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Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America Hardcover – January 8, 2019
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Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America. A selection of the Schomburg Center's Black Liberation Reading List.
Black is...sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.
Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.
Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.
Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.
Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.
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From the Publisher
From School Library Journal
★ “A poignant collection of stunning short stories by Black, rock star authors” — Booklist (starred review)
★ “A breath of fresh air…nuanced and necessary.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
★ “Each entry is deftly woven and full of such complex humanity that teens will identify with and see some of their own struggles in these characters... This collection presents the beauty of black humanity in all its many forms.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
★ “The stories, all worth savoring, share a celebratory outlook on black teenagers fully and courageously embracing life.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Ibi Zoboi, author of National Book Award finalist American Street and Jane Austen update Pride, dazzles again with this stunning, marvelously diverse collection of 17 stories of the teen experience by black authors [writing] ‘about teens examining, rebelling against, embracing, or simply existing within their own idea of blackness.’” — Buffalo News
★ Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Mixing gritty street life with the tenderness of first love, Haitian Vodou, and family bonds, the book is at once chilling, evocative, and reaffirming.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
★ Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Filling her pages with magic, humanity, tragedy, and hope, Zoboi builds up, takes apart, and then rebuilds an unforgettable story. This book will take root in readers’ hearts.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
★ Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Zoboi’s stunning debut intertwines mysticism and love with grit and violence…Fierce and beautiful.” — Booklist (starred review)
★ Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “A breathtaking story about contemporary America that will serve as a mirror to some and a window for others, and it will stay with anyone who reads it.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Zoboi urges us to examine the American dream to see if there is room within it to hold the ones we love.” — Ebony Magazine
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Will reach young readers regardless of their background.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “A poignant meditation on one girl’s struggle to find her way in a new world.” — Nicola Yoon, New York Times bestselling author of The Sun is Also a Star and Everything, Everything
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Brimming with culture, magic, warmth, and unabashed rawness, “American Street” is ultimately a blistering tale of humanity. This is “Manchild in the Promised Land,” for a new generation, and a remarkable debut from Zoboi, who without question is an inevitable force in storytelling.” — Jason Reynolds, award-winning co-author of All American Boys
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Zoboi’s nascent storytelling gifts ensnare from page one. To this spellbinding voice of the next generation, I bow.” — Rita Williams-Garcia, New York Times bestselling author and three-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award
- Publisher : Balzer + Bray; Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) edition (January 8, 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062698729
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062698728
- Reading age : 13 - 17 years
- Grade level : 8 - 12
- Item Weight : 1.42 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.29 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #141,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from the United States
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"Tessa was a person who could wreak havoc with a sentence. Sixteen years doesn’t seem like long, but how many lives could a person with that kind of power have ruined in her time?"
"The man cried so badly, his tears glittered like constellations of stardust."
"All night, his fingers had flown over his keyboard, writing line after line of code so fast, it felt like he was playing music."
"It was the nerdiest, most backhanded compliment Mak had ever gotten, Kamari suggesting that Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, beauty, and pleasure, was Mak’s mother."
I'd typically choose one quote as representative of the book, but with so many voices, just one feels like neglecting the others. Each character discovering and learning to embrace their true selves is beautiful, varying from Black enough to sexual identity, breaking free of parental rule, letting intelligence and horniness shine, and so much more.
It's a book of teens learning their place in this world, and making it their own with growing confidence and strength. Beautiful, I recommend for anyone who has ever felt not enough.
This collection of stories covers a wide range of adventures. Enjoyable for any and all teen and adult readers as the stories range from exploring queerness, being biracial, and immigrating from other countries, to dealing with divorce and half-siblings and more.
If you’re a white reader, like I am, this will build empathy and knock down pre-conceived notions of what it means to be Black in America. If you’re a Black/African-American reader, I imagine that you will feel seen and feel lots of comradery with the characters.
Definitely put this on your list of must-reads.
Top reviews from other countries
“Black Enough” é uma colecção de contos escritos por autores pretos que visa mostrar situações comuns de ser jovem e pertencente a uma minoria nos EUA. No entanto, nem sempre esse facto é o que está em evidência nestes textos, afinal ser adolescente por si só pode ser um verdadeiro drama que é transversal a todos os seres humanos.
Told either in first, second, or third person perspectives', this collection includes a variety of stories that made this reader experience many different emotions.
Now, whilst some stories were fun and light-hearted to read: stories of unrequited crushes, being young, finding love and gaining freedom, other stories touched on more life-defining and serious moments a teenager could go through in their life: moments of discovering ones sexuality, the power of music, a forbidden romance between rival families, the tragedy of death, suicide, family issues, along with dealing with racism, homophobia, and so much more.
It's 400 pages of two Introductions and seventeen unique and (some) powerful stories that I could not get enough of.
When I wasn't laughing out loud and smiling big at the fun and entertaining stories included - such as ones like 'Black. Nerd. Problems.', 'Woah!', 'Kissing Sarah Smart', and 'Into the Starlight' - I was devouring the meaningful story that was being told; a story that made me think, feel, and listen to the message within - like with 'Black Enough', 'Warning: Color May Fade', 'Out of the Silence', 'Wild Horses, Wild Hearts', and 'The Trouble with Drowning'.
There is one story in particular - Gravity by Tracey Baptise - that is quite triggering as, told in second person perspective, this story shows how a young girl deals with being sexually assaulted in a public area, though being young and having made the first move, she weights the options on whether to tell or keep quiet as she knows from second-hand experience that some, if not many people will twist her story on her and say she asked for it. Whilst I liked the story, how it was written, and the way this author had me seeing the story play out so vividly in my mind, it was just too vivid for my taste, and considering it was told in second person perspective, it was hard to feel separate from the character, and left me feeling uncomfortable throughout the entire story.
My reason for the four stars however, has to do with the fact that considering each story is a short story, the lack of a blurb to let us know not what the story was about - but WHO - left me feeling confused at times; was I reading about a young girl, or a young boy? Sometimes the gender, along with the characters' name, wasn't revealed for pages later, and it made me struggle to connect with the story when I started reading one in a female's perspective, but all along it was a male's.
Overall though, this collection was perfect and really delivered some unforgettable and impactful stories that I'm still thinking about days later. You'll either love them, or hate them - each story is different enough to get a different reaction from its reader.
I'd definitely recommend this collection of short stories to anyone looking for one.
TW: sexual assault, words of racism and homophobia
Overall, over the course of a set of fun, mostly page-turning, sometimes touching short stories, I learned that black american kids are kids, much the same as white British kids are kids. With the exception of a few words I had to look up and bits of slang, I'm not sure there was anything I learned here that I didn't know already from TV shows. That may be because I've watched a lot of TV shows which feature young black people in America, and have just been watching This Is Us, which deals with much more nuance with the theme of a black person in a majority white community. That crops up a few times here, as do the class divides that emerge in a socially aspirant population.
I am also very aware that in the 'woke' world we live in, there is a lot of messaging that goes on: this collection clearly has an agenda, and with that in mind I realised it's hard to know if this is an accurate representation of being young and black in America.
Overall, these are well-written, enjoyable stories, sometimes touching, often intriguing. Like all collections of short stories, it lacks something, for me, because just as you get to know the characters they disappear, but each of the writers in this collection have other novels, so you can use this to find out who you want to read next. Only one of the stories was so odd/dull that I found I had to skip it, and the last two were among the best, so make sure to read to the end.