Text by Diane Slocum
ooking for girl-themed titles for your summer reading? you’re in luck.
“The Other Black Girl,” a debut novel from Zakiya Dalila Harris, seems to be getting rave reviews from everyone from Amy Gentry to the Washington Post. It is satirical and funny, creepy and a thriller, with shades of George Orwell and “The Devil Wears Prada.” Nella suffers from being the only Black employee at a publishing company until Hazel is hired. They make great companions until Hazel becomes the company darling and Nella starts getting threatening notes portending unknown dangers.
“Girl One,” a second novel by Sara Flannery Murphy, tells the story of nine miracle babies born without male DNA who live in a commune until it is destroyed by fire, killing two of the girls. The remaining girls and their mothers scatter, but Girl One’s mother disappears and the Girl goes in search of her, encountering people who want to eradicate the girls.
Elin Hilderbrand’s “Golden Girl” is a famous beach book author who is killed in a car accident. When she goes “beyond,” she can watch what happens to her children that summer. But her greatest concern is a youthful secret that will be revealed in her final book that could devastate her family.
Joining the girl theme are also “Somebody’s Daughter,” a memoir by Ashley C. Ford, and “The Maidens,” a novel by Alex Michaelides.
Porterville native Ron Hughart made his name as an author writing about his childhood in California’s migrant farmworker camps in the 1950s with his Oklahoma-born parents. “The Place Beyond the Dust Bowl” and “Beyond the Dust Bowl With a Pocket Full of Peanuts” tell his stories of the time when a bologna sandwich was a luxury. They tell of the time that his father asked him to hold the flashlight while he shot rats in their kitchen, and how young Ronnie felt a kinship with the rats because they were only trying to find a warm place to sleep and food to survive, so much like his family.
His most recent book, “Did I Meet Santa?,” tells of a family outing to the mountains to cut a Christmas tree on what started out as a crisp, sunny day but soon turned dark and wet, while the dry, dirt roads turned to slippery mud. The day was filled with coincidences, maybe the top of which was that the friendly tow truck driver looked (and acted) like a jolly, well-known, white bearded fellow.