Black Girl Unlimited and Long Bright River – Mini Reviews #12

Hi everyone! As someone who actually likes reviewing books I can’t believe that I haven’t published any on here in over two months. And I’ve read 14 books this year so my (valid) excuses are exhaustion and busyness. Anyways, I’m happy to share my thoughts on two audiobook ARCs I finished recently. I went into these books expecting one thing and got something totally different. Keep reading to see what I thought of them! Covers are linked to Goodreads.

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.

Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism—all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age.


I went into this expecting a work of fiction with magical realism, but the references to magic and wizardry were metaphorical and the story is semi-autobiographical. Though it was different from what I expected, I enjoyed this book tremendously.

There’s a lot of pain in this, but I loved exploration of black womanhood, depression, sexism, sexual violence, and the discussions about poverty. While it’s a difficult and heavy read, the book is infused with hope and resilience. It’s a non-linear story and it got a little confusing and the writing was clunky in some parts, but I still believe this is worth the read. I listened to the audiobook, which is narrated by the author. She was phenomenal. I highly recommend taking in this story in audiobook format.

TW: rape, sexual assault, depression, suicide, racism, sexism

Thank you and Macmillan for providing me with an audiobook listening copy in exchange for an honest review.

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Two sisters travel the same streets, though their lives couldn’t be more different.
Then one of them goes missing.

In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. They don’t speak anymore, but Mickey never stops worrying about her sibling.

Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey’s district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit–and her sister–before it’s too late.

Alternating its present-day mystery with the story of the sisters’ childhood and adolescence, Long Bright River is at once heart-pounding and heart-wrenching: a gripping suspense novel that is also a moving story of sisters, addiction, and the formidable ties that persist between place, family, and fate.


This was a very captivating and hard hitting story set against the backdrop of opioid drug addiction and corruption in Philadelphia. I’m very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book because I’m not usually a fan of mystery novels written from the detective’s POV, but Liz Moore put her foot in this!

The writing was fantastic and the plot twists were great as well. I distinctly remember yelling “oh shit” in my car when one of the big twists was revealed. Normally, I can emotionally detach from mystery novels but the depth and realism made it difficult to disconnect from this story, which is why I think this is more literary fiction than your run of the mill mystery novel. Definitely recommend this.

TW: rape, substance abuse

Thank you and Penguin Random House for providing me with an audiobook listening copy in exchange for an honest review.

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