BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY is a breezy, college-age YA about a Afro-Latino boy named Torrey. It explores his struggle to keep his apiary (bee farm) from being foreclosed on, the negative aspects of gentrification, and also his coming of age romance with the bisexual love interest, Gabriel, a hot Portuguese guy who was the first boy Torrey ever kissed.
There were some things I really liked about BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. I think it has an authentic YA voice. The romance was great. It does an excellent job focusing on some of the elements that make California such a unique and diverse place to live, while also showing how racially-charged class disparities can be harmful to cities and the people who live and work in them, especially people of color. I loved all of that.
The downside was that this book took me a long time to get into, and sometimes I almost felt like it was trying too hard to get me to think that the main character was cool. Maybe I'm just too old to appreciate some of the teen ridiculousness, but at times it felt like Torrey's "humor" was too forced and over the top, which often had me rolling my eyes.
There isn't really a "solid" plot. This is largely a character-driven story and while it works here, that isn't really my favorite method of story-telling, which did impact how much I liked this book. If you're looking for diverse YA with a great romance and some real world issues, though, I think you would do well to pick up BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, especially if you don't mind a meandering and character-driven storyline.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars
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