This is My America by Kim Johnson
Seven years ago, Tracy Beaumont’s father was sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. Each week, Tracy writes a letter to Innocence X pleading to their appeals department to review her father’s case. With only about 200 days left until her father’s scheduled execution, Tracy, her mother, her younger sister, and her older brother are losing hope that they can save their patriarch. Then, another person in their town is murdered, and Tracy’s brother, Jamal, is accused. Jamal did not kill Angela, but he has run away from home to escape arrest and attempt to find her actual killer. With two accused murderers in the family, the entire south Texas town begins to turn away from Tracy’s family to avoid being targeted by the local white nationalist groups. With the clock ticking on both her father and brother, Tracy is determined to prove their innocence and bring justice to her family and the families of the murder victims.
This is My America depicts the effects of police brutality and corrupt prosecution practices in America. Although there are similar Young Adult books tackling racism and police brutality, This is My America distinguishes itself by focusing on the emotional, physical, and financial impact of mass incarceration on the Black family. Johnson shows how the KKK is not a piece of history long-gone, but is an organization continuing to hunt down and torture Americans of color. Johnson explores generational trauma and the danger of being complicit mainly from the perspective of Tracy’s Black family, but also touches on the generational trauma of being a raised to be a racist and the danger of being complicit in that role. These parallel stories of the white and Black family are thought provoking, without centering the white narrative. Along with the personal struggles explored throughout the book, the plot includes a mystery element as Tracy investigates who the real murderers are.
I was able to listen to this book on Libro.fm, and it is narrated by Bahni Turpin, one of my favorite narrators! Turpin brings such life to each of the characters in her narrations, and this book was no different. I would recommend this book (especially the audiobook!) to young adults and adults that can handle content including police encounters, off the page murder, off the page lynching, racism, Black trauma, hate crimes, and police shooting.
Follow Endya on Instagram and GoodReads to see more of what she is reading. If you'd like to read This is My America and support Beausoleil Books, use the buttons below to purchase through the Bookshop.org and Libro.fm affiliate programs:
November’s Book du Mois was such a success! We are so happy with the response for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. For December, we’re bringing you a holiday romance that will sweep you right off your feet! Released in October 2020, In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren is a mistletoe kiss on a wintry night.
The elevator pitch: “Mae is stuck in a time loop, repeating the same holiday week with the same wonderful people, and the same two brothers she’s known all her life. One she’s been in love with for thirteen years and one … she accidentally drunkenly made out with the night before she was stuck in the never-ending Groundhog Day loop. So, why? Why is Mae stuck? And how does she get out so she can spend forever with her true love?”
Our Book du Mois Club to discuss In a Holidaze will be on Friday, December 18, 2020 at 5:30-6:30 p.m. via Zoom. But that’s not all!!! The most exciting news of all: Authors, Christina and Lauren, will be joining via Zoom to discuss their novel with us! Our meeting begins and 5:30 and they will hop on at 6:00! Please, email us questions you have for the authors before the meeting to email@example.com. We are so excited!
Click the button below to register for the event (the event is FREE, but requires registration), and get your copy of In a Holidaze in store, online, via Bookshop, or via Libro.fm.
Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
First Son of the United States Alex Claremont-Diaz is the perfect everything: hard-working student, gorgeous young bachelor, and the future youngest-person-ever-to-be-voted-to-Congress. His seemingly only flaw? He can’t stand Prince Henry of Wales, basically his equally-perfect counterpart of British royalty. When Alex and Prince Henry come to blows in a news-worthy embarrassing photo-op, the White House and the royal family take quick steps to fix things. What begins as an international PR plan to cover up the bad blood between these rival golden boys quickly becomes something more real than either Alex or Henry could have imagined.
Red, White, & Royal Blue is the queer relationship comedy novel I never knew I wanted as a teenager. Heck, it’s the novel I didn’t even know I wanted as an adult! The enemies-to-friends plot induces a giddiness and a warmth that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. And, the narrative style and the plot itself is reminiscent of the young-adult books I read and loved so much when I was a kid; like The Princess Diaries or well...I mean anything Meg Cabot wrote, really. But, what is exceptionally stunning about McQuiston’s book is the characters. Alex and Henry are (on the shiny, media-friendly surface) the kinds of policy-making, world-changing twenty-somethings we all hope to be. But, as they get to know each other better, we learn that they’re actually just as anxious and self-conscious as we all are.
Though the general vibe of this book reminds me of a young-adult story, the slightly older age range of the characters makes this a book for, I think, a slightly older audience, or a young-adult audience that’s ready for some steamy moments. There’s definitely some sexy scenes in this novel, and they’re treated with respect for consent and open communication, so yay! In Red, White, & Royal Blue, McQuiston covers the more personal topics—like intimacy and coming out—in equal measure with the heavy hitters—like politics and international relations—all wrapped up in a page-turner that will have you wanting to re-read it as soon as you’ve finished.
Isabelle Lang has moved from the bayou to the dessert and back again, and holds a BA and MA from Mississippi State University, as well as an MFA in poetry from UNR. Her work has appeared in Beecher’s Magazine, The Meadow, and elsewhere. She currently teaches writing in West Baton Rouge.
If you'd like to read Red, White & Royal Blue and support Beausoleil Books, use the buttons below to purchase through the Bookshop.org and Libro.fm affiliate programs. Also get excited for Casey McQuiston's second book One Last Stop, coming out in June 2021!
As we move into November, the Beausoleil Books family is excited to begin our “Book du Mois” (Book of the Month) series! Each month we will select a book to honor with the “Book du Mois” title. It may be a new release. It may be a classic. It may be horror. It may be romance. There are no rules, and we look forward to hearing everyone’s suggestions for future books!
At the end of each month, Beausoleil Books will host a Book du Mois Club. During Covid-19, these events will be held on Zoom. This format allows us all to stay safe, and still participate in a fun book discussion. Once it is safe to meet in person, we look forward to hosting our book discussions in the Whisper Room (maybe alongside our Vin du Mois). During the Book du Mois Club, owners Blair and Endya will lead a discussion of the month’s book, and look forward to hearing what everyone thinks of the month’s selection.
We will be kicking off with our November Book du Mois pick: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab!! Released in October 2020, this book is a historical fantasy novel spanning Addie’s 300 year life. The Elevator Pitch: “A young woman makes a bargain with the devil to live forever, in exchange, everyone forgets her. Three hundred years later she meets a man in a bookstore who finally remembers her. How far will she go to leave her mark on the world?”
Our Book du Mois Club to discuss The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue will be on Saturday, November 21, 2-3 pm via Zoom. Click the button below to register for the event (the event is FREE, but requires registration), and get your copy of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue in store, online, via Bookshop, or via Libro.fm.
We look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on one of our most anticipated releases this year! See you all on November 21!
Jefferson Street Journal is Beausoleil Books's online blog for book reviews, news, and more!