place. One that is good to all the people who live there. Because real rich neighborhoods like Pacific Hills, complete with cotillion and deb balls, can get pretty racist and exclusionary. Deb balls are usually invitation-based and the invites go to rich white kids with connections. (But again, Pacific Hills is fictional, so on one hand, this is a nice fantasy to be able to write about.)

But especially when contrasted against Lindwood. A lot of the times it felt like the book was saying "Congrats, Trice! You got out! You get to benefit and chill in Pacific Hills! Time for you to cut all ties to Lindwood and start your new happy stage of your life with a bunch of rich kids. You deserve to get out...sucks for everyone else in Lindwood."

Idk. I'll update if I have more thoughts, but I'd definitely suggest reading some OwnVoices reviews. I'm not sure I would hand this to any white or non-Black reader who isn't well-versed in understanding complex social dynamics surrounding community and Blackness. Which isn't a flaw of Grandison or her writing, but more of a flaw of the white gaze that may read this and internalize some of the shit Nandy internalized at the beginning of the book.