4.5 stars

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I love it when a book somehow manages to exceed your expectations. The book cover, which I really like by the way, kinda gave me the impression this would be a cute YA read. And it did have some cute moments, but I was blown away by the depth of the story. Race, family, friendship, belonging, poverty, love, just to name a few things explored in the story, this book offers so much to the reader.

Fifteen year old Amandla and her white mother live in Sugar Town, a South African shanty town. Amandla's father has been gone since before she was born. Her mother has a vision he'll come back if Amandla wears a blue dress. Yeah, Amandla's mom is a bit strange. She also is tightlipped about her past. One day, Amandla finds a big sum of money in her mother's purse and that leads her digging around to find out more info about her mom. And what she will uncover is a family secret or two among other things.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot as it was a fascinating read watching everything unfold. The South Africa setting gave the author material to work with and it really enhanced the story. There was something about Amandla's spirit that just struck a chord with me. One of my favorite YA fictional characters from the last few years and if Malla Nunn decides to write a book featuring one of Amandla's friends, I'll be first in line to read it.

I won a copy of this book from BookishFirst and the publisher. All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.