The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!
Ahmed masterfully weaves together so many difficult topics that it’s hard to say what this book is about in any concise way. It’s painful, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting. It shines a light on horrific topics with sensitivity and grace and does so through the lens of two characters that are some of the most realistic I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Safiya didn’t really know Jawad, and she still felt the pain of his loss deeply. Upon finishing this book, I too feel his loss as if I knew him. I cannot remember ever reading a book so impactful, so relevant, and so emotionally gripping. If I had my way, everyone would read this book
Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed, (List Price: $18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316282642, May 2022)
Reviewed by tee arnold, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina
At the start of senior year, Devon and Chiamaka are two high-achieving students–prefects, in fact–with promising futures. But soon, mass text messages start going around the school telling their darkest secrets, and start to drive their friendships and all of the hard work they’ve done over the past four years apart. Are Chiamaka and Devon only coincidentally victims of Aces? Or does the anonymous bully targeting the only two Black students at Niveus Academy have a deeper, more disturbing motive? Àbíké-Íyímídé’s thriller brings the psychological subterfuge and toxic relationships of high school social life to light, as two seniors attempt to figure out whether or not their downfall is their own, or a result of a sinister conspiracy.
Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide (List Price: $18.99, Feiwel & Friends, 9781250800817, 6/1/2021)
Reviewed by Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida
Alex is a teenager with a secret–he can see the future when he touches objects and people. Sometimes it’s mundane, like seeing him put on his own shoes, and sometimes it’s devastating, like seeing his little brother Isaiah’s gravestone. Alex knows he probably can’t change the future, can’t stop all the ways death might come for his brother–especially in a neighborhood gripped with racial tension–but maybe he has time to connect with Isaiah before he loses him for good. This book will gut you in all the right ways.
The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris (List Price: $18.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534445451, 4/6/2021)
Reviewed by Kate Towery, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia