A Taste of Honey: Stories
By Jabari Asim
Broadway Books, March 2010, $13
Nine-year-old Crispus Jones is a bright young lad who guides readers through the lively adventures of his family and the people of Gateway City during 1967 in this collection of 18 interconnected stories. Author Jabari Asim, editor-in-chief of The Crisis, makes his fiction debut with stories such as “I’d Rather Go Blind,” Something Like God,” and “Zombies.” Asim shows a gift for creating encouraging, humorous and nostalgic portraits of Black life. The stories, here, about a small community and its citizens, young and old, are delightfully and poignantly rendered as they deal with adolescence, police brutality, domestic abuse and first-time romance just as the Civil Rights Movement is reaching its peak.
From Cape Town with Love
By Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes
Atria Books, May 2010, $25
The story line of the third installment of the Tennyson Hardwick series could have come straight from a celebrity-inspired news story. Ten Hardwick, a struggling actor/former escort/private detective, travels to South Africa with the intentions to win back a former girlfriend; however, that just doesn’t happen. He then takes a job as a bodyguard to an American actress who has come to South Africa to adopt a child, and soon after he’s on a case of kidnapping. In this high-energy story of international adoption and espionage, the team of Underwood, Due and Barnes has once again crafted a suspenseful story with their energetic sharpness and pulsating action.
By Ernessa T. Carter
Amistad/HarperCollins, June 2010, $24.99
First-time novelist Ernessa T. Carter has created a quirky and likable character in Davidia “Davie” Jones. “It’s life. And it’s hard. Even when it looks easy, it’s hard,” Davie exclaims. Growing up in Glass, Mississippi, was no real joy for the young girl who thought of herself as “ugly” and having a mother who is far from being a loving and nurturing woman. To cope with life’s unpleasantness, Davie finds solace in the teen comedy Sixteen Candles. She later leaves her small town and moves to California where she becomes a glamorous nightclub singer, only to come face to face with a painful part of her past.
By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
Washington Square Press, April 2010, $15
Lila’s mother is determined to keep her young daughter from “being spoiled” by some young boy. Under the pretense that she “needs a break,” Lila’s mother sends her off from their home in London to stay with Lila’s aunt in Ghana. Brew-Hammond’s debut novel is a fresh coming-of-age story about a young girl who, after adjusting to her new surroundings, learns the meaning of friendship and becomes aware of one’s self as she tries to fit in with both her peers and—even though with some challenges—her family.
In My Father’s House
By E. Lynn Harris
St. Martin’s Press, June 2010, $24.99
Business just might turn around for the better for Bentley Dean, as he agrees to furnish a few models as eye candy for a private event that could lift his Picture Perfect Modeling Agency out of its financial troubles. But as with most deals that sound too good to be true, unexpected consequences are not far behind. Though the book adds messages about love and family, the plot would not be complete without Harris’s trademark soap opera-like intimacies. In My Father’s House is one of the last books Harris had completed before his death in 2009.