On the Come Up by Angie Thomson

★★★★☆

Brianna wants to be a rap star, but she’s a kid in high school, so people keep telling her to focus on her studies. Her family is poor, though, so making it big would mean they wouldn’t have to struggle for food anymore.

On the surface, this isn’t my kind of book. I don’t particularly listen to rap music, although I’ve warmed up to it more in the past few years than at any other time in my life.

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The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon

★★★★☆

Very briefly, this is a love story about a girl who’s about to be deported that evening, and a boy who’s trying not to let his strict family control his life.

I didn’t know what this book was about before I started reading it, but the pandemic and all … The cover was beautiful and my library had a digital copy.

Of course, immigration woes are a big hit with me, since I’ve seen first-hand what a lot of it looks like. Also, my family was fairly controlling (which in retrospect could have been the cause of the immigration stuff). It was easy for me to identify with the characters.

You know what I’m loving A LOT lately? Books are diversifying their characters so much more than they used to. I remember reading years ago and all the characters were white. Maybe a Black person here and there, but that was it.

THIS BOOK features its two main characters as a Black girl from Jamaica, and a Korean-American boy. White people: don’t be intimidated by shifts like this. You can still see yourself in the characters, because as human beings we all share similar experiences and feelings, AND you’ll learn something new about someone else’s reality.

Daniel and Natasha’s love story flares up quickly, and it’s so sweet. Though it might be unrealistic, it’s a fun read with many ups and downs. The author’s use of POV shifts is uniquely done and easy to follow. I’m looking forward to a second read of this one, and to check out the author’s other book. 

Josefina Montoya – American Girl Doll

★★★★☆

Josefina was the sixth doll in Pleasant Company’s lineup back in 1997 when I was sixteen and more interested in boys than dolls. I still wanted dolls, but I wouldn’t admit it. Oh, my sister and I bought the Spice Girls Barbies right about then, but as a joke. I mean, nobody expected we really liked those. The whole collection. And I found a Jonathan New Kids on the Block doll on eBay to keep them company. Again, as a joke.

Totally not my Scary Spice that followed me to adulthood

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The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish

★★★★☆

I’ve gotta be honest, I didn’t know who Tiffany Haddish was until she hosted Saturday Night Live a few months ago. After a few lines of the monologue, I liked her. I felt like I knew her.

Her book is called The Last Black Unicorn, which was a huge draw for me because I loved The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. I knew when I started reading that Haddish’s Unicorn would be nothing like Beagle’s, but she had my attention.

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The Devil and Jimmy Biscuits by Taylor Dunn

★★★★☆

Jimmy is a 15 year with some demands for the Devil (wishes, to be specific). As you might expect, ol’ Satan had his own ideas.

This story is an easy, quick read that left me smiling the whole way through. It has moments of humor, thoughtfulness, and because we’re dealing with a character as basal as Satan, it challenges ingrained ideas.

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