Thursday, April 29, 2021

Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron - OPTIONAL

Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron
, 342 pages. Simon and Schuster, 2020. $19

Language: R (100+ swears, 9 Fs); Mature Content: R (on-page sex, attempted sexual assault, racial discrimination and persecution, references to child molestation); Violence: R (beating, on page death.) 



16yo Evvie is growing up in the 1960s southern United States. She knows she’s different because she has the ‘jubilation,’ what her mother calls their family’s ability to do magic. The older she gets, the harder it is for Evvie to control her magical outbursts and her mom finally decides it’s time for her to be taught by her estranged grandma to control her powers before Evvie gets herself into trouble. Complicating matters is Clay, the boy Evvie has a crush on and who, it turns out, has a crush on her. They fall in love hard and fast and Evvie couldn’t be happier, until a strange and scary white boy keeps showing up. He knows Evvie, but she doesn’t know him, or at least doesn’t think she does. What she does know is that she can’t use her magic against him, even when he threatens her. He wants Evvie for himself and that puts him on a crash course with Clay, and with Evvie’s jubilation. 

I liked this book, for the most part. It’s definitely a girl-power book. The author is a person of color and I appreciated reading a book full of authentic cultural references. The magic didn’t feel out of place and was described in a way that made it seem real. The story was engaging and compelling, and I cared about the characters. The relationship between Evvie and her mom and grandma was tender and authentic. There were some aspects to it that I didn’t like, however. It was very swear-y and had graphic descriptions of sex that make it impossible to have in a school library. Another issue is that the explanation of why they have magic and how it works wasn’t deep enough or as thorough as I would have liked. 

 Reviewer: Andrea R 

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