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Saving Savannah

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  387 ratings  ·  85 reviews
The story of an African-American girl becoming a woman on her own terms against the backdrop of widespread social change in the early 1900s America. As a daughter of an upper class African American family in Washington D.C., Savannah is lucky. Feeling suffocated by the structure of society, Savannah meets a working-class girl named Nell who introduces her to the suffragett ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by Bloomsbury YA
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The increase in the number of YA historical novels featuring teens of color at the center, and more specifically, girls of color at the center, is making me so happy to see. Bolden, who is a long-time writer for young people, brings readers to 1919 Washington DC in this story about an upper class black girl who wants nothing more than to make something interesting of her life.

Savannah knows she’s privileged in her wealth. But she’s worried she’ll never do something important or powerful in her l
I read along as I listened to the audio. It was fantastic! Completely immersed in this book. Loved the family and friend dynamic. The history in it is priceless. I’m ordering a copy for my home library today. I have my beautiful copy. It is stunning in person.

I highly recommend. I will now go check out Tonya's backlist of books.

I was given an ARC of this book from Bloombury YA via Edelweiss
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
I was very confused by this book and felt lost majority of the times. There was no linear plot that made me follow along and it confused me as a result.
Jessica | Booked J
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Review can also be found here at Booked J.

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

Such a beautiful story. I'm in awe. Saving Savannah is one of those novels that reminds me why I've always adored a good piece of historical fiction. You can't go wrong with historically based novels when they are portrayed like Saving Savannah. It is simply breathtaking. (
I don't like the writing.

I just don't. Things like

Tall, thin crystal vases topped with white plumes streaming pearls served as sentinel, centerpiece at each of the sea of tables.


He, hair salt and pepper well beyond his temples, in tuxedo with tails, silver vest, high-stand wing-tip collared shirt, top hat.


She paced instead.

The minutes a weight. Time a tease.

It's not that they're bad, but these sentences that aren't complete are bugging the life out of me!!! I just don't like it and it brin
I LOVED this.
I don't agree with the author that anarchists purpose was to bomb stuff. Otherwise, loved this🥰

#BlackLivesMatter collection

Sequel to Inventing Victoria

In 1919 Washington, DC, Savannah Riddle has been raised in luxury as an elite "negro" woman, one of W.E.B. DuBois's "Talented Tenth." Savannah is fed up with the endless round of fancy tea parties, embroidery and mindless chatter. She wants to DO something with her life. If only her mother weren't so overbearing, so cautious, so full of mustn't and ought nots! Yvonne Holloway, Savannah's neighbor and childhood best friend is hurt by Savanna
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Cool and important concept but lots of underdeveloped elements. I am surprised this is marketed as YA when it’s more of a middle grade as far as style and level of detail.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: black-author
3.5 stars

TW: Racially motivated violence & assault
*Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I felt the synopsis made me expect different things from the story which meant I wasn't quite prepared for certain events. This book takes place during the Red Summer in D.C. and we do see part of the violence that happened during that time. I appreciated that because it spurred me onto do more research about that because honestly I'd never heard of the Red Summer before. I also appreciated
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it
*Big thanks to NetGalley for the eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review*

Prior to reading this book I'm sad to say that I knew very little about the events or people in this book. Though the story and specifics are fiction, the author drew from very real events, historic figures, organizations, and politics, much of which is discussed in the author's note at the end of the book. I definitely have more reading to do about this time in history and I'm glad this book has made me aware of
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC! I’ll post a review in late December in advance of the January release.

Updated 1/14/20:

I rate this work at 3.5 stars.

It's great, short historical fiction, but the character reads so much younger than her age. While I see that this fact reflects her naivete, I also found it distracting throughout the novel and expect that YA readers would, too. The character only knows her own experience, and while she becomes - quickly - sympathetic to the expe
Savannah (forest_reader)
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
Saving Savannah takes a close look at America in 1919, particularly with African American social changes. Savannah is a high-born African American struggling to find her place among her race and her high society. Tonya Bolden writes in a lyrical prose full of style and experimentation, which made it both fun to read and confusing at times.

The plot is slow in Saving Savannah. We follow Savannah closely through her thought processes and mini adventures (which are few). In fact, nothing much happen
Dapper Daughter
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
this historical fiction was set in 1919 as the red summer approaches, the begging was a little rough to get through but once she meets Lloyd the 'common boy' the story really evolves. i like all the historical aspects in what was happening around her and they talked about women suffrage the color line and W.E.B Du Bois and it was. just a quite interesting story once you got into it. i loved the small child character Bim he was a little poor kid and very sweet. for kids you should definitely read ...more
Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City
I haven’t read much YA, let alone historical YA novels this year, but Tonya Bolden’s “Saving Savannah” caught my attention with its intriguing synopsis & stunning cover. It was quite different from all the YA books I’ve read before. This was my first novel by Bolden, and I’ve actually never heard of her before this book, which is ridiculous given that she’s an award-winning author who’s authored & co-authored over 40 books! This is an historical YA novel about a teen from an upper-class African ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book takes place in 1919 in a time people are dealing with the end of the Spanish flu and having racism riots. It is extremely sad to be able to compare it to the current situation and find so many similarities.
Savannah is a great main character who becomes very aware of her own privilege as a poc who has enough money. It also has some interesting feminism themes and look at the beautiful cover! I also enjoyed the family and friendship dynamics. It is very interesting to know that it is ins
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
This was delightful. A very interesting premise with a unique snappy writing style; it brought to light a world I might have otherwise overlooked. I would have loved for this to be longer, not because I thought it ended poorly, but because it was set in a period far too interesting and untalked about that more would have been a pleasure to read.
Esmeralda_Lattes And Literature
Although I didn't fall in love with either the writing or characters, I learned a great deal about a small slice of history I previously knew nothing about, major points for unusual setting and historical focus.

All in all, I enjoyed Saving Savannah, I simply did not love it.
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having recently read Martin Sandler’s 1919, I was delighted to discover Savannah Riddle, a 17 year old upper class African American girl, living in Washington DC, finding out who she really wants to be in the year 1919. Race riots, women’s suffrage, labor unions and prohibition are all beginning to boil and Savannah finds herself right in the middle of it all. Beautiful writing. Perfectly paced. Fleshed out characters. I will read all of Tonya Bolden’s books.
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5/5. This book follows Savannah Riddle as she struggles to find her place in society. The book reviews black American history during the red summer (1919). Overall quick read.
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Great story and characters but I did not care for the transitions from a technical standpoint. They were abrupt and jarring.
Natasha Brown
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story of an African-American girl becoming a woman on her own terms against the backdrop of widespread social change in the early 1900s America. As a daughter of an upper-class African American family in Washington D.C., Savannah is lucky. Feeling suffocated by the structure of society, Savannah meets a working-class girl named Nell who introduces her to the suffragette and socialist movements, inspiring her to fight for change.

Saving Savannah is the portrayal of a young African-American wom
I wasn't sure that I was going to finish this title. The beginning of the story was a bit dull, and not until Savannah ventures out of her upscale neighborhood does it begin to pick up steam.

I enjoyed that this story gave voice to an affluent young black girl after the first world war, and was able to highlight a part of history that I hadn't yet encountered in YA fiction.

I am stuck on the fact that the MC's best friend is basically a mop that has been dressed up in human clothing - she has no
Ellie M
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Read In Colour
Jan 08, 2020 rated it liked it
The beautiful cover is what initially drew me in, but the story line kept me. I loved that the author gave readers authentic DC along with authentic historical events of that time. It's rare to read a story with a black protagonist from an upper class background set in the early 1900s. Juxtaposing Savannah and her best friend reminds readers that Savannah had the option to bury her head in the sand and turn a blind eye to the sufferings of the lower and middle class, but chose to be an active pa ...more
Melanie  Marshall
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beyond all else, Bolden truly is a master at presenting (Black) American history to young people.

The story is riveting, though the choice of alternating voice between Savannah (the Black bourgeosie girl who finds revolution) and Yolande (the Black bourgeosie girl who wants to settle into the comfort of her wealth and status) is wildly unbalanced.

The author's note is beautifully done, revealing the intricacies of streets, people and even magazine covers and ads that color the story and Savannah'
Phoenix (Books with Wings)
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(4.7) This book was really good! It was really interesting to learn about this period of time in history because it isn't learned about much but it is, of course, important nonetheless. I found both the very beginning and the very end a little confusing, but other than that this was a very good that is important to read during this time. ...more
Nicki White
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to enjoy it but this historical fiction piece just fell a bit flat for me.
Laura Gardner
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous historical fiction about a young Black girl and her activist journey. Published in 2020 and by #TonyaBolden.
Savannah is a young Black girl living in Washington D.C. in 1919. In the shadow of a worldwide pandemic and the Great War, America is in a time of great turmoil. Savannah’s family is wealthy and has expectations about her future. But Savannah is learning more about the world including the suffrage movement, lynchings, race riots, and the lack of opportunity most Black people e
Jun 22, 2020 rated it liked it
“Think about what you, what I, what we can do to make it better!” 💪

Tonya Bolden’s Saving Savannah is a refreshing historical YA novel. Starring black female protagonist Savannah, the story is set amidst the race riots of 1919 Washington DC. 17-year-old Savannah is wealthy, privileged and fed up with the suffocating world that she inhabits. Over the course of the book, she finds fulfilment in the suffragette and socialist movements and in friendships with those outside of her typical bourgeoisie
Jun 10, 2020 rated it liked it
2.75/5. SAVING SAVANNAH centers a privileged Black young woman in the summer of 1919, particularly during the Washington, DC race riots in July. I found the world the author built to be fascinating and clearly well-researched - this story has not just the 1919 race riots, but so many other things percolating at the time such as suffrage, socialism, communism, the "New Negro" movement, and even a hint of Prohibition to come. It was especially interesting to me as a former DC resident to learn so ...more
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Author and publisher Tonya Wilyce Bolden was born on March 1, 1959, in New York City to Georgia Bolden, a homemaker, and Willie Bolden, a garment center shipping manager. Bolden grew up in Harlem in a musical family and loved to read; she attended Public M.E.S. 146, an elementary school in Manhattan, and then graduated from the Chapin School, a private secondary school, in Manhattan in 1976. Bolde ...more

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