Cover Image: In Every Mirror She's Black

In Every Mirror She's Black

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Member Reviews

Race and class are at the heart of this novel set alternately in the Washington, DC area and Sweden. What a contrast between these two places and in their treatment of black women. Going with the conceit that racism exists in the U.S., the sense that I'm left with is that racism is definitely present in Sweden and it's more subtle yet overt. First of all there are very few people of color in upper management and one of the three women we meet in this story is a diversity hire. This is pretty clear yet the owner of the company has a very odd history with black women. The second woman is a former model turned international flight attendant with whom the business owner becomes captivated. The third woman we meet is a Nigerian refugee who lives temporarily at a camp funded by this same man. Their lives intersect peripherally and learning about the challenges they face to assimilate makes this story come alive.
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Ended up DNF at 18%. Nothing particularly wrong, it just wasn’t drawing me in and I could tell it was going to just be a “fine” read when all was said and done. Thank you for the opportunity to review, and sorry this one didn’t work for me right now.
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I featured this book as a Book of the Day spotlight and included it in my weekly roundup and monthly post of new releases on my Black Fiction Addiction platforms.
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this book was a mixed bag for me. it is extremely ambitious in how much it covers in its pages, at times it felt a bit much. my favorite parts of this book were about identify and what it means to be black in a country like Sweden, a place where we always see touted as one of the best to live. sometimes i did feel like the three women’s storylines competed too much with each other for the readers attention instead of flowing seamlessly together. i also found some of the bits about muna’s life and character arc to rely too heavily on the status of her immigration to make her compelling. there were times where we would learn something interesting about her or her life but it would slowly fizzle out and the same issues prescribed to her character would repeat. there wasn’t enough growth and care for her. i also think the undiagnosed autism portrayal was not the best and could be guilty of playing into stereotypes. i myself am not on the spectrum and do not want to speak to something i do not have experience about but it did make me uncomfortable to read. all in all, i think this was just ok for me because there were too many things that i wish were a bit different or handled in a better way for it to truly be a great book. i also overall wasn’t impressed by the writing. it wasn’t particularly beautiful or lively, just average.
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After completing this book, I am asking myself what did I just read. This book snatched every single edge out of my head (this is a compliment). I am in knots over the ending. I am pleased to say the book enticed me from the very first page. It is not what I expected it to be in any way shape or form. I think there’s beauty in novels that go against the traditional grain.

Told through the perspectives of three women Black women, In Every Mirror She's Black explores of racism, classism, fetishization, and tokenism, and what it means to be a Black woman navigating a white-dominated society. While I thought the three ladies would come together as a bonded support system that never occurred.

I found myself wanting to scream at all three women. Sometimes out of love and other times as a wake up call.

Muna, A refugee who lost her entire family working a job janitorial job at Jonny's office as she works to establish her residency in Sweden.

Kemi, A successful marketing executive who goes to become a director at Sweden’s largest marketing firm (owned by Jonny) to help fix a PR fiasco.

Brittany, A model turned flight attendant who by way of marriage to Jonny agains a life of wealth, luxury, and privilege. 

My favorite of the three was Muna. I felt sisterhood with them all. At one point with each woman I felt like I understood their emotions as if they were my own.

I am very grateful this is an eArc and I read the story on my Kindle. Not every time but a few of the Swedish words didn’t have a translated footnote or after comment to translate the word for the reader. That took away a little from the writing for me. 

I normally steer clear of books that remind of the way the world treats and sees me as a Black woman because I get enough of it every day, however, I can say enjoyed I enjoyed this book. If you need a real look at racism, classism, tokenism, and fetishization that affects the lives of Black women in white dominated society then go get this book! 

Thanks Netgalley for the eArc in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed the first 2/3 of this book - but the ending! I was not a fan of how the author wraps up this book/their stories.. 

This book is told from three different POVs: Kemi, Brittany, and Muna. At first, I thought this was going to be a story about how three women from minorities found each other and leaned on one another for support, but I discovered a completely different story.

Kemi is a successful woman in her marketing job, and she is headhunted by a Swedish company that can pay her double what she wants and basically guarantee her a life of luxury.

Brittany is a flight attendant whose actions literally made no sense. I wondered to myself if this character was even human. She was in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend, and on a whim, she accepted the business card of a flirtatious first class flyer. He literally stalked her, forced himself on her, then sent her bouquets of flowers and scared off her very serious boyfriend. And she let him! She literally only liked him because she believed he could never lie to her. Then she married him. What the actual hell.

Then there's Muna, who, in my opinion, did not get a big enough chance to shine. Her story is the one I learned from the most. I liked her best out of all the characters, and the way her story concluded left a knot in my stomach.

It was a really intriguing story, but all the endings were left undone, which is unsatisfying in a novel. I invested in the story and I got such a non-answer ending.
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When successful PR exec, Kemi Adeyemi, is recruited to help diversify Sweden’s largest marketing firm, she finds the transition to a monochromatic white society difficult. Told in tandem with the story of Britanny Rae, who has been swept away in the whirlwind of romance to marry Kemi’s ultrawealthy boss and that of African immigrant, Muna Saheed, the cleaning woman at Kemi’s firm, whose life is much different than the other two women show the challenges of racism, prejudice and elitism. It’s unsettling book, made more so, by the ending. The author, who moved to Stockholm in 2009, has crafted a book that entertains as well as shows challenges faced by minorities.
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I went into this book interested in the premise but hesitant, not really knowing what to expect, and I finished this book with mixed feelings and a lot of questions.

Here's the spoiler-free premise: Three Black women find themselves in Sweden for different reasons and experience various struggles adjusting to life there. Kemi is a Nigerian American at the top of her game as a marketing executive but hopeless when it comes to romantic relationships with men. When she's personally recruited to be the head of Diversity & Inclusion for a top marketing company -- in Sweden -- she hesitantly accepts, feeling like she might need a change of pace both professionally and personally. Brittany-Rae is an American of Jamaican descent who, after a short-lived modeling career, is a flight attendant. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to a man from her flight who is obsessed with her -- despite the fact that she's already in a long-term relationship. Muna is a Somalian refugee who has been granted asylum in Sweden. She is considering becoming an accountant and is hopeful that she will be granted citizenship in five years. All three women's journeys are connected to one man: Johan "Jonny" von Lundin. And all three will have to reconcile their expectations versus reality while navigating being Black in Sweden.

I liked that this novel was written from the three women's perspectives, and I thought that was appropriate. Their stories were so different that the main reason I kept reading was to see how they would converge. (Spoiler alert: they didn't, not really. Kemi meets the other two women separately, and there's literally only one point in the book where they're all together. But at no point is their connection to Jonny and each other really explored. And that was disappointing.)

I have to say that I did connect with the women. I was interested in how things would unfold for them, and I was rooting for them. But I didn't feel like I knew them that well. With Kemi, for example, I was really surprised at her judgmental outbursts. With Brittany, though I was initially really into the whirlwind with Jonny, her story seemed kind of empty besides him. Maybe that was the point because I just wanted so much more for her. And poor Muna. It's easy to say she had the saddest story of all, but they're all sad actually. Muna's story is just filled with the most tragedy and trauma. 

I read another review asserting that the plot was lacking, and I agree to an extent. It doesn't feel like it while reading because it's easy to get caught up in that particular chapter and because of the continuous shifting to other characters, but looking back now that I've finished, the plot does seem rather bare. I'm okay with it because I think the point was to show how they fared in Sweden and you don't need that may things happening to get that. BUT the ending was so abrupt that I don't feel like I know what's in store for any of these women. Only one woman's story concludes and technically, we're making an assumption with that one too. And even though this book is about the women, Jonny is basically the glue so I need to know more about him, especially after the revelations in the last chapters.

Though the timelines got a bit tricky at points, there were a few surprises which helped me remain engaged, but I have so many questions about the end. I think this book should've either had an epilogue (my favorite) or been maybe one or two chapters longer. In any case, I'm pretty glad I read it and I feel like it's given me a lot to think about, but I don't know that I love it just yet. This is a solid 3.5 stars for me because of the abrupt ending, the Kemi, Brittany, and Muna's stories never really coming together, and a slight lack of character development.
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This book does a good job of showing both the micro-agressions and racism that 3 black women face in their lives. The women have very different backgrounds and lives but all end up in Sweden for different reasons. I appreciated that an effort was made to make the characters human, with flaws and imperfections.
I was less convinced than I wanted to be of the plausibility of some of the choices made by the characters in this book and I was caught off guard on many occasions when the story took abrupt turns that didn't seem to flow  very well with the rest of the story. I don't know how the author truly feels about Sweden, but this book certainly made me think the she doesn't have a very good opinion of it.
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I had the honor and pleasure to read Lola Akinmade Åkerström’s debut, In Every Mirror She’s Black. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This book is EVERYTHING!! 

In Every Mirror She’s Black calls to question what it means to be a Black Woman in the world.  Told through the perspectives of three women who all share one thing in common: an influential white man in Stockholm who is the CEO of one of the nation’s largest marketing firms. 

1) Kemi Ayedemi is described as a “killer at work but a failure at love. She has been lured to Sweden by the CEO to fix a PR nightmare and diversify the company.

2) former model turned flight attendant, Brittany-Rae Johnson who becomes the CEO’s unhealthy obsession. 

3) Muna Saheed is a refugee working to establish residency in Swedish after being dealt a harsh hand. She has lost her entire family upon her arrival. 

Although we are reading the perspective of each unique character, as we read further the author provides us a wonderful rendering of interwoven stories. These include all three women and their connection with and through CEO Jonny von Lundin. It starts to get really juicy!! 

These are powerful women individually and collectively who are strong and fierce and written with all the weight of the world facing them. While many times finding themselves vulnerable, they refuse to back down and create their own sense of freedom as the story progresses. 

The writing is masterful and thoughtful and the author hit on so many themes that Black women across the globe face daily and attempt to grow through. This book covers it all! And, is easily one of my favorites of the year! 

Trigger Warnings: assault, sexual assault, violence, racism, classism, sexism, suicide, death, fetishization, tokenism, stalking
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Åkerström is a Nigerian-American author who lives in Sweden.  This is her third book, but her first novel.  It is the story of three black women who end up living in Sweden.  Kemi is a successful marketing executive who moves there for a job opportunity. Brittany-Rae is swept up in a whirlwind romance with a wealthy Swedish man.  Muna is an African refugee, who lost everything in her home country and is now trying to survive in her new one. Through the women's stories, the author looks at the truths of being a black woman in a predominantly white society and tackles the issues of race, class and tokenism.  This is a great recommendation for readers interested in the subject.
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In Every Mirror She’s Black readers are taken on a journey following three different black women adjusting to life in Sweden. Kemi is a successful marketing guru that has been recruited to a new role as a Global Diversity and Inclusion Director. Brittany Rae is a former model and flight attendant that has found love (or what she feels is love) with Jonny. Muna is a refugee from Somalia. Three completely opposite ends of the spectrum but they all have one thing in common- their color. I feel the book moves sort of slow in the beginning because it gives the background on the three women. I think the underrated part of the story is Jonny and how he pretty much lived in a bubble for his entire life. I don’t think there was any malice intent with his character but I really wasn’t the biggest fan of him. He did what he was use to. However, the bombshell towards the ending made sense of Jonny and why he behaved the way he did. I could tell throughout the book there was something different with Jonny but his family refused to seek help, so he went his entire life undiagnosed. I think with the story being separated into four parts, it helped build momentum and an unforgettable ending. But, I will say it ended kind of abruptly. It felt like a maze trying to find my way out. When I got to the end, my heart broke for Muna. I love that there was an insight to refugees and the hardships that are apart of the journey. Overall, I think this was a solid read that really captured my attention and kept me wanting to know how it would all tie together. I was hoping that Brittany Rae and Kemi could have become friends but their encounters were super awkward and they didn’t mesh, which is fine. I feel like I received closure on all of the characters but I would have loved an epilogue. 

I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Right from the start I found myself engaged with this book. In this story Kemi, Brittany Rae and Muna all find themselves in Stockholm under different circumstances. Each has left behind family, friends and feels ostracized and lonely in a new country. The story does a great job of fleshing out all three characters and making them feel authentic and interesting. Kemi wants love and appreciation, Muna wants family and Brittany Rae still seems to be in search of what she wants. One person ties them all to each other unknowingly but it’s each woman’s path that truly makes this book shine. You’ll find your heart soar with every success they have and break every with every disappointment. The one common thread tying the women still isn’t enough to bring them together and further highlights how race and class play deep roles in all societies. The struggles each woman faced made me aware of just how different an experience can be for a person and how those experiences come to define our actions going forward. The book ends surprisingly and really left me thinking hard about these issues and how they play out in every day life. This book was such a pleasure to read. It was well written and kept me hooked to the end. Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read such a wonderful book. I’d recommend this book to others.
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This was a very interesting read. Three black women from different backgrounds, loosely connected by one rich white man in Sweden. I obviously read way too many thrillers because I spent a good portion of the time wondering which one of the women would kill Jonny. I did not really like his character but by the end of the book, I recognized that what I didn't like about him was what his privilege afforded him, the out it constantly gave him. I wished for more connection between the three women and had hoped they would unite to strengthen themselves in their battles against their oppressors, both societal and individual. I enjoyed getting to know these woman and reading how they attempted to overcome their struggles. Sadly, it was also a bit refreshing to read about racism in a country that wasn't my own. I wished for a different ending, but that probably isn't realistic. Instead, read this book with the knowledge that it might be fiction but it is very much reality.
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How is it possible that I loved this book, yet disliked almost every character? Set mostly in Sweden, we follow three black women from various parts of the world, with vastly different backgrounds, as they each try to start anew in Stockholm. 

Kemi moved for a job and a chance to revamp her social life, Brittany moved for love or wealth, you be the judge, and Muna came seeking asylum after fleeing her native Somalia. Each woman faces racism in all its ugly forms and each must choose how best to navigate it and the unfamiliar social structure of Sweden. They each cross paths with varying results but really they each experience Sweden alone. They lives they carve out are an improvement over their lives before, but is it worth it?

I have to admit Sweden isn’t place i think about often, so it was refreshing to read about it from the eyes of these three black immigrants. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be planning a move there anytime soon. 

I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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I was excited to read this from the beginning. The premise is interesting and I absolutely love books with multiple storylines interwoven.  I was not disappointed.  The stories were well crafted, the book was incredibly nuanced and real.  I was riveted and enthralled from start to finish.

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC.
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On the surface it might appear that Jonny Von Lundin is the only thing that connects Brittany, Kemi, and Muna but there's much more to this story.  These three women are all strangers in Sweden and their otherness - their color, their heritage, their origins- set them apart from others.  It's a tough read in spots as you might find yourself reflecting on what they face.  And Jonny is not the romantic hero you might wish for but instead a businessman who approaches the women for his own purposes and has his own issues.  I liked that each woman told her own story and that it wasn't immediately obvious how things would conclude.  They've each got a distinct voice which adds to the layered nature of the novel.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  An excellent and thought provoking read.
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The ending of this book left me speechless.

In this, we are following the stories of three Black women who are loosely connected by one man. Kemi is a successful marketing executive who has been recruited by one of the largest marketing companies in Sweden. Brittany-Rae is a former model turned flight attendant who attracts the attention of a very wealthy Swedish man. And lastly, Muna, a Somalian refugee who has been granted asylum.

It was really interesting to see how the stories of these three women unfolded and how they would eventually converge. I was really enjoying the story overall until around 75% characters started making decisions that I just couldn't agree with and sometimes it was kind of hard to read because you just want the best for all of them but they're distracted by other things.

So many important topics are covered in this book and I love that in my literary fiction. Please look up content warning before jumping into though. There are many, including suicide and sexual assault .

My final rating for In Every Mirror She's Black is 4/5 stars

It definitely didn't turn out the way that I wanted to but it was well worth the read. I will definitely be looking out for more releases by this author
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Following in the footsteps of SUCH A FUN AGE and QUEENIE, IN EVERY MIRROR SHE’S BLACK tackles the experiences of Black women with racism. Where IEMSB diverges, however, is its use of alternating POVs and setting in a homogenous society to paint a picture of a subtler albeit equally sinister form of racism, i.e. as opposed to explicit racism in America. As many books in the literary world have focused on America (or England), which are considered heterogeneous societies, I felt that IEMSB is a fresh new take on the issue of racism with an important message: Racism is a problem everywhere, not just in America.

Aside from fetishization, racial slurs, silence, and tokenism, IEMSB covers autism, human trafficking, and sexual harassment & assault, while raising questions surrounding identity, parenting, relationships, and sisterhood.

Ultimately, through the characters in IEMSB, we see the struggles of Black women in their personal and professional lives that go beyond the issue of racism, making this a captivating debut not to be missed.
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Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced copy!

I enjoyed this and each of the main characters.
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