I found myself completely transfixed from the first page of this book. Carmen Maria Machado cuts herself open and completely pours herself out in this genre defying memoir. Delving deep into the murky waters of domestic abuse, with care and style, Machado brings the reader into the inner most parts of her personal experiences. A necessary and timely work, this book explores a far too unexamined reality of abuse in queer relationships. Breathtaking in both its beauty and its terrifying reality, Machado clearly exemplifies incredible writing.
In an adaptation of the eponymous song, Rivers Solomon delivers an incredible underwater mythos in a dreamlike tale. Memory is always a fickle thing, but it can be even more challenging when it is your job to hold the memories of your entire people. Yetu holds the weight of her peoples' history within herself. From the induction of their species to this moment in time, it is her responsibility to hold their entire generational trauma until The Remembering, the time when she acts as a conduit for an entire community and they all share in the memories. Immersive and heart wrenching, Solomon's adaptation of clippings.'s song has as much depth as it does beauty.
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.