It’s finally time to kick off our tour for Kristen R. Lee’s Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman, and we hope y’all are just as excited as we are. We’ve got a great list of hosts who are eager to share the book with you, and we urge you to follow each of them so you don’t miss out on their tour stops.
As always, don’t forget to pick up a copy of the book and add it to your TBR. We can’t wait for you all to join us in adoring Kristen’s book as much as we have.
Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman
by Kristen R. Lee
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Releasing on February 1st, 2022
NEW ADULT FICTION—Contemporary
Trigger Warning(s): Depicted Black-face scene, Racism
A striking debut novel about racism on elite college campuses. Fans of Dear White People will embrace this activist-centered contemporary novel about a college freshman grappling with the challenges of attending an elite university with a disturbing racist history–that may not be as distant as it seems.
Savannah Howard sacrificed her high school social life to make sure she got into a top college. Her sites were set on an HBCU, but when she is accepted to the ivy-covered walls of Wooddale University on a full ride, how can she say no?
Wooddale is far from the perfectly manicured community it sells on its brochures, though. Savannah has barely unpacked before she comes face-to-face with microagressions stemming from racism and elitism. Then, Clive Wilmington’s statue is vandalized with blackface. The prime suspect? Lucas Cunningham, Wooddale’s most popular student and son to a local prominent family. Soon, Savannah is unearthing the hidden secrets of Wooddale’s racist history. But what’s the price for standing up for what is right? And will telling the truth about Wooddale’s past cost Savannah her own future?
A stunning, challenging, and timely debut about racism and privilege on college campuses.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman?
Fun fact: RRFTDF is not only my debut novel but the first novel I ever wrote. I wrote it after I graduated from undergrad. It was a healing way for me to let go of the things I experienced at college. Honestly, I didn’t have a clue about anything publishing related. I let a friend read it, and they asked if I was going to publish it. The rest is herstory.
If you were to choose the cast of your characters, who would you choose and why?
To keep it simple, I’ll only list my three most prominent characters, however I have cast them all in my head! Savannah is played by Lyric Ross, she has duality with her acting that I think reflects Savannah perfectly. Lately, I’ve been envisioning Tasha as Marsai Martin because they both have the same boss energy. Last, Keiynan Lonsdale because the first time I saw him I screamed, “wow that’s Benji.”
Do you have a specific writing process?
I’m more of a pantser. When an idea comes to me, I sit down and get to it. Once I start to write, if I feel like the idea is going somewhere, then I’ll start an outline. I know some authors create detailed charts, but I like my characters to come to me. I like them to be more natural than planned.
In your book, what scene (or chapter) do you consider to be your favorite?
The scene where Savannah returns to her hometown and runs into her best friend, B’onca, is my favorite scene because it demonstrates how Savannah has changed and so has the neighborhood which she left in some ways. It’s a realization to Savannah that there’s no escaping these transitional moments in her life.
Is there a recurring theme that can be found in Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman?
Yes! The main recurring theme in RRFTDF is the power of our voices. Savannah is constantly trying to figure out when and how she should speak up until she figures is it even working? She works through the conflict of her using her voice to stand up for what’s right or stick to the status quo.
Is there anything you’re currently working on, and if so, can you give us any details?
My second novel, SUN KEEP RISING will be a companion novel to REQUIRED READING FOR THE DISENFRANCHISED FRESHMAN. In the first chapter of RRFTDF, we meet Savannah in her Memphis hometown. In book two we pick up with Savannah’s best friend B’onca in the same town and follow her coming-of-age journey.
Lastly, what do you hope readers take away from Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman after reading?
After reading RRFTDF, I hope readers will realize that you’re worthy just the way you are, no two persons are the same, and the world is not allowed to define you, only you are.
Kristen R. Lee is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. After graduating from college, she began to write her experiences attending a predominantly white institution, which led to the first draft of Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman. She’s worked as a mentor for foster youth and has interned in a school setting, where she counseled middle-school-aged children. Writing stories that reflect often-unheard voices is what she strives to do. Learn more about Kristen at kristenleebooks.com.
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Up for grabs we have THREE (3) finished copies of Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee. This giveaway will be open to US residents only, three separate winners will be chosen. This giveaway will run from January 30th to February 6th at 12 AM. To enter, click the button below!