Title: Pretty Privilege
Author: S.R. Graham
Publisher: S.R. Graham
Published: April 14, 2023
Eighteen-year-old Zuri Natrice Hall is sick of being treated like a caged bird. Constantly complimented on her beauty, paraded across beauty pageant stages, commercial sets, and in the streets of Myrtle Beach, Zuri musters up the courage to accept her win as Miss High School USA, a victory she knew she had in the bag before the contest was over.
Cringing on the inside, Zuri fake smiles through the speech she is forced to give and conjures up the fake tears she is expected to produce. In real life, Zuri despises being paraded around like a trophy. She hates the pageants and yearns to pursue her own dream of being a movie director.
But her mother is not having it.
Dr. Delilah Elise and Mayor Stephen Hall are their town’s Michelle and Barrack Obama, and Zuri, their only daughter of four, is their beautiful princess. Having abandoned her dreams of becoming the first woman in her family to become a doctor, Mrs. Hall expects Zuri to carry on the family legacy of dominating pageants and becoming Miss USA.
Everything Zuri does not want.
Finally, she sets out for college, hoping to live on her own terms. She is finally out of the cage and allowed to embrace her full, authentic self while navigating college life.
When Zuri catches the eye of rich and spoiled Dexter Malone at a party, she has no idea how complicated things will get. She eventually falls in love with the nerdy boy Calvin, but Dexter is determined to make her his no matter the cost.
Books about Black families tend to surround the burden of poverty and racism in some capacity. Rarely do we get to witness the Black family simply living life. I appreciated that about this book. Zuri’s parents successfully contribute to their household and community, are financially stable, and are happily married while raising their four children.
However, Zuri still has to make her own decisions and live life outside of her parents. And like most of us at Zuri’s age, her lessons will be learned the hard way.
The only thing stopping this from being a five-star is it’s a bit erotic for a young adult novel. Not that these kids ain’t out here doing the nasty in real life, but the details seemed a bit much for this kind of book.
Nevertheless, Pretty Privilege is a wonderful coming-of-age story that fans of young adult novels will love. It introduces some critical topics for parents and young adults, such as allowing your children to become their own person. It is also an eye-opener for young people to be careful when they do leave the nest and go out into this loveless world. Everyone is not your friend or has your best interest.
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Authenticity / Believable: 4/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/ 5 stars
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I See You HBCU!
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