That White Girl

JLove, Author
JLove, Author Atria Books $19.99 (311p) ISBN 978-0-7432-8781-4
Reviewed on: 08/20/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
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A white girl follows her cultural fascinations into hip-hop, graffiti and the Denver Crips gang in this mildly gritty and massively disappointing novel by JLove (a.k.a. Jennifer Calderon). Propelled by nothing much more than an overworked single mom and a perpetually stoned brother, high schooler Amber follows pal Juan into the local Crips crew, the Rollin' 30s. Despite the disadvantage of her skin color (it is white), Amber is soon completing her initiation-holding a gun on a convenience store clerk during a robbery-and earning a reputation as a graffiti tagger. The books' opening third is a fast-paced mix of danger and graffiti craft, but Amber's drama-queen tendencies become more annoyingly apparent over a string of cheesy romances, and when Amber moves to L.A. to attend college and decides that hip-hop is the key to solving racial strife, the narrative turns insufferable.
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