cover image Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard

Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard

Echo Brown. Holt, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-30985-3

Debut author Brown’s quasi-memoir blends magical realism with a coming-of-age story in this mold-breaking novel. Echo is a black teen growing up on Cleveland’s East Side, where adults worship the “white rock.” She is also learning how to control her newfound powers as a “quantum wizard”; shortly after her crush, Jessie, is in a tragic accident, Echo begins to see a veil that covers people. Soon, she learns that she’s not the only wizard: Elena, a gay Muslim girl who attends her mostly white middle school, discovers her own abilities, and the two become friends. In chapters organized as lessons in wizardry, Echo relays the triumphs and tragedies of her childhood, smoothly skipping across time to relate disparate moments atop one another. Using wizardry as a way to explore making something out of nothing and developing the skills it takes to survive traumatic events, Brown’s novel gives readers a potent glimpse into heartbreaking, unjust experiences and profound resilience in the face of wrongs perpetrated both systemically and interpersonally. The novel never shies from tough subject matter (drug addiction, sexual assault), at the same time deftly integrating magically realistic components and allegory into contemporary scenes. Ages 14–up. [em](Jan.) [/em]