At first, writing feels like falling
where there is nothing to hold on to
to keep from slipping off the edge of the world.
But then the dark presence of another begins to whisper
from the corners of my mind,
and his shadow grows and touches my own.
Together, we take one step toward finding a word,
and then another,
until the struggle drops away
and the only thing that is left ...
But he’s strong, and powerful, and from most perspectives, he’s on the winning side. She has to ask herself—and women have asked themselves this question for centuries—would she rather be suffocated slowly for the rest of her life, or die quickly trying to accomplish something?
(What would you choose, love?)
There will be no more asking questions once a sword is in her hand.
—Blood Water Paint, by Joy McCullough
Blood Water Paint is based on ...
Let’s do this.
The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo
IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE, IT’S FINALLY HERE! It’s only March, but I can promise you that this book is going to be on a whole lot of Best Of lists at the end of the year. It is brilliant, beautiful, and I can’t wait for you all to read it and fall in love, too. See my February 19 column for more detailed gushing.
Starred review at Kirkus and pretty much ...
As we wait our turn at the register, a white woman steps in front of us. At first I think maybe she is passing through to get to the other side of this crowded store, but she sets her items down on the cash register counter. I look up at Kay, who is looking furious but not saying anything.
I want her to say something. I want to say something. I want to say, Excuse me, ma’am, but we’re ...
Mami says she thought it was a saint’s name.
Gave me this gift of battle and now curses
how well I live up to it.
My parents probably wanted a girl who would sit in the pews
wearing pretty florals and a soft smile.
They got combat boots and a mouth silent
until it’s sharp as an island machete.
—The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo
I first read The Poet X back in November, and I’ve been raving ...
New month, new books!
The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton
I shrieked when I opened a box of new arrivals at the library on Friday and found The Belles sitting there, just waiting to be catalogued and processed. I know I’m not remotely alone in having it at the tip-top of my list this month—the word-of-mouth around it has been powerful and sustained!
In case you’ve missed all of the buzz: it’s the first in a duology fantasy about six sisters ...
You have zero obligations here, do you understand? This isn’t like political power—you didn’t fight for this; it was dropped in your lap. So all those great responsibilities that come with great power, those are only yours if you want them to be. It’s not fair to demand more of you, and worse, it’s not safe.
—Dreadnought, by April Daniels
Fifteen-year-old Danny Tozer is sitting in an alley behind a mall painting her toenails—she hasn’t come out as trans ...
Despite my general discomfort with spontaneity and adventure, I love stories about portals to other worlds. I love the idea of opening a door and finding something unexpected on the other side; while I know in my (sadly boring) heart that I’d be far too cautious to actually step through if confronted with one, I love reading and watching stories about people who don’t have my hang-ups.
Sidenote: My favorite sequence in The Secret Garden is the bit where Mary ...