Underdogs win in an election, Status quo pushes back – Deadly fighting in the streets!
The small good-luck counting actions of childhood became full-blown obsession when her father died. Now 16-year-old Melati protects her mother through counting rituals as the djinn within her shows gruesome images of how Mama will die if the teen doesn’t do them perfectly (always in threes, always).
Improbably rescued by a Chinese auntie, Melati is panicked at Mama not knowing where she is, at leaving Saf behind, at being with Chinese people she’s always been warned not to trust…
The djinn inside Melati reproaches her constantly, Auntie Bee’s two college sons Frankie and Vincent argue about who started the fighting, and Uncle arrives home after seeing fires all over Kuala Lumpur.
Oh, 24-hour curfew! Rioters are burning everything, and soon Auntie Bee’s house is packed with her neighbor of all faiths – how long will the food last?
Frankie is eager to fight against the Malays; Vince loves music and understands a little about how it helps Melati drown out the djinn’s terrible words.
Is there any way to get back to Melati’s mom? Wherever she and Vince travel on his motorbike, one of them will be the outsider and in danger!
Malay, Chinese, and Indian groups all worked together to declare independence from Britain 12 years ago – why can’t they govern together now?
In Melati’s time, mental illnesses like OCD were ignored, not treated, so she is doing the best that she can during unbearable stress.
The debut novel by the author of Queen of the Tiles (recommended here). **kmm
Book info: The Weight of Our Sky / Hanna Alkaf. Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster, hardcover 2019, paperback, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Resisting South Africa’s colonial government, everyday working-class people stood up for basic rights, often risking their lives during the first half of the 20th century.
Six key court cases involving these “rebels and revolutionaries” set the stage for South Africa’s notorious apartheid policy:
“Until the Ship Sails” – For decades, Asian men brought to work in Transvaal faced tight restrictions of “the Black Act” – in 1908, Gandhi urged them to resist non-violently. How long would the hundreds arrested be detained aboard old ships?
“In the Shadow of a High Stone Wall” – Striking against unjust working conditions in 1911 put Irish emigrants in a wretched prison. Without bail money, they were denied access to their lawyers. Would their 1912 lawsuit for unfair treatment keep other poor South Africans from the same fate?
“Come Gallows Grim” – Companies and gold mines began hiring low-paid Black workers after World War I, leading to riots by displaced white workers who saw the government as allied with mine owners. Death and destruction during martial law in 1922, many captured, including Taffy Long. Two trials, calls for clemency, fears of more riots. When would the shadow of the hangman’s noose leave South Africa?
“The Widow of Marsbastad” – In a 1956 township without running water, they tell stories about 1925 when an old law was suddenly applied to Black women, requiring them to carry a Night Pass while delivering laundry to white customers or be arrested on the spot! Brave women volunteered go out at night to challenge this new restriction. Would the outcome of their cases affect Pass Laws proposed later under apartheid?
“A House Divided” – A land-use dispute in the 1920s pits two factions of the Bafokeng people against one another – the hereditary chief with inconsistent decisions and his councillors who see their tribe’s bankruptcy ahead. Both sides appeal to different departments of the colonial South African government. Will unwritten tribal laws prevail and send dissenters into exile from their homelands?
“Here I Cross to the Other Side” – Tuma leaves Besotho to work in the gold mines during World War II, toiling far underground, with an angry white bossman, too little food, not enough safety precautions. Enduring the same brutal conditions for 20 years led to his father’s early death during Tuma’s first contract time. Why are white mineworkers protected by a union, while Black workers are paid less and forbidden to talk about organizing? Strike!
This stunning graphic novel combines deep research with the visual works of South African artists Liz Clarke, Dada Khanyisa, Mark Modimola, Saaid Rahbeeni, The Trantraal Brothers, and Tumi Mamabola. Each chapter is followed by intriguing historical documents from legal archives and photos of key participants in each case.
Where do you resist injustice today? **kmm
Book info: All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa 1910-1948 – a Graphic History / Richard Conyngham; illustrated by Liz Clarke, Dada Khanyisa, Mark Modimola, Saaid Rahbeeni, The Trantraal Brothers, Tumi Mamabola. Published by Catalyst Press, 2021. [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
This retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth centers Afro-Latinx characters in the Bronx today: upbeat, suave Pheus who serenades all the girls and Eury who’s troubled by the spirits that haunt her after she survived Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Romeo and Juliet set in the apartheid struggles of 1976 South Africa: a white boy from the best school in Johannesburg falls in love with a black girl from the poor side of the city in the time leading up to the bloody Soweto Youth Uprising for racial justice.
What other classic retellings would make great audiobooks? **kmm
She’s ready for yes, he’s already moved on – great summer now not-so-great…
Her brother Muhammad’s nikah wedding celebration will be the perfect time for Janna to tell Nuah that his year away at college confirmed she’s finally ready to be together, but there’s hardly a quiet moment as the small Muslim ceremony has become a 300-guest extravaganza at her Indian-American dad’s fancy Illinois lakeside estate!
Between her young half-brothers’ ice cream truck obsession, wondering who her best friend’s date is, and Sarah’s attempts to rein in her fiance’s over-the-top additions to the party, hijabi Janna’s stress levels are rising as family connections and conflicts swirl.
Sarah’s cousin Haytham is a so-charming singing poet, family friend Layth is a brooding young man, and Janna’s long-divorced Egyptian-American mom is suspiciously happy to see a handsome college classmate and his teenage daughters.
Has dad always been such an anti-Black racist? Is mom’s happiness on hold till Janna leaves for college? How can everyone have a happily ever after except her?
The story begun in Saints and Misfits (recommended here) continues as Janna tries to envision a future much different than her dreams. By the author of Love From A to Z (recommended here).
Happy book birthday to Misfit in Love!
How to you know when it’s time to let go of a dream? **kmm
Book Info: Misfit in Love: a Saints and Misfits Novel / S.K. Ali. Salaam Reads – S&S, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Accidents happen, life goes on in sorrow, the future is a mystery… right?
Orphaned by a car wreck, 16 year old Alex and little brother Isaiah now live with Aunt Mackie in a ‘very nice’ Chicago subdivision where a white neighbor rants in the Black family’s kitchen about requiring background checks for renters during a rap mega-star’s concert nearby.
She doesn’t know, no one knows that after the accident Alex began seeing the future of every object – and every person – that his fingers touch. Future of an ice cream dipper at Scoops is no big deal. But the longer he touches, the more of the future he sees, so touching the people he cares about is too much to bear.
When exactly will girlfriend Talia walk away from their future together? How long can Alex endure the future invading his every breath? Why is 12-year-old Izzy wearing headphones every single moment of summer?
Braving Izzy’s anger to find common ground before any future happens, Alex bets everything on them going to the Shiv concert together, wishing this curse would vanish… Brand-new speculative fiction from the author of Slay.
Would you want to see the future… really? **kmm
Book Info: The Cost of Knowing / Brittney Morris. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Saving the world is easy for Ash and her team, they do it in-game with ease and flair… Now, can they save the real world?
After the Water Wars, CCA’s iron religious fist forces unbelievers into overcrowded Ditchtown, stilted above drowned Miami, and the Game is their best escape.
To pay for Mom’s care, Ashley courier runs at double-speed, hoping her brother can stay out of trouble, saving just enough to rent in-Game hapticwear.
As Ashura the Terrible, her team dominates the Game leaderboard by skill and sword and rocket maneuvers, ignoring racial and sexual threats posted on the ‘Net, staying a jump ahead of those who want their secrets.
Suddenly, they are caught in a real war between theocrats who believe their own prophecies and technocrats who worship their devices and data.
Now, it’s up to this team of young women stop a humanity-ending chain reaction in real time, outside the Game, with just one life left.
+++++ Read an excerpt of Otaku at the publisher’s website here.
How do you decide what’s really worth fighting for? **kmm
Book info: Otaku / Chris Kluwe. Tor Forge Books, 2020. [author Twitter] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
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