We Deserve Monuments – Jas Hammonds & Tamika Katon-Donegal (narrator)

On a backdrop of book pages, an iPhone with the cover of We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds, narrated by Tamika Katon-Donegal. At the bottom of the image, a strip of torn paper with a quote: "A beautiful and gut-wrenching debut." and a URL: judeinthestars.com.

Some friendships just happen. One day they don’t exist, the next it’s like you’ve known each other forever. One of these self-evident friendships surprises Avery, who was ready to grit her teeth through her senior year of high school and get it over with. The hard part wasn’t so much leaving DC and her friends as moving in with her dying and very grumpy grandmother and navigating a brand new school in Bardell, Georgia as one of very few non-white students. Then she meets Simone and her best friend Jade and suddenly, everything gets a lot more interesting.

This audiobook made me go through so many different emotions I’m not sure where to start. First of all, I loved the narration, despite a couple of misplaced pauses. All the voices are perfect, I never had any doubt about who was talking, even when I had to take a break and came back in the middle of the dialogue. The teenagers, the moms, the grandmother, all have their specific timbre and tone.

There’s so much in this story. First love, growth, awareness of evil big and small. Racism plays a huge part, and its repercussions in the moment and on following generations both of victims and perpetrators, the intergenerational trauma. Parental abuse and bigotry as well. Atonement, forgiveness, love all combine in a messy, complex, beautiful journey. The romance arc is very sweet and heartbreaking and hopeful, but what will stay with me is the family dynamics. Especially Avery’s, with the relationship between her and her mother Zora (also her and her father to a lesser extent), between her mother and her mother’s mother, Mama Letty, between Avery and her grandma. But also Simone and her mom Carol, Simone and Mama Letty, Carol and Mama Letty, Jade and her murdered mother, Jade and her stepmother…

I’d lie if I said that despite the tough and gut-wrenching topics, this book doesn’t feel heavy. It does. It absolutely does. And yet I’d relisten in a second. It’s a beautifully-written debut with realistic characters – teens and adults – and fundamental questions about how we treat ourselves and others. 4.5⭐️


Buy We Deserve Monuments:

Scribd (get 2 free months)

This post contains affiliate links, so I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on this blog at no additional cost to you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s