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.
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.
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.
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 […]
Convicted at the age of nine for the death of an eight-week-old baby girl Annalise, Mary B. Addison is serving time at a group home for convicted teens. Allowed to have a part-time job at a nursing home and to leave the group home on weekends wearing an ankle bracelet, Mary much rather prefers the group home to what she calls “baby jail,” where she first initially was serving her sentence.
Growing up, I barely read books with black female teen protagonists (shout out to The Coldest Winter Ever and Flyy Girl), let alone novels with Haitian female leads. I didn’t read my first Haitian author and Haitian characters—Haitian female characters—until Edwidge Danticat’s Breath Eyes Memory. Thank you, Oprah, for making it a book club selection in 1998. I’ve been a fan of Danticat’s ever since. I knew of Roxane Gay, but I didn’t know she was Haitian until I read her memoir Hunger. If Gay mentioned it in Bad Feminist (which I did not finish because I’m, well, a bad feminist) I missed it. Last year, I read Ben Phillippe’s The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, which is about a Black French Canadian teen boy (with Haitian parents), who moves to Texas and teen angst ensues. Now to my short list of read Haitian writing I can add Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite.