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  • Alisa Williams

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is such an exquisite writer. Her words, her stories, they sing like melodies on the page. A big thank you to the publisher for the ARC of Red at the Bone, Woodson’s latest. It’s such a quick read (just over 200 pages), but there is so much in those pages. The book centers around 16-year-old Melody and opens with her coming of age ceremony. But as we learn more about Melody, we also learn about her grandparents who are raising her, and their love story. We learn about Melody’s parents, the beginnings and endings of their relationship, and about the life-altering decisions of her mother, who became pregnant with her at 16 and the choices she made in the aftermath. This book touches on many issues, from racial injustice to class tensions, to the complexities of sexual identity and familial relationships. Each character, no matter how much or how little of their story we hear, is richly portrayed and instantly familiar. I fell in love with all of them and am in awe of Woodson’s ability to create characters with so much depth and warmth and life that they feel like people I knew in another life.


This review originally appeared on NetGalley. I received a free Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest review of this title.

Alisa Williams is the managing editor of She blogs at, tweets at @AWWritesStories, and bookstagrams at @AllyWritesStories.

Book cover image courtesy of Penguin Group.


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