On Monday, I announced an online African American Read In, I would be doing with Edi from Crazy Quilts and Ari from Reading in Color. Everyone had until Friday to head over to Ari's to vote for one of six YA novel to discussed.
We've settled on President's day weekend. The Read In will be on Sunday Feb 20th. Stay tuned for more details.
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Jumped by Rita Williams Garcia
Tyrell by Coe Booth
A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott
When the Black Girl Sings by Bil Wright
Yummy by G. Neri
61 people voted (thank you) and a book was selected by just one vote. If only 30 people participate in the Read In, I will be happy. If only 15 people seek out more then one title on this list, I will be happy. Though in an effort to increase both of those numbers, I will take a moment to do one of my favorite things, talk up great books.
Jumped by Williams Garcia - is a rhythmically beautiful story, that alternates between three high school girls; Leticia, Dominique and Trina. The author uses the less in more approach with her words. Every word and comma has a purpose. Its a well crafted and very believable story. Jumped was published in 2009 and was a National Book Award Finalist. An excerpt
Tyrell by Booth* - I read this when it first came out in 07. Its still makes me very happy when I get a chance to recommend Tyrell. I don't know what I liked more Booth's writing or Tyrell himself. Either way I am really looking forward to the sequel, Bronxwood which is scheduled to be released in September. An excerpt
A Wish After Midnight by Elliott - 15 yr old Genna loves to makes wishes in the Brooklyn Botatical Gardens, one night a midnight wish lands her back in Civil War - Brooklyn. Please don't confuse this as just another civil war story. Its the first YA novel to mention the NY Draft Riots. More importantly its about Genna, a well developed character, that I had no choice but to care about. Elliot's writing has a beautiful purpose from the very beginning. An excerpt
When the Black Girl Sings by Wright - This one I haven't read. (shocking I know) Ari gave it a 4 out 5. An excerpt
I also really liked the gospel choir aspect of the book. The imagery described. I could see (and honestly I felt like I could hear) the gospel choir, see the church, Lahni, her parents. Nicely detailed. Onyx 1 was scarily creepy (gotta read to find out who that is!) and sometimes I wanted to smack Donna or just laugh at her. This novel was sweet and just plain wonderful.
Yummy by Neri - I think its very fitting that this is one of the six. Since Ari, Edi and I did a group interview with the author about Yummy. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 All I can say about Yummy is believe the hype. Yummy is as powerful as people say it is. An excerpt
The people have voted, we will be reading Bleeding Violet by Reeves
This was one of my favorite novels last year. Its crazy and beautifully strange. This is a great excuse to read it again. I love that Bleeding Violet is so far from the pigeonholed idea of what is good YA with Black characters or in this case biracial characters by Black authors is . Reeves used her Portero key* to escape that awful box. An excerpt
We've established the What - Bleeding Violet. We hope the Who will be greater then 61. We know part of the When - Feb. We will get back to you very soon with the rest of the When and the Where. And of course the Why is we love YA literature and diversity.
According to the two books that got the must votes, Bleeding Violet and A Wish After Midnight, half the people who voted didn't get the memo; Black characters and fantasy do not mix.
I want to take a moment to thank Booth for stopping by and voting for Yummy
If your confused about this key reference, you won't be after you join us for the Read In