cover image The Black Girls Left Standing

The Black Girls Left Standing

Juliana Goodman. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-25-079281-5

Sixteen-year-old Black Chicagoan Beau, an aspiring artist, navigates feuding parents, budding romance, police violence, and unresolved grief in Goodman’s intense debut. When Beau’s older sister, Katia, is accused of breaking and entering, she’s killed by a white off-duty police officer. Reeling, as well as seeking closure and justice, Beau enlists her free-spirited friend Sonnet to help her search for the event’s only witness: Katia’s boyfriend Jordan, a former Onyx Tigers gang member, who went missing after her death. Gathering tips from an anonymous Twitter account lands the teens in increasingly dangerous scenarios, resulting in death threats, a harrowing night in jail, and a deadly shoot-out. As Beau’s investigation brings her closer to the truth about Katia’s death, she confronts facts about her sister that she never knew while struggling to navigate life without her. The narrative juggles multiple story lines, at points causing confusion and leaving plotlines unexplored and questions unanswered. Nevertheless, Goodman’s depiction of the pain, lack of empathy, and presumption of guilt that Black youth often experience due to systemic oppression lands on a necessary, hopeful note. Ages 14–up. Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary. (June)