Book Review: When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

When You Look Like Us  by Pamela N. Harris Genre:  YA drama, mystery Synopsis:   When you look like us—brown skin, brown eyes, black b...

When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

Genre: YA drama, mystery

When you look like us—brown skin, brown eyes, black braids or fades—everyone else thinks you’re trouble. No one even blinks twice over a missing Black girl from public housing because she must’ve brought whatever happened to her upon herself. I, Jay Murphy, can admit that, for a minute, I thought my sister Nicole just got caught up with her boyfriend—a drug dealer—and his friends. But she’s been gone too long. Nic, where are you?

If I hadn’t hung up on her that night, she would be at our house, spending time with Grandma. If I was a better brother, she’d be finishing senior year instead of being another name on a missing persons list. It’s time to step up, to do what the Newport News police department won’t. Bring her home.

Content/Trigger Warnings: Alcohol and drug usage, guilt, missing family member, racial profiling, violence

Overall rating:  ★★★★★

When You Look Like Us was not at all what I expected - but it was so much more than I could have hoped for. I've seen a lot of reviews from readers who really didn't like the MC because he "didn't do enough." Almost all (if not all) of those readers appeared as white, and I think those readers missed one of the major points of the story. Jay is a Black teenager from a not-so-great part of town - no one believes him, not even other Black folks, so he's scared to talk to people, to ask for help. That doesn't make him lazy or careless - it's part of his story.

I thought this story was incredible, with multi-faceted layers to each of the characters in the story - both big and small.

This book was fantastic - funny, heartbreaking, real. I highly recommend.

*I received a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.

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