Pride by Ibi Zoboi

“We’re not gonna throw away the past as if it meant nothing. See? That’s what happens to whole neighborhoods. We built something, it was messy, but we’re not gonna throw it away.”

*Warning* Spoilers ahead

I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice (I will soon, I promise), but I have an understanding of the plot and I was excited to read a diverse modern retelling. Pride by Ibi Zoboi was a bit of a disappointment. I didn’t hate this book, but I’m not a big fan of it either. I thought it was an okay book and decided upon giving it 3 stars.

I love romance novels and I expected to love this romance since it is the main plot and was based on a famous literary relationship. However, Zuri and Darius’s relationship felt extremely forced and I didn’t see any chemistry between the two. They started off hating each other and I saw absolutely no development into the two of them being in love. Most of their time spent together included them arguing and since I don’t care for Darius (more on that soon), I didn’t enjoy the focal point of the novel.

Darius had absolutely no personality besides being rich and felt extremely one-dimensional. The only thing I know about him is that he likes reading and painting. We ever actually see him do either of these, but instead, Zuri sees books and canvases in his room. I still don’t understand why he had Ainsley break up with Janae, which was such a cruel thing to do. How entitled does he think he is? He obviously disliked Zuri from the beginning and next thing you know, he is trying to kiss her.

The other thing that confused me was Darius’s parents. Did they not like Zuri and why? His mom was kind of rude towards Zuri and her parents and there was never any closure with the subject. There was never any closure with Darius’s grandmother either. She was so mean to Zuri and it was never spoken of ever again.

I may have disliked Darius, but I adored Zuri. She was strong, outspoken, and always stood up for her family. She may have been judgmental, but she developed into a better person by the end. I loved the scene when she was at Howard University and when she wanted to be chosen to ask her question, she stood up. She didn’t care that others gave her weird looks or whatever they thought about her and I admired her for it. I loved her confidence and the way she never let people walk over her.

I appreciated that I didn’t need to be completely familiar with Pride and Prejudice to understand this book. Ibi Zoboi did a really good job making the story her own and I didn’t need to read Pride and Prejudice in order to grasp the idea of this story.

Finally, I loved the importance that Ibi Zoboi placed on family, culture, and where you grow up. I don’t see a lot of that in young adult novels and I really loved that it was included in this book. The culture was extremely rich and I was glad for it as I haven’t read a lot that talked about Haitian culture. Pride also included a lot of interesting racial issues, without making it white vs. black.

Overall, Pride was an okay book. I was disappointed to see that the main plot of this book wasn’t compelling, but its talk of culture and race was interesting. I’m so glad that this book gave me insight into a culture I’m not familiar with, but not everything about this book was for me.

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