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Black Girl Unlimited

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  23 ratings  ·  15 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…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 3.87  · 
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 ·  23 ratings  ·  15 reviews


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✨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 book
...more
rachel ☾
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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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
...more
USOM
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: incest, pedophilia, abuse, sexual assault, rape

Black Girl Unlimited is a story that is itself a journey. It's one of those books where reading the book is a journey. I went into Black Girl Unlimited expecting a fantasy. While it isn't not a fantasy, it's not a fantasy like you might expect. Echo's story mixes surrealism, magic, power, and belief. We witness Echo's coming of age
...more
Karla Strand
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this semi-autobiographical debut, Echo Brown confronts themes of drug addiction, sexual abuse, and depression within an evocative framework of magical realism, and cements herself as a brilliant new literary voice at the same time.
Kristen
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 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
...more
Kelsea
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, reviewed
First, an admission. I almost stopped reading this book. Echo Brown's style is really, really different and it was hard for me to get into. It took me about a hundred pages to get used to the style... and I still didn't really understand the point or purpose until about halfway through. I swear, though, once I *got* it, it was like a magical light flipped. The stylistic choices started to make perfect sense and suddenly I found myself cheering hard for Echo, hoping things would go right for her, ...more
Bang Bang Books
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5
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 not 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.
...more
BMR, LCSW
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Got an ADC from Edelweiss and the publisher for review. Content warning for brutal rape and self-blame.

This is the story of the only girl in her immediate family, which includes two addicts for parents, and two brothers who cannot resist the lure of the streets. Said girl, Echo, happens to be a wizard like her mother, April/Aprah...which has not bode well for Aprah and lead her towards addiction after a horrible tragedy that killed Aprah's mom. Coincidentally, Echo's best friend Elena is wizard
...more
Leah
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019, ya
An interesting mix of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by way of Toni Morrison set in the 1990s and early 2000s, the narrative takes on serious issues with both realism and love. I will say that I've never been the biggest fan of magical realism so I found myself wishing there were either more fantasy content or none at all, but I'm sure there will be those who find that style appealing. I also think that the blending of time/scene shifts might work better in print: in ebook form I found it confusing, ...more
Tara
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Echo Brown is determined to rise above her circumstances. She focuses on school and her wizard skills to escape from her family's poverty and parents' addictions.

Black Girl Unlimited has a lot of uplifting messages, but I think they will be lost in the magical realism. The writing makes the timeline difficult to follow, and unfortunately, many students will give up before they reach the positive ending.

I read an ARC from NetGalley.
emma
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, fantasy-scifi, ya
A surreal fable-like book, full of mysterious metaphorical portals and veils and lessons to be learned by young, black girl wizards. The concept is cool, the physical embodiment of trauma and depression and feminine power and support, but it comes off as very choppy, impersonal, and weird. I wanted to like this, but I couldn’t quite get there.
Lisa
Dec 25, 2019 added it
BFYA 2021 eligible, cannot rate or review
Amy
Jan 12, 2020 added it
Read for work
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Eilis
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
a powerful and emotional read about black women struggles but also their immense power!
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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