Black Girl Unlimited

Black Girl Unlimited

The Remarkable Story of A Teenage Wizard

Book - 2020
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From age six through her high school valedictory speech, believing she and her mother are wizards helps young Echo cope with poverty, hunger, her mother's drug abuse, and much more.
Publisher: New York :, Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Company,, 2020
Edition: First edition
Description: 294 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9781250309853
Branch Call Number: TEEN Brow


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Jul 21, 2021

This was an emotionally difficult book to get through but it was definitely worth it. This book covers Echo's journey of trauma and healing, racism, colorism, misogynoir, sa, drug addiction, and the spiritual struggle to survive it all. I love the style this is written in, it is really masterful work. It is very honest and very compassionate and very impactful. With a few similar traumatic experiences, this book helped in the processing of those experiences. Bless the author for this work, truly.

IndyPL_TammieB Mar 12, 2021

This is a heartbreaking book of trauma, injustice and pain. The book does not shy away from the hard content – sexual assault, drugs, gangs, rape, abuse…. It all comes into play. Echo faces systemic wrongs as well as personal wrongs and she is resilient through them all. She beats the odds of racism, colorism, poverty, depression, sexism, addiction, and misogyny to find success. This book has “healing power for all readers to break the chains of intergenerational pain and trauma.”—Donald Peebles, Brooklyn Public Library

LPL_MaryW Aug 13, 2020

Black Girl Unlimited is a very special book. Part memoir, part magic, it follows author Echo Brown as she grows up in Cleveland, her experiences seamlessly interspersed with magic and spirituality. She evolves, from viewing herself as a "beast" to realizing her purpose, that she is unlimited from beginning to end. This book speaks so clearly the unique struggles of black women, and brings to light that they may be the most persecuted of all. Not to mention, the cover art is incredible.

Trigger warning: rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse

Mar 23, 2020

Less a book and more a transformative experience. As someone who has survived sexual trauma, I thought it's depiction, was graceful, eloquent, and profound. This book also dug into characters many would consider irredeemable, and while it does not redeem them, it does explain them. This book also approached systematic oppression in a well thought out way, touching upon less commonly acknowledged aspects of the centuries long struggle for equal footing. A touching and evocative work, I would recommend this to everyone - though the content warnings should absolutely be heeded.

Tigard_HollyCP Feb 24, 2020

I’m not usually one for a book full of symbolism. I like to read the book, enjoy the plot and characters and setting, and not think much beyond what is communicated in black and white on the page. But this story of a black girl raised by addicts in poverty and remaining resilient despite her upbringing is full of symbolism, and it worked for me. The first chapter toggles between scenes of 6-year-old Echo currently in a burning apartment with her mother passed out on the bathroom floor, and moments in the past leading up to now. The first sentence in this book of magical realism establishes that her mother is a wizard, but it is not until the reader is far into the book that you really understand what that means. Much of the feeling throughout the book is dream-like, and reality is unclear. The author tackles many very difficult experiences including poverty, addiction, rape, discrimination, depression, suicidal ideation, juvenile crime and detention, gangs, drug dealing. She also manages to infuse hope and resilience into an autobiographical character who takes school seriously and succeeds, loves and is a rock for all of her family despite their various missteps, has hopes and dreams that she WILL realize, and finds people she considers hers to rely on, and in turn, support. This kind of book is the reason I have become much more selective about giving 5 stars. It’s above and beyond so many of the really good books that I read. Another review calls the book “choppy, impersonal and weird.” To me, the choppiness is part of the style and the genius of weaving together different parts of the story, I find the entire book to be intimately personal, and the weirdness is part of what makes it work. The writing is beautiful and this is my favorite book so far this year.

JCLEmmaF Dec 05, 2019

A surreal fable-like book, full of mysterious metaphorical portals and veils and lessons to be learned by young, black girl wizards. The concept is cool, the physical embodiment of trauma and depression and feminine power and support, but it comes off as very choppy, impersonal, and weird. I wanted to like this, but I couldn’t quite get there.


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Mar 23, 2020

Other: Abuse (by parents), drug use

Mar 23, 2020

Sexual Content: Rape, childhood sexual trauma.

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IndyPL_TammieB Mar 12, 2021

IndyPL_TammieB thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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IndyPL_TammieB Mar 12, 2021

This book is part autobiographical and part fantasy. There is magic and wizardry, but it is all very matter-of-factly. Echo is from the East Side of Cleveland with a lot on her shoulders. She lives in poverty. Her family is dysfunctional. Her mother is addicted to crack as a result of sexual abuse and tragedy in her childhood. Her stepfather is addicted to alcohol. Her brothers are addicted to the streets. Echo discovers her magic as a way to cope with her reality. She travels between two world – her own reality, and a rich white school on the West Side that she reaches through her magic as a way to heal and rest.


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IndyPL_TammieB Mar 12, 2021

“Surviving is a bloodbath. We shouldn't have to do it, but we do.”

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