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A Phoenix First Must Burn

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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  873 ratings  ·  269 reviews
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will
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ebook, 368 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Patrice Caldwell Hii!! Lots of romance! Nothing more than kissing. They’re short stories so some have romance at the center, and for others the character is in a roman…moreHii!! Lots of romance! Nothing more than kissing. They’re short stories so some have romance at the center, and for others the character is in a romantic relationship but it’s not the main story. And then some have no romance at all as we wanted a range!(less)

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Average rating 4.07  · 
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megs_bookrack
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: The World
One of my most anticipated YA books of 2020 and it did not disappoint.

Definitely one of the most unique anthologies I have ever read.



A Phoenix First Must Burn features 16-short stories full of super diverse SFF elements, black girl magic and lyrical storytelling.

This is a book everyone should be reading right now!!!




I always find it difficult to review anthologies. As with any anthology, there were definitely some stories I enjoyed more than others.

However, with this being said, there is somet
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celeste
Jun 20, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
As a black teen I am so lucky to be growing up in an age where I can be seen in literature. Where my face isn't the side character or the punchline. Where I don't have to hide behind the faces of white teens living lives I know I can. I want everyone to read this. Black, white, asian, native american,
and hispanic. Let our voices be heard. Read our stories. A phoenix first must burn, but when we rise we rise together. Everyone should have this on their TBR's.
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Well, I tried. I’ve enjoyed maybe two YA anthologies but I just keep trying new ones despite that. I read 6 stories before I decided this wasn’t the collection for me. I think any other year I might have pushed through, but I genuinely only liked one story I read (Elizabeth Acevedo’s) and one of my goals in 2020 was to be more willing to dnf the stuff that isn’t holding my interest.

I think plenty of people will like this, particularly if you’re a fan of anthologies, but this wasn’t for me.
faith ✨
🍋 read this review and others on my blog, pages left unread

WE'RE NOT GONNA TALK ABOUT IT (yes we are . . .).

So, A Phoenix First Must Burn is a YA speculative fiction anthology centered around Black girls, and I’ve been anticipating ever since spring of last year. But it was thankfully released late this March and was able to get my hands on a finished copy of it, and since I was so excited to read it the only right choice concerning this would to be review it here and shout about it as much as I
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Ms. Woc Reader
"In order to rise from it's own ashes, a Phoenix first must burn"- Octavia Butler

I've been hyping this book since February 2019 and I wanted an arc as soon as I saw them circulating. Thank you Penguin Teen for giving me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Anthologies can be so hit and miss and I had yet to read one I really enjoyed so I was a little nervous going into this. But I was excited to read because I follow so many of these authors on social media but had yet to read their work. A s
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Julie
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This anthology is solid gold! My favorite stories are (in no particular order):

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU A LEMON FRUITBOMB by Amerie
THE RULES OF THE LAND by Alaya Dawn Johnson
LETTING THE RIGHT ONE IN by Patrice Caldwell
ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD by Charlotte Nicole Davis
THE WITCH'S SKIN by Karen Strong
Sahitya
I’ve only read Kindred by Octavia Butler but I can totally see how much of an influence she must have had on budding readers and writers, especially young Black woman and I thought this collection of stories was a fitting tribute to her. Mostly fantastical tales with a bit of sci-fi and dystopia thrown in, these stories take their inspirations from various different cultures, folklores, historical as well as contemporary events and give us a glimpse of the different ways in which young Black wom ...more
Stephanie
Six stories in, this is most definitely my favorite f/sf anthology I've read since A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. The focus is on stories full of empowerment and magic, and the title comes from a really powerful Octavia Butler quote (from The Parable of the Talents): "In order to rise from its own ashes, a phoenix first must burn."

The first story, "When Life Hands You a Lemon Fruitbomb," by Amerie, is a thought-provoking SF adventure. The second story, "Gilded," by Elizabeth Acevedo, is a s
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Bethany
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Phoenix First Must Burn offers a collection of speculative short stories from a diverse group of Black women and gender non-binary authors. The stories range from high fantasy to urban fantasy, historical fantasy, and science fiction, all centering Black girls. Themes include love, family, oppression, standards of beauty, and structural racism, among others. I think it is well worth picking up. I generally enjoyed my time with the collection and thought all of the stories were good, even if I ...more
Kelsea
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, favorites, reviewed
Those of us who enjoy short story anthologies know how hit and miss they can be. It's a rare treasure to find one that's brimming with well-written, powerful, moving stories, beautiful descriptions, and a cohesive theme.

Imagine my delight to find exactly all of those things in A Phoenix First Must Burn! It's an anthology of sixteen #ownvoices stories "that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic." EVERY SINGLE STORY in this anthology was worth reading!!

A few espe
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Danni Darkowitz
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 STARS!

I haven't read an anthology in a long time and though I enjoyed 6 out of the 16 stories in this book, some of the stories seemed like the same ones being told over and over. But I would still recommend it, especially for my two favorite stories "Gilded" and "Melie", I need full on novels for those stories ASAP. :)
Rec-It Rachel
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
patrice's story is my favorite
Drewthereader20
This was really good and it took me 3 days for me to read this one! Review to come once I write all of my raitings down inside my book on a sticky note!(:
Kate (GirlReading)
3.5* As it usually goes with anthologies, there was a mix of hits and misses within this collection but overall this was a very solid collection of fantasy short stories.

However, The necessity and importance of this being collection of stories exploring the Black experience (with many stories also starring LGBTQIAP+ characters) is paramount and Patrice's indroduction only solidified this.

My favourite story from the collection has to be Justina Irelands, which filled me with so much joy. But I a
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Andy
This was a wonderful anthology! The only thing that bothered me was that in the summary this claims to center gender non-conforming individuals, but there was only one non-binary character (and they weren't even the narrator) so I'm confused to as why it's marketed that way. Almost all of the characters do their best to smash the patriarchy though, which I wholeheartedly approve of.

Each of these stories had some kind of magic to offer. I enjoyed every single one of them. But a couple faves dese
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Becca
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthologies are always difficult to review because I find the stories in them so hit and miss! For me this book had stories that I didn't want to end and stories that were difficult to get into. It's a mixture of modern and historical, fantasy and science fiction.

It opens strongly with a story about aliens and time, which definitely blew me away. The second story I loved was about a sorcerer's apprentice who realises her master isn't what he seems (very sexisit). My favourite was a cute romance
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Kimberly
I love this collection of short stories - sci-fi and fantasy written by Black women with Black women and gender expansive individuals at the center of them! This book is perfect for fans of speculative fiction, and for those checking out the genre for the first time. There is something for everyone is this collection - vampires, witches, goddesses, time and space travel, revolution, broken hearts, queer love, magic, and super-human abilities. Several of the stories left me wanting more (especial ...more
Cora Tea Party Princess
Excellent!

Review to come.
Sierra Elmore
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-reads
Loved this! Favorite stories:
🖤 GILDED by Elizabeth Acevedo
🖤 WHEN ABIGAIL FIELDS RECALLS HER FIRST DEATH.... by Rebecca Roanhorse
🖤 LETTING THE RIGHT ONE IN by Patrice Caldwell
🖤 TENDER-HEADED by Danny Lore
🖤 KISS THE SUN by Ibi Zoboi
Dana✨
Jun 17, 2019 marked it as to-read
*sees author names*
*sees ibi zoboi, Dhonielle Clayton, among others*
*hones in on Elizabeth Acevedo*
SHIT MATE I NEED THIS NOW.
Julia971
As a big fan of Butler's work, I am beyond happy I found this book (it was recommended to me).

The stories are brief but intense, significant, pleasant.
Ekene
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well I’ll be damned.

I actually found an analogy that I actually like 😂

Then again, based on the premise, based on summary, based on the writers part of this project, it was bound to stand out from others and deliver.

It was really good. There were stories I loved more than stories. Stories I seriously want to be made into full-length books, including a cool vampire one.
Completely Melanie
I give this a 3.75. I enjoyed it. There were some stories that I could have read an entire book of and there were other stories that I could have done without.
Shijia
It's 4:32 am and i am so shooketh right now...


RTC!
Renata
This is a really strong anthology! Particular favs: Justina Ireland's story of a rad fat sorceress, Patrice Caldwell's story of a teen vampire enthusiast who gets a taste of the real deal, and Charlotte Nicole Davis's story of a girl who realizes that the shitty toxic water on her side of town has given her supernatural abilities that the wealthy white kids at her private school don't have.
Lisa Mandina
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very excited to read it because of all the hype around it, as well as how I believe it is something perfect for the students at my school.

Overall it was a really good book. As to be expected, there were some stories that worked more for me than others. Here are my thoughts over the stories:

The first story was When Life Hands you a Lemon Fruitbomb by Amerie. I did really like the story, although it had a bit of a jump at the beginning of the story that was a bit confusing based on how it wa
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Elvina Zafril
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: pansing
A Phoenix Must First Burn is a collection of 16 short stories about the Black experience. First of all, I would like to say the cover of this book really is pretty!

Have you ever read a book that is diverse? What I mean is features a lot of things in one book? For example, this book has fairytales, folktales and retellings. It also touches on topics such as love and betrayal, strength and resistance.

I enjoyed reading some of the short stories. But some of them didn’t quite attractive. I especial
...more
Luke Reynolds
A solid collection of fantasy and science fiction with Black power and great representation across a multitude of eras, genres, and prose styles.

"When Life Hands You a Lemon Fruitbomb" by Amerie-3 out of 5 stars: A teen girl attempts to secure the safety of her and her uncle in an underground village by applying for a mission that will allow her to survey and study the orcs that took over Earth. But her friend Santos reveals that not all is as it seems, and the crew has transported to the start
...more
Brandie Bridges
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book was more than what I expected. Each story in this book brought out many elements what what women go through on a regular basis regarding beauty, putting yourself first before any man, being comfortable in your own skin (loving yourself whether you are dark skinned or light skinned complexed), realizing that just because society says thats how you should be does not mean you have to listen, etc (do not need to follow the status quo). I fell in love with this book and I highly recommend ...more
Adriana Martinez Figueroa
A Phoenix First Must Burn is a short story collection of speculative Young Adult fiction centered around “Black Girl Magic,” as most of the marketing and even cover boast. Inside, you’ll find one of the queerest, gender-defying, and greatest celebration of Blackness and the legacy of one of the grandest in speculative fiction: Octavia Butler. The collection runs the gamut between science fiction, mythological retelling, and fantasy, all handpicked by ex-Disney-Hyperion editor and now-literar ...more
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Patrice Caldwell is a graduate of Wellesley College and the founder & fundraising chair of People of Color in Publishing–a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members of the book publishing industry. Born and raised in Texas, Patrice was a children’s book editor before shifting to being a literary agent at Howard Morhaim L ...more

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