Book Review: Dominicana

Book Review: DominicanaDominicana
by Angie Cruz
on September 3, 2019
Pages: 336
Published by Flatiron Books
Genres: Diverse Spines, Fiction
Goodreads

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by Cesar, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.

As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving Cesar to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with Cesar, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.

My TakeawayAngie Cruz, DominicanaWhat have you done to my heart, Angie Cruz?! From the cover to the writing, I loved, loved Dominicana! When I finished reading it I could not stop thinking about Ana (major book hangover). Cruz weaved a remarkable story with complicated but fascinating individuals. I felt an…

Book Review: Allegedly

Book Review: AllegedlyAllegedly
by Tiffany D. Jackson
on January 24, 2017
Pages: 400
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Diverse Spines, Young Adult
Goodreads

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

My Takeaway“Hard to celebrate the day you were born when everybody seems to wish you were never born at all.” Tiffany D. Jackson, Allegedly I read Monday’s Not Coming also by Jackson and enjoyed it so much; I had to read Allegedly sooner rather than later. Guys, it…

Book Review: Sabrina & Corina

Book Review: Sabrina & CorinaSabrina & Corina
by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
on April 2, 2019
Pages: 224
Published by One World
Genres: Diverse Spines, Short Stories
Goodreads


Indigenous Latina women living in the American West take center stage in this debut collection of stories--a powerful meditation on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands.

Kali Fajardo-Anstine's magnetic debut story collection breathes life into her Indigenous Latina characters and the land they inhabit. Set against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado--a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite--these women navigate the land the way they navigate their own lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force.

In "Sugar Babies," ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth, but have the tendency to ascend during land disputes. "Any Further West" follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In "Tomi," a woman returns home from prison, finding herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood. And in the title story, "Sabrina & Corina," a Denver family falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual.

Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home.

My Takeaway“Sometimes a person’s unhappiness can make them forget they are a part of something bigger, something like a family, a people, even a tribe.”Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sabrina & Karina I LOVED THIS BOOK! Fajardo-Anstine is a magnificent and wondrous composer, and her…

Book Review: Monday’s Not Coming

Book Review: Monday’s Not ComingMonday's Not Coming
by Tiffany D. Jackson
on May 22, 2018
Pages: 448
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Diverse Spines, Young Adult
Goodreads

Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?

My Takeaway “Well, sometimes the people we love the most can hurt us the most.” Tiffany D. Jackson, Monday’s Not Coming Holy Smokes!! This book ya’ll!!! Although Monday’s Not Coming is considered a young adult novel, let’s be clear – it deals…

Book Review: She Would Be King

Book Review: She Would Be KingShe Would Be King
by Wayetu Moore
on September 11, 2018
Pages: 312
Published by Graywolf Press
Genres: Diverse Spines, Magical Realism
Goodreads

A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history—a dazzling retelling of Liberia’s formation.

Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.

Moore’s intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. “If she was not a woman,” the wind says of Gbessa, “she would be king.” In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.

My Takeaway“Loneliness while in the presence of others is a most cruel kind.”Wayétu Moore, She Would Be King Moore is a magical and magnificent storyteller. She Would Be King was engaging and fascinating. I love and gravitate towards strong female characters, and Moore delivered! Hands…