Felt like looking into a world

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Thank you to BookishFirst for giving me a free ARC!

4.5 stars rounded up to 5. I have no idea how the final edition will compare to the ARC, but I can't imagine it'll be too different given how complete even the ARC read. Straight off the bat, the most impressive thing about the story was how the author was able to juggle so many different aspects of Gil's life without it being hard to follow. As a result, it felt less like I was reading about a character in a book, and more like I was following the life of a real person. Going off of that, pretty much every single character had their own story to tell, and I loved the way Hooper illustrated the many ways racism and trauma color not just an individual's personality and behaviors, but also their values, their worldview, and their goals. As a person of color, this really spoke to me in ways I didn't even realize myself, and I found myself feeling so much anger, frustration, and despair at the injustice presented here that mirrors how it is in real life.

My only tiny criticisms are that the ending felt a little rushed, a few of the issues/situations could've been explored a little deeper, and I wasn't a fan of the insta-love (though that last one is just my personal preference).