Jacqueline Woodson. This book manages to pack an emotional punch in just under 200 pages.
Following the death of her father August returns to Brooklyn. Returning to Brooklyn is like returning to the past. Returning to Brooklyn brings back a flood of memories. Some were good, some were bad.
Brooklyn was the place where August grew from a child, to a teenager, and finally into a young woman. A place where August, Sylvia, Angela, and Gigi, became close friends. Together they explored Brooklyn and the world beyond their homes. Together they learned to protect each other from the drug addicts, prostitutes, and sexual predators in their neighborhood. Together they found boyfriends. Together they broke up with boyfriends. Together they learned to grow into their own skin. Together they learned to become young women.
Angela, Sylvia, and Gigi were people that August loved dearly. But they weren't enough to fill the void in August's heart. The void left by her mother. August and her brother were always looking for their mother. They believe she'll make it to Brooklyn. Their father knows better, and so does August. But August was in denial. August believes her mother went crazy and her father moved the family from their beloved Tennessee to Brooklyn for their safety. But if August faces reality, she'll realize what really happened to her mother (read the book if you want the answer).
This reads like a poem to Brooklyn. It's not a linear novel, more like one long memory. And that works. Jacqueline Woodson exquisitely captures the innocence, sadness, confusion, and euphoria a person can feel as they grow from a child into an adult. This is the first book by Woodson that I've read, and what a treat this was. Now, I have to make sure I read her last book, Brown Girl Dreaming, as soon as possible!
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) as part of a blog tour with TLC Book Tours.