This is not an easy read. I’d rather warn you sooner than later, so you know what you’re getting into and can decide for yourself if you’re ready for Echo Brown right now.
Part of the reason why this isn’t an easy read is because it’s not easy to be Echo Brown right now. She has past trauma that still haunts her today and keeps her from living life to its fullest. She’s just started university at an Ivy League, and doesn’t feel like she belongs, or like people really want her there. On top of all that, she’s crushing hard on a white boy who she doesn’t think shares her feelings.
Despite the heaviness of the topics and tone, most of the time, I still enjoyed reading about Echo Brown’s new journey. The seriousness of the tone actually made it easier for me to take this character seriously and really believe (and feel) that she is going through a lot and that these issues she is facing are quite serious for her. Whereas some people might say, ‘‘damn, just hire that tutor, Echo, come on!’’, if you really try to understand Echo and where she is coming from, you will have an easier time being patient with her and giving her the time she needs to figure things out and let herself be helped.
At the end of the day, as important as I think the themes discussed here are, I don’t think the magical realism was needed, so I cannot say I loved this story. Magical realism, as a general rule, is a subgenre that spikes my curiosity, and I don’t normally wish to erase it from a story. Unless it’s bad. Unless it distracts from the realism of the storyline quite a bit. Unless it’s not that creative to begin with, just… weird.
I also wish the author or publisher, or anyone, really, had made it clearer that this is a continuation to the author’s BLACK GIRL UNLIMITED, as I had no idea, and perhaps reading that one would have helped understand Echo Brown even better, and the magical realism also.
Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the copy in exchange for a review.