|Calling my name|
Author: Tamani, Liara
Taja Brown, growing up in a conservative and tightly knit African American family, battles family expectations to discover a sense of self and find her unique voice and purpose.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.00
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 198646
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2017 *Starred Review* Through 53 vignettes set in the 1990s, Tamani deftly weaves a story of family, friendship, and identity. Taja Brown lives in Houston with her older brother, Damon; her younger sister, Naima; and her thoughts. Living with devout Christian parents, Taja must figure out how to navigate “movements” she feels that bring her closer to God but aren’t her parents’ kind of religion. She grows up through crushes, first kisses, and losing her virginity to her first boyfriend, even after her parents give them both purity rings. Later, she denies to a friend that she is no longer a virgin and grapples with feelings of shame and guilt. Taja also questions why Damon thinks it’s OK to call girls “easy”; why he can have his own phone line but her dad says “that’s just the way it is” when she asks why she can’t have her own; and the weight of societal pressures put on girls and women. Although Taja thinks often about the unspoken rules and misogyny of African American religious culture (Sister Davis has to wear “looser skirts, lighter lipstick, and panty hose” if she wants to continue reading church announcements), she doesn’t publicly challenge them with her friends or family members. An excellent portrayal of African American culture, gorgeous lyrical prose, strong characters, and societal critique make Tamani’s debut a must-read. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2017 Gr 9 Up—This lush debut novel is written in distinct prose that reads like poetry. The coming-of-age tale follows the journey of Taja Brown. Readers are introduced to Taja when she is 11 years old, and continue follow her story through the end of high school. She struggles to maintain her relationship with God in her close-knit and religious community in Houston, Texas while still exploring sex without shame. Each chapter is a short vignette, giving teens a peek into the girl's progression into adolescence. Tamani's writing taps all of the senses; readers will taste and smell Taja's stifling world. Taja is a quirky character filled with wonder and subtle subversion, surrounded by an ensemble of characters and a setting that is oppressively narrow. Young adults will connect with this protagonist and this dynamic new voice. Fans of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas will especially love this lyrical novel. VERDICT A tender story that will make a great selection in any library collection.—Christina Vortia, Hype Lit, Land O'Lakes, FL - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.