Breaking the Cycle: A Review of Black Girl Unlimited

Black girl unlimitedBlack Girl Unlimited: The Remarkable Story of a Teenage Wizard
By Echo Brown
January 14, 2020
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Grades 10+

Echo is a quantum wizard, just like her mom. Her mom, April, has suffered through so much trauma that the only way to relieve the pain is through the white rocks that all the adults in Cleveland’s East Side seem to worship. Despite April’s attempts to fight her addiction and end the generational cycle of trauma, Echo and her brothers still get caught up in the cycle. Echo tries to make miracles for the people around her, to plant seeds in their hearts that will get them off their destructive paths. But to become a successful wizard, Echo must first overcome the turmoil and suffering in her own life.

Heavily autobiographical, Brown’s debut novel does not shy away from tough subject matter. Ranging from molestation to sexual assault, drug addiction to death, and other complex topics, the characters in this book have endured a lifetime of pain. The magical realism throughout the book highlights the lengths that women will go to try and protect other women from abuse. Brown focuses on the experiences of young black women and all the different ways that the world has seemingly failed to protect them. In her novel, only women can be quantum wizards. It is the network of women in Echo’s life that ultimately support her and rescue her. Men, like her brothers and father, either need rescuing, or they are the perpetrators of pain.  A profound and heartbreaking story about how our communities shape us and support us, for better or worse.