Review of Daughters of Jubilation

Daughters of Jubilation
by Kara Lee Corthron
High School    Simon Pulse    352 pp.    g
10/20    978-1-4814-5950-1    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5952-5    $10.99

In the summer of 1962 in an alternate-universe Jim Crow South, Black teenager Evalene Deschamps learns that the women in her family are blessed with magical abilities (including telekinesis, telepathy, and visions of “haints”) called Jubilation. These powers, granted with the onset of menstruation, are tied into the women’s emotions and provide them with the protection they need to survive in an anti-Black world — though they need to control their feelings to control their magic. With her grandmother’s help, Evalene learns that the Deschamps women, and many other Black women, have used “jubin’” to keep themselves and their families safe from predators. When an evil white man from Evalene’s past comes to haunt her, she must rely on her ancestors and her Jubilation to save herself and the ones she loves. Corthron’s novel uses an innovative landscape to explore Black girl magic and intergenerational family trauma while also excavating the horrors of anti-Black violence in the past and the present. With its combination of magic, realism, and horror, this is a perfect choice for readers searching for stories where Black girls unapologetically use their magic to save and, when necessary, destroy.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

S. R. Toliver
S. R. Toliver is a PhD candidate in language and literacy education at the University of Georgia and a 2019 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellow. She studies YA speculative fiction, Afrofuturism, and Black girl literacies. Her academic work can be found on her website Follow her on Twitter @SR_Toliver

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