This is a really beautiful memoir about a Black boy navigating a rough upbringing and leaning on various "geek" comforts to get through. Even if you don't like anime, Pokémon or video games yourself, you can still appreciate the way they formed a world in which Joey could feel safe and in control. This is a really impactful piece of writing, one which fills a gap in the literary world and asks readers to consider what we lose by undervaluing both Black boyhood and nerd culture.
Vendela Vida makes the posh suburbs of 1980s San Francisco so oddly familiar and relatable in this wonderful coming-of-age novel about a couple of 13 year old girls, the eccentric Eulabee and her best friend, the decorous Maria Fabiola. Childhood friendships are full of love and laughter but at the same time messy and confusing, Vida perfectly captures the complexities of these formative years in a refreshing and authentic way.
This is my favorite, favorite book. Murray spins a dazzling web between his rich array of characters, creating a mystery that is funny, weird, and heart-wrenching. Skippy may die in the prologue, but the novel backtracks to show how desperately full of life he was. Every time I revisit this book, I always hope that the act of my reading will save him ... but it never does.