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Episode 5: Fiction Edition!!
Fabulous Fiction for Fans of UU Young Adult Ministry

Welcome back to Bart Reviews Books, BlueBoat Blog’s number one book review column. Here at Bart Reviews Books, we read books and then review them. And by we, we mean Bart. It’s in the title.

This month, I’ve got an admission to make...I’m having a hard time reading youth and young adult ministry books. America is a garbage fire right now and I’ve been escaping into fictional worlds. So instead of me complaining about this young adult ministry book I can’t finish, I want to talk about some really awesome authors out there: Tomi Adeyemi and N.K. Jemisin.

Why are they awesome?

Let’s start with the Broken Earth trilogy by  N.K. JemisinJemisin has been pretty explicit that her books aren’t young adult novels (typically for 13-18 year olds), but I think that many high schoolers could handle the themes, including the adult themes, expressed in the triology.

Jemisin’s Broken Earth series is unique in that it combines elements of fantasy with science fiction. Orogeny, the magic system in the series, is based on the ability to manipulate the earth using one’s own energy. These "Orogenes" are oppressed by people without the ability because of the fear that Orogenes will destroy the planet again. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a great story with an interesting and complex world.

The genre of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is young adult fantasy. While it might not be as explicit or descriptive as the Broken Earth books, it is just as powerful.

Children of Blood and Bone takes place in a fictional world roughly based on Nigeria and its surrounding environment. CoBB’s magic system is a little bit more traditional with the original tribes being blessed by the twelve Orishas (gods). In this world, we learn that the magic-bearers are oppressed by the king because he is afraid of losing his power and the unknown. CoBB was influenced by recent events of young black folks being murdered at the hands of police and the rise of the Movement for Black Lives.

They are even better than my brief plot outlines (I’m not good at preventing spoilers) hint toward. Both series feature women of color (especially young women) as their main protagonists. Both series have relevant commentary for today’s world. Both series are GOOD. N.K. Jemisin is one of the greatest fantasy writers alive right now. Tomi Adeyemi is relatively new, but her skill is evident.

Both writers deserve all the stars! Go check them out today, they’d make a good holiday present for the fantasy lovers in your life.

 

About the Author

  • Bart joined the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in 2014. As a lifelong Unitarian Universalist (UU), he has a great passion for youth and young adult ministry. Bart served the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans as Director of Religious Education before...

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