October 16, 2018

This excellent retelling of Pride and Prejudice takes place in current day Brooklyn.  Zuri lives in a divided brownstone with her mom and dad, an older sister, Janae (home from college for the summer), and three younger sisters (two of whom are straight up silly).  Zuri’s neighborhood is very close. Block parties, stoop sitting, struggling to make ends meet, and looking out for one another are all a part of their culture. Zuri’s family and the rest of the neighborhood are all in a tizzy over the new neighbors moving in.  The brownstone across the street has been rehabbed into a mini-mansion so...

November 8, 2017

I’ll be honest with you; I can’t identify that one thing that made me love this book, especially since it was a mere 210 pages long (or less than a five-hour audio). Usually, this leaves a lot to be desired in the way of character development and story, but Nic Stone just might be a genius. She managed to pack one hell of a story in those few pages without sacrificing quality. This story can easily be compared to Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, in fact, there is mention of the “thug life” in Stone’s book and a shout out from her on the cover, but this can easily stand on its own two feet,...

November 7, 2017

Jason Reynolds is at his most powerful in Long Way Down.  In sparse, potent verse, Reynolds tells the story of Will and his plan to get revenge on the guy who shot and killed his brother, Shawn.  Will knows the rules.  Shawn’s the one who taught them to him: 1) No crying, 2) No snitching, 3) Get revenge (“If someone you love / gets killed, / find the person / who killed / them and / kill them.)  I couldn’t help thinking of the 10 Duel Commandments from Hamilton . . .  Once Will decides to kill Shawn’s murderer, (“but if the blood / inside you is on the inside / of someone else / you never want...

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Nina O'Daniels


Shannon Grieshaber


Created in 2017