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Jade Brown's Hotel Stuff is a Book that Amplifies Black Voices
The book highlights Basil Francis, a sixteen year old who thought she knew herself, but discovers a version that is too altered to part with. Reviewers have gone as far as to describe the novel as a captivating dissertation, with the writer using unique and thought provoking language that defies the coming of age genre.
On the surface, Hotel Stuff is seen as a modern-day romance where an outcast is immersed in the nuances of dating and popularity. Basil's notoriety commences once she builds a connection to her school's most popular loser, Elly Hayes. Their relationship evolves once Elly provides Basil with a proposal she can't refuse, a proposal that transitions her bleak high-school career into one where she is propelled into the spotlight.
The mystical and freakish elements continue to progress throughout the book, and readers soon realize that they're not only interweaved into a high school rom-com, but experiencing a parable of race and exploitation. The book incorporates enigmatic storytelling, with chapters driving the reader into the bizarre realms of teenhood - all seen through the eyes of an African-American girl.
Hotel Stuff is weird, and is intended to engage the reader in a way that will have them question who they are in their communities. It's a novel meant to be analyzed and experienced, but also to bring light to the contrast of growing up in a world where being who you are isn't necessarily who someone else wants you to be.
As a writer who is known for her innovative approach to prose, Jade uses a unique style to narrate her story. Examples of her style include:
"I feel like I believe in Elly. I believe in him the way theorists negotiate their present ideologies for a flicker of something more palatable."
"We were never together. We were incubating our loneliness—freeing one another from the flummox of our names," reads a section that reviews have described as highly effective in outlining the story's themes.
"Names are valueless, but they hold so much worth. To know that I'm so minute under the stars with people whose names are only hearsay to others encourages me to decimate my identity," reads a section of the story that uplifts Black voices.
Jade Brown's book, which was originally published in April 2022, can be found on Amazon, as well as in independent bookstores across the US.
For more information, visit https://www.brownjade.com.