Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Young Adult Books -

Pa­tri­cia Hruby Pow­ell, Chron­i­cle Books, Hard­cover $21.99 (260pp), 978-1-4521-2590-9

Can love con­quer all? That is the ques­tion that Lov­ing vs. Vir­ginia ad­dresses, in a novel told in al­ter­nat­ing per­spec­tives. Two lovers of dif­fer­ent races strug­gle to achieve the right to wed in a so­ci­ety that may not be ready to ac­cept them.

Mil­dred Jeter at­tends an all-african-amer­i­can school in Cen­tral Point, Vir­ginia, in the year 1952. The one-class­room school con­sists of all grades seated to­gether, taught by the firm Miss Green, who calls all of her stu­dents “Schol­ars.” Richard is a Cau­casian boy who hangs around with Ray, a young African-amer­i­can man, to the dis­may of the lo­cal sher­iff and oth­ers in the area. Richard’s fa­ther works for P.E. Boyd Byrd, a large, jolly, rich “col­ored” farmer in the area—fur­ther am­mu­ni­tion for the sher­iff against Richard and his fam­ily.

The novel, writ­ten in blank verse, switches be­tween Mil­dred’s and Richard’s per­spec­tives, oc­ca­sion­ally jump­ing ahead in time, with each sec­tion framed by a dif­fer­ent court case or rel­e­vant his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ment. The novel then shows how each his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ment has im­pacted the lives of Mil­dred and Richard. For in­stance, after one sec­tion en­ti­tled “Brown vs. Board of Ed­u­ca­tion,” we find Mil­dred at­tend­ing Union High School, a great change from her one-room school­room. Richard soon after makes known his af­fec­tion for Mil­dred, and the two com­mence a courtship that is slow and sweet, and com­pli­cated by the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate around them.

Lov­ing vs. Vir­ginia is a chal­leng­ing, poignant read about an im­por­tant civil rights case. The book in­cludes ex­cerpts of ac­tual doc­u­ments re­lated to the case, along with pow­er­ful pic­tures and his­tor­i­cal quotes. Highly rec­om­mended for read­ers who are look­ing for a ti­tle that brings emo­tional weight and his­tor­i­cal power, all wrapped in a dif­fi­cult, en­dear­ing love story.

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