It’s tough enough to be a teenager even in the best of times. In 1970s’ Oakland, where racial tensions are bubbling and violence is brewing, it’s really tough to figure out who you are and whose side you’re on.
But this is what Steve, Ida, and Levi have to do. Despite their very different backgrounds, the three find themselves working together at a local grocery store. Steve, the privileged son of a judge, is dedicated to becoming a world-class runner. Ida is also a talented runner but has to balance that passion with helping her family try to recover from race-based violence. Levi, the quick-witted son of a single mother, is on the brink of self-discovery. As they battle bullies and prejudice, their lives become intimately intertwined.
A story of friendship told by the friends themselves in a series of short, action-packed chapters, Merge takes us on a breathless, thought-provoking race to do the right thing.
Understandably, a lot of novels see the struggle against racism and injustice from one perspective. Merge sees it from both a black and a white perspective. The author offers a new, refreshingly honest approach, with Steve and Ida recognizing the chasm between their worlds. Through their stormy friendship, the divide is spanned, and their paths begin to merge.