Cover Image: The Black Queen

The Black Queen

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed this book. One hears about how the wealthy can be entitled to things. This book showed how entitlement doesn’t always prevail. The book also shows how sometimes things seem so good, but can backfire and it isn’t as expected. I liked the mystery of this and how it showed people of different races and different family dynamics can work together to solve a problem. The colors on the cover of the book are eye catching. This is a good book for my students to read that evolves conflict and resolution.

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I read this book last year and do not remember a lot about it, which kind of speaks to how I thought about it. I remember thinking that the cover could use a re-do and that it was doing well on its own on the new book shelf at the library. Not a bad book, just not for me. Teens seem to enjoy it so I will continue to purchase this author's next books.

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I liked this one! I liked the story and how it built the world. The mystery and finding out what happened was strong and interesting, and it was easy to follow and held my attention. I think I read it in only maybe, 2 sittings?

My issues I had with it were mostly the characters. It didn't feel like there was any character development from the beginning to the end; and for me it focused too much on Tinsley and her side of the story VS Nova and her life and murder. It went from trying to focus on solving Nova's murder and what happened to her + dealing with the pretty open racism of the town to Tinsley proving her innocence and confronting her own racism and privilege. Also, the fact that a character was a junior in high school dating a college student? And another was having a pretty inappropriate relationship with a teacher just felt....eugh.

AND THE ENDING- Listen, maybe it's just me, but the ending felt incomplete. It didn't feel like anything that Tinsley and Duchess found out was acknowledged, and now everyone just gets to move on with their life and none of it is acknowledged.

Ultimately, I liked the plot and the idea, but not the execution of it and I wish it were better done.

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"Black Queen" immerses readers in a gripping YA mystery, skillfully transporting them to the corridors of Lovett High School. As a middle school principal, I appreciate how this debut work skillfully intertwines a compelling whodunit plot with profound reflections on the impact of segregation. The narrative digs into the underlying roots of societal issues while engaging young minds in solving the mystery of the homecoming queen's demise. "Black Queen" is a grand slam, seamlessly blending suspense with social commentary, making it an enriching and thrilling read for our students. This debut promises both entertainment and valuable insights into the complexities of our world.

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The writing in this was really hard to get into so I DNF it very early on.
Thank you NetGalley and to the publishers for giving me an early release copy in exchange for my honest review.

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I started to read this book because I thought, "Hey, I liked Stephen King's Carrie. This will be great! An udated version of Carrie full of diverse characters, Right?" I hated it. Honestly, It read like it was written by a someone in Junior High who was trying to hard to impress her friends with her writing. The writing was elementary. There is not one character the reader wants to root for, they are all too flawed and selfish. the plot is too cliched. I could not even finish the book, it was bad. I will give it two stars because I really like the cover art.

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I absolutely loved this book. It explored teens who are wealthy and those who are scraping to get by. Very thrilling too.

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Emill weaves a relatable story between the haves and the have nots. What happens when secrets are held and revealed.

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Whew, this book right here. Firstly, I listened to the audiobook of this and highly recommend it; both narrators did a spectacular job. THE BLACK QUEEN by Jumata Emill digs deep into the inherited mental segregation our country has passed on to the younger generations. It examines how forced "diversity" does not promote inclusion or harmony. I LOVED the two warring perspectives of Duchess and Tinsley; their voices are so distinct and the discord of their partnership adds a nice layer of tautness to the atmosphere. Also, I did not see the twist coming AT ALL, and I was heavily engrossed in finding out who the hell killed Nova. I finished listening to this book and wanted to sob and scream all at once; it packs one helluva punch. I'll remember this book and be recommending it for a very long time.

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4 stars!

I like my thrillers with a little bit of social commentary, and this one definitely delivered. Although I didn't fully realize this book was going to be centered around Black trauma (which I was trying to stay away from this year), I did really enjoy the story that was crafted. I do think this would be good for people who liked The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D Jackson (even though I did like that book a little bit more) and I think the only components I didn't enjoy were related to the YA-ness of this book. I would definitely read more from this author and I hope she writes an adult thriller soon!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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This one was just okay. I liked the message, but I felt that at times it was almost too much. It is one that I will purchase but I'm not sure how it will do.

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The Black Queen by Jumata Emill is an engaging mystery novel that tackles important themes of race, privilege, and justice. The story takes place in Lovett, a small town, where Nova Albright, the first Black homecoming queen, is tragically murdered on the night of her coronation.

Nova's main rival for the crown is Tinsley McArthur, a wealthy white girl from a long line of previous queens. Nova's best friend, Duchess Simmons, is devastated by the loss and believes Tinsley is the culprit. However, Duchess's father, the town's first Black police captain, seems reluctant to investigate Tinsley as the main suspect, which makes Duchess even more determined to prove Tinsley's guilt.

Readers are taken on a suspenseful journey of secrets, suspicions, and hidden motives as the plot unfolds. Duchess takes it upon herself to uncover the truth about what happened to Nova, but she soon realizes that Tinsley has her own agenda.

The novel beautifully portrays emotions such as grief, anger, and resilience. It also delves into the impact of racism and privilege on individuals and communities. The Black Queen challenges traditional notions of beauty, power, and identity through compelling storytelling.

This book is thought-provoking and combines mystery with insightful reflections on social issues. Jumata Emill's writing engages readers and encourages us to think critically about the complex intersections of love, prejudice, and privilege.

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The Black Queen by Jumata Emill is a complex story centered on Nova’s murder. Nova, the school’s first-ever Black Homecoming Queen rose to her title in a spectacularly public way after refusing to step down even though Tinsley (the popular white girl) is from a long line of homecoming queens. Duchess is gutted by the brutal death of her best friend. Her father is a police officer in town and receives a lot of flack not only for being a Black police officer in the first place, but for not arresting who appears to be the obvious suspect: Tinsley. She was caught drunk on tape hours before Nova’s murder spewing some hateful things about her and how she wishes she’d just killed her so she could have been crowned queen. But Tinsley, awful as she is, isn’t a murderer. Told in alternating perspectives from Tinsley and Duchess’s perspectives, this novel encompasses a lot of darkness, while forging a very unlikely friendship between the narrators. A great read, but a dark read.

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This book had my students fighting to check this out of my classroom library. They were so engaged and invested about who they thought killed Nova. For me, it was pretty good. I had my ideas about the killer early on and the plot twist was nice. I get that the author wanted to show how racism, segregation, and white privilege affects others, but it was a bit over the top for me.

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I really enjoyed this YA debut. I put off reading this because I read the weight of blood last year and it seemed really similar. However I feel like The Weight of Blood's audience in mind when writing was everyone. Whereas this book, it seemed like the audience in mind was spefically teens.

There was a lot of slang and references that made it feel current (with the exception of the very first reference of She's All That which I havent seen in years) I understand the complaints that the story was mostly about the racist white girl Tinsley and trying to convince us the Black cops should exist, which at face value sounds truly terrible. However I think what Emill was able to do here was talk about the complexities of being a Black person in America. The things we have to deal with, sometimes Black cops really do need to exist. Sometimes those are the only people not tryna harm and lock up every Black person deemed a criminal on the street because it "fits the bill". Sometimes racist white girls come from really abhorrant trash families and they can and do reflect and change their mindset.

While these topics seem annoying from people who have to deal with intersectoinal oppression I think it was all presented in a really accessible way that could potentially change some peoples minds on their prejucies. It was also really interesting and had me shook near the end, maybe im bad at guessing mysteries but my mouth was open for the last few chapters! Finished the excellent audiobook in just 2 days. Angel Pean & Erin Spencer did their thing with these characters! I also really enjoyed the little soundbites like "the school bell rang" and there was ringing in the audiobook or "I got a text" and a notifiaction sound rung.

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I enjoyed this book and purchased for our collection. This was requested for a program and shared with high schoolers at a book talk.

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Sadly this just didn’t do it for me. Yes it was out of my age bracket but I don’t think it was the fact this book is YA. It’s very easy to guess who the killer is, which is just not fun. While I expected race and white privilege to take the stage, I was surprised at how the story felt more like the Tinsley’s than Duchess’. There was little unique about the alternating POVs, making me connect even less with both characters. If you’re looking for something with similar vibes, including discussions on race, but with more paranormal intrigue I would recommend The Weight of Blood.

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The characters felt real. Though none were wholly likeable.
The audiobook is fire 🔥 the narrators are a-mazing! The emotions is raw and tense.
This book is racially tense. It was difficult to read at times. Not because it wasn’t good writing… it was amazing writing!
The message of this book is good. One that will stay with me for a long time.
Our families may not be perfect. But children are products of their environment. The only way to change anything in this generation or the next is by being a role model now to our family and our friends.

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The Black Queen was a dramatic, dark, and thought-provoking thriller that wasn't afraid to tackle the tough issues--racism, underage sex, teenage pregnancy, corruption, white privilege, and child abuse. We hear the story from dual points of view: Duchess, the best friend of the victim, who suspects Tinsley and pushes her police captain father to bring justice. And the second is Tinsley, the worst kind of white privileged mean girl that you may wholeheartedly hate. Could she really be the one who brutally killed her opponent?

The book felt a bit long and to be honest I thought it was predictable. I appreciate what it was trying to do though.

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I wanted to enjoy this one, I really did. The Prom Queen murder mystery was enough to grab my interest, but unfortunately, this whole novel read like it was written by an adult who thinks they’re dialed in with how teenagers speak. The whole thing is giving very heavy handed after-school-special vibes.

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