Warnings (mentioned by author in book): Mental illness (bipolar), blood use in magic, gun violence, war, colonialism, racism, descriptions of dead bodies, mention of reproductive coercion, mentions of torture, mention of suicide Heidi Heilig has created a piece of art that is multi-faceted in characters, writing structures and plot points. Within this she has interwoven an own voice struggle as a bipolar woman through the main character, Jetta, who simply refers to it as her malheur, the french word for misfortune. Heilig discusses writing a bipolar heroine at the end of the book. She balances writing Jetta's manic highs driving her family's successful shadow plays, her ability to defend herself and control spirits through necromancy. However, it also causes rash decisions and leads to actions that harms herself and those she cares the most about. This comes with the depressive lows where she withdraws, panics and sleeps due to the exhaustion of fighting it all because of a driving resilience, intelligence and need to not have her malheur define who she is nor her life.
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani interlaces coming of age rituals, best friends and foreshadowing to set-up the fictional retelling of 2014's terrorist raid of a Nigerian village based on the stories of those women that survived.
Fresh Ink is an anthology of “twelve label-defying” stories. For those familiar with Point-of-View short story works that have recently come out, Fresh Ink is not centered on a central plot point. For instance, it isn’t the same as Feral Youth by Shaun David Hutchinson (a fantastic read if you get the chance). Edited by the co-founder of We Need Diverse Books, Lamar Giles, the anthology includes topics on coming out, poverty, untimely death, transitioning and romance. I am not going to go through every story, but I am going to talk about my favorites without giving too much away. Dedicated to the late, great Walter Dean Myers, I am going to leave Tags for last.