We Deserve Monuments - Review
*I received an e-arc from Roaring Brook Press via NetGalley. All reviews are my own.*
This book turned out waaaay better than I expected, and we can thank @a.j.reads for making my nosey ass find out what it was about. Have ya'll seen her meme review? Anyway, We Deserve Monuments comes from debut author Jas Hammonds, and she showed out on her first book! It comes on time to prepare you for the family drama that will go around the holiday dinner table. You think your family is the epicenter of tea? Shiiiiiiiid
"Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she's uprooted from her life in DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery’s mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about. Every time Avery tries to look deeper, she’s turned away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.
While tempers flare in her avoidant family, Avery finds friendship in unexpected places: in Simone Cole, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family—whose mother’s murder remains unsolved.
As the three girls grow closer—Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into romance—the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town begin to hint at something insidious underneath. The racist history of Bardell, Georgia is rooted in Avery’s family in ways she can’t even imagine. With Mama Letty's health dwindling every day, Avery must decide if digging for the truth is worth toppling the delicate relationships she's built in Bardell—or if some things are better left buried."
I had the pleasure of experiencing this book via audio, and the narrator Tamika Katon-Donegal did an excellent job portraying the characters throughout the story.
My favorite theme of this story is the truth of generational trauma. I believe the characters in this story got a better side of the coin than most people in real life. I can say with most black families, there isn't much apologizing and self-awareness. Most people don't get the luxury of seeking therapy or pouring their all into their passions. Sometimes it's the bitterness that sticks with family and keeps churning out broken people—not saying that the Anderson's didn't have their moment. I liked how Hammonds created more profound talking points about the drama from the past and came to an equal stance on the matter.
The characters were easy to love, roll your eyes to, cry, and grow with. I love the expressions the main character, Avery, had with herself, even as she was still figuring out her worth. The storyline of the death of Mama Letty's husband was crazy. I was not expecting the turn of events that ended the book, and my jaw dropped with the revelation. You gotta read it!
Overall I rated this book 4.5 stars. This story was sad but incredible. I loved watching the characters develop over time, and as heartbreaking as it was, I loved the story's outcome. Jas Hammonds, you deserve your monuments and crown of flowers.