Book Recs for Fans of Tiffany D. Jackson's THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD
by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)
I absolutely loved Tiffany D. Jackson's The Weight of Blood (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org), which was our October book club pick, and I've been thinking since reading it about some of the social issues that Jackson explores in the novel, including topics like systemic racism, classism, colorism, entrenched societal norms, and the power of young people to bring about change.
The books I offer today are a wide range of books - different genres and different age ranges - that, while being quite distinct from one another, all take on some of the issues I've listed here in meaningful ways. These are all books that I absolutely loved and that left a powerful impression, which is why they come to my mind again after reading Jackson's book.
B. B. Alston's Amari and the Night Brothers (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org): In this magical middle grade fantasy book, Amari is just discovering the hidden world full of magic, and she's discovering her own magical abilities. Here's part of my book review on this one: "It was fast-paced and compelling with excellent world building and an outstanding protagonist. I loved Amari right from the start, and I found her motivation, her desire to find her older brother Quinton who had disappeared, to be powerful and authentic. When the book begins, we quickly learn that Amari's brother was legendary in Rosewood, their family's low-income neighborhood, because he had been selected to attend an elite 'summer camp' where he received specialized training, and eventually turned down Ivy League school opportunities because he got a very prestigious job that he described to her as being a bit like the CIA." After Quinton disappears, Amari goes on a quest to find him.
Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org): This powerful story of two identical twins with very contrasting lives explores so many important issues. The Vignes sisters grow up together but run away from home at sixteen and go on to lead drastically different lives. One sister lives with her Black daughter in the same town she'd fled in her childhood, whereas the other sister passes as white and lives with a white husband and daughter who know nothing of her past. This one is brilliant literary fiction that takes on many powerful and complex societal issues that you'll be considering long after you finish reading.
Tracy Deonn's Legendborn (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org): This phenomenal young adult fantasy novel focuses on Bri, a high school student attending UNC as part of a special program. At the beginning of the book, she is reeling from her mother's unexpected death and cannot get past the argument she had with her mother before losing her. Shortly after her arrival at UNC, she starts to realize some slippery aspects of reality that are different than the way that she'd once seen the world. Life gets far more complicated as she discovers a secret society full of rigid rules and traditions. I cannot wait to read Bloodmarked that is coming out on Tuesday! Check out Jen's review of Legendborn.
Randi Pink's Angel of Greenwood (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org): This novel focuses on the young budding love of two teens who discover they might make an unlikely pair as they get to know one another. Although the tone of this historical fiction YA novel is very different from The Weight of Blood in many ways, it also has the impending sense of doom that the reader feels but which remains unknown to the characters as the story moves toward the historical Greenwood Massacre in May of 1921. Check out my full review of this one here.
And for those still looking for spooky reads this season, here are a couple more bonus recs that are in the horror/paranormal genre and take on some of the social issues I listed at the beginning of this post:
Jennifer Givhan's River Woman, River Demon (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)
Stephen Graham Jones' The Only Good Indians (Libro.fm | Bookshop.org)
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