Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.
Title: Black Girl Unlimited | Author: Echo Brown| Publisher: Holt/Ottaviano | Pub. Date: 14 January 2020 | Pages: 304 | ISBN: 978-1250763549| Genre: Magical Realism| Language: English| Starred Review: No | Source: libro.fm
Black Girl Unlimited Review
Black Girl Unlimited sells itself as magical realism, my ears pricked up at the magical aspect and for me I expected way more fantasy and way less metaphor for real life, which was my own bad. However, due to the fact this book is heavily autobiographical, you can’t take away its power, the hurt and the heartbreak, and the strength that weaves itself through the pages and through Brown herself.
Echo is a really interesting character and I empathised with her the whole way through, it would be impossible not to. It upsets me greatly to be in put into the shoes of a character who faces so much oppression on a daily basis, that I know I could never fully understand, and the world needs more stories out there to just show how much this still happens in daily life. For example, the inequality where white landlords won’t rent to a black household because they’re all druggies and incapable of paying the rent on time. Excuse me, what year is this?
I think I would have preferred this read if the fantasy elements weren’t there and Brown was just straight up telling us what happened, or if it went the other way and the fantasy and the metaphors went way deeper, the part about wizards felt slightly like an add on for powerful women, but they stood up in their own right as being strong to me. It felt like it only dared to go half way for me on both aspects which meant that it felt confusing at times and a little disjointedness in places.
Content warnings for rape, drug abuse, oppression, racism, sexism and attempted suicide.
I enjoyed (although that feels like a funny way to describe your feelings about this book) and would still recommend this read.
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