Saturday, January 30, 2021

Five fantasy heroines that fight systems of oppression

J. Elle was born in Houston, Texas, and is a first-generation college student with a bachelor’s in journalism and MA in educational administration and human development. An advocate for marginalized voices in both publishing and her community, J. Elle’s passion for empowering youth dates back to her first career in education. She’s worked as a preschool director, middle school teacher, and high school creative writing mentor. In her spare time, she volunteers at an alternative school, provides feedback for aspiring writers, loves on her three littles, and cooks up dishes true to her Texas and Louisiana roots. Wings of Ebony is her first novel.

At she tagged five favorite fantasy heroines that fight systems of oppression, including:
Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis (2021)

Favorite line: “I don’t have the luxury of being a good person.”

Bad Witch Burning is a YA contemporary about Katrell, a Black teen battling poverty, who can talk to the dead. She starts a side business to make money, allowing people to commune with her loved ones for a bit of change. But when she accidentally raises someone from the dead, she sees a shiny new way to upgrade her hustle (read: make a lot more money). But, the deeper she leans into her new gig the more she realizes all that costs—that to truly change her she might have to confront the darkness in herself.

This book is a game changing read. Katrell isn’t the typical sword wielding heroine taking on the system. And that’s my favorite part of this book. This is a keenly perceptive YA debut explores the adultification of teen Black girls, mental health, domestic abuse, all wrapped up in a thrilling page-turner about a Black teen in a fight for her life against a product of systemic oppression: poverty. Lewis seamlessly blends fantasy elements in a contemporary setting with a voice that makes you sit up in your seat. There are horror elements but accessible for non-horror readers. There’s necromancy, revenants. This book is haunting, but not just in the way you might think. Contemporary readers, fantasy lovers, horror and gothic STANs, this book is your next obsession. You will be up all night, compelled to devour it in one sitting.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue