Review: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (Akashic: New York 2017)

Reviewed by Tracy Vasquez

Rivers Solomon’s science-fiction novel An Unkindness of Ghosts is masked in a pain.  The point of writing on the pain of others is to expose the reader to a point of view; in this instance, Solomon writes from the perspective of Aster, who identifies as gender fluid. Aster is searching for a consistent path in the uncertainty of the cosmos.  “She craved clarity, transparency and answers.” (169)  She longs for answers from her mother, who died when she was a baby; yet, a mapping of sorts leads her on a path set by her mother.  Cutting out the contrivances, we see Aster through her history of loss and survival on the vessel Matilda.

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Review: The White Card by Claudia Rankine

The White Card by Claudia Rankine (Graywolf 2019)

Reviewed by Olivia Cyr

There is perhaps no better political climate in which to revel in a book that explores race in America than the one the country is in now. As both a self-proclaimed feminist with a background in black women’s studies, and a white woman, I find that I am both well-versed on current conversations about race and women and where those intertwine, and also, admittedly, still terribly conditioned to accept and lean on my own white privilege. While I do follow much of the debate on abortion, women’s rights in the workplace, intersectionality, police brutality, immigration, and the unfair treatment of black people, there is still so much I do not know. I wonder often if my own whiteness does not allow for me to see the whole picture. I think many white folks in this country try, as Claudia Rankine’s characters Virginia and Charles appear to do, and think we are doing as much as we can with the resources available. But Rankine makes it apparent that we aren’t, simply because we are white.

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Review: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett (Knopf Books for Young Readers 2019)

Reviewed by Kelly Dasta

Full Disclosure is an intersectional young adult novel that fosters sex-positivity and works to break the stigma surrounding HIV—a prime example of how diversity and inclusion are becoming more pervasive within the YA genre. Written by New York University film student, Camryn Garrett, the novel details the story of Simone Garcia-Hampton who hopes to keep her HIV positive diagnosis under-wraps upon transferring to a new high school. However, she soon develops feelings for a charming boy named Miles, which means if she wishes to pursue a relationship with him, she’ll have to tell him about her diagnosis eventually. To make matters worse, one day she receives a note in her locker, threatening that she either tell Miles about her diagnosis, or the note-writer will tell the whole school. Her first reaction is to hide the truth, but “as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on.”

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