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Black Girl Unlimited

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  374 ratings  ·  144 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 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  374 ratings  ·  144 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.
✨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
...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
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 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.
...more
rachel ☾
◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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...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
...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
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
Izzie
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(Thanks to my Mum for typing this up for me)
Black Girl Unlimited was a truly impressive debut novel. This is a partly autobiographical, partly magical realism story that follows Echo Browns life from childhood to adulthood. This book tackles topics such as racism, sexism, sexual assault, depression, drug addiction and more.
What I liked:
- The writing. While reading this book, I couldn't believe that this was debut novel. Both the writing technique and the magical realism element were so well
...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
...more
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 dont 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
Cassie
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Unique and beautiful, and oh so inspiring. I've never read this kind of autobiography before, and while the writing, at times, felt a little confusing, the magical realism aspect was tied in beautifully.
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
Merline
I went into this expecting a work of fiction with magical realism, but the references to magic and wizardry were metaphorical and the story is semi-autobiographical. Though it was different from what I expected, I enjoyed the story tremendously. There's a lot of pain in this, but I loved exploration of black womanhood, depression, sexism, sexual violence, and discussions about poverty. While it's a difficult and heavy read, the book is infused with hope and resilience. It's a non-linear story ...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
Shaye Miller
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive
Oh, my. This one is so powerful and yet quite painful. It deals directly with depression, sexual violence, racism, sexism, poverty, and so much more. I read that it is part autobiographical intermixed with magical realism. But I think it's something that has to be experienced (by the YA and adult crowd) to understand how hard-hitting the storyline is. There's such gravity and sincerity found within the two mother/daughter relationships.

Many people have called my mother strong--relatives,
...more
troy-nicole
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I sat here trying to figure out what I wanted to rate this since it is partially an autobiographical story. So, I am not going to rate it as such since it is immersed in fiction. This book was so beautiful and I commend Echo Brown's storytelling. That being said, I found that though I understood the use of the magical realism as both fantasy and a metaphor for bravery and fighting against your demons, the structure of it was not for me. I was constantly confused when it would jump back and forth ...more
Karla Strand
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.
Kelsea
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, arc
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
Sarah
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audio of this book (thanks Libro.fm!) and would definitely recommend it in that format (though I'm sure the print is great too). Brown is an excellent narrator of this story. There are reasons I don't normally read YA, mainly that I just really prefer prose that's more layered and complex and pushes the boundaries of tropes, and maybe I just don't love adults writing teenage voices, is that terrible? And yes, there are some tropes I don't love here, mainly the white savior ...more
Eilis
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
a powerful and emotional read about black women struggles but also their immense power!
Amy
Jan 12, 2020 added it
Read for work
Megan
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Beautiful writing!
Asiyah Amin
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gave me Toni Morrison- bluest eyes vibes. Loved the inclusion of the Muslim best friend
Leslie Swope
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Echo Brown's story intertwines her autobiography with magical realism. This book was heartbreaking and beautiful. Growing up in the East end of Cleveland Echo lives with her crack addicted mom and her alcoholic stepdad in a crappy appartment where a lot of times there is no food. She constantly worries about her brothers who spend their free time hustling on the corner. Echo is incredibly smart, and despite her circumstances she does well in school and is headed for college.

This coming of age
...more
Anne Marie
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-4-star
This was a powerful book. Echo is a young girl who lives in a low income area with her two brothers, mother and step father. Her parents take part in drinking and drugging. However Echo knows this is not the way one should be. She loves her family very much but she is also different then they are. Her mother says she is a young wizard. Able to see if someone if someone is struggling. She applies herself in school and is very smart.

This book follows her life from age 6 to graduation of high
...more
Randi (readsrandiread)
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

𝘒𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘯𝘰 𝘮𝘪𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘭𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘥. 𝘏𝘦𝘳𝘦, 𝘵𝘰𝘥𝘢𝘺, 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴. 𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘶𝘱 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘯𝘰𝘸. 𝘐𝘵 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦𝘯. 𝘐𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘥. 𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺, 𝘪𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧 𝘢 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺. 𝘈 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘨𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶.

A little bit memoir, a little bit magical realism, a lot bit of incredible story telling.
...more
Jess Grover
Can I give this 6 stars? 10?

This is, without any question at all, my new all-time favourite book. Hands down. Absolutely.

This wrecked me. It shattered me into a thousand pieces along decades-old fault lines, and then drew me back together, gathering up even the smallest fragments to be melded whole again. It was magical, surreal, ethereal, raw, harsh, and left me unable to do anything but cry - those sobs that are silent, from some waterfall deep inside, and you feel all wrung-out and
...more
Crystal (Melanatedreader) Forte'
Echo Brown, is a remarkable story of a young girl turned woman. At times my heart broke because she had to resort to making things magical to provide comfort in her own misfortunes. This book covers several hard topics: racism, sexuality, abuse, and gender. Beautifully written, realistic, a must for every black girl combatting any issues she is faced with. I experienced this on audio and loved they way the story was told. Black girl unlimited was funny, quirky, haunting, and thrilling. It gave ...more
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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

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