Jacqueline Woodson is a household name in YA, known for writing amazing books that are different from the majority out there right now. Up until last week, she was one of those authors that I knew I was supposed to have read, but never did. When I saw the cover of her gorgeous new novel, Another Brooklyn, I knew I had to read it. Technically, this book isn't sold as YA, but I'm pretty sure that any reader from 14 to 100 can enjoy and learn from this novel.
Another Brooklyn is the story of August coming of age. As August tells the reader at the beginning of the story: 'I know now what is tragic isn't the moment. It's the memory.' While this is August's story, it is also an ode to memories, tragic and not, and how our remembrances can shape us. August is an adult, thrown back into Brooklyn due to a tragic event, and tells the reader about her youth. She isn't reliable, but she is so lyrical and honest, that this book is a joy to read.
August grew up in Brooklyn with three close friends, Gigi, Sylvia and Angela. Throughout the novel, the backstory of all girls is revealed and their mutual, and very different, struggles are displayed next to each other. The book is an ode to the strength of girls, even if everything and everyone is against them.
There are a lot of time jumps in Another Brooklyn and the writing isn't a straight forward narrative. Things are left out or only alluded to, left there for you to fill the gap. However, that is what makes it so powerful. Filling the gap with an endless list of what possibly could have happened makes you relate to the characters so much more. The beautiful writing, mostly poetic throughout the story, makes it easy to relate to the girls.
I finished this novel in a day, but the story still hasn't left me. I want to know more about August. I want to hug her and Angela, Gigi, Sylvia. I want to crawl into the story and prevent certain things from happening. I want to protect them, but also experience with them. Another Brooklyn is unlike other books with its focus on memory and lyrical writing, but it is beautiful and I'm so glad Jacqueline Woodson shared this story with the world.