It started as just an innocent way for Asha and her best friend Carey to raise some money for a dream trip after high school graduation. It was just supposed to be some cool T-shirts, with a cool coffee design with allusions to being mixed-race. But then the whole idea takes off: clubs are formed not only in their high school (well, the club is not actually allowed at their high school), but at colleges and high schools across the country. They make their money selling T-shirts, but it also turns out that what they started has turned into a group of people making a lot of noise.
And that noise scares those in “control,” which means trouble for Asha and her friends.
Flipping between the past — how the Rebellion came to be — and the present — Asha’s suspension hearing — the book looks at how something so innocent could get wildly out of control. But it’s also more than that: Asha, Carey and many of their friends are mixed-race, something which is becoming increasingly more common. Stevenson spends a lot of time talking about how they don’t feel they fit in: if they’re neither fully one race or one culture — Asha is half Indian, a quarter Mexican and a quarter Irish — then what are they? This book is a good jumping point for discussion about race and what it really means.
Additionally, it’s an interesting story. The conflict among Asha, her parents and eventually Carey is one that’s completely understandable: they want Asha to “succeed,” which means, to them, getting into a top university. While Asha is a good student, she discovers through the rebellion that she wants to have more to her life than just schoolwork. It helps make her a sympathetic character, even if she’s sneaking around her parents’ backs about her involvement in the rebellion.
It’s a good first novel.
Rated: Mild for some mild language and because the main character lies to her parents.