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Pub Day Shout-Outs! June 2, 2020 featuring Bennett, Brown, and Johnson

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)


As we struggle to learn more in response to the injustices we're seeing across the United States, we are highlighting three works by Black authors that are being published today.


Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half


Description from Publisher:

"The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?


"Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race,The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.


"As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise."


Why I want to read it:

I absolutely loved Bennett's debut, The Mothers, and this book lives up to its promise. You can check out my review of The Vanishing Half here.

Roseanne A. Brown's A Song of Wraiths and Ruin


Description from Publisher:

"The first in a gripping fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction—from debut author Roseanne A. Brown. Perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Renée Ahdieh, and Sabaa Tahir.


"For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts his younger sister, Nadia, as payment to enter the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.


"But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.


"When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a heart-pounding course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?"


Why I want to read it:

I love fantasy series but sometimes am overwhelmed by the number of books in them--this is a duology! Also, the comps could not be better: Sabaa Tahir and Renée Ahdieh are excellent YA fantasy writers, and we loved Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone. Check out Ashley's review of the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, here.

Leah Johnson's You Should See Me in a Crown


Description from Publisher:

"Liz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it's okay -- Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.


"But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz's plans come crashing down . . . until she's reminded of her school's scholarship for prom king and queen. There's nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she's willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.


"The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She's smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?"


Why I want to read it:

I think this debut sounds phenomenal! The comps compare the author to Jenny Han and Becky Albertalli, both of whom I love, and the description makes this one sound like the perfect YA romance, grounded in a serious foundation of the inequities that plague the college admissions process.

A few more . . .


I'm also excited about podcast favorite Laurie Halse Anderson's new graphic novel, Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed (illustrated by Leila Del Duca); Megha Majumdar's A Burning (I chose this one from Book of the Month); and Pragya Agarwal's Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias.

#pubdayshoutouts #yalit #romance #nonfiction #graphicnovel #literaryfiction #socialissues #socialjustice #worldlit #fantasy

(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)


Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.


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Please note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

© 2020 by Ashley, Jen, and Sara of Unabridged Podcast, LLC. All rights reserved.