Vinyl Moon

Crown. Jan. 2022. 176p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593176436.
Gr 8 Up–Angel is uprooted suddenly from her California home after an incident with her boyfriend culminates with her arm in a sling. She is resentful of her mother, Elena, for forcing her to take on the role of the adult at home with her four younger siblings. Elena sends Angel to Brooklyn to live with her Uncle Spence, who provides love and stability when Angel needs it most. In her new school, she is placed with Mrs. G. in H.E.R Advisory, which stands for Her Excellence is Resilience and Honoring Everyone’s Roots. Together the students in the group process their struggles and work towards hope and healing. For Angel, this respite includes reading books by powerful Black writers, such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Jesmyn Ward, and finding that these stories remind her of home. As she explores Brooklyn, the hip-hop history resonates with her and she creates Soundcloud playlists to honor it. The playlists add a lyrical quality to the words she is reading, and the author intertwines the two. Angel’s character continually evolves in this love letter to Brooklyn and hip-hop, told in a candid combination of poetry, prose, and vignettes. She develops new friendships and grows into someone more confident. Brooklyn comes to life via places, food, clothing, and music. All of this results in Angel healing not only her arm, but her soul as she flourishes in her new environment. A content warning is advised for domestic violence.
VERDICT An important asset for all school and library collections.

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