cover image Sun Keep Rising

Sun Keep Rising

Kristen R. Lee. Crown, $18.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-593-30919-3

The threat of gentrification leads a Black teen mother to resort to desperate measures in this profound novel by Lee (Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman). While trying to finish high school, 17-year-old B’onca Johnson is struggling both interpersonally and financially. Barely earning enough money to take care of herself, let alone her newborn daughter, Mia, leaves attending college out of the question, and the rising cost of rent in her Memphis neighborhood further complicates things. The situation takes a turn for the worse when B’onca’s 19-year-old ex-boyfriend, Mia’s father, is killed, resulting in his parents seeking custody of Mia. Needing money to provide a better life for her daughter, B’onca begins facilitating drug deals for a local gang, hoping that just one job will be “enough to get me on my feet.” B’onca’s overwhelming love for Mia and fervent determination to do right by her despite potential consequences is stirring . Through the protagonist’s viscerally wrought narrative, Lee crafts an unflinching portrayal of seemingly insurmountable hurdles toward overcoming a cycle of financial precarity and improving one’s quality of life. Ages 14–up. (Jan.)