Book Review #19: Piecing Me Together

25566675Diverse fiction? Yes! Diverse fiction with a black main character? Yes, yes! Diverse fiction with a female black main character? So many yes’s! Bonus points for the main character being darkskinned and round. I have read a few (there is a severe lack of them) books centered around black girls and that is a rare combination because in most books the girl is brownskin and thin.


“My life is full of opportunities. Give an opportunity to someone else.

But girls like me, with coal skin and hula-hoop hips, whose mommas barely make enough money to keep food in the house, have to take opportunities every chance we get” (pg 7).

In Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (272 pages), Jade hates that she is labeled as an “at-risk-youth” for many factors but tries her best to take advantage of the opportunities given to her. Instead of being nominated for a study-abroad trip in South America (that she is more than qualified for), she is recommended to apply for an African-American Girls’ Mentorship program, Woman to Woman. Throughout the program, Jade receives a flaky mentor, gets exposed to new places, and has to wonder is it all worth it. Is she just a charity case?

Jade and I have some things in common such as, both our favorite colors are yellow, we both learn Spanish, and love art. I also completely relate to having a mom who always has a comeback ready and not always having a good reply myself.

“It’s okay,” I tell her. It’s not, but what else am I supposed to say?” (pg 39)

See? Jade gets me.

I enjoyed how short the chapters were (bite-sized pieces!), and how they began with a Spanish word (usually infinitives). I thought Jade’s propensity to nickname people in her head like Book Girl, Glamour Girl, and Afro Woman, all characters you will know when you read the story, was cute.

As much as I like reading it, I’m glad that there was NO ROMANCE. Nothing to derail the focus. This book is going to leave you with something.

I liked Jade’s narrative immensely, and many of the chapters ripped off metaphorical bandages. Chapter 21 was real, just real.

“And this makes me wonder if a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone” (pg 86).

“Maxine is right and wrong. Those girls are not the opposite of me. We are perpendicular. We may be on different paths, yes. But there’s a place where we touch, where we connect are the same” (pg 132).”

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“I don’t know what’s worse. Being mistreated because of the color of your skin, your size, or having to prove that it really happened” (pg 137).

This book is too undeniably real.

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The characters are really human, in a sense, that the nicest characters have flaws and good points, help and hurt, and ignore and understand.


After reading this, I just want to play Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky” and persuade someone to buy this book and parade it on their bookshelf.

Piecing Me Together is thought-provoking and will make you do some serious self-reflection and introspection.

FIVE STARS! Read this. Read this. It’s deserving of all its accolades.

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Book Review #8: Dancer

1455928Ballet has always had a special place in my heart. I took ballet classes for two years, from seven to nine years old, and I loved it. Grand jeté was my favorite move. My earliest memories of ballet were the Alvin Ailey Dancers and numerous Russian ballerinas. This story really brought me a sense of nostalgia.


“I didn’t finish the thought. Instead, I imagined us dancing together, his walking around me in a slow promenade, looking into my eyes” (pg 94)

In Dancer by Lori Hewitt (214 pages), Stephanie had been passed up for the role of a lifetime, to be Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) in a ballet play. She starts contemplating the many difficulties in ballet and begins to doubt herself. Not to mention her parents don’t think she will have any longevity as a ballerina, a black ballerina at that. Stephanie gets tired being the only one who believes she can accomplish her dream until she meets the lustrous Miss Winnie, a woman who embodies all the ballerina Stephanie wants to be.

I really want to give a handclap to Hewitt for including beautiful female friendships. She realistically shows the pettiness, insecurity, and loving nature girls can have toward one another.

Dancer had some authentically realistic moments. One scene, in particular, left me with a great quote:

“Maybe I could be her friend, but I couldn’t help her solve her problems” (pg 205)

I enjoyed the tinge of romance as well though I wanted just a glass more.


I like Stephanie because she’s relatable. She is insecure about her talent, her future, and even a little bit about herself. Stephanie even acknowledges that she has an inner ugly voice that thinks rude things. The situation she had with the three private school girls, Lisa, Kelly, and Gillian, is all too real.

“On Saturday night, when Lisa was out with her boyfriend and I was supposedly having a slumber party, I sat at home sewing ribbons on a new pair of pointe shoes and was in bed by ten o’clock” (pg 38)

Most people know that feeling when you agree or get involve in something you had no plans in due to pressure, not even from wanting to fit in but just not to say the wrong thing.

Vance is cool. He reminds me Monty, from my favorite book Standing Against the Wind, but a lot rougher around the edges. He’s more than what meets the eye and he is very conceited but sweet. I wish he spoke his feelings more in the book because I wanted to know what he was thinking.

The mentor character is one that I have always liked, so Miss Winnie was great in my opinion. The descriptions of her outfits seemed so pretty too.

Also, I sympathize with Anna. She simply just did her job well. It was not like she was trying to be the teacher’s pet.

The character development with Gillian was a nice one. It’s nice that Lisa and Kelly were not shoehorned into to flat mean girls roles as well.


I was deeply engrossed in this book and its characters, so five out of five stars from me. I am not sure if this is a book you read once and it stays with you, or a book you read over and over. Either way, it’s a book you have to read.

I might have to add this one to my bookshelf.


Book Review #6: The Blazing Star


Black people in fantasy settings?

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“I peered up to him now, knowing my eyes were moons, swallowed in the reflection of his. I’d only kissed a boy named Benjamin in the sandbox in kindergarten, but this wouldn’t be a sandbox kiss” (pg 208).

In The Blazing Star by Imani Josey (286 pg), initially, everything starts normally. Portia White, the main character, is tired of coordinating her entire life to match her academic twin sister, Alex. She has a crush on a half Afro-Cuban boy, Jaden, who unfortunately only sees her as a friend. During a series of events and one persistent high school freshman, Portia, Alex, and Selene, the freshman, get transported to Ancient Egypt.

These girls took being transported to ancient Egypt too well with minimum to no freaking out, which is not very realistic but I am thankful for that. I would’ve just skipped the filler pages anyway. Okay, I’m going to be nit-picky. I always feel like characters ate stupid-flakes when it takes them forever to realize they are in the past/future.

This story confused me because so much happened. Honestly, I was lost 75% of the time. The barrage of characters throughout the story is a lot. Although the names are beautiful, they are hard to remember and referenced very little. I kept forgetting who was talking.

I cannot vouch for how accurate any of the Egyptian setting and info are in the book. If it’s not Pharaoh and Moses, Queen Cleopatra, or Anubis I don’t know.


Nothing about Portia sticks out to me. She’s sharp-tongued and wanted to be independent apart from her sister but not much else. Portia also irks me with her modern-day references. I guess it’s a running gag but I wish she would stop.

“The electric slide,” I said unable to contain the laughter anymore. “We like it for special occasions: weddings, birthdays, anytime Just Like Candy by Cameo plays” (pg 205).

Portia, what is this foolery!?! Why are you mentioning Cameo (I love their candy song by the way)? Girl, you not in 2017, so get your junk together. no never smh miss piggy

Concerning Alex, she doesn’t fare much better in making me actually care about her. She’s brainy and takes over too much. The end.

But, Selene I adore her! She’s cheeky, soft, and adorable albeit a little annoying like a sister. Maybe the book would’ve been better from her point of view with the White sisters as side characters.

I like Seti. He’s smug without being a jerk, which is not easily done. Even though Seti is handsome, funny, and laid back, he is a flat character. I want a little more character development centered on something besides his royalty. His feelings for Portia are insta-love. It would’ve been better for him to be intrigued by Portia and gradually begin to like her. It took THREE encounters for them to do intimate slow dancing. Don’t get me wrong. Again, I like Seti and his insta-love with Portia. I should not because neither he or his love is fleshed out enough but I do.

“I turned from him, disappearing as Cinderella would, but with both slippers in tow” (pg 209).

“All day I was light, feminine, as if whatever I touched would turn to sighing flowers” (pg 13).

I like those lines!


The Blazing Star was just okay, but I’m interested in reading the sequel. Hopefully, a lot of confusion and characters will respectively be made clear and developed. This book gets like a 2.5 out of 5 or 3 out of 5 from me.

Still, I absolutely adored the ending conversation Portia had with that boy. It made me stop to giggle.

Give this book a try. You won’t be blown away but you might enjoy yourself. Completely unrelated but the author is so pretty.


Book Review #4: Zahrah the Windseeker



I was super excited to read this book even though I had to wait for my local library to order it. Well worth the wait! I adored Akata Witch and Nnedi Okorafor has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I can always connect with her characters.

“You don’t have to explain. It’s OK to care about what other people think, but you should give a little weight to what you, yourself, think.”


In Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor (308 pages), Zahrah’s fourteen and Dada, so she doesn’t fit in well at the Kirki village of the Ooni Kingdom. Her Dada heritage gives her long dreadlocks embedded with plants and an undeveloped wind power. Because Ooni people are so image-conscious, she sticks out like a snake with fingers. After Zahrah gets her first period (menstruation cycle), her wind powers begin to fully develop. Through a series of events surrounding the forbidden Greeny jungle, Zahrah’s best friend Dari gets injured. The cure for Dari’s comatose state is in the jungle, and this is where the story truly begins. I felt so bad for Zahrah in the jungle like why did my baby have to go through so much pain?

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Another quote I like, taken from when Zahrah was on her journey:

“Look at you. You’re just as strange and misunderstood as the jungle. It’ll welcome you, I’m sure of it.”

As much as I like romance, I love the fact that the story is dedicated to Zahrah’s growth as a character. That’s not to say there aren’t any adorable hints thrown in.

I love the names, Zahrah and Dari, they are so pretty!

I also enjoy the fantasy elements. Flower computers! Zahrah has a lot of plant technology in her world. A person can plant a seed and water it to grow a computer. Very imaginative.

I could tell early on that I would like this book. Black people in a fantasy setting? Adorable characters? An innocent friendship? Nnedi is cruel; She wants me to buy this book and parade it on my bookshelf.

What did I dislike? Hmm… If I had to nitpick, the ending could be considered a bit anticlimactic. Also, certain stuff at the hospital was dragged out a little long.


Zahrah! I completely sympathize with her. She’s an adorable crybaby, who doesn’t yet know her potential. Her journey is not only through the Greeny jungle, but to grow more confident. She’s my fictional baby! Zahrah has a real “aww ” factor.

Dari, the best friend, is my favorite. He’s a middle-school activist, who has a talent for talking. The village people and everyone at Dari (and Zahrah)’s school hang onto his every word. Since he found an interest in Zahrah, as a bold little kid, the two have been friends ever since.

I like the mentor angle Nsibidi provides for Zahrah. She’s one cool chick! I almost wish she had been featured more.

The simplest characters, like the frog, all play an important part in the story and Zahrah’s life.


Read this. Read this. Read this.

I liked this book a lot and will add it to my bookshelf when I get some extra cash.

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