cover image Black Girls Must Be Magic

Black Girls Must Be Magic

Jayne Allen. HarperPerennial, $16.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-313792-9

Allen (Black Girls Must Die Exhausted) shines in her second installment of a planned trilogy about a career-driven Black woman. After being told her egg reserves are poor, Los Angeles TV reporter Tabby Walker decides to have a baby on her own via a sperm donor and in vitro fertilization—but it turns out that after the embryo transfer of a boy, she becomes pregnant with a girl by her ex-boyfriend Marc, a “man-baby” who didn’t want children during their relationship. With the unfailing support of her best friends, Laila and Alexis, and her wise octogenarian friend and future “glam-maw” Ms. Gretchen, Tabby prepares for motherhood. As she considers her options for the future and the role she wants for Marc in her life, Allen brings nuance and empathy to the subjects of infertility and single motherhood. Meanwhile, a subplot at Tabby’s work involving racist letters from viewers about her hair adds tension and illuminates the range of adversities she faces. All the while, Allen’s sharp, frank prose advances the engaging plot (“I had a healthy baby, but would we have a healthy life now that Marc was involved?”). This bittersweet treat will have wide appeal with women’s fiction fans. Agent: Lucinda Halpern, Lucinda Literary. (Feb.)