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A Phoenix First Must Burn

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncés Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butlers heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will
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. Theyre short stories so some have romance at the center, and for others the character is in a…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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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Lala BooksandLala


It's official, this is one of my most anticipated releases of 2020!
Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
Well, I tried. Ive enjoyed maybe two YA anthologies but I just keep trying new ones despite that. I read 6 stories before I decided this wasnt the collection for me. I think any other year I might have pushed through, but I genuinely only liked one story I read (Elizabeth Acevedos) and one of my goals in 2020 was to be more willing to dnf the stuff that isnt holding my interest.

I think plenty of people will like this, particularly if youre a fan of anthologies, but this wasnt for me.
Rose Angelus
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.
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
Jun 17, 2019 marked it as tbr-collect
Have you ever seen a cover as gorgeous?
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
Ive 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 ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rec-It Rachel
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
patrice's story is my favorite
Jun 17, 2019 marked it as to-read
*sees author names*
*sees ibi zoboi, Dhonielle Clayton, among others*
*hones in on Elizabeth Acevedo*
Elvina Zafril
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
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 didnt quite attractive. I
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, youll 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-literary ...more
faith ✨
This whole concept of black gender non-conforming teens is basically me and I'm so fucking here for it, so N E E D.

Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram
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
Murderous unicorns, transforming dragons, many types of Black witches, Black queer vampires, and so much more!
♛ Cameron ♛
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I am in complete awe of this cover. The girl is so pretty! The colors! The swooshing hair! The title! My poor gay heart cant take much more. Also the whole premise behind this is a collection is black girl magic. I couldnt add this to my TBR sooner. I really loved some of the stories, especially Elizabeth Acevedos, yet I do think some of the other stories didnt quite engage me. Considering this is an anthology collection, Im not surprised about my overall thoughts on the book being average.

I admit up front that as a white, cis gender, middle age woman, I am probably not the main target audience for this book. However, I love #OwnVoices stories and I love fantasy/sci-fi. I'm a history buff and I've always thought that the strongest American is the Black woman - she who has endured so much, yet her story is rarely told. So, I was looking forward to reading this collection. Sadly, this book was a really uneven read for me. Several of the short stories were gripping and I just ...more
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Each story was captivating and filled with a gorgeous story, unique in every way possible. My one complaint is over my sense of frustration when each story ended. I know they're short stories, but I wanted more. I would absolutely read a full length novel or series of each plot. All authors are being added to my TBR.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Thank you to Bookish First and Penguin Teen for sending me an ARC of this book! Any quotes I use are coming from this, which is an uncorrected text, and may not be what appears in the final version of the book. All thoughts of the book are my own and have not been influenced by me receiving this ARC!

Overall, I think this book was good! Some stories definitely stand out more than others, but I expect that would be the case with any collection of short stories. Another big
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**Thank you again @bookishfirst and @penguinteen for this fantastic arc!!!**

I loved this book from beginning to end!!!! This was truly inspiring for me, a young black female, whom is working on my own novels. I have never felt proudly represented in so many fantasy stories and am truly grateful for the 16 writer's coming together to offer this gem.

My heart feels so full with all of the Black Girl Magic this book offered. I did not want the stories to end and could not get enough of the stories
Melissa Anderson
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this anthology. From witches to vampires, aliens and future technologies, this book has it all. Every story is told by a black woman or girl. Some stories feature LGBTQ main characters. A collection of diverse stories. Obviously some of the stories appealed to me more than others. That's usually the way of short story collections. I loved Gilded. A story about a witch and slave with the power to speak with and control metals. It was such a beautifully told story. A story about revolution ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I entered & won this as a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. I entered the giveaway because this book seemed interesting. I'm a white chick but I enjoy diverse reading. This book contained a variety of fantasy and sci fi short stories which were compelling and centered around diverse storylines and charachters. There is a wide variety of well known authors and a treasure of short stories representing strong POC women characters. There is a wide variety of character types ...more
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
*3.5 Stars
Now, I have not read a book of short stories since childhood. Like literally the last time I read a book of short stories I think I was 10. So just keep that in mind as you read this review.
I liked most of the stories in this novel; I had a hard time understanding a few of them but most were really nice and definitely all were uplifting. I also really liked the concept of the novel and I also feel it comes at a really good time. Right now tons of books with African descended girls as
Ariel [She Wants the Diction]
I'm halfway through this book and have decided it's just not for me.

I know, I know! A breathtaking cover. A title borrowed directly from Octavia Butler's Parable of the Talents. "Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic... A stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals."

I mean, this ticks literally all my boxes. How could I possibly not like it?!

Well, for starters, I'm
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A PHOENIX FIRST MUST BURN is YA fantasy, sci-fi, and magic meets Lemonade. This collection might be the best anthology Ive ever read. What's great about PHOENIX is that there are stories for everyone! Fan of sci-fi will enjoy Amerie and J. Marcelle Corrie's contributions. Love historically-inspired fantasy? Elizabeth Acevedo, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Somaiya Daud (I will absolutely add the latter's piece to my syllabi on the Middle East) have you covered! Danny Lore and Ibi Zoboi have outstanding ...more
Stephanie Bange
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle says it all for this one: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope.

Edited by Patrice Caldwell, each of these sixteen short stories demonstrates the power, resiliency, and determination of the lead female character. An intriguing introduction by Caldwell sets the tone for this collection, which has a little something for many reading genres, including LGBT+.

The list of authors includes Amerie (a sci-fi account with a lemon-y twist), Elizabeth Acevedo (a tale of a
Tiffani Reads
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars after averaging ratings from all the stories.

I really enjoyed this book and thought a lot of the stories were amazing, there were only 3 that I was didn't really enjoy. Ratings for each story a quick thoughts below!

- When Life Hands You a Lemon Fruitbomb by Amerie - 4/5 stars
- This was such a cool concept

- Gilded by Elizabeth Acevedo - 3/5 stars
- I wanted more magic, less romance

- Wherein Abigail Fields Recalls Her First Death & Subsequently, Her Best Life by Rebecca Roanhorse -
Let's give it up for short story collections. Let's also give it up for black girl magic. Literally, black girl magic. The impetus for pulling together this fabulous group of authors to write magical stories rooted in history, tradition, or vampirism is all in celebration of being seen.

The vibe of the book starts with the breathtaking cover and each story has something different to offer. I can see Caldwell's efforts in organization and her short story "Letting the Right One In" is actually one
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Patrice Caldwell is a graduate of Wellesley College and the founder & fundraising chair of People of Color in Publishinga 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 childrens book editor before shifting to being a literary agent at Howard Morhaim ...more

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