Book Review: The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
A 5⭐️ Book Review
Dear Readers: Please read The Other Black Girl. This book addresses race, feminism, and success in so many different ways. I loved the setting of a publishing house because that’s one of my dream jobs, but this book is so much more than a girl trying to get ahead of the office politics and games. It’s a thriller, a social commentary, and a timely read.
Nella, the protagonist, wants to do more than what she’s given as an editorial assistant at Wagner Books. But as the only Black girl in the office, her efforts are thwarted with microaggressions, apathy, and racism. Then Hazel-May arrives as a new assistant. Bella is cautiously optimistic about what another BIPOC colleague might mean for her. Yet, in just a few months, it all goes terribly wrong.
I loved the characters and all their attributes in this book. Nella and her best friend Malaika are real, empathetic, and endearing characters. I loved their interactions. Hazel-May makes you question your trust level of her on every page. The Wagner employees add layers to the story as well.
The Other Black Girl is being described in publicity materials as Get Out meets The Devil Wears Prada. I definitely recognized the truth to these comparisons – especially to Get Out. Like after watching that movie, I’m still thinking about this book.
The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
This book was a beautiful read! Nancy Jooyoun Kim crafted a gorgeous story about family, loss, language, and tragedy. I loved the dual timelines that told the story of Mina Lee and her daughter, Margot. With differences in culture, understanding, and desires, this mother-daughter relationship is complex but realistic, and I felt empathy for both characters. The book shares the immigrant experience in a vulnerable, often brutal way, while honoring the stories of each character. As her debut novel, Ms. Kim has set the bar high and I can’t wait to read more from her.
Book Review: Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson
Jenny Lawson writes with honesty, vulnerability, and power. She brings truth to the page as she explains what it’s like to be in the dark hole of depression and anxiety while you lose shards of your soul. She brings levity to the story as she shares her wild experiences at the dentist, in Puerto Rico, and in her backyard. Her love of taxidermy — including Allie McGraw the alligator and Daenerys Targaryen the prairie dog/squirrel — as well as her late night Twitter sessions and her insistence that her missing phone is in the floorboards (really in her pocket) are just a few of the laugh-out-loud instances from Broken.
But it’s so much more than that. Jenny is helping to end the stigma of mental illness. She is open about her dark days and shares what of feels like to walk into the light — to be unsettled when you have good days because you’re not sure when the dark will come again. There’s a reason I used up nearly all my sticky tabs and almost an entire highlighter while reading this book. Because it’s that good. And because it’s that real.
Book Review: The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
I know there have been comparisons to Daisy Jones & the Six, but The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton goes so far beyond the story of a journalism-style review of a 1970s rock group. This book, oh my goodness.
Walton addresses racism and bigotry in the U.S., weaving a story that shows that we really haven’t done that far since the 1970s.
She illustrates how women’s voices – especially those voices of BIPOC women – were silenced then and now.
She brings together music and fashion to demonstrate how art can take so many forms for so many people.
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev that spans 40 years but is timely for this day. I highly recommend it!
Book Review (No Spoilers)
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas
I know, I know. A Court of Silver Flames has probably been all over social media since its release in February. But there’s a reason for that.
This book is freaking good, y’all.
Like any Sarah J Maas fan, I could not wait to get my hands on this book. I even bought the Kindle version because I couldn’t wait for my delayed hard copy any more. Ms. Maas took the Prythian world to the next level with her novel of Nesta and Cassian. With new mythology, new creatures, and new heat, this book is jam-packed with a great story, fierce action, and all the things the Maasdom has come to expect.
But she went even further here. In taking us back to the Night Court and sharing Nesta and Cassian with us, Ms. Maas managed to build a fantasy that also addresses mental health, self worth, and the Me Too movement. The struggles and desire for empowerment may be cloaked in Fae magic here, but they’re relatable to us humans as well.
A 5⭐️ read with an added 🔥 for heat
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
I start any book by Kristin Hannah with the expectation that she’s going to devastate my emotions with her characters and plot lines. And, with that in mind, The Four Winds did not disappoint!
I could feel the despair and heartache that these characters experienced in the Dust Bowl of 1930s Texas and in the neverending circle of poverty when Elsa, our heroine, moves her children to California in search of a better life. From the touching relationships between Elsa, her in-laws, her children, and her friends, and the emotive descriptions of the landscape during the Great Depression, Ms. Hannah has created a book that will stay with me for a long time.
I can’t recommend this 5⭐️ book enough!
What 5⭐️ book do you think people should read?
Book Review: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
A 5⭐️ Read
Angie Thomas does it again. She’s ripped my heart out and then patched it back together with her beautiful prose, vivid imagery, and glorious characters. I truly hope Ms. Thomas continues to tell stories about Garden Heights because each novel gets better and better.
Concrete Rose is the story of Maverick Carter. He’s 17 and dealing with a too much: his dad is in prison, he’s dealing drugs outside of his gang’s operation, and he just found out he’s a father. That’s just the start of the challenges that Maverick faces in Concrete Rose, and every bit of his journey brings all the emotions.
With plenty of Easter eggs from The Hate U Give and On the Come Up, this book takes us back to the Garden Heights in the 1990s. It’s a powerful, emotional book that deserves all the Sevens, all the roses, and all the stars.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The House on Mango Street is one of those books I should have read a long time ago. Now that I’ve read it, I’m a bit salty that it was never assigned in school. This book, with less than 150 pages, is a bit like reading magic.
With chapters of short vignettes, and. Cisneros gives a glimpse into Esperanza’s life on Mango Street in Chicago. The protagonist speaks to the reader using stream of consciousness, vivid imagery, and unique characters who experience their own tragedies. Esperanza comes of age while participating in and observing life in her neighborhood, and she too faces tragedies. At times buoyant and heartbreaking, this book brings so many emotions to the surface.
I enjoyed the writing in this book as much as the stories Esperanza shares. Ms. Cisneros brings rhythm and poetry to the narrative, and I loved it!
A 5⭐️ read!
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
I loved this book! I knew that Ms. Thomas is an amazing author when I finished The Hate You Give, but On the Come Up brings her talent and insight to another level.
As the narrator, Bri gives us a look at how a strong young woman internalizes her surroundings and all the pressures that come with her experiences and those of her family and friends. Her desire to become a rapper is just part of the journey as she finds herself.
A definite 5⭐️ read to finish up this month of reading. Now I’m even more excited to read Concrete Rose, Ms. Thomas’s newest release!
Book Review: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
There are some books that manage to rip your heart out, filling you with grief for the characters, and then they give you hope for the future at their conclusion.
A Woman is No Man is one of these books. Told from the viewpoint of three generations of Palestinian-American women, this book explores fate, choices, culture, and traditions. It is a book about suppression and violence, but also about faith and personal strength. From their deep-rooted desire to do the best and live up to cultural expectations, the main characters explore and challenge what it means to be a woman in two very different cultures.
This is a beautiful book, one that I finished in less than 48 hours. Deya, Isra, and Fareeda are nuanced characters who show their strengths in different ways. Etaf Rum writes in a gorgeous style, showing vulnerability and thoughtfulness on every page.
A Woman is No Man is a 5⭐️ book, one that I highly recommend.