The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Novels in Verse

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo is a poetic look into the coming of age and coming out stories of a young biracial teen in England. When he goes off to university, he explores who he is through the beauty of drag. This novel is a raw look at the complexity of identity with the beauty of poetry.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, (List Price: $15.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062990303, April 2021)

Reviewed by Nannette Matthews, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

All the Fighting Parts by Hannah V. Sawyerr

All the Fighting Parts is a much needed book. The verse format makes it a quick read, but it spares no punches, delving deep into the heart of one sexual assault survivor’s journey through grief, guilt, resistance, and reclamation. Healing is a journey through, not a journey’s end; and while the powers of her local church are stacked against her, her loved ones (whom she withdraws from in the aftermath) learn how to support her through every step. It’s poignant and oh-so relevant. Amina’s story is unlike anything I’ve read before, and I hope with all my might that All the Fighting Parts falls into the hands of those who need it most.

All the Fighting Parts by Hannah V. Sawyerr, (List Price: $19.99, Amulet Books, 9781419762611, September 2023)

Reviewed by Isabel Agajanian, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Beautiful coming of age story that follows a teenager in Harlem as she copes with questions around family, religion and relationships through finding herself in poetry.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, (List Price: 15.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780062662811, March 2020)

Reviewed by Melissa Summers, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

One Last Shot: Based on a True Story of Wartime Heroism by Kip Wilson

Kip Wilson’s novel in verse about photojournalist Gerda Tardo captures her passion for revealing truth through photography. It sweeps the reader from Gerda’s school days in Germany to the front lines in the Spanish Civil War. A compelling read.

One Last Shot: Based on a True Story of Wartime Heroism by Kip Wilson, (List Price: $17.99, Versify, 9780063251687, January 2023)

Reviewed by Rae Ann Parker, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero

Lovers of history, poetry, and myth will find themselves in awe of R.M. Romero’s young adult debut. The story of Ilana Lopez, a Jewish Latina from Miami sent to stay with her aunt in Prague, is inspired by the author’s very real time spent restoring Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe, and rings true because of this even through its layers of story magic. The Ghosts of Rose Hill is by turns glittering, dark, enchanting and haunting.

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R. M. Romero, (List Price: $18.99, Peachtree Teen, 9781682633380, May 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

A beautiful story about love and loss, and how sometimes those things can be really complicated. Acevedo is obviously a master storyteller in both prose and verse. Clap When You Land is no exception to her brilliance. More than anything, I appreciate the reverence with which Acevedo writes. You can tell how important it is to her to tell stories about and for girls who are underrepresented in YA. Honestly, she is one of my author crushes (and I will read anything she writes).

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (List Price: $12.99, Quill Tree Books,, 5/5/2020)

Reviewed by Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

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