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Black Girl Unlimited

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,481 ratings  ·  498 reviews
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a ...more
304 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Holt/Ottaviano
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Bang Bang Books If you don't mind your kids reading about drug abuse, masturbation, and, rape of a minor then it's okay. That's not sarcasm; I'm a librarian so I don'…moreIf you don't mind your kids reading about drug abuse, masturbation, and, rape of a minor then it's okay. That's not sarcasm; I'm a librarian so I don't censor what kids read. (less)

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Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,481 ratings  ·  498 reviews


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Lala BooksandLala
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-releases
Sob City, population: me
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Wow, I sobbed. What a powerful book.
Whitney Atkinson
uhhhh who else here is crying?? this book had me weeping.

i loved every page of it. from the metaphors to each chapter focusing on a different life lesson to echo's writing, this book was raw and meaningful. if i had read it as a teenager i think it would've gone so far over my head, which just shows that teens nowadays are so smart and more understanding and receptive to books like this. i highly, highly, highly recommend this.
Bang Bang Books
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it

UGH, I hate giving own voices books like this low ratings but Brown's editor needed to step up-GEEZ!

Issues I had with This Book
*This Book is in BAD need of an Editor-I appreciated what Brown was trying to do here but it muddied this otherwise important book. Brown tried to incorporate magical realism but it just didn't work because it wasn't believable. At no time was I ever able to suspend belief that this girl was a wizard. It was also a distraction and it didn't add anything to the story. As
...more
Mari

When I tell you that I SOBBED.

Why you may not like this book: This is part autobiographical with a strong element of fabulism, but it's fabulism in a very matter-of-fact way. I think a lot of times when people think of magical elements in contemporary stories, they expect a certain type of magic and writing-- flowery, atmospheric. I was thrown off myself a bit when the magic shows up here and it's just... bald. Most of it is metaphoric, though parts are just unexplained. If you come into this e
...more
Amy Imogene Reads
Riveting, heartbreaking, soul-mending, and ultimately a beacon of hope.

Writing: ★★★★★
Emotions: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★

This was one of the most poignant reads I have ever read, and Echo Brown deserves every standing ovation, every "oh my gosh you have to read this book" friendly push, and every accolade. This was a showstopper debut.

Part coming-of-age novel, part fabulism, part reflection on the state of being black in America, and part story of female resilience in the heart of abuse and oppress
...more
Rincey
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, poc-author
Whew, this book

Watch my full review here: https://youtu.be/5PE7T6kRfPk
...more
Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

WOW, I didn't expect to end up so moved by this book, but it managed to get to my heart and not only that, I think it's that type of book that everyone should read because although it's not an easy read at all, it confronts you with reality in a very crude way, of what black community must face and go through in an ignorant and racist society. In addition to this, we follow a heartbreaking story, but in the same way, inspiring. It's perfectly combined with touches of magical realism and will lea
...more
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
I received an ALC from the publisher through Libro FM in exchange of an honest review

CW: trauma, addiction, overdose, child sexual abuse, rape, dissociation, talk of suicide, suicidal ideations, racism, talk of unintentional murder, death


BLACK GIRL UNLIMITED is hands down the best book I've read this month and this year so far. It is such a brilliant book, such a visceral and painful read, a heartbreaking one that's ultimately hopeful. It made me smile and cry, I found myself sobbing by the end
...more
✨Brithanie Faith✨
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐


ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Black Girl Unlimited follows Echo Brown in this heavily autobiographical story about a young wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and many suffer from addiction. Infused with magical realism, this novel covers topics such as poverty, sexual violence, mental illness, racism, and sexism.

So- I definitely needed a few days to gather my thoughts on this one! It was difficult for me to put a rating on a bo
...more
Maggie [storme reads a lot]
I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book. I think I chose it because of the cover, but I truly had no idea how powerful it was going to be. It is a story of magic realism and reality. It is even more poignant since it reflects some of the real experiences the author had in her life.

This book is hard or explain unless you read it. I don’t want to give any spoilers away since I was so entranced by this book the entire time I was reading it. It talks about growing up black and poor,
...more
Kate (GirlReading)
An incredibly inspiring and powerful story of strength, trauma, perseverance and hope.

This wasn't an easy read by any means. It was filled with pain and trauma but the careful way in which these aspects of Echo Brown's story were woven together to create this story was so moving, it was hard to put down.

I listened to the audiobook, which added a whole new emotional connection to the story. I did find it to be a little confusing at first, due to the structure of the time changes and flash backs
...more
Romie
this was such a brilliant story. the way it deals with trauma with such care, the way it portrays women being there for each other, women fighting for what they deserve, this was truly magical. I find it so hard to believe it's Echo Brown's first book, because this was so powerful, written so beautifully, hard-hitting when it needs to be... I will definitely, definitely, read whatever else Echo Brown comes up with. I just want to thank her for sharing part of her story with us. (4.5)

trigger warn
...more
Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)
Powerful.

I do not use that word lightly when reviewing books. Also, I do not give five stars all willy-nilly. One must earn them. Wow. This one earned both.

My heart and soul hurts and carries hope for Echo Brown and women like us profoundly affected by the world that continuously tries to beat us down while we rise.

Magical. For the wizards out there, you are magical. Simply put.

5/5
Oyinda
Title: Black Girl Unlimited
Author: Echo Brown
Narrator: Echo Brown
Rating: 5
🕊
I really loved reading this book, even though there were so many difficult and hard-to-read topics touched on. The fact that this is the author’s autobiography makes it all the more amazing to me, because she has been through so much and was able to make it out and tell her story. I loved the added element of added magical realism, and how it was woven into the story.
🕊️
I loved the characters in this book so so so much, w
...more
Amanda
This is so excellent! I was expecting this to be fantasy, but it’s more magical realism. Echo and some of the women around her are able to slow time, will miracles and leave their bodies. The reader decides if this is literal magic or the way our minds process trauma. And this book does show many forms of trauma, especially sexual assault and drug addiction. Echo copes with feeling ugly because of her color, sexual assault and trying to achieve academic excellence in a dysfunctional home. She fi ...more
sophia ☾
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
100000 crying emojis. this cut me so deep. it’s hard to explain the feeling this book gave me, as it reads very autobiographical and yet also magical and a bit surreal, it feels … the way trauma is described and dealt with in this was painful and raw and real. also the conversation on race and poverty was extremely powerful. woof. what a book.

trigger warnings: child sexual abuse, graphic rape of a minor, drugs and alcohol addiction, suicidal ideation, drug overdose, mentions of murder, death
Maya ✨
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was so fucking beautiful. For anyone who enjoyed any of Elizabeth Acevedo‘s books, you will love this!! I might even claim that it’s better than The Poet X 🤭
Banal Girl
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ler-com-cor, wishlist
So...
I have finished this book now and am speechless.
I'm not used to reading acknowledgments, but today it happened and I'm sobbing.
I can't give a rating right now.

------ weeks later -----
This is incredible. It deserves 5 fives.
Please read this book!
Ryan Buckby
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
actual rating: 4.5/5 stars

Trigger warning: Rape, Drug Abuse, Abuse, Racism, Suicide, Child Abuse

Wow. this book i am totally moved by and i honestly didn't think that this book was going to do that to me but it's honestly just left me gobsmacked.

Every single page i was totally engrossed in and just kept to every word that Echo had written because this story was so beautifully told and i can't stop thinking about it. There are little metaphors in every chapter and i loved how they were wove
...more
Briana Johnson
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am speechless. When I was at the library, I grabbed this book on a whim because it seemed interesting. I had no idea that this book was going to change the way I see life, the way I see myself as a black girl, or the way I thought overcoming darkness and adversity looked like. From feeling Echo's pain to feeling immensely empowered, I constantly felt something as I read Echo Brown's words. I now have adopted many of Echo's words into my life's philosophy; as a result, I feel encouraged to push ...more
Eunice Moral
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Its voice added to the crescendo of all the voices seeking for justice and change, and I heard it, louder than ever.

What an amazing read. This part autobiography narrated by the author herself chronicles her experiences as a Black girl from childhood to teenage years. Black Girl Unlimited tackles the heavy issues of racism, rape, drug addiction, sexual abuse, discrimination, sexism and depression with a twist of magical realism. This heartbreaking and chilling novel is a lot to take in, but
...more
Kelly
This fabulist novel is going to be a powerful read for many, while it'll be a bit confounding for others. This is why it's quite magic. The audience will find it and connect deeply.

Echo is growing up on the East Side of Cleveland with her mother, who is addicted to drugs and who is the victim of sexual assault, along with two bothers, one of whom lands in juvenile detention for a period of time. But she's exceptionally resilient, and part of that is because she's really a wizard. She can turn ev
...more
Ari Reavis
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-it
This book was just beautiful in all it's sadness from start to finish. There was so much I related to in this story, and even the things I've never experienced, the author described in such a way that it still brought me to tears just to even read about it. This book dealt with so many issues, and all with a touch of magic. And even the magic was relatable because each chapter a new wizard lesson that applies to everyone.
There was so much anguish in this story, so much hurt and betrayal, so much
...more
Curlyhairlass19
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a powerful read!

This book was more than what you might think from just reading the blurb. It was truly an experience that will stay with me for a few. It deals with abuse, mental health and so much more. The word “wizard” used threw me off for a hot minute because I was like hey, wait. Is this a fantasy novel? I love when a story uses symbolism to describe meanings behind certain words. I’m not wanting to spoil so I’m trying to be cryptic. Lol. This book really shows what being black in Ame
...more
Sunny
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I cried a lot!!!!!! In love with this magical memoir <3 ...more
Kristen
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: blm, arcs
Netgalley provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit that a lot of my disappointment with this one comes from the fact that I went in thinking it was fantasy featuring POC (which there is just not enough of). Instead it's a non-linear journey of magical realism (not really my cup of tea) wherein I THINK magic is a metaphor for resiliency, bravery, and dealing with trauma.

There are important issues here, for sure: prejudice and discrimination of African Americ
...more
Heidi
Every so often, you come across a book that cuts right to the core of the beauty and tragedy of being human. Echo Brown has created an unforgettable coming-of-age story that weaves together an unflinching look at the costs of systemic racism in this country, the complicated and tenuous relationships between family, and the confusing and turbulent attempts of a young Black girl trying to discover who she is and make her mark on this world. Add in a fantastical element (she’s a wizard) and this is ...more
Bethany
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Thank you to Libro.FM for the audio review copy of this book! The author reads it herself, so it's worth considering the audiobook. Black Girl Unlimited is a very autobiographical coming of age story set in the 1990's with an element of magic as a way to conceptualize and process trauma. This follows Echo Brown, a young Black girl (and eventually teenager) from the East Side of Cleveland where housing is run down, kids get into trouble, and adults party with drugs. The na
...more
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104 followers
Echo Brown is a visionary storyteller who creates and performs inspiring one woman shows. Her first solo show, Black Virgins Are Not for Hipsters, ran for two years to sold out crowds in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Chicago, Cleveland, Berlin, Germany, and Dublin, Ireland.

She has just finished her first book entitled, Black Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard, which will
...more

Articles featuring this book

Recent events have been especially tough on debut authors, with bookstores closed and book tours canceled. So we're rounding up a list of hit...
100 likes · 35 comments
“I begin to wonder if white is the color of things to be worshipped in this world. If it's the only color to be worshipped in this world.” 6 likes
“What dreams have they forced you to defer?
Did you want to be a pilot and fly planes?
Did they say you wouldn't make it in the Ivy League?
Did you want to be a poet and write your poems in the stars like the ones that came before?

Maybe the darkness inside stole your dreams?
Left you broken and buried
In a womb of despair
Did you have the rise up out of the dirt, too,
Learn to cultivate the light again, too?

Did you ever think you would watch your parents crawling around on the floor, chasing the white ghost?
Did you ever think would be next?

What kind of dreams you got festering, burning inside you?
How many nights you had to sit on the ceiling,
Waiting for dem dreams?
Chasing dem dreams
Hoping they wouldn't steal dem dreams?
Tell me 'bout dem dreams
Tell me what dey was

What dreams have they forced you to defer?
And what do you plan to do about it?”
4 likes
More quotes…