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Vinyl Moon
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A teen girl hiding the scars of a past relationship finds home and healing in the words of strong Black writers. A beautiful sophomore novel from a critically acclaimed author and poet that explores...
A teen girl hiding the scars of a past relationship finds home and healing in the words of strong Black writers. A beautiful sophomore novel from a critically acclaimed author and poet that explores...
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  • A teen girl hiding the scars of a past relationship finds home and healing in the words of strong Black writers. A beautiful sophomore novel from a critically acclaimed author and poet that explores how words have the power to shape and uplift our world even in the midst of pain.
    "A true embodiment of the term Black Girl Magic.” –Booklist
     
    When Darius told Angel he loved her, she believed him. But five weeks after the incident, Angel finds herself in Brooklyn, far from her family, from him, and from the California life she has known.
     
    Angel feels out of sync with her new neighborhood. At school, she can’t shake the feeling everyone knows what happened—and that it was her fault. The only place that makes sense is Ms. G’s class. There, Angel’s classmates share their own stories of pain, joy, and fortitude. And as Angel becomes immersed in her revolutionary literature course, the words from Black writers like Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and Zora NEale Hurston speak to her and begin to heal the wounds of her past.
    This stunning novel weaves together prose, poems, and vignettes to tell the story of Angel, a young woman whose past was shaped by domestic violence but whose love of language and music and the gift of community grant her the chance to find herself again.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    Hello, Brooklyn . . . Goodbye, California

    First day of school. East Coast. Brooklyn. And it’s like I’ve never been alive like this before. I walk into Benjamin Banneker and the security guard asks me for my student ID. “It’s—it’s my first day,” I stutter. Not because I’m afraid. But because I’m confused. I’ve never had to have ID to come onto a school campus before. This is real different than California. But after that weird night with my ex-boyfriend, Darius, my mom (she who I now call Elena) drove away with me in the front seat, tears falling down her eyes as she whimpered, “You’re moving to Brooklyn with your uncle Spence.” 

    I was too numb to answer, my throat was a sea of sandpaper and I couldn’t even cry. My eyes almost swollen closed from the fight that found me and Darius sprawled out on the hood of his Chevy Impala in the school parking lot, is all I can think of. All over some dumb argument during a school basketball game. So, when I mix my words, I think it makes me look guilty. I mean, it’s my fault Darius got in trouble, right? 

    “Go to the left,” the security guard directs me. He has a tapered fade and black-rimmed glasses. He is almost frowning at me. Maybe he thinks it’s my fault too?

      

    Principal’s Office Chairs Are the Worst 

    I walk into the office with the glass door covered by brightly colored flyers about the next PTA meeting, the importance of recycling, and something about an open mic night. I am a little surprised there is no bell to signal my arrival, but when the door recoils with a loud prison-door thud, I realize that is the signal itself. I sit in the first empty chair I see. The room is quartered off by a long plank of buffed wood, and there are metal baskets lined up against the wall with last names in front of them. Bernette, Chambers, Elliot, Frederick . . . I am reading the names silently when a brown-skinned woman with a yellow-printed headwrap and glasses latched to a golden chain around her neck walks into the office, where more mailboxes line the wall next to a vase of sunflowers that look back at me. Golden globes of light, Mom—I mean, Elena used to call them. They were her favorite. 

    My back and arm begin to ache. I blame these stupid chairs. You know the ones with wooden seats and cushioned backs? Like, who does that? Who wants to sit on something that looks like I promise to hurt your ass, but your back is going to be nice and comfy! I feel like it’s a form of punishment, these chairs from medieval times. The woman with the African-print kaftan and headwrap looks me up and down and smiles. 

    “You must be Angel. It’s so good to meet you! I’m Mrs. Barton. I’m the assistant to Principal Stern. You want some tea?” Mrs. Barton opens the cupboard, and it closes so quick I almost confuse it with the loud spring of the front office door.

    “Hi, Mrs. Barton.” I stand up slowly, reaching out to shake her hand with my left hand, the one hand that is still swollen but is not in the shoulder sling. She grabs my hand with both of hers lightly and squeezes. “No, I’m not thirsty,” I say. “Thank you.” 

    “You can call me Mrs. B. I’m so glad you made it! We’ve been waiting for you,” she says, and it almost sounds like a song. “Let me know if you need anything, okay? I’ve got your class schedule here. Your temporary student ID.” She walks back to a stack of papers and grabs a pale-yellow folder. “I thought we could wait a bit for...

About the Author-

  • Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer, and educator: executive director of Bowery Poetry Club, artistic director of Urban Word NYC, poetry coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research, and Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, and Black Girl Magic. As the founder of the diverse lit initiative Woke Baby Book Fair, Browne is excited to release her newest poetry collection responding to the impact of mass incarceration on women and children: I Remember Death by Its Proximity to What I Love. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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