Besties Jasmine and Chelsea tell their story in alternating voices. I was confused for a while about who was who, but finally got straight that Jasmine is a fat Black girl whose father is dying, and Chelsea is a white Irish and Italian American who...has a crush on a popular boy. That's why I couldn't figure out who was who--because I didn't know what Chelsea's deal was. She's wrapped up in her white jock, and while dearly loving Jasmine and sometimes being sensitive to her needs, she's also kind of an idiot about them. White feminists, amirite?
I do like Chelsea for ragging on STEAM lab, calling it her least favorite class. Her teacher is full of STEM/STEAM/innovatruption gobbeldygook.
This is about dialogue, critical thinking, and using our information to take thoughtful and exciting risks in our work, to engage in experiential learning and begin to really collaborate and push each other to become twenty-first-century learners.
Sure, teachers and education may be about some of that, but you don't say it to your students!
I love that the uptown community bookstore Word Up features in the story. The girls go there to get their feminism on. It's a space for them to read, write, and perform, especially when their social justice high school threatens to censure them for their activism. Jasmine asks, "when are we supposed to use the education we have?" Spoiler and content warning, there's ass-grabbing and school administrator indifference and then hostility to their feminist actions. Their friend at Word Up helps them frame their response.
It has to be bigger than your anger or disappointment at one or two people. This isn't only personal. This is about every girl, everywhere. And if you make it only about your school, your club, you keep it small.
Jamine's father told her, "most people don't change because they want to, but because they have to." Word.