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Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

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Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton



This is the sequel to Tiny Pretty Things, and if you haven’t read that book, you are being warned now that this review is riddled with spoilers!

June and Gigi are in their last year at American Ballet Conservatory, while Bette has been suspended. After what happened to Gigi last school year, from the bullying to her being pushed in front of the taxi, the conservatory had no choice but to suspend Bette. Bette is still proclaiming her innocence in the accident, but the bullying cost her family a pretty penny in a settlement with Gigi’s family. Gigi feels changed. She knows she isn’t the same girl she was last year. She will not let anyone take advantage or bully her this year. And with Cassie as an ally no one does. June is fighting demons of her own, still struggling with her weight and what will come next in her career. She needs to be strong in more ways than one if she wants to continue to be a ballerina.
The competition i…

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi



It’s been eleven years since the Raid. Since Zelie saw her mother’s hanging body. Since the king decided to rid his kingdom, in the most brutal fashion, of magic and all the maji who have ever wielded it. Zelie remembers the fear, the death, the loss and the fact that she was only safe because at six years old she had yet to taste magic, and now she never will. The white hair against her dark skin, singles her out as a maji, threatened by the guards who know she can never cast. Called a maggot, threatened and ridiculed for the crime of magic which she has never committed. But when Amari runs from the castle with the scroll that could bring back magic, it’s Zelie she sees and reaches to for help. Upon touching the scroll, magic flows through Zelie’s veins and the adventure begins. There is so much to enjoy and dissect when it comes to this book. It’s layered, complex and a fight for justice for people who have been stripped of their power and n…

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon



Dimple was just happy to be at San Francisco State University, part of the summer program that would allow her to create an app and compete against other people for a prestigious prize. She’ll be going to Stanford in the fall and couldn’t believe her parents agreed to this 6-week summer program, especially since her mom has always cared more about Dimple one day finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” So, on the very first day of the program, when a young man walks up to Dimple, and calls her future wife, she throws her coffee at him and runs. But Rishi had no idea that Dimple didn’t know their parents were old friends and arranged them to attend the same program. Rishi likes the idea of an arranged marriage. He likes the tradition and wants to have a family. Dimple though feels betrayed. Falling in love was never part of her plan. What Menon did with this book, was create a narrative about two Indian Americans with different perspectives on their cul…

Mixed: My Life in Black and White by Angela Nissel

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Mixed: My Life in Black and White by Angela Nissel 


There are some books that manage to wrap you into the narrative very quickly and the next thing you know, you feel like your best friends with the author and you guys are having a private chat about life while drinking wine. This is exactly that kind of book. Nissel dives into the story of her life so freely and honestly that you are almost taken back. The way she easily tackles the nuances of her life, her identity and the balancing act she was part of early in life makes you reflect on your upbringing and how easily you can relate to some of the statements being made. (My personal favorites were the sayings shared at the salon, where I now know the same conversations take place no matter which coast you live on.) Every coming of age story is unique but so many of the experiences are similar because of the common thread of race and how it’s depicted and how we are treated based on the color of our skin. What Nissel does with this mem…

No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America by Darnell L. Moore

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No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America by Darnell L. Moore


I’m pretty much in love with reading memoirs by Black people right now. Doing so, keeps reassuring me that we, as Black people, are not a monolith and our diversity is something to be celebrated. I want to celebrate Moore after reading his memoir. I want to celebrate him and the amount of growth he experienced from being a young insecure teen, bullied by the other kids in the neighborhood to being an accomplished sexually fluid man who advocates for the rights of Black people and the LGBT community. It takes a lot of courage to express your truth. Moore’s truth is one filled with overcoming circumstances and learning to accept oneself. Moore had to deal with the physical abuse of his mother, understanding his queerness and levying that with his faith. His is a unique story and I really enjoyed the detail he was willing to include. It showed a level of honesty and introspection that I didn’t expect. The mo…

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins

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This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins


I’ve been reading a lot more books written by Black women about the experience of being Black. It started with bell hooks and it was like a lightbulb went off while I was reading. I was not alone. Even though my experience as a Black woman is my own, I was not alone. When I thought I was losing my mind, when I thought I was drowning or suffocating, reading her words even though they were decades old made me realize that I was not alone. The more books I read by Black women, the more I realize that our collective Black experience is a unique one and that regardless of our differences we all share certain experiences. Reading Jerkins work, the work of a young Black women, a few years younger than me, reinforces those ideas. Her collection of essays is about her unique experiences in many different arenas while living as a Black woman. It’s important that I mention that …

We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories by Gabrielle Union

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We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories by Gabrielle Union



This was an easy to read and easy to enjoy memoir. Gabrielle Union gave us a very intimate portrait of her life, filled with her candor and her humor. It’s funny when you think about all of the stories that have been spread about Union and the tabloid headlines that have been thrown out there, to see that sometimes truth is funnier than fiction. I laughed through so many of these stories, where I was either simply caught off guard and unaware by her honesty or when she just happened to find herself in an extremely hilarious situation. This is her life and she chose to share this with the public.
I admire her bravery, coming out as a rape survivor and choosing to advocate for survivors. These are the conversations we need to have and that she chose to have in her book. But she also touched on so much more, like racism, colorism, sexism, success in Hollywood, marriage and sex. There is so much sex and I mean that in the best way p…