Review: The Switch by Nia Arthurs

Reviewed by Debz

I’ve never been to Belize before, but it does sound amazing from everyone raving about the beautiful beaches and food. This means that I have only thought about it in terms of the country being a tourist destination and not a place with natives who go about their daily lives. This book finally put everything in perspective for me.

As y’all know, I love me a good best friends to lovers trope, so I was sure going to be read this. The beginning was super similar to another book I’ve reviewed in the past. It’s nice to know that a leaky kitchen pipe has brought so many couples together.

This book revolves around Ashanti Lane, an amazing soon to be awarded newspaper reporter and Luke Zhang, a coffee barista and soon to be coffee shop owner. Basically, she’s killing it, and he’s a bum and she’s too good for him.

Luke from the name obvs. is of Asian descent and has a crush on a customer Michelle. This is the first time this has happened in a long time, and his bestie is so excited for him. However, he doesn’t want to pursue this because she is black and he knows his family would not accept her.

Ash comes up with the brilliant (read very stressful, because why would you want to go through this kind of stress when you could be chilling at home) idea to fake a relationship with Luke so that Luke’s family can spew all their vitriol on her and basically pave the way for Michelle and Luke.

And spew vitriol they did. Luke’s mother is the epitome of a Disney villain. She cried, tried to bribe her son, tried to withhold her love, even asked that he be fired from his job all to get Luke in check. She also told Luke that him being in a relationship with Ash was soiling their bloodline and him dating down the hierarchy of people (Caucasians, Asian, Latin then Black). Why should he want to marry someone from the ghetto? Honestly guys, Ashanti went through so much for this guy. I personally don’t think I can grin and bear this amount of racism for any reason. But that’s just me.

All the while she was enduring this, you would thing that Luke would be getting to know Michelle better. No, he basically ghosts her for some time, and when he had dinner with her, he took care of Ashanti more. It was obvious to me, that he wasn’t really interested in that relationship and his indecisiveness gave me whiplash.

Something that BUGGED me was the representation of black people in this book. Even with the protagonist being a black woman, there were still strong suggestions of black being inferior. I’ll show you a line from this book that bugged me so much.

“But there were moments when her ‘black’ would come out, as her Grandma Flora used to say. Moments when she got loud, obnoxious or ignorant in response to a situation that frustrated her”

It was frustrating for me to see being black associated with being loud, obnoxious and ignorant. This very sensitive issue of race relations could have been treated delicately.

Ashanti meets the extended family, and thankfully only Luke’s parents (his mum really) are against the union. She even bonds with Luke’s grandparents so much they basically adopt her. It’s all very cute. Obviously, Luke realizes that he would rather be in a relationship with Ashanti and makes everything official.

Finally, it was refreshing that everything wasn’t neatly concluded at the end of the book. I think it’s more realistic to have not sorted out all your relationships and to still be in conflict with some people so I liked that. But I hope Luke’s parents see reason and stop being extra.

Rating: C+

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Switch
by Nia Arthurs
Release Date: November 4, 2018

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