B is for BLACKMAN! (as part of the a-z book challenge).

trust me cover
See this? It’s a book with a black heroine, practically an anomaly in YA…

 

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK WAS THIS BOOK? I mean, how the hell did this thing get published? Then again, it was published in the 90s, so I guess standards were lower…

Not that today’s YA authors are giving readers a run for their money.

From a fairly enjoyable teen-themed “no-one-understands-me” beginning, Trust Me degenerated into a cliched and below-average read, which slowly sapped any interest or sympathy I’d developed for the love interests: Jayna and Andrew.

Jayna came across as an naive, whiny, stubborn girl, who felt like her mother was being too hard on her, stifling her ability to grow-up. Unusually, Jayna is a black heroine and her boyfriend Andrew is a white dude, so this provided some interest as I was interested to see how Blackman portrayed an interracial relationship. At the beginning, she succeeded in sketching out reasonably realistic portrayals of both teens. They both have difficulties with their families, who they regard as being prejudiced towards their relationship. This was the most interesting part of the story because, instead of trying to gloss over racism and class division, Blackman made some effort to address these issues, however, it only scratched the surface, which was frustrating. I think if she’d focussed more on these themes, instead of turning it into a silly generic “Vampires for Dummies” fantasy, Trust Me would have worked better. Ah well. Missed opportunity.

Andrew’s staunchly middle-class parents, the Harrisons, are against his match and are unsupportive of Jayna. His older brother Morgan is a nasty piece of work; he’s a racist bigot, who seems to have no limits, and ends up revealing his true cowardly colours later on, but at least, his characterisation is consistent.

Andrew, on the other hand, fares worse than his brother. When Morgan insults his girlfriend, he just puts up with it, he abuses her confidence in him by sharing her worries with his family, his narcissism outrides any capacity for him to make reasonable decisions, his opportunistic when he decides to swoop in on Jayna when she got stood up on a date etc.

This boy would be a nightmare as a boyfriend, let alone a suitable partner to face eternity with, as Jayna’s predicament is.

Jayna, herself, is ridiculously stupid and dopey. She definitely isn’t the sharpest tack in the box. Her first-person narration didn’t exactly make me warm to her, instead of making me relate with her juvenile behaviour and concerns, it made me want to bash her head in.

As for the “sustained plotting”, that Blackman is known for, it didn’t materialise. Her books don’t anything of excitement in them. They’re more like sub-par soap scripts.

This was slightly better than Noughts & Crosses, however I’ll be avoiding Blackman’s books in future. She shows little talent and her awful humour makes me cringe…

(RATING: */***** )

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