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This week as we celebrate love, remember to engage with your love of reading, love of Black authors and their books, and love of supporting indie bookstores. We're highlighting The Tiny Bookstore of Pittsburg, PA, so please make sure to send them love and business now and into the future.

We have a double serving of Black book love covering last week and this week for you!

Love y'all and happy reading!

A Comb of Wishes


Lisa Stringfellow

Ever since her mother's death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as "mermaid's tears," that sparkle on the Caribbean beaches of St. Rita. So when Kela and her friend Lissy stumble across an ancient-looking comb in a coral cave, with all she's already lost, Kela can't help but bring home her very own found treasure.

Far away, deep in the cold ocean, the mermaid Ophidia can feel that her comb has been taken. And despite her hatred of all humans, her magic requires that she make a bargain: the comb in exchange for a wish.

But what Kela wants most is for her mother to be alive. And a wish that big will exact an even bigger price...

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Cherrish Farrah


Bethany C. Morrow


Seventeen-year-old Farrah Turner is one of two Black girls in her country club community, and the only one with Black parents. Her best friend, Cherish Whitman, adopted by a white, wealthy family, is something Farrah likes to call WGS--White Girl Spoiled. With Brianne and Jerry Whitman as parents, Cherish is given the kind of adoration and coddling that even upper-class Black parents can't seem to afford--and it creates a dissonance in her best friend that Farrah can exploit. When her own family is unexpectedly confronted with foreclosure, the calculating Farrah is determined to reassert the control she's convinced she's always had over her life by staying with Cherish, the only person she loves--even when she hates her.
 

As troubled Farrah manipulates her way further into the Whitman family, the longer she stays, the more her own parents suggest that something is wrong in the Whitman house. She might trust them--if they didn't think something was wrong with Farrah, too. When strange things start happening at the Whitman household--debilitating illnesses, upsetting fever dreams, an inexplicable tension with Cherish's hotheaded boyfriend, and a mysterious journal that seems to keep track of what is happening to Farrah--it's nothing she can't handle. But soon everything begins to unravel when the Whitmans invite Farrah closer, and it's anyone's guess who is really in control.
 

Told in Farrah's chilling, unforgettable voice and weaving in searing commentary on race and class, this slow-burn social horror will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

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You Truly Assumed

 

Laila Sabreen

Sabriya has her whole summer planned out in color-coded glory, but those plans go out the window after a terrorist attack near her home. When the terrorist is assumed to be Muslim and Islamophobia grows, Sabriya turns to her online journal for comfort. You Truly Assumed was never meant to be anything more than an outlet, but the blog goes viral as fellow Muslim teens around the country flock to it and find solace and a sense of community.

Soon two more teens, Zakat and Farah, join Bri to run You Truly Assumed and the three quickly form a strong friendship. But as the blog's popularity grows, so do the pushback and hateful comments. When one of them is threatened, the search to find out who is behind it all begins, and their friendship is put to the test when all three must decide whether to shut down the blog and lose what they've worked for...or take a stand and risk everything to make their voices heard.

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The Selfless Act of Breathing

 

J.J. Bola

As a charismatic teacher living in London, Michael Kabongo strives to alleviate the injustices he sees around him: for the students who long for better lives, in memory of his father’s tragic death, and to end the violent marginalization of Black men around the world.

But after a devastating loss, he decides to embark on an adventure in the land of the free—the United States of America. From Dallas to San Francisco, Michael parties with new friends, engages in fleeting romances, splurges on thrilling escapades, all with the intention of ending his life once all his savings run out.

As he makes surprising new connections and faces old prejudices in odd but exciting new settings, Michael alone must decide if his life is worth living after all...

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Moon Witch, Spider King

 

Marlon James

In Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Sogolon the Moon Witch proved a worthy adversary to Tracker as they clashed across a mythical African landscape in search of a mysterious boy who disappeared. In Moon Witch, Spider King, Sogolon takes center stage and gives her own account of what happened to the boy, and how she plotted and fought, triumphed and failed as she looked for him. It's also the story of a century-long feud--seen through the eyes of a 177-year-old witch--that Sogolon had with the Aesi, chancellor to the king. It is said that Aesi works so closely with the king that together they are like the eight limbs of one spider. Aesi's power is considerable--and deadly. It takes brains and courage to challenge him, which Sogolon does for reasons of her own.

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Just Right Jillian

 

Nicole D. Collier

Fifth grader Jillian longs to wear bright colors in a school of neutral tones. To run and flip upside down while everyone else whispers and gossips. But no matter how hard she tries to be herself, shyness keeps her true brilliance hidden away. Even if it means getting the wrong glasses or losing an easy contest, Jillian keeps her mouth shut.

After a bully tells her she can never be a winner, Jillian gets fed up. She determines to prove, not only that she’s smart, but brave, too. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done. Jillian has less than a month to overcome a lifetime of shyness and summon the courage to fight for herself.

 
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Don't Cry for Me

 

Daniel Black

As Jacob lies dying, he begins to write a letter to his only son, Isaac. They have not met or spoken in many years, and there are things that Isaac must know. Stories about his ancestral legacy in rural Arkansas that extend back to slavery. Secrets from Jacob's tumultuous relationship with Isaac's mother and the shame he carries from the dissolution of their family. Tragedies that informed Jacob's role as a father and his reaction to Isaac's being gay.

But most of all, Jacob must share with Isaac the unspoken truths that reside in his heart. He must give voice to the trauma that Isaac has inherited. And he must create a space for the two to find peace. 

With piercing insight and profound empathy, acclaimed author Daniel Black illuminates the lived experiences of Black fathers and queer sons, offering an authentic and ultimately hopeful portrait of reckoning and reconciliation. Spare as it is sweeping, poetic as it is compulsively readable, Don't Cry for Me is a monumental novel about one family grappling with love's hard edges and the unexpected places where hope and healing take flight.

 
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Bitter

 

Awaeke Emezi


After a childhood in foster care, Bitter is thrilled to have been chosen to attend Eucalyptus, a special school where she can focus on her painting surrounded by other creative teens. But outside this haven, the streets are filled with protests against the deep injustices that grip the city of Lucille.
 
Bitter’s instinct is to stay safe within the walls of Eucalyptus . . . but  her  friends  aren’t  willing  to  settle  for  a  world  that’s  so  far  away from what they deserve. Pulled between old friendships, her artistic passion, and a new romance, Bitter isn’t sure where she  belongs—in  the  studio  or  in  the  streets.  And  if  she  does  find a way to help the revolution while being true to who she is, she must also ask: at what cost? 
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Nigel and the Moon

 

Antwan Eady

When Nigel looks up at the moon, his future is bright. He imagines himself as…an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero, too!

Among the stars, he twirls. With pride, his chest swells. And his eyes, they glow. Nigel is the most brilliant body in the sky.

But it’s Career Week at school, and Nigel can’t find the courage to share his dreams. It’s easy to whisper them to the moon, but not to his classmates—especially when he already feels out of place. 

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Even When Your Voice Shakes

 

Ruby Yayra Goka

When Amerley is offered a job working for one of her mother's old school friends, she knows she has to accept. Her wages will feed her family, help her sisters stay in school, and ensure that her mother won't have to worry about them. Amerley's move to Accra isn't easy, but she soon settles into her new life away from her small village--until she is raped by the son of her employer. Torn between keeping quiet to keep her job and speaking up for herself and for justice, Amerley must decide how to live her truth, and the impact of her choice will be felt through her entire community.

Through the life of an ordinary girl from a small country village, Even When Your Voice Shakes exposes the damage wrought by institutionalized misogyny and poverty and reveals how even those who are most disadvantaged are never without their own power.

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