I'm a sucker for a novel in verse! For fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jacqueline Woodson, Mahogany L. Browne writes the story of a teenage girl just trying to play basketball without getting too cold in her best friend's shadow. Her words bite but her voice is delicate, letting me relish in that dichotomy of girlhood. Chlorine Sky feels like the chemicals from the community pool and the sun setting orange, your fingers are pruny but it's just so beautiful. Five more minutes
A perfect example of a book for children and adults alike; give this to everyone you know! Woodson writes in verse, beautifully combining prose and poetry, to tell the autobiographical story of a brown girl coming of age at the tailend of Jim Crow. She grapples with identity and the idea of home, growing up in South Carolina and New York, while still trying to be a kid with dreams of becoming a writer. It's powerful, it's beautiful, it's no wonder it was a Newbery Award nominee.
This is a wonderfully shameless story that I wish was around when I was in school. Period.
The characters are relatable and diverse, the social situations are true to life, and the use of social media formats to share facts from women's history is clever and well done. Schneemann opens up an important discussion here, in many shades of red, and I can't wait to see how her characters will continue to inspire change.
Bump writes from his own childhood experience on the South Side of Chicago. It’s a heartfelt story with familiar themes of family, love, and growing up, but from a completely unique voice – one that will endear you to main character Claude McKay and one that needs to be heard.
Pair it with Margo Jefferson’s Negroland a memoir, also about growing up, decades earlier and in another part of Chicago, as an affluent African-American. Two illuminating and unforgettable portrayals of race in the U.S.
How mystifying the customs of ancient peoples seem to us... but how far removed are we, really?
Sylvie and her parents join a small university class on "a summer experience" living as Iron Age Britons may have. As prehistoric tasks become more intuitive to the group, so do the rituals they once thought horrific.
This unassuming wisp of a book belies the disquieting story within.
"I shivered. Of course that was the whole point of the re-enactment, that we ourselves became the ghosts, learning to walk the land as they walk it two thousand years ago."
Hot with violent urgency, and shrouded in the moss and fog of the rural Northwest, Vera Violet opens with the eponymous Vera on the run someplace deep in Montana, and does not let up until the final page. In between is something like the root system of a tall cedar, or the wiring Harness on an old pickup: tangled at first glance, but intricate as soon as you start to trace it. This is an unforgettable novel.
E. J. Koh is a poet and translator and in her debut memoir we see proof of a master of language at work. At 15 years old, E. J.'s parents "temporarily" move back to Korea, leaving her and her brother by themselves in California. This coming-of-age memoir skillfully tells the story of a family's complicated history and love for each other.
Who is Juliet? She's any of us who ever felt like they were losing their minds. She's the friend you have that's beautiful and brilliant but can scare you sometimes. She's honest, she's real. She's you and she's me. For those who suffer from mental illness, this book will make you feel less alone. Read this book!
This may be a very funny novel about art and idealism. Or it may be a very serious novel about how our work defines us - albeit one that will make you laugh uncontrollably and at random. Either way, the joke's on us: gleeful, satirical and disarmingly sincere, profound and bombastic in equal measure, and so, so familiar to anyone who has been in their twenties, or nursed a beer in the corner at the party and watched their friends hold court, or contemplated the big questions about whether we are what we create or whether, maybe it's the other way around, Loudermilk is refreshing and incisive.
A compelling, unflinching portrait of Spain in the early 20th century, this autobiographical trilogy is at once a charming coming-of-age saga and a chilling study of the rise of a fascist state. Not convinced? Admittedly, it's long...but this prose is as rich and as satisfying as an Andalusian feast.