Posts

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Image
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland




Dread Nation is an alternate history novel where the Civil War ended because the dead started to rise on the battlefields, biting and infecting the living. The undead plague had begun. It’s been over ten years since the deathless began roaming the Earth and some of the land has been given up for good. The shamblers outnumber the living and they have become such a threat that the land has simply been abandoned. Large cities like Baltimore have built walls protecting themselves. The wealthy hire Attendants from schools like Ms. Preston’s School of Combat where Jane McKeeney, a seventeen-year-old Negro girl is being trained to kill the shamblers. Ever since the Negro and Native Reeducation Act has been passed, all of the Native and Negro children have to learn to fight in order to earn a living. But a family near the school has gone missing and everything isn’t what it seems in Baltimore county. This novel is a lot to take in. The idea that the Civil War en…

Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

Image
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin



This is the first fiction book that I’ve read by James Baldwin and it was extremely enjoyable. It’s the story of John, a teenage, Black boy living with his family. His father, Gabrielle, is a preacher. His younger brother Roy is known for running around causing trouble. His mother, Elizabeth, stays at home raising his little sister and youngest brother. John tries to be a good child, listening to his mother and helping around the house. But none of his efforts ever satisfy his father, who blames John and his mother for the recklessness he sees in Roy. It’s against this backdrop that we learn about John’s family. We learn of the sins that have gotten their family to where they are now. The sordid history that forced his Aunt Florence to leave the South to find her own way up North, the years that would follow before Gabrielle followed, and how Elizabeth and he came to marry. I hate it when I’ve read a story, truly adored it and can’t come up w…

Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad with Lori L. Tharps

Image
Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad with Lori L. Tharps

I love the Olympics and while I am a fan of the Winter Olympics, I absolutely adore the Summer Olympics. I monitor all of the events, medal counts and carve out the time to watch my favorite events. Fencing is nowhere near the top of that list. If it’s on and I happen to turn to it fine, but I never go out of my way to watch fencing. I couldn’t even name an athlete that played fencing. Until I saw Ibtihaj Muhammad and then my interest was piqued. I wanted to know more about her, the woman competing in a hijab. I kept my eye on her performance during the Olympics and was excited to see the team medal. And I never forgot that there was a young woman, who competed in a hijab representing the United States during what felt like an extremely divisive time. When I saw that this book was available I jumped at the chance to know more about her. Proud tells the story of Ibtihaj Muhammad, her family and what d…

Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Image
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

Image
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

Image
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

Image
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…