Angel of Greenwood
Momma Leighellen's Book Review
Angel of Greenwood grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. Reminiscent of The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones this book is centered in a tragic historical event but is also about love + hope.
This YA historical fiction novel depicts the life of two teens prior to and during the Greenwood Massacre of 1921. I had never heard of this event but everyone should. On June 1, 1921, white rioters came into the peaceful town of Greenwood (a district of Tulsa, OK) and proceeded to loot + burn it down. When it was over THIRTY FIVE city BLOCKS were burnt down. 800 people were injured and over 300 dead. Let that sink in a moment. And you’ve never heard of it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is something about this genre that allows complex issues and harrowing events to be told in a simple, attainable way. In this book, the author imagines and recreates the life of two high schoolers. Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Wilson is an avid reader and secret poet, never leaving home without his journal. Sixteen-year-old Angel Hill is a loner, spending all her time and energy helping those around her. Her father is dying, and her family’s financial situation is in turmoil.
The two come together when their teacher offers jobs driving the mobile library – a three wheel, two seater bike. They find they both have a passion for books but are on opposing political ideals. Isaiah follows DuBois and believe black people need to rise up. Angel follows Booker T. Washington and believes through education and tolerance, black people can rise without conflict. Neither imagines what comes next.
Angel of Greenwood Review
Angel of Greenwood was a perfect mix of YA romance and history. The connection these two have is powerful and sweet but what happens to them is horrific. I loved their personal growth and commitment to their families and community. The author’s writing makes this town come alive and this moment in history is given its rightful honor. I enjoyed the power of friendship, family, community and black resilience in this book. A truly delightful and heartbreaking read.