Mahogany L. Browne
Narrator: Mahogany L. Browne
A novel-in-verse about a young girl coming-of-age and stepping out of the shadow of her former best friend.
She looks me hard in my eyes
& my knees lock into tree trunks
My eyes don’t dance like my heartbeat racing
They stare straight back hot daggers.
I remember things will never be the same.
I remember things.
Mahogany L. Browne delivers a novel-in-verse about broken promises, fast rumors, and when growing up means growing apart from your best friend.
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Published: January 12th 2021
Sexism, Sexual Assault, Bullying, Mentions of Domestic Abuse, Mention of Drug Abuse
Firstly, I would just like to thank Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense for recommending me the audiobook because I really loved it. The prose was wonderful to listen to and the author did a great job narrating this. It felt so personal, so emotional, so… raw. And for such a quick listen at around 2 hours, it packed such a punch.
“A friend is someone seeing you
And hearing you
Without you having to say
Okay, so– I had been sent a free finished copy of this book by the publishers last year and… I’m just now getting to it. I’ve talked about it before, but this book scared me. The subject matter is very dear to my heart, considering I am quite passionate on friendship break-ups being just as heartbreaking as romantic break-ups. I just knew this book would bring me back to my younger self and bring back some… ehem… not-so-nice memories. But, here I am and I feel… I feel a lot right now.
There’s a lot of growing in this book. Growing into yourself, into your passions, growing out of your shell, your friendships. And there’s a lot of discovery— of self, of worth, of pain and healing. Yet, and this may be my bias coming through, but this book paralleled my past so accurately it hurt.
“You don’t have to wait for others to claim you / You don’t have to wait for others to pick you / You pick yourself, I mean / Really choose yourself every day”
There’s the miscommunication and jealousy and insecurities that come with living in your best friends shadow and how quick things can end with a mutual understanding that it is what it is. It’s over. And it hurts. The duration of a friendship doesn’t matter when effort, respect and again communication is missing.
But, again on relatability, the conversations on sexism, especially in a male dominated sport, colorism, featurism and Black family structures is well represented here. As a young Black reader, I appreciated how in depth and uncensored Browne was in her representation of these themes considering, just like the main character, is something I had experienced and dealt with early on in life.
“When I was younger, I thought I had superpower
Thought if I sat real still and stared at a book
No one would be able to see me
I got so good at it
I forget that I’m the only one playing the game”
Her insecurities, the way she grew up, being invisible, thinking she’ll never measure up to her best-friend physically or socially— she is a reflection of my younger self and I just want to hold her and say you’ll find yourself, keep going, you are worthy, find your worth, know your worth. I feel like I’m talking to little me. Middle school me. Freshman year me, junior year me.
I know I’m making this review a very personal, however I wish I had this book in the past. I just love the message of how personal growth sometimes alters how you see people, your boundaries and outgrowing people is okay. Putting yourself first is okay. Maintaining your peace is okay. This was a beautiful book and it’s definitely making my best of list this year.