In a midweek reading slump? Here’s a top pick from our YA collection!
Petrified Flowers by Joiya Morrison-Efemini
About the book
In this Novel-in-Verse, tragedy uproots Iris and her sisters, all named after flowers, from the solid ground of middle-class life and plants them, unsupervised, in the rocky terrain of low-income housing. In a world where rain falls only on the privileged, Liam, a student who attends the elite private school directly across the street, proves refreshing as a summer gale, gushing joy into the sisters’ lives. Further nurtured by Ma Moore, a church elder who sprinkles the Flower sisters with spiritual wisdom, Iris embraces her Heavenly Father with steadfast urgency.
But when a student takes a hopeless leap from the school roof, Iris withers under the scorching realization that everything she thought she knew about privilege—and God—lies crippled. Petrified Flowers is the anthem of one African-American girl straddling three worlds. It is a song of hope, a triumph of faith, and a resounding refrain of the Father’s eternal love.
it rained on their side of the street
but not ours
Dahlia and I sat idle,
too hot to breathe
We straddled a seesaw,
Me digging my flip flop heels
into recycled rubber.
Her suspended mid-air,
The two of us panting and dripping
at Brooks Street Park.
Wishing we could beam ourselves
thirteen blocks north
to Spriggs Park
where our sisters played.
Wishing we could dip our toes into homemade concrete
and melt into abandon
with the rest of the Flowers.
We had disregarded Mom’s orders
to remain inside.
Dahlia was supposed to be confined to her bed.
I’d been roped into nursing her flu.
Instead, we persisted—
I in reclaiming the childhood that had abruptly ended
and Dahlia in growing up.
Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum.
I was too old for the game, but not for the wishing.
If wishing could actualize
the sweet, juicy pieces
we sang of,
maybe we could sing Daddy back
and exhume Mom.
But, our voices cracked
from singing too long.
Our expectations ran dry
from hoping too hard.
Then we heard a murmuring. Hope.
We both stopped singing
to the other side of the street.
liquid sheet descended.
We seized scanty drafts in fits and waves;
even still, we accepted the
of their respite
from the unbearable hot spell.
It literally rained on only one side of the street.
The injustice fumed.
Steam surged from the concrete as it poured—
Acrid on parched tongues
the immoral aftertaste of so many entitlements
permitted just over there.
We weathered still.
on the outskirts of beautiful lives.
Like what you’ve read? Grab your copy here:
Joiya Morrison-Efemini is a Christian wife and mother. She is busy raising four fantastic children and writing on her off hours. She is a runner, piano player, motherhood mentor, and Schnoodle mama.
Her lyrical collection of short stories in verse, THE NOTES THEY PLAYED, was published by Paradigm Concept in 2017. Her first novel in verse, THE IMPOSSIBLE, is loosely based on the life of her grandparents, who traveled from Georgia to Upstate New York in the Great Migration. It was published in 2019 by Covenant Books.
PETRIFIED FLOWERS, her second novel in verse, is the story of half a dozen sisters who face tragedy and are haunted by a death-in-threes prophesy. In the midst of their hardship, they are introduced to Jesus, and He restores them. PETRIFIED FLOWERS is scheduled to be released by Anaiah Press on June 16, 2020.
Visit her blog spot: http://www.joiyamewrites.com