An emotionally resonant and thought-provoking YA romance…
Hendricks’s debut has a lot to like with its sensible hero, spunky heroine, and dynamic secondary cast. Trying to find a subject for a project for the semester, Cleo and Stan, a Black city girl and a White farm boy in Senior Sociology Seminar at a Christian university in southeastern Wisconsin, decide to engage in a fake dating scenario. But it’s 1967, and interracial dating is a complete taboo. Facing the racial bigotry, insults, threats, and prejudice from family, friends, and strangers becomes a norm. But the real trouble starts when the couple falls for each other in reality. Hendricks weaves a poignant, endearing tale of love, friendship, and family, through the sincerity of his characters, capturing what it was like to experience all the racial bigotry, insults, threats, and prejudice from family, friends, and strangers in the conservative ‘60s. In Cleo and Stan, the reader will find a couple to root for. Both of them are standouts: they have their flaws, but their moments of self-realization are appreciated. Most importantly, Stan is a protagonist who persistently refuses to bow in front of familial and societal pressures, fighting to prove that he is worthy of Cleo’s love. The romantic tension is delicious and the pacing fluid. But there’s more than just romance going on, and Hendricks excels at juggling all the parts: the class and racial prejudices of the era, young adult drama, individual struggles, school-life—all are woven nicely into the narrative. Hendricks has written an engaging romance that will win over YA romance readers and fans of literary fiction alike.
The Sociology Project
by S J Hendricks
Pub date September 14, 2021
Price $20.95 (USD) Paperback, $7.78 Kindle edition