Cover Image: The Black Queen

The Black Queen

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Member Reviews

So there were a lot of things in this I really enjoyed. For one, I think Jumata Emill did a great job with characterization. These characters all felt very real to me and the dilemmas they faced and their behaviors were so perfectly executed. Their motivations were clear and who they are to their core was clear as well. I also loved the plot of this. I'm always a big fan of murder mysteries and so reading this and having one that was equal parts heartbreaking as it was twisty was really great. I loved Nova. That being said, there were some bits I didn't love. For one, the slang in here was interesting. Sometimes it felt like natural slang and sometimes it felt very forced. Some of it also felt really old for the age of the characters. Then, I had a lot of issues with Tinsley's character arc. I was expecting her to grow on me by the end of the book and she just...didn't. She said and did some really awful things in the beginning and though she definitely got better by the end, it just didn't feel like she fully earned her redemption. Overall, it wasn't a fav but still enjoyable!

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I just finished this book and I need to take a moment because wow. It isn't often I'm completely blown away and awed by a book like this. At the very basic, it's a wonderful murder mystery that has amazing twists and turns. It has wonderful characters, some who you absolutely loathe through the whole thing, some who you feel sorry for, some who grow on you, and some who are plain awesome. Plus, the writing is absolutely superb. At it's most complex, it has a wonderful, eye-opening look at the social commentary currently happening in this country. It takes a look at so many important issues and truly teaches how to look at them critically and learn from past and present mistakes. I recommend this book to everyone just for that, if not also for the wonderful murder mystery behind it. This is an amazing debut and I'm so looking forward to reading more from this author.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. (via Netgalley)

4.5 stars

I struggled to get into this at first, mostly because of how the dialogue is (but to be fair, they ARE teenagers lol) but once I got into the story it was hard to stop. I am pleasantly surprised that every time I thought I had it figured out I was proven wrong.

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I was totally looking forward to reading this. Unfortunately I missed that it didn't have send to Kindle and after trying everything I cannot get it to download onto my Kindle fire. I have a bad habit of forgetting to check formats available before I get a title. I'm really sorry to Random House. Hopefully this message will alert others who might jump at read now before seeing it won't go to Kindle. I don't handle reading on anything except e-ink or print, but had already clicked read now so I was going to see if I could get through without headaches and eye issues, but can't even get it onto my K-Fire. I'm sorry I forgot to check.

Five star rating because I have to put one and it was mistake, because it sounds awesome and because this publishers books are consistently the best of best so I'm sure it's an awesome read. I'm sorry I'm missing it.

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Thank you NetGalley and Random House Children's, Delacorte Press for the copy of The Black Queen. What a great book! The book sounded good but I wasn’t prepared for the depth of the story. There was so much going on and by the end it turns out that everything that happened was important. It was so masterfully written that so much that just seemed like the background about a character was actually a clue to something that becomes clear later. Learning about the characters in the context of the murder was so well done, the murder sometimes took a backseat to the cast of characters because everyone was so compelling. Duchess was wonderful and I loved seeing her uncover Nova’s secrets. Tinsley was not a sympathetic character but slowly grew on me as she became more self aware. I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys amazing characters and writing as well as an unforgettable story. Learning something about social injustice is just a bonus.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers/author for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Wow. I was completely blown away by this book. It grabbed me in the beginning and didn’t let me go till the end. There’s twists and turns and I gasped and had my jaw fly open so much. I was addicted. There’s so much going for this book. Relatable characters, social commentary that is relevant to the real world, and plenty of sass to keep you on your toes! This is what a YA thriller should feel like.

There was one point I thought I figured out the twist and I was confidently sitting back until the even BIGGER twist came in. I had to keep notes of the clues and suspect list cause mine was getting so long.

Besides being a well done murder mystery, I appreciated the discussions this book has. There is plenty of talk about police brutality and the way that white police officers treat black folks. There was an unflinching reality of how the privileged are able to get away with things that other people aren’t. Some things would happen and this book and Id scream DAMN at the audacity.

I’ve been reading a lot of books about black girls getting their revenge and this was a great addition. I cried a little for Nova at the end of the book. She deserved so much more then what the world had given her. I would highly recommend it and everyone should put it on their TBR for January. This author has an amazing debut and I’m hungry for more!

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When the girl who is crowned as the first Black homecoming queen is found murdered and a video from her rival, a white girl, is leaked showing that she wanted to kill her things are about to explode. Nova Albright is the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High. On the night of her coronation she was murdered and her body was found the next morning in the old slave cemetery where she spent her weekends rehabilitating it. Tinsley McArthur was the rival homecoming queen, she is beautiful, wealthy, and white. Her family has all been homecoming queens and she was willing to do whatever it took to get the crown from bribing, bullying, and even more to get it. Yet the moment that Nova is announced, Tinsley is determined to make her life hell.... and vocalizes it after getting drunk at a party saying she would kill Nova and leave her body at the slave cemetery.... and that video just happens to go viral the next day when Nova’s body is found. Nova’s best friend Duchess Simmons is determined to find out what truly happened, and in a town where Duchess’s father is the first Black police captain, she knows there is a lot riding on this case. Duchess will do whatever it takes to find out who killed Nova and Tinsley is determined to clear her name. Both of them hate each other but they have a complicated history.... and the only way to figure out what truly happened to Nova is if they work together to find the true killer. Yet the more the dig into Nova’s life the more they realize she had so many secrets and the list of potential killers continues to grow. Throughout this book we also get to see Tinsley begin to realize her privilege, the racism around her, the way her actions and words hurt and impact others, and her realizing that she has to change. This was an interesting mystery, it definitely deals with racism and privilege. The overall plot twist and ending was a neat one and I like that we get to see the characters grow, and despite how frustrating some of them act and behave, they can be redeemed. I found the mystery to be interesting and the final conclusion to be a satisfying one. This is a great read for fans of mystery!

*Thanks Netgalley and Random House Children's, Delacorte Press for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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This YA murder mystery was phenomenal. The twists and surprises in this story will keep readers turning the page. Perfect example of a book that provides an engaging, well-crafted story while also highlighting societal issues in a relatable way for young readers. Highly recommend.

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“Hate does something to you if you hold onto it for too long.” These words spoken by one of the characters in the book encompasses so much of the ideas in it. This town and school have lived so long in hate, racism and classism that they have become poisoned and even efforts to “change” the system are half assed and so not begin to solve the problems. Nova is the first black queen at her high school but when she is found dead the next day it begins a wild journey to find her killer. While her white rival Tinsley, a true Regina George, is the natural choice there are many more secrets to uncover- although they do all seem to lead back to Tinsley 🧐! This book is both a murder mystery and a social commentary and both parts are equally engaging and at times difficult. The author does not shy away from pointing the lens at all those who hold back progress. I am excited to get this book in my classroom this year!

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Thank you, Random House Children's, Delacorte Press, for allowing me to read The Black Queen early!

Thrilling, phenomenal, captivating, exceptional, intriguing, chilling. These are all adjectives that perfectly fit Jumata Emill's stellar debut. Definitely worthy of a read!

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When I first started this book, I was assuming I was going to be able to figure out every twist. I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. The dialogue in this book very teenage (and accurate) but may not appeal to some adults. I thought the way the author weaved in social issues was very dynamic and natural. Overall, I think this thriller was more true crime than unbelievable and will appeal to a variety of young adults.

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Overall, I enjoyed The Black Queen. There were some frustration points for me, but I think some of them were meant to be frustrating or, at the very least, eye-opening for the reader. If I have enough funds, this will hit our shelves next year! 3.5 stars.

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First of all I am beyond excited to see more BIPOC representation in YA, thrillers especially. Black Queen had seamlessly flowing alternating POV, a solid whodunit, an unlikely duo who come together and alter each other and how they see themselves and their worlds, and with no shortage of relevant commentary on complex current issues in America from a Black voice.

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