YA Reads for Black History Month (and Beyond!): Daughters of Jubilation and Ain’t Burned All the Bright

Posted February 23, 2022 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Reviews / 6 Comments

Today, I’m focusing on YA books with Black protagonists for Black History Month, but these books are great reads any time! In addition to those two reviews, scroll down to see one other book recommendation as well. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction.

YA Reads for Black History Month (and Beyond!): Daughters of Jubilation and Ain’t Burned All the BrightDaughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 13, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: The Publisher
Cover Artist: Bernadette Newberry
My content rating: YA (Violence, Sexual Assault, Racism, Language)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Follow a black teen as she finds her place among a family of women gifted with magical abilities.
In the Jim Crow South, white supremacy reigns and tensions are high. But Evalene Deschamps has other things to worry about. She has two little sisters to look after, an overworked single mother, and a longtime crush who is finally making a move.

On top of all that, Evvie’s magic abilities are growing stronger by the day. Her family calls it jubilation—a gift passed down from generations of black women since the time of slavery. And as Evvie’s talents waken, something dark comes loose and threatens to resurface…

And when the demons of Evvie’s past finally shake free, she must embrace her mighty lineage, and summon the power that lies within her.


Daughters of Jubilation is a story of power and the ways it can be wielded for both good and evil. Having grown up in the Jim Crow era, Evvie knows what powerlessness feels like and she isn’t willing to just sit back and wallow in it. Luckily, she has magic on her side. But as Evvie’s powers grow stronger, she struggles to figure out boundaries: When is using her magic against someone justified, and just how far is too far? Suspense is built when Evvie realizes she’s being stalked by a mysterious man who she eventually realizes has ties to her past–a past she doesn’t want to remember. And another surprising character shows up in Evvie’s dreams and adds a uniquely unexpected element to the story that I won’t spoil. (Though, I will say it makes me wonder if there are more books planned in this world…) Daughters explores difficult topics, including sexual assault and extreme racism that turns brutal, so it can be a tough read in some parts, but at its heart it’s a story of strength and resilience. I highly recommend this powerful read!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

YA Reads for Black History Month (and Beyond!): Daughters of Jubilation and Ain’t Burned All the BrightAin't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds
Illustrator: Jason Griffin
Published by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books on January 11, 2022
Genres: Verse, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: MG/YA (Depicts some violence, but not directly)
My rating:
5 Stars

Prepare yourself for something unlike anything: A smash-up of art and text for teens that viscerally captures what it is to be Black. In America. Right Now. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Jason Reynolds.

Jason Reynolds and his best bud, Jason Griffin had a mind-meld. And they decided to tackle it, in one fell swoop, in about ten sentences, and 300 pages of art, this piece, this contemplation-manifesto-fierce-vulnerable-gorgeous-terrifying-WhatIsWrongWithHumans-hope-filled-hopeful-searing-Eye-Poppingly-Illustrated-tender-heartbreaking-how-The-HECK-did-They-Come-UP-with-This project about oxygen. And all of the symbolism attached to that word, especially NOW.

And so for anyone who didn’t really know what it means to not be able to breathe, REALLY breathe, for generations, now you know. And those who already do, you’ll be nodding yep yep, that is exactly how it is.


Ain’t Burned All the Bright is a single poem told through both words and art, illustrating what it feels like to be Black in America today. I don’t know that you could call it a verse novel, since it’s just three (very extended) sentences long, but it definitely tells a powerful story. Set with the news of George Floyd in the background and the realities of COVID in the foreground—or, at least, in the other room—the poem relays the experiences of one Black family living through the turmoil of 2020 and ponders what it really means to breathe. Reynold’s verse is gorgeous and complex. The collage-style artwork is incredibly compelling, even when it veers into the realm of the abstract. Reading this book is an immersive experience that shouldn’t be missed!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

Those are my two reviews for today, but I also want to recommend…

YA Reads for Black History Month (and Beyond!): Daughters of Jubilation and Ain’t Burned All the BrightLegendborn by Tracy Deonn
Series: The Legendborn Cycle #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on September 15, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 501

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so-called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.


Check out my review of Legendborn here! And watch for the sequel, Bloodmarked, which is coming out in November!


That’s it for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think?
I wanna know!


6 responses to “YA Reads for Black History Month (and Beyond!): Daughters of Jubilation and Ain’t Burned All the Bright

  1. Daughters of Jubilation sounds really fascinating, and that cover is stunning! And I hadn’t heard of Ain’t Burned All the Bright before, but that sounds like a really powerful mixed media book. I’ll have to see if my library has a copy.

    I second the Legendborn recommendation! I really enjoyed that one.

    Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits recently posted: FO Friday: Shukriya Cowl

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.