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Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman: 04/12/22
Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee is a YA/NA about a terrible Freshman year of college. Savannah Howard, daughter of a single mom, has worked her ass off to earn a full scholarship to a prestigious college. Truth be told, though, she's not sure she wants to attend. Now that she's there, she's surrounded by micro-aggressions and racism with no support from the administration.
Wooddale sells itself on its image, it's ability to get students into successful careers, and on its commitment to diversity. It even has a Black woman as president. But the reality of the place is very different. The white donors and their "legacy" children run the show.
In particular there's a senior named Lucas who is dating Savannah's roommate. She can see right through his charm to his racism, classism, and general assholery. Though he has clearly broken college rules enough to be expelled, all his shit is repeatedly ignored or swept under the carpet. If Savannah is to be true to herself she has to go head to head with him and the administration to take him down.
I loved this book. Savannah from the first page has a strong voice, all her own. She comes off as a full formed person. You feel her pain, her anger, her weariness and her joy.
Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman is a debut novel. I will definitely be looking for future books from Kristen R. Lee.