Faye A. Chadwell

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Community Board

Conklin offers a positive message about a community working through its quirkiness and differences to solve problems together, but its upbeat message may not be enough to counterbalance Darcy’s adolescent self-absorption.

Wade in the Water

With expert character development, Nkrumah gives memorable voice to a young woman struggling to overcome familial abuse and find her way in the world. A strength of this novel is how sharply different Katherine’s portrayal is compared with white characters in novels like Kathryn Stockett’s The Help. For readers who enjoyed Alice Walker’s Meridian and Jas Hammonds’s YA novel We Deserve Monuments.

Demon Copperhead

Kingsolver has successfully created an authentic voice for her teenage protagonist, a voice at once heartbreaking, humorous (often at his own expense), and ultimately resilient. This highly recommended work is an excellent read in conjunction with Beth Macy’s Dopesick and J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy (both nonfiction) and novels like Tess Gunty’s The Rabbit Hutch and Daniel Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone.

All This Could Be Different

Using humor and beautiful prose, Mathews successfully tackles timely and serious subjects. Despite all the hardships they face, Sneha and the other well-rounded characters are able to build their futures because enduring friendships enable them to persist and even thrive. Ultimately, the novel’s title is its prophetic and vitally hopeful message. Highly recommended.

The Girls in Queens

Despite its issues, this novel will resonate for those who’ve read books like Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn and is recommended for Torres’s attention to the complex intersectional issues surrounding allegations of sexual violence within communities of color and the promise of solidarity among women.

The Rabbit Hutch

A woefully beautiful tale of a community striving for rebirth and redemption; highly recommended.


Stringfellow has crafted a rich tapestry of women’s familial relationships. Occasionally, she may restrain her characters emotionally, which flattens their dimensionality, but overall this is a well-written debut by an author worth watching in years to come. Recommended for anyone who appreciates Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, or Gloria Naylor.

When We Were Birds

Banwo has penned a compelling and imaginative supernatural love story, offering vivid descriptions of local life and scenery that are matched by her application of the natural language rhythms. Though the novel’s narrative pace is initially slow, Banwo wraps up with a redemptive and hopeful flourish that readers will appreciate.

Martita, I Remember You / Martita, te recuerdo

This bilingual edition sparkles with life even as it exudes the poignancy and bittersweet reminiscences of the dreams that eventually eluded Corina. Recommended for most fiction collections.

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