Top critical review
At times Offensive
Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2018
At lot of reviews have touched on how hypocritical Zoey is and how problematic the book is. This review is going to touch on topics I am not seeing discussed. Background: i did read this book and a few in the series when I was in 8th grade. I came across it and decided to reread it.
A lot of the character descriptions are bad and offensive at times.
1) Grandma Redbird is a cop out. A way for them to use a bastardization of Cherokee culture on a white character and make it make sense. There isn't a description of Grandma Redbird skin tone or facial features unless it's to talk about how pretty Zoey is. And even then you get a sense that they just don't know how to describe someone of Native American descent.
2) The black characters description. Now, this isn't necessarily a problem that is limited to this author but here we are. There are two black girl in the book and one mixed girl. For whatever reason the only way to describe black skin is 'coffee' or 'cappuccino but the nice quality kind'(quote). Then we get to the mixed girl: 'coffee-with-lots-of-cream skin' (actual quote including the dashes). The full back girl is called an 'African Princess' which may not seem bad to you but it is. Everytime white people want to give a condescending compliment it tends to be African princess. Whenever black women are fetishized, which is often, it's always African princess. The fact that in order to make the black woman positive in the story you have to call her and African princess is ridiculous. My point is the lack of good creative imagery for black characters is sad.
Then we get to the worst of it: Hair. She talks about how everyone has long hair. Then we get to the other black girl and 'must be a really good weave'(quote). Then we get to the mixed girl 'excellent hair that would never nap up' (quote). Disgusting. I don't think I need to explain the connotations this implies about black hair. Everyone in the story we find out has long hair because being a vampire makes your hair grow, whatever. It annoys me that the black girls grew long wavy white girl hair instead of beautiful gravity-defying afros. Except the mixed girl because she had perfect curly hair that wasn't nappy. I'd rather there be no diversity in your book then right stereotypical and offense things about black characters because you don't know how to write them.
3) despite all this I finished the book and it was trash. No wonder I didn't finish the series when I was younger. I really don't remember it either. How does it take two people to write something so bad? The imagery and dialogue was horrible. Zoey acted like a 10 yo. The book almost seemed like an intro chapter because there really wasn't any conflict or climax or conclusion. There really wasn't a story.