Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

Synopsis:

Ever since Ella was young she’s had the ability to see things others couldn’t, her neighbor’s future, a stranger’s death, and bad things that keep coming. When her brother Kevin is born the day of a riot Ella can’t help but worry that something bad will happen when they grow up.

Fast forward to Ella and Kev all grown up, Kevin is arrested for being black and through visits at the jail and visits using her power Ella will have to decide if she’ll use her ability to create a change or to create a revolution.

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

My Thoughts:

I was so grateful to receive a physical copy of this book from Sourcebooks, and while I was hesitant going in that it would be a story about the black experience involving the usual trauma storyline, it was a pleasant surprise. As a black reader it’s hard to find books that really show the black experience without beating the trauma into you and/or completely missing the mark and sanitizing it for the reader’s gaze. This book did none of that, Onyebuchi wrote such a captivating story in these 200 pages that it was hard to put down.

Seeing a story written by a Black Author from the POV of two black kids that have grown up in America and that have experienced things people shouldn’t have to was refreshing. It was unapologetically black and it never wavered with delivering the truth straight to your doorstep whether you wanted it or not, opening up the story with Ella’s experiences before a Kevin was born was a perfect way to set up the story. The concept of Kevin being a Riot Baby and Ella having her powers to see into the future made for an intense sibling and family connection, the mother was the epitome of a black mom; selfless, fierce, beautiful and no matter how dangerous Ella became or how dangerous the area they lived in became she always did the best she could to protect the two. I can’t stress enough how important this book is for diversity and an authentic POV into Black Lives.

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

Wrap Up:

If you want a beautifully written and powerful novel about the Black American experience then pick this book up, it was heart-wrenching, heart-racing and completely unforgettable. If I may be so bold to say it was a fantastic addition to the BLM Movement. Definitely a Book to beat this year!

─── ・ 。゚☆: *.☽ .* :☆゚. ───

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