Cover Image: Tangleroot


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Noni Reid is beyond upset when her mother, Dr. Radiance Castine, renowned scholar of Black literature, uproots her from their Boston home to move to a Virginia town. Noni had to give up a prestigious internship and hasn't forgiven her mother. To make matters worse they move into Tangleroot Plantation which enslaved people, including Noni's ancestor, Cuffee Fortune, built. Her mother is trying to find proof that Cuffee Fortune was also the founder of Stonepost College, a former black college. When Noni stumbles on an old gravesite of a woman with her same name, she finds herself wanting to know more. Along the way, she finds secrets that link back to the past and her own truth.

What worked: I love stories that involve family history which can be hard, difficult, and so rewarding. Noni at first is the reluctant protagonist who always felt she never was good enough for her mother. She wants to live her own life which is in theater as a costume designer. What's totally engaging about this story is when Noni looks for the truth that she knows no one is telling her. On this trail, she encounters some harsh truths and racism that still is alive today.

Noni's searching for the genealogy of her family opens up a Pandora's box of racism and ugly truths. Also, it scratches at the ugliness hidden by some that we continue to read about today. At the end, Noni and a few of her friends attend the Founder's Day event where she draws on courage to speak out against lies. This confrontation is strong and powerful.

I really loved the adventure and more than a few times I was taken off guard on some reveals. As someone who personally did my own search on an ancestor, I know how some aren't too happy and that some will try to sabotage the journey. The author does a great job of showing this with Noni. She even includes those old-time microfilm machines!

Noni's journey includes one of self-awareness and coming to terms with her own story. The relationship with others in the town of Magnolia is shown with those who are accepting and those not so much. Secrets thrive in the small Southern town. Noni's journey comes full circle at the end.

Coming-of-age contemporary story of a teen whose search for the truth behind a gravesite leads her to find out the truth of not only the town's Southern history but herself. Totally recommend!

Was this review helpful?