The Exiles – Christina Baker Kline
Australia, Britain, prisoners, women, indigenous, historical fiction.
Set in the 1840s. A young woman, Evangeline, a sheltered governess finds herself falling for someone who never comes to her rescue after she is accused of a crime she didn’t commit. She is shipped off on a ship to Australia where criminals and convicts are sent to serve their sentences. While on the journey, she meets Hazel, a young woman who is excellent at herbalogy and pickpocketing. During this time, she realizes that she is pregnant and faces challenges that no woman would ever think of. After a horrible accident leaves the child parentless, Hazel takes up the duty to become the child’s parent. Once they land in Australia, Hazel is separated from the child. She meets another child whose name Mathinna explains to her about the orphanage. It will take a lot of time for her to reunite with the child and find safety as well as a home for her, the child, and now Mathinna.
I hardly read historical fiction for a reason. Sometimes they are boring or slow. This was not the case at all. I simply loved the pacing and the plot. My heart was torn for these young women who faced these hardships that no one should really face. I didn’t really know the origins of Australia and this taught me how the English colonized by basically sending prisoners to serve sentences there rather than in England. The language and writing kept me reading this until the last page. I simply didn’t want to willingly put this book down. I suggest you go get this book to read because it is one hell of a story that I have read.
This Is My America – Kim Johnson
Racism, judicial error, African Americans, race relations, prisoners, murder, family problems, young adult, fiction.
Tracy knows her father is innocent of a crime he didn’t commit. She writes letters to InnocenceX in hopes of getting their help in freeing her dad. She has less than a year before her father is executed. Tracy researches legal help as she wants to become a lawyer to fight for the rights of African Americans. When a teenage girl is found murdered and her brother is on the run, he is being framed for murder. She knows he is also innocent but being blamed because he was found near the scene of the crime along with his jacket. Tracy seeks out help and tries to bring home not only her father but brother as well.
This novel was not easy to read. As covering the topic of systematic racism is a very serious topic. Johnson describes a reality that all African American families face when someone in their family was innocent of a crime that they did not commit but they were framed and sentenced to jail. Systematic racism exists and it impacts more than the individual but thousands of African American families, young and old. These families struggle to gain a sense of safety and security in a land that is extremely racist and discriminates. Trying to find legal help is never easy just like Tracy when she was trying to get help from a foundation that is dedicated to helping free innocent African Americans. Nothing is free of cost and getting lawyers costs a lot of money and this is a cold truth and reality of the justice system. The justice system is geared to suppress African Americans from succeeding. It was built on racism and discrimination.
This novel, as it is fiction, does have a happy ending where her father and brother were freed from the investigations and trials to form the harsh stereotypes that were placed upon them. Many in real life don’t get the happy ending of having their family member come back home alive.
Here is a link of all those who were murdered in police brutality and in the hands of the police Know their names: Black people killed by the police in the US
Those are only some that appear on the news headlines.
Many others don’t.
Racism ends here.
Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian
Princesses, courts, courtiers, kings, queens, rulers, prisoners, fantasy, young adult, fiction.
Theodosia witnessed her mother murdered before her eyes as well as her entire family. For years the invading Kaiser had Theo as a keepsake and put on display. Occasionally whipping her for any sort of uprising with her people, Astrans, they also suffer with becoming slaves. One day, she reached her boiling point and realized she does not have anyone to save her, she can only save herself. She works with the enslaved remaining Astrans that work in the palace. They form a plan to enact revenge and escape. The Prinz gets close to her and reveals to her the horrid actions he had done upon her people as well as told her what is being done to her people. This only fuels the fire of anger Theodosia has and wants revenge even more so now.
I wondered why and how this novel was trending. I read it and understand how it became so popular. I really enjoyed this novel and I was binging through the rest of the novel. The plot was so juicy, and I was really expecting for one outcome to happen but got a plot twist. There are a lot in this book and as the plot unfolded, I found myself fully invested. I cannot wait to read the next book of this series. I do recommend this novel. I only wished it were longer to develop the world, but I guess that the sequel will unfold more of this world. One of the best young adult fiction I have read that wasn’t so clingy with clichés.