I loved the adorably awkward Norris Kaplan in Ben Philippe’s The Field Guide to the North American Teenager. The Haitian-Canadian teen is a fish out of water when he moves to Austin, Texas, with his mother. The poor boy is “The New Kid” in high school and is having trouble adjusting to the Texas heat and making friends. At least he’s found a hockey team for some semblance of home.
Charming As a Verb was such a cute little gem. This is the second YA novel written by Haitian writer Ben Philippe that I’ve read. As I said in my review for The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, “we’re not dealing with gang/street violence, teen pregnancy, [or] drugs. That’s not the only experience of Black teens.” Once again, Philippe writes about a high school teen boy on a quest to attain #BlackBoyJoy.
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson is one of those memoirs, like The Glass Castle written by another Jeannette but with the last name Walls, that leaves you feeling flabbergasted, angry, and sad at the way grown folks who choose to become parents treat their children. In the case of Winterson, she is the adoptive daughter of a woman whom she refers to as Mrs. Winterson. Jeanette writes: “Books, for me, are a home. Books don’t make a home–they are one, in the sense that just as you do with a door, you open a book and you go inside. Inside there is a different kind of time and a different kind of space.”
I don’t usually gravitate towards psychological thrillers. I’m unsure about the reason. I enjoy them, even if a majority of the time I figure out the plot before it’s revealed. Things unfolded slowly and kept me guessing. The only part that felt rushed to me is the obligatory explanation of the villain’s backstory. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but it explained a lot and allowed for the book to progress as it did.
The Worst Best Man was a fun read. The characters, including Lina’s family, were well developed with their own background stories that tied into how they supported Lina. There are no mixed feelings when it comes to Lina, Max, or Andrew. I like that Sosa sprinkled in plenty of Portuguese, Brazilian customs, and delicious-sounding dish descriptions that made me want to hop onto Seamless and search Brazilian restaurants that deliver to Bed-Stuy. I’ve only had a few Brazilian eating experiences, one being on the company dime at Fogo de Chao. My taste buds were not the least bit disappointed with the savory meats and side dishes. The same can be said for my experience listening to The Worst Best Man.
I usually don’t like second-person narration, but the memoir also doubles as a letter to his mother, almost a love letter even. Even though she was abusive, he loved and loves her still and wishes to tell her all he experienced and went through growing up as a young Black man in America. Southern America. “I looked like a big, dark, black man since I was an eleven-year-old boy.” As a teen and a passenger in his mother’s car, a police officer pulled her over but asked for his ID, assuming he was an adult. Thank goodness his mother had the wherewithal to know her rights and to inform the cops that the passenger was not only her son, but a minor.
Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date is such a cute romantic novel. Stupid me didn’t realize that it’s actually the first book in the series. Months ago, if not a year ago, I read The Proposal first, my logic being that there must first be a wedding proposal to not only set a wedding date, but need a wedding date, as in a plus one. Nope. If you’re reading this, and also interested in reading the series, The Wedding Date is first. Much to my relief, they don’t have to be read in order. They work as standalone novels you won’t miss anything.
Alexis Monroe and Andrew Nichols’ meet-cute happens when they’re both trapped in a hotel elevator. She’s en route to meet her attorney-sister who’s staying at the Oakland hotel for business, and he’s in town for a wedding.
At its core, Luster is a novel about a young woman Stumbling and Struggling—note the capital S—to find her way, without the help of a real support system of family or friends. Ironically, it’s after she goes through a major crisis and trauma that she admits to herself and out loud to another person that she’s an artist.
It’s no wonder Harris’s soul looks back. Through a romance with Sam, a colleague more than ten years her senior, she ran in the same circles as Sam’s best friend James (Jimmy) Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison.
There There by Tommy Orange My rating: 4 of 5 stars In my attempt to diversify my reading, I reserved an audio copy of There There by Tommy Orange at the New York Public Library via Libby, the app that has saved me so much money. It was a swift breakup with Audible. Last year, or the year before, There There’s beautiful orange cover kept popping up in my feed. I follow a lot of bookstagrammers, publishers, and other pages […]