Hakiam Powell and Wendy Anderson were on opposite ends of the spectrum: social spectrum, financial spectrum, opportunity spectrum, you name it. But their divisions never seemed sharper than the moment Hakiam steps into the tutoring center and meets Wendy at the front desk. She looks pretentious and uptight; he looks disheveled and disinterested. But for Wendy, Hakiam’s personality is a challenge, and for Hakiam, Wendy’s drive, honesty, and caring ways are fascinating. While their differences remain, with each conversation new light is shed onto the other’s situation. Hakiam didn’t have a family that cared about him or expected him to go to college and excel. Wendy never had to emotionally detach herself from everything to not worry about the countless deaths of family members, or lack thereof to guide her. Both were in need of someone who would listen without judgment, who didn’t know where they were coming from and could focus on the things that really matter.
Wendy Anderson and Hakiam Powell are at opposite ends of the spectrum—the social spectrum, the financial spectrum, the opportunity spectrum, you name it. Wendy lives in an all-white suburb of Philadelphia, where she’s always felt like the only chip in the cookie. Her dad, who fought his way out of the ghetto, doesn’t want her mingling with “those people.” In fact, all Wendy’s life, her father has told her how terrible “those people” are. He even objects to Wendy’s plan to attend a historically black college. But Wendy feels that her race is more than just the color of her skin, and she takes a job tutoring at an inner-city community center to get a more diverse perspective on life.
Hakiam has never lived in one place for more than a couple of years. When he aged out of foster care in Ohio, he hopped a bus to Philly to start over, but now he’s broke, stuck taking care of his cousin’s premature baby for no pay, and finding it harder than ever to stay out of trouble. When he meets Wendy at the tutoring center, he thinks she’s an uppity snob—she can’t possibly understand his life. But as he gets to know her better, he sees a softer side. And eventually—much to the chagrin of Wendy’s father and Hakiam’s cousin—they begin a rocky, but ultimately enlightening, romance.
This edgy story about a star-crossed couple features strong African American characters and sparkles with smart, quirky dialogue and fresh observations on social pressures and black-on-black prejudice.