Book Tour & Review: Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee

Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee


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 sights were set on 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 microaggressions 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.


Wow, wow, wow. I flew through “Required Reading” in the span of a day. This story is powerful and gripping, and will have you sucked in from page one. Although it is quick-paced, it is heavy and challenging at times, as the main character, Savannah, is attacked with racial slurs and actions throughout the book.

Although there are several compelling components to this book, I was most drawn to Savannah’s character. I admire her for her passion and ability to stay true to who she is, no matter her circumstance. She is strong and incredibly brave for speaking up and starting a movement in response to the racism she and other Wooddale students (past and present) have experienced for generations. She is determined to unearth what goes on behind closed doors at Wooddale, even if it means she has to sacrifice her full-ride scholarship to this Ivy League institution. 

I loved watching Savannah grow, find her voice, and prioritize her happiness by creating her own path. She learns that she does not have to change who she is in order to fit in. You too, will be rooting for her throughout the entire book. 

This book should be required in every school. It is hard-hitting and emotional for any reader, and can be extremely educational for those who have not experienced racism and/or elitism in the American educational system or in other areas of the real world. I recommend this book if you are looking for an educational, gripping YA contemporary read! 

Thank you to Kristen R. Lee, Crown Books for Young Readers, NetGalley, and Turn the Page Tours for the eARC!

Additional Book Information

  • TITLE: Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman
  • AUTHOR: Kristen R. Lee
  • PUBLISHER: Crown Books for Young Readers
  • RELEASE DATE: February 1st, 2022
  • GENRES: New Adult Fiction—Contemporary

About the Author

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

Giveaway Information

There are THREE (3) finished copies of Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman by Kristen R. Lee up for grabs. 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 link below!


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