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YA Shout Outs: Books with Black Girl Magic

As we come to the end of Women’s History Month, we’re dedicating our YA Shout Outs to celebrating books with Black Girl Magic! From contemporary novels to fantasy books with literal magic, the Tor Teen Team has a YA book recommendation for whatever your reading mood is.


The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

“I’m sure at this point you’ve heard us all us shout about The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis, and that’s because IT’S JUST SO DANG GOOD. This book is a queer, western fantasy about a group of young girls (Aster, Violet, Tansy, Mallow, and Clementine) who have been sold to a “welcome house” by their families. When Clementine accidentally kills one of her patrons at the Welcome House, her sister Aster knows they need to run, and some of the other girls end up joining them. This story is, at its heart, a book about a group of girls standing up and fighting back against the rich people with all the power. Most western novels I’ve come across are typically about straight, white men, so I love to see that Charlotte is reclaiming the western genre that has erased BIPOC and queer people from their own stories.

And if you love The Good Luck Girls as much as our team does, you’re in luck: the sequel, The Sisters of Reckoning, is coming out this year on August 10th!”

—Sarah, Digital Marketing Coordinator

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

“Tiffany D. Jackson has written a powerful story, exposing the dark side of fame—and the indomitable strength of young Black girls. Grown follows Enchanted Jones, a high school student who has ambitions of making it big as a famous singer. When the legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition, he offers to take her under his wings. Until Enchanted wakes up one morning with blood on her hands, Korey lying dead beside her, and no idea of what happened the previous night. Grown is not an easy read, as it explores tough (and potentially, triggering) issues of misogynoir, kidnapping, and rape culture. But, Tiffany’s storytelling is riveting and fast-paced—I finished the book in two days during my holiday break, as I couldn’t stop thinking about what comes next. This is a book everyone should read and talk about. At times both heart wrenching and illuminating, Grown is ultimately a story of survival and the power of a young woman’s voice.”

—Anthony, Associate Director of Marketing

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

“A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow is an amazing contemporary fantasy set in the Pacific Northwest about two Black girls coming to terms with their magical identities. Tavia is a siren, a magical identity exclusive to Black women, who must hide her magical voice to ensure her safety in a state where virulent racism poses a constant threat to her life. Tavia is surviving, but then the highly publicized murder of a siren intensifies dangerous public sentiment to a fever pitch. Feeling alone in a city where very few Black people with magical powers exist, Tavia finds solace in her friendship with Effie—a Black young woman trying to make sense of her own magical abilities and unravel her haunted past. This is a powerful tale about identity, sisterhood, and owning the power of your voice.
A Chorus Rises, an all-new novel set in the world of A Song Below Water, is coming June 1, 2021!”

—Andrew, Marketing Assistant

SLAY by Brittney Morris

SLAY by Brittney Morris released in 2019, but it’s a book I continually think about – it’s just that good. Kiera Johnson, the main character is a normal teenager by day – honors student, math tutor, and one of only a few Black kids at her high school. But at night, she assumes a Nubian persona on a MMORPG called SLAY—an invite-only VR game exclusively for Black people. In the game, people across the world meet up and battle with a unique card game (set in the style of Yugioh or Pokemon), in which Kiera single-handedly created herself. However, real life starts to bleed into the fantasy world when a Black kid in Kansas is killed over an in-game money dispute, and the whole world starts to discuss if making the game for only Black people is ‘racist’. The book is honestly pure magic, and while it deals with serious topics such as racism and discrimination, SLAY is also an empowering tale about a young, Black teen video game creator who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the gamers who call SLAY their home.”

—Lizzy, Marketing Intern

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a powerful and gripping novel about one girl’s struggle and fight for justice. Starr Carter exists in two different worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy suburban school she attends. Starr walks a fine line between the two, but the balance she works hard to maintain comes crashing down when she is a witness to the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. His death grabs media attention and becomes a national headline. Despite the fact that he was unarmed, many are looking to his past to see what lurks there so that they can use it against him. A line is drawn, a divide is made, and protesters begin pushing back and taking to the streets—all while Starr is caught in the middle. And she is the only person alive who can answer what truly happened that night. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down. It tugged at my heartstrings endlessly. This story is one that will stay with me for a long while and I’m so grateful that it exists.”

—Ariana, Assistant to VP. Marketing & Publicity

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