Publication date: January 4, 2022
Publisher: Random House
Hardcover: 224 Pages
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Bustle, Chicago Review of Books, Nylon, PopSugar, The Rumpus
If you really want to know, we are the color of 7-Eleven root beer. The color of sand at Rockaway Beach when it blisters the bottoms of our feet. Color of soil . . .
Welcome to Queens, New York, where streets echo with languages from all over the globe, subways rumble above dollar stores, trees bloom and topple over sidewalks, and the funky scent of the Atlantic Ocean wafts in from Rockaway Beach. Within one of New York City’s most vibrant and eclectic boroughs, young women of color like Nadira, Gabby, Naz, Trish, Angelique, and countless others, attempt to reconcile their immigrant backgrounds with the American culture in which they come of age. Here, they become friends for life—or so they vow.
Exuberant and wild, together they roam The City That Never Sleeps, sing Mariah Carey at the tops of their lungs, yearn for crushes who pay them no mind—and break the hearts of those who do—all while trying to heed their mothers’ commands to be obedient daughters. But as they age, their paths diverge and rifts form between them, as some choose to remain on familiar streets, while others find themselves ascending in the world, beckoned by existences foreign and seemingly at odds with their humble roots.
A blazingly original debut novel told by a chorus of unforgettable voices, Brown Girls illustrates a collective portrait of childhood, adulthood, and beyond, and is a striking exploration of female friendship, a powerful depiction of women of color attempting to forge their place in the world today. For even as the conflicting desires of ambition and loyalty, freedom and commitment, adventure and stability risk dividing them, it is to one another—and to Queens—that the girls ultimately return.
Brown Girl is a beautifully written debut novel that tells the story of a group of girls and their immigrant families from Queens, New York. The characters are all immigrants or first-generation Americans, and as they grow up, they each face different challenges and choices.
The writing is lyrical and poetic, and the author has a real gift for capturing the emotions of her characters. Brown Girls is a moving and powerful portrait of female friendship and a brilliantly written celebration of Queens and the women who call it home. I highly recommend this book!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House through NetGalley. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
About the author
Daphne Palasi Andreades was born and raised in Queens, New York. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, where she was awarded a Henfield Prize and a Creative Writing Teaching Fellowship. She is the recipient of a 2021 O. Henry Prize, as well as scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, where she won the Voices of Color Prize, and other honors. Brown Girls is her first novel.
Read more about Daphne ON HER WEBSITE
“An irresistible chorus of remembrances, a lyrical ode to brown girlhood. It is also an ode to Queens, and the multiethnic first-person plural sounds like the borough itself, rich and varied and glorious. I absolutely loved this book.”—Emma Straub, bestselling author of All Adults Here
“[Daphne Palasi] Andreades’s descriptive writing is glorious, with a confidence one might expect from a veteran novelist . . . . While there is much that many brown girls will relate to—including experiences that feel stolen straight from my memories—Andreades succeeds in making the stories feel specific beyond a singular experience. . . . Readers become part of scenes where the fourth wall is not only broken but shattered. . . . With their breadth, depth and enormous richness, I found myself wanting to savor these raw stories on a large, overflowing plate.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Brown Girls achieves immediate liftoff. . . . Along the way a lot of subjects are turned over for examination. Like a DJ, the author picks up the needle and puts it back down in unexpected places. . . . Fearless.”—The New York Times
“Of the five New York boroughs, Queens still feels like the scrappy kid sibling, underestimated, perhaps, and underexplored. Daphne Palasi Andreades’s exuberant debut novel offers a corrective to that assumption of the neighborhood and its denizens with its kaleidoscopic portrait of the young women of color who call it home. Written in a choral ‘we’ voice, Brown Girls feels like finding your favorite song on the radio and singing along with the windows down.”—Chicago Review of Books
“A poetic story for anyone who has longed to leave home only to find that home resides within you.”—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street