Lord, anthologies are having a good run when you have a diverse, #ownvoices set of authors involved! First Fresh Ink and now Black Enough, I don’t know if YA can handle all this excellence. (That’s a lie, of course it can.) I’m not going to pussyfoot around: Black Enough is an impressive collection and you should get your hands on it from the store, the library, or in any other legal manner.
Frankly, I can describe every story in the anthology as a highlight because all of them are just that good, but that’s not how highlights work! But a few that really got to me in the best ways:
*“Half a Moon” by Renee Watson: Lord, I loved that the book opened with a story from my favorite modern YA author! Raven is a high school teen and camp counselor for the summer whose younger half-sister Brooke is attending camp. Raven isn’t fond of her due to how Brooke represents Raven’s abandonment by their shared father, but their bond as sisters wins out over their dad being an awful human being. Super sweet.
*“The Ingredients” by Jason Reynolds: So in my college lit and creative writing classes, we often got Best Of anthologies as textbooks and they’d represent the best short stories of the year or best poetry/stories/literature from a specific literary movement like Romanticism. If someone made such an anthology, Reynolds’ tale of four boys chattering about their dream sandwich would fit right in.
*“The (R)Evolution of Nigeria Jones” by Ibi Zoboi: I really hope Zoboi writes a novel about Nigeria Jones one day because I’d devour it. Daughter of a black nationalist whose group the Movement sound a bit like a cult gets to take off and “live out her dreams” for one night before she turns eighteen, when she’ll sever her connection to the Movement–and likely her dad–for good.
*“Whoa!” by Rita Williams-Garcia: The most delightful oddball of all the stories! Dante somehow connects to his ancestor John via an heirloom bowl and their efforts to communicate go about as you’d expect when one person is a modern teenage black boy and the other is an enslaved man in the late 1830s. John thinks Dante is a demon, Dante has barely any idea what’s going on, and you’ll laugh yourself silly.
Look, every single story in this anthology is a gem so good you’ll be thinking about them for a while. Just read the book.