Imagine a world where oppression is a thing of the past. It has been completely irradiated along with racism, sexism, and all of the other monsters in existence. This is the world Jam has grown up in. This is the New Lucille. So when a creature arises from a combination of a drop of Jam’s blood and her mother’s painting claiming to be on the hunt for a monster, Jam isn’t quite sure what to believe. And worse, the monster is supposedly in her best friend Redemption’s house. In their timely young adult debut, Akwaeke Emezi renders an incredible story that deftly takes on the current perils of our world while upending Jam’s. Fighting to save her reality as she has always known it, Jam realizes just how hard it can be to take on a monster in a world where everyone around her refuses to acknowledge that they exist.
When I first read the premise of this book I was immediately drawn in. A zombie apocalypse told from the perspective of a domesticated crow? Count me in. Once I started it, I didn’t want to put it down, but I also realized that this book is so much more than what it initially seemed. With wit and wisdom, humor and heart, Buxton tells the tale of not what happens to humans when their world ends, but what happens to the world around them. Told from alternating animal perspectives, mostly from S.T. (the cursing domesticated crow with a severe addiction to Cheetos and unlikely hero), this book is takes on the affects our actions are having on the world, and what it can mean for the future of more than just our species. In this incredible debut, Buxton creates beautiful rendering of nature’s triumphant resurgence in a post-apocalyptic world. - Elisa
In her bold follow-up to Citizen: An American Lyric, Rankine is pulling no punches in this unique and thoughtful play. In one act, Rankine calls into question how racial equality can never be achieved when the concepts of whiteness and white privilege are so quick to be avoided. She introduces you to Charlotte, a black artist on the rise, who is attending a dinner party at the home of Virginia and Charles, a wealthy older white couple with a particular interest in artists of color. With slight nods to works like Get Out that play with the trope of the “white savior complex” in less than classic ways, Charlotte confronts her potential white benefactors and all of their seemingly good intentions as the dinner party begins to spiral. While this play is one of those pieces that will only take you a little over an hour to read, it is a work that you will still be thinking about long after you’ve absorbed the last line.
A powerful debut short story collection from a promising young voice (a 5 Under 35 prize-winner!) in the vein of movies like Get Out, Sorry to Bother You, and BlacKKKlansman. This is a satirical look at what it means to be young and black in America, and all of the heartbreak that often comes with it. Everyone needs to read this book. Intriguing, heart-wrenching, and often absurd, these stories demand the reader's attention long after they've ended. And with stories like "The Finkelstein Five," in which a number of unarmed black children are brutally murdered under the guise of "stand your ground," these stories will enrage you as well as give you pause. From its dark humor comes glimmers of hope, but only if the reader chooses to see it.
What might be lurking in the dark when the sun goes down and the fog comes rolling in? From the exceptionally unique voice that brought us The Bear and the Nightingale comes a middle grade debut that sends chills up your spine, even on the warmest day. Olivia Adler, a.k.a. Ollie, is the type of girl who has an intense love for books. So when she stumbles upon a slightly crazed woman about to throw a book into the river in her small Vermont town, she has no choice but to stealit away from her. Little does she know that the woman who was trying to discard the book is the same woman who owns the farm where her sixth grade class is taking their next field trip. Avoid large places at night, keep to small… The book issues a warning and as strange things begin to unfold on the farm, Ollie realizes there’s much more to the book and this farm than meets the eye.