Read our latest staff reviews and recommendations featured in The Southern Bookseller Review.

Such an important message, beautifully told in Free at Last, A Juneteenth Poem. I hope this picture book depicting such an important part of our history is shared widely in homes and schools.

Free at Last by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, (List Price: $17.99, Union Square Kids, 9781454943747, June 2022)

Reviewed by Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC

Whether as a stand-alone read or for already die-hard fans of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, The Book Woman’s Daughter delivers! Honey, the original book woman’s daughter, must struggle to stay free against what seem often insurmountable odds against her: from being a “blue” to being fifteen, and unfortunately perhaps most, for being female in a time and place where women were considered property. Amidst loss and persecution, she must forge a path for hersef through the dense woods of Kentucky’s Appalachia Kentucky. Beautiful, evocative, and full of adventure, this book also shines a light on the gifts of friendship, no matter the appearance of the package. I loved this book every bit as much as Troublesome Creek, and look forward to sharing it with eager readers, just as Honey shares her love of books with her reading community… another fine work by Kim Michele Richardson!

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson, (List Price: $26.99, Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728252995,  May 2022)

Reviewed by Shari Stauch, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina

Holly Black has returned with a darkly enthralling new world where shadows are more than just a trick of the light, and magicians are the thing that go bump in the night. With everything from a kick-ass female lead, grand heists and blood magic, this is an urban fantasy that comes with a bite and leaves with a door slam to the face. I can’t wait to see where Black takes the rest of the series. Readers with a taste for the macabre won’t be able to put this one down. Black’s foray into adult fiction feels like a breath of fresh air for the modern fantasy reader, with a dash of dark academia and a new magic system that begs us to ask the question: what really is a human soul?

Book of Night by Holly Black, (List Price: $27.99, Tor Books, 9781250812193,  May 2022)

Reviewed by Emma June Wood, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina

Filled with a neat balance of relatable humor and serious topics, You Truly Assumed is a memorable coming-of-age novel that touches on the struggles of three black, Muslim young women and their fight to create a safe space and a voice to be heard for people just like them. You Truly Assumed is the perfect novel for teens or young adults who feel they don’t have a voice in the face of prejudice and fear, as it features funny, relatable characters and the raw effects of real events.

You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen, (List Price: $18.99, Inkyard Press, 9781335418654,  February 2022)

Reviewed by Makayla Summers, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina

Mercy Street is a jarring look at the America of today, from the perspective of a dooms-day prepper with a knack for stalking women, an abortion clinic counselor who is exhausted with people asking her “how can you do that?”, and a drug dealer who wants out of the game once and for all. It is a crockpot of the alternating perspectives in our country, combined with phenomenal writing and distinctive character voices. Haigh has accomplished a piece of work that not only highlights the abortion debate, but even larger themes of identity, radicalism, and just how far kindness can be pushed before breaking. This novel will take you into places many of us have never gone, and unfortunately is the reality for just as many. Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, this is a read that’ll be on your mind long after it’s been finished.

Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh, (List Price: $27.99, Ecco, 9780061763304,  February 2022)

Reviewed by Emma June Wood, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina

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