Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America Hardcover – 21 February 2019
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- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062698729
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062698728
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 3.28 x 20.96 cm
- Publisher : Balzer & Bray/Harperteen (21 February 2019)
- Reading level : 13 - 17 years
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 275,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
★ "A poignant collection of stunning short stories by Black, rock star authors"--Booklist (starred review)
★ "The stories, all worth savoring, share a celebratory outlook on black teenagers fully and courageously embracing life."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
★ Praise for AMERICAN STREET: "Filling her pages with magic, humanity, tragedy, and hope, Zoboi builds up, takes apart, and then rebuilds an unforgettable story. This book will take root in readers' hearts."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
★ Praise for AMERICAN STREET: "Mixing gritty street life with the tenderness of first love, Haitian Vodou, and family bonds, the book is at once chilling, evocative, and reaffirming."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
★ Praise for AMERICAN STREET: "Zoboi's stunning debut intertwines mysticism and love with grit and violence...Fierce and beautiful."--Booklist (starred review)
★ "Each entry is deftly woven and full of such complex humanity that teens will identify with and see some of their own struggles in these characters... This collection presents the beauty of black humanity in all its many forms."--School Library Journal (starred review)
★ Praise for AMERICAN STREET: "A breathtaking story about contemporary America that will serve as a mirror to some and a window for others, and it will stay with anyone who reads it."--School Library Journal (starred review)
"Ibi Zoboi, author of National Book Award finalist American Street and Jane Austen update Pride, dazzles again with this stunning, marvelously diverse collection of 17 stories of the teen experience by black authors [writing] 'about teens examining, rebelling against, embracing, or simply existing within their own idea of blackness.'"--Buffalo News
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: "A poignant meditation on one girl's struggle to find her way in a new world."--Nicola Yoon, New York Times bestselling author of The Sun is Also a Star and Everything, Everything
About the Author
Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times bestseller. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.ibizoboi.net.
Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton met while attending the New School's acclaimed Writing for Children MFA program. Sona is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, People, Parade, Cosmopolitan, and other major media. Dhonielle is a librarian at a middle school in Harlem, and taught English at a cutthroat ballet academy. Together, the pair cofounded CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent. Find them online at www.cakeliterary.com.
Lamar Giles writes for teens and adults. He is the author of the Edgar Award finalists Fake ID and Endangered as well as the critically acclaimed Overturned, Spin, and The Last Last-Day-of-Summer. He is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books and resides in Virginia. Visit him online at www.lamargiles.com.
Justina Ireland is the New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation and its sequel, Deathless Divide, as well as Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows. She is also one of the authors creating the next generation of Star Wars novels entitled the High Republic and is the author of the middle grade Star Wars adventures Lando's Luck, Spark the Resistance, and A Test of Courage. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Maryland. You can visit her online at www.justinaireland.com.
Kekla Magoon is the author of twelve novels, including The Rock and the River, How It Went Down, X: A Novel (with Ilyasah Shabazz), and the Robyn Hoodlum Adventure series. She has received an NAACP Image Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the John Steptoe New Talent Award, three Coretta Scott King Honors, The Walter Award Honor, and the In the Margins Award, and she has been long listed for the National Book Award. She teaches writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Visit her online at keklamagoon.com.
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Overall, over the course of a set of fun, mostly page-turning, sometimes touching short stories, I learned that black american kids are kids, much the same as white British kids are kids. With the exception of a few words I had to look up and bits of slang, I'm not sure there was anything I learned here that I didn't know already from TV shows. That may be because I've watched a lot of TV shows which feature young black people in America, and have just been watching This Is Us, which deals with much more nuance with the theme of a black person in a majority white community. That crops up a few times here, as do the class divides that emerge in a socially aspirant population.
I am also very aware that in the 'woke' world we live in, there is a lot of messaging that goes on: this collection clearly has an agenda, and with that in mind I realised it's hard to know if this is an accurate representation of being young and black in America.
Overall, these are well-written, enjoyable stories, sometimes touching, often intriguing. Like all collections of short stories, it lacks something, for me, because just as you get to know the characters they disappear, but each of the writers in this collection have other novels, so you can use this to find out who you want to read next. Only one of the stories was so odd/dull that I found I had to skip it, and the last two were among the best, so make sure to read to the end.
Told either in first, second, or third person perspectives', this collection includes a variety of stories that made this reader experience many different emotions.
Now, whilst some stories were fun and light-hearted to read: stories of unrequited crushes, being young, finding love and gaining freedom, other stories touched on more life-defining and serious moments a teenager could go through in their life: moments of discovering ones sexuality, the power of music, a forbidden romance between rival families, the tragedy of death, suicide, family issues, along with dealing with racism, homophobia, and so much more.
It's 400 pages of two Introductions and seventeen unique and (some) powerful stories that I could not get enough of.
When I wasn't laughing out loud and smiling big at the fun and entertaining stories included - such as ones like 'Black. Nerd. Problems.', 'Woah!', 'Kissing Sarah Smart', and 'Into the Starlight' - I was devouring the meaningful story that was being told; a story that made me think, feel, and listen to the message within - like with 'Black Enough', 'Warning: Color May Fade', 'Out of the Silence', 'Wild Horses, Wild Hearts', and 'The Trouble with Drowning'.
There is one story in particular - Gravity by Tracey Baptise - that is quite triggering as, told in second person perspective, this story shows how a young girl deals with being sexually assaulted in a public area, though being young and having made the first move, she weights the options on whether to tell or keep quiet as she knows from second-hand experience that some, if not many people will twist her story on her and say she asked for it. Whilst I liked the story, how it was written, and the way this author had me seeing the story play out so vividly in my mind, it was just too vivid for my taste, and considering it was told in second person perspective, it was hard to feel separate from the character, and left me feeling uncomfortable throughout the entire story.
My reason for the four stars however, has to do with the fact that considering each story is a short story, the lack of a blurb to let us know not what the story was about - but WHO - left me feeling confused at times; was I reading about a young girl, or a young boy? Sometimes the gender, along with the characters' name, wasn't revealed for pages later, and it made me struggle to connect with the story when I started reading one in a female's perspective, but all along it was a male's.
Overall though, this collection was perfect and really delivered some unforgettable and impactful stories that I'm still thinking about days later. You'll either love them, or hate them - each story is different enough to get a different reaction from its reader.
I'd definitely recommend this collection of short stories to anyone looking for one.
TW: sexual assault, words of racism and homophobia
They were all wonderfully different, although I was amused to note that most of the stories about boys dealt with romance - one exception being Jason Reynolds' "The Ingredients", which was about food, that other teenage boy obsession. The girl-led stories were more varied with school pressure, friendship troubles, grief, family problems and religion also playing a part.
My favourites were probably "Black. Nerd. Problems." by Lamar Giles, because it made me laugh the most, and "Stop Playing" by Liara Tamani, which managed to be fun and thoughtful and kind of exasperating all at once. But there are so many good stories here that it would be easy to pick a handful more that I liked almost as much.
In all this is a great collection. There wasn't a single story I didn't enjoy, which is rare for me with an anthology, and I'll be eagerly shoving it into the hands of all the teen readers in my life.
While reading these stories, I discovered that not only do these stories portray different struggles from different backgrounds of growing up black in America, but there was also more within the stories. They were about love, family, grief, friendship and how being black played a part in those factors.
This is a really great anthology that not only gives a voice, but also provides an insight, that I really appreciated reading.