Centuries of June, Donohue
Set in the bathroom of an old house just before dawn on a night in June, Centuries of June is a black comedy about a man who is attempting to tell the story of how he ended up on the floor with a hole in his head. But he keeps getting interrupted by a series of suspects—eight women lying in the bedroom just down the hall. Each woman tells a story drawn from five centuries of American myth and legend in a wild medley of styles and voices.
Centuries of June is a romp through history, a madcap murder mystery, an existential ghost story, and a stunning tour de force at once ingenious, sexy, inspiring, and ultimately deeply moving.
Gosh, I didn't know what to make of this one at first. I didn't find the beginning compelling -- I couldn't figure out what was going on -- but the writing was so gorgeous I kept reading. So glad I did -- the layers of the story, and of Jack's life, peel away in such a lovely and interesting way.
After Tupac and D Foster, Woodson
The day D Foster enters Neeka and her best friend's lives, the world opens up for them. Suddenly they're keenly aware of things beyond their block in Queens, things that are happening in the world - like the shooting of Tupac Shakur - and in search of their Big Purpose in life. When - all too soon - D's mom swoops in to reclaim her, and Tupac dies, they are left with a sense of how quickly things can change and how even all-too-brief connections can touch deeply.
Highly recommended YA book, about how even the people in our lives for a short time can touch us deeply. IMO the author does a wonderful job speaking in the voice of a young woman growing up in the city, trying to find her way to a different reality. Woodson makes you feel as though you are with the three girls as they move through adolescence, navigating their families and an outside community that is not always kind to African-American youth.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Rowling