Review of Token

Book:  Token by Beverly Kendall

Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Graydon House

Release Date: January 3rd, 2023

Pages: 368

Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble

A woman and her friend start a boutique PR company to help companies diversify their workplace, but having an ex as a client starts to complicate things.

Doesn’t that sound like a great synopsis? I thought it did. I still think it is. Unfortunately, that’s not really what this book is about. So let’s talk about what I wanted and expected from this book, and what I ended up with instead!

Where do I begin with this one? When I started this book, I was so hopeful! I adored the first 50 pages! I was so excited to have this book to recommend. But now? Not quite. So how did it start, and how did it go wrong?

This book starts with Kennedy Mitchell, a temp at a random clothing company being asked to attend a corporate meeting out of nowhere. Turns out there’s a Black celebrity the company wants to make a brand deal with, but after said celebrity turned down another company for having no POC in the room, this company suddenly needs melanin to be present. So they offer her an obscene amount of money to pretend to work for them, so they’ll have a Black woman in the room. Now, is that super shady? Sure. But it’s a super intriguing premise.

After that meeting, Kennedy turns down a full time offer from the company to start a PR company focused on helping companies never even getting into such situations in the first place. A PR company focused on diversity. It’s a great set up, and could have been such a great set up for so many conversations. But this is where things go downhill.

Instead of actually, you know, representing companies that want to grow, but need help, this company end up just fixing diversity messes. Call someone a slur? They’ll make sure your neighbors that are in the community affected by said slur will put out a statement saying what a good person you are. They’ll even stage you meeting with someone in that community to show that you’re actually friends with the kinds of people you called a slur. I wish I were joking. But I’m not.

Then we have the romance. Dear lord, what a mess that was. We have a guy Kennedy slept with when she was younger. Her very first. The two haven’t really talked since their fling, but now this dude, the brother of Kennedy’s best friend and business partner, needs her help. And instead of asking like a reasonable person, he seems to think that she’ll do him a favor because he was the one to take her virginity, and therefore they have a special bond?

And obviously, even though it’s about 10 years later, and she’s a grown, confident woman, talking about sex with this man flusters her. Please make it make sense. Because it really doesn’t.

Eventually she does realize her company is doing the wrong sort of PR, but honestly, it was too little to late. This book missed out on so many important, nuanced conversations that I wanted it to have. The romance was fine, and I enjoyed it, but also I never really understood the attraction. And I certainly didn’t think much of the love interest. So that leaves us at a 2.5 star rating. Why 2.5? Because I apparently enjoyed the romance enough to be generous.

Honestly, I don’t recommend this book. It does not deliver anything special, and while I enjoyed elements of it while I was reading, had I known what it was truly like before picking it up, I think I would have noticed even more flaws than the ones I noted here. I truly just wish that someone has a very similar take on this idea, and does it the justice it deserves with some other storyline, and a romance that has a more likeable love interest.

What book disappointed you in its execution recently? What’s a romance you loved that features people of color that you recommend in place of this one?


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