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Review: From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

From the Desk of Zoe Washington is one of those stories that warms you up from the inside because it is brimming over with honesty, letters and the best cereal cupcakes ever. (You'll see.) This book tells such an important story about good people who are wrongly incarcerated because of a twisted justice system that is molded to favour people of one colour, and has been warped and working in this cruel way for decades.

Zoe Washington has never met her convict father and no one in her family really likes to talk about him too much, so when a letter shows up in her mailbox on her 12th birthday, she is both intrigued and afraid. This is a man who everyone says has committed an unthinkable, unforgivable crime, but could it be because no one listened to what he had to say? Could he been in an orange jumpsuit right now just because he looks the part of a criminal to many prejudiced minds? Or could he be lying to her and manipulating her like the kind of person her mom says he is? Slowly, Zoe begins to discover a legally authorised system of racism that has been allowed to continue for much too long and is determined to uncover the real story.

This is an uplifting story full of heart and heart-wrenching truths, sweetened by the thrills of baking and a chocolate-loving best friend. It sheds light on some uncomfortable truths like how the ignorance and biases of adults can lead innocent people to lead lives they never deserved and how many people just see what they want to see, without trying to look a little deeper for the truth. This book is a message, loud and clear, that we need to start talking about injustice, fighting back against bias and supporting people who are wrongly and unfairly judged on superficial grounds so we can become a better, kinder people together.

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