Althea and her husband, Procter, have been sentenced to prison after committing fraud and stealing from their flood-recovering community. Their twin girls have been left in the care of Althea’s youngest sister, Lillian, who cannot handle managing the family’s old house as well as the effects of the town’s hatred towards the entire family. When the other siblings, Viola and Joe, come to stay and help, various buried family traumas can no longer be ignored. The Butler family must confront or drown, or else they’ll bring their nieces down with them. The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is an emotionally compelling read that deals with a lot of complicated issues, but not without the assurance that while some issues cannot have a fairytale ending, they can offer a silver lining after the storm.
A charming classic quest that blends Mayan folklore in the setting of 1920’s Yucatán, Mexico. Casiopea is a young woman determined to leave her abusive family. Her opportunity comes with the awakening of a weakened god of death, Hun-Kamé, who becomes more human as he gets closer to his own demise. By restoring this deity, Casiopea can save both their lives as well as right the wrongs of her family’s past. Gods of Jade and Shadow is full of magical imagery and charming dialogue that makes it an immersive and fun read.
A great execution of modern magical realism and historical fiction, Wayétu Moore’s debut novel She Would Be King (Graywolf, $26) is a powerful story of oppression, resistance, and freedom. Moore reimagines Liberia’s early years with her three vibrant protagonists who each have supernatural abilities. Gbessa, a girl from a West African village named Lai, was born on a day her people considered a curse. She is labeled a witch, and is subsequently ostracized throughout her upbringing. However, it is when she is left for dead that she realizes that she is different: she cannot die. June Dey was born on a plantation in Virginia to parents that have lost everything trying to protect fellow slaves. He is gifted with superhuman strength which allows him to escape. Norman Aragon was born from a forced relationship between an enslaved Maroon woman and British colonizer studying in Jamaica. He is able to fade from sight, a power he inherited from his mother. The three find each other in Monrovia, a settlement in West Africa and must navigate the establishment of their new home as they search for the family and freedom they’ve always wanted but were denied for most of their lives.