Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure… people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a one night stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn’t raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she’s never fit in hasn’t been easy. But she’s been surviving. Until she sees her mom’s new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?
Sometimes the synopsis you read doesn’t do a book justice. That is the case with IF I TELL. The words inside are so much more powerful then the description provided. Granted, it’s the description that made me want to sign up for this blog tour and I’m so thankful I did.
To say Jasmine Evans is a normal teenager experiencing normal life events is an understatement. This girl has got to be one of the strongest female characters written in the past few years. While some of her actions are childish and questionable, the cards she’s being dealt are enough to make a dealer lose their job. She’s being raised by her white grandma.
Jaz is the product of a biracial teenage romance. With a white mom and a very absent black father, Jaz grows up in a mostly white community or black community, not mixed. Throughout the story she struggles with who she is and where does she fit in. Her father or sperminator as Jaz brands him is beyond absent. He and his family moved as soon as word spread that the star quarterback knocked the white girl up. His family had big hopes and dreams for him in college so nothing was going to stand in the way of his future, including his own daughter. He is probably the lowest ebb of a human, offering his daughter hush money to never come find him. While this story may be fiction, it’s been said that most fiction stories come from some sort of experience, either personal or told to you. It’s sad to think people like this exist, and then I remember an NBA legend who refuses to acknowledge his own daughter even though they are a spitting image of each other. I don’t get it.
When Jaz meets Jackson, the newbie kid in school with a juvie record, she tries to steer clear. But Jackson, he’s determined to be her friend. After a date with apple pie, Jaz and Jackson open up to each other and he tells her that he too is a product of a biracial relationship and lives with his black grandma. The only difference, Jackson looks tan, not black. Jas has a hard time looking beyond words and can only see the color of his skin and the actions that landed him in juvie. Because of that she almost ruins their friendship, especially after Jackson’s girlfriend comes to town.
When Jasmine’s mom tells her that she’s pregnant her foundation is rocked. Her and her mom don’t have the best relationship but it is the night prior when Jaz sees her best friend, Lacey, making out with her mom’s boyfriend, Simon. Now Jaz struggles with whether or not she should tell her mom. Personally, I don’t think it was a matter of telling her mom about Simon and Lacey – it’s more about seeing Simon disrespecting her mom. It’s about Jasmine losing someone who she’s been able to seek confidence and comfort from because Simon helps her with her black heritage.
The downward spiral begins. There’s anger, tears and frustration. With the girls at school harassing her, her mother gushing about the pregnancy and how Simon isn’t going to leave and the loss of her best friend, Jasmine is on the fast track to a mental breakdown. That is until her baby brother is born and a nurse makes an off handed comments about her mother. Jaz steps up to the plate and vows to protect her brother from the same turmoil she went through.
In the end, although I hope it’s not the end of this story and that Janet can be convinced to carry on, it’s Simon and Jackson who become Jasmine’s rock. Probably the two most unlikely hero’s in a world where a girl is struggling to fit in.
IF I TELL is a sweet journey of a girl who was never really given a chance.