Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil

A Novel

Book - 2018 | First edition
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On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he's a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer--an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders--and the one person who seems not to judge him. When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.--from dust jacket.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780061284922
Call Number: FICTION IWEALA 2018
Characteristics: 214 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Niru, is a Nigerian-American high school senior bound for Harvard; but when he attempts to express his identity as a young gay man, he faces disastrous consequences.

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Apr 15, 2019


Nov 04, 2018

Impressive and compassionate book by Nigerian-American writer Uzodinma Iweala ("Beasts of No Nation") about two privileged teens in the D.C. area, Niru, the parent of Nigerian immigrants, and his white friend Meredith. It's both a coming of age story and a coming out story, as Niru realizes he's gay, which is shocking to his conservative parents, especially his imposing father. While the story itself flirts with cliche, the writing, characters, and themes (sexuality, race, cultural, the immigrant experience) are handled with nuance and sympathy. Somewhat interestingly, Iweala splits the narrative between Niru's story and Meredith's story, which I liked.

CarleeMcDot Oct 18, 2018

I don't remember how exactly I came across this title (I know, you aren't surprised), but I was excited about it. From what I knew, it was about a Nigerian boy growing up in the DC area with very strict parents. He is gay and this is a HUGE problem for his parents. Although the book is somewhat short it took me longer to read it because of the format with the dialog. I am used to quotation marks, breaks in paragraphs between speakers, etc, but this book didn't have this. It would switch between speakers every other sentence and was a little hard to follow because of the lack of punctuation (but that may just be me). As far as the substance of the book, I was a little disappointed. I was really hoping to love it, but it was just mediocre for me. I was surprised with the direction it went about halfway through, but it still didn't truly engage me from the beginning. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but, hey, to each his own. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

BostonPL_RebeccaH Aug 11, 2018

Niru and Meredith are best friends. While they attend the same elite private school in Washington, DC, and both have parents that are accomplished and well off, they come from families that don't share many values. Niru's family is Nigerian, conservative, and devoutly Christian, and his parents are very active in their children's lives. Meredith's family is white, socially privileged, and her parents are permissive and largely absent. Set during the spring of their senior year, this could have been a typical Young Adult novel were love conquers all. But for Niru, the fact that he's black, has different family cultural values, and gay serve to put him in conflict with law enforcement, Meredith, and his father. The book ends in heartbreak for all who live through this season.

Jul 11, 2018

Couldn't put it down! Check out the author's very short video about the book here:


Jul 10, 2018

Niru and Meredith's relationship allows readers to see how two people from very different backgrounds can still have respect, admiration and understanding for one another. Both characters are grappling with self-conflict as well as family discord. Though, the friendship hits a bump in the road the pair are drawn to each other for reassurance. The story speaks of family expectations, friendship, acceptance, rejection, sexuality and racial profiling. The author gives us an unexpected surprise that is tragic but familiar in our social climate.

Jun 26, 2018

At first I thought this was another YA teen angst, boy discovering sexuality, girl in love with someone who can't love her back story, which it is, but it comes with a very big punch to the breadbasket. What follows is a disjointed accounting of the aftermath that is a reflection of the effects the incident has taken on Meredith. There are a lot of ananswered questions but although my curiousity is not satisfied the impact on my emotions is just what I believe the author intended. Very well done.

May 07, 2018

Hauntingly prosaic story of two privileged friends whose attempts to assert their identities
against the expectations of their families and social status lead to disastrous results. This book reverberates with me.

ArapahoeAnnaL Apr 27, 2018

A moving, tragic story of pride and love both forbidden and unrequited love. A quick read that packs a punch and speaks to issues regarding homophobia, racial profiling, the over-riding need to protect social status, and generational differences. An emotional sad story and an enlightening journey.

Apr 25, 2018

Harvard-bound, Niru is the son of Nigerian immigrants with high expectations and strict religious values. When they discover that he had plans to meet up with another boy even though he didn't go through with it, it causes a lot of problems for him at home. This tension between Niru and his parents forms the crux of the novel, but there is also his friendship with Meredith, who downloaded the app that led to the meet-up that didn't happen.

This was another 3-1/2 star book for me. There was something that just didn't connect for me. I wanted more of something. I'm sorry that I can't be more specific. I wanted to get deeper into Niru maybe?


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