Daughters of Jubilation

Kara Lee Corthron. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-481-45950-1
Corthron (The Truth of Right Now) brings ancestral magic to Jim Crow South Carolina in this historical YA fantasy. Sixteen-year-old Evalene “Evvie” Deschamps has always known that she, like the generations of Black women in her family, possess magical abilities they call “Jubilation.” Following puberty, it becomes more difficult for Evvie to control her magic, which begins with a bad headache and causes accidents when her temper flares. Nervous about hurting her loved ones, Evvie trains with her formerly estranged grandmother while managing her responsibilities as an older sister, her job as a babysitter for a white family, and a new relationship with her childhood crush. The purpose of her training shifts from general control to protection when she is stalked by a strange and sinister white man who claims to know everything about her, including her Jubilation. While the first-person narrative, told in a 1960s Southern dialect, aids in characterization and setting, the novel’s harrowing plot is in places disturbing. Emotional, magical worldbuilding, however, redeems the distressing narrative by weaving it with grounding bonds of familial love and protection. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laurie Liss, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/23/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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