cover image Homebodies


Tembe Denton-Hurst. Harper, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-327428-0

Denton-Hurst debuts with an exciting chronicle of a Black journalist finding her voice. Mickey Hayward, a writer for a magazine called Wave, is disappointed by her supervisor’s casual racism and dismissiveness toward her ideas. Still, she believes she’ll find success, until she discovers that Wave is interviewing candidates to replace her, and she’s laid off shortly after someone is hired. Angry and reeling from being let go and a fight with her long-term girlfriend, Mickey posts a letter online describing her mistreatment at Wave, then returns to her Maryland hometown where she reconnects with ex-lover Tee and strives to be honest with her family about her struggles. Things are especially fraught with her father, with whom she’s built a fragile relationship after he started a new family following his divorce from Mickey’s mom. But her visit is cut short when an industry-wide reckoning with the exploitation of Black employees thrusts Mickey’s letter turned manifesto into the spotlight, and with it, Mickey herself. Denton-Hurst dazzles with her stirring indictment of racism in media and its insidious effects on Mickey, who must choose between making herself smaller to appease others and championing her own voice and experiences. Emotionally and politically resonant, this is not to be missed. (May)