4 of 5 stars
Angie Singh is a swimmer, focused on her dream of the Olympics. Angie Singh is a teenager, focused on finding her place among her peers. Angie Singh is a second-generation immigrant, struggling to determine exactly where she fits.
When, on her way home from a workout, Angie discovers a boy (the one she “likes”) lying stabbed and bleeding on the football field, her entire world is thrown into chaos.
The boy, Henry, happens to be the son of a wealthy white family, and they soon circle around, using their influence to pressure all involved in the situation. Witnesses point to a young black woman, also a classmate, as the culprit, and the search for her begins.
Accusations fly and assumptions are made without investigation as the police, manipulated by Henry’s family, interview the witnesses, including Angie. Angie’s father, Babur, struggles to shield, while holding tight to his dream of how America works, sometimes allowing his wish to assimilate to cloud his ability to make good decisions.
Told from the perspectives of the characters, Our Best Intentions is part drama, part mystery and draws the reader deep into the internal conflicts of each of the main characters, all outsiders (poor, immigrant, brown) as this crisis illuminates the effect that money and “whiteness” can have on a community.
Jain, with her first book, has given us an intriguing, intense story that is difficult to put down. As the reader is drawn into the story, not realizing that they are internalizing a lesson about the dangers of assuming, and the ease with which the “privileged” can determine their own destinies.
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