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Walter like-likes Naomi. Simple, right? Not even close. First, she’s his best friend’s slightly younger sister. And he’s white and she’s black and he doesn’t feel that should be a thing even—but to a lot of people around them, it is. Especially when Walter’s Dad, a police officer, is put on leave during an investigation in a racially-charged incident that quickly collects the hate of people both in the neighborhood and online, and brings Walter and Naomi into the public’s attention. But that’s all outside world stuff—in their own little world, Walter and Naomi really like-like each other. They can make it work, right?
A first-love story that’s fresh, true, and just like love—happens all the time, but when you’re in it it’s like it’s happening for the first time—BLDN captures the full spectrum of emotions a guy has during first infatuation: first love, kisses, weirdnesses, and fights are all fully explored and felt. And celebrated. All these things that are really hard to navigate and figure out, often even more because they can be so hard to talk about in an honest and genuine way.
Through it all, Walter learns a lot about how he views people—through race and through relationship (wether it be family or friends). Emond captures the subtleties and complexities of the muddy process of looking inward to see how one looks out. A great book for discussion and sharing. And Emond is a favorite of reluctant readers and guy audiences (among others).