by Jas Hammonds
Roaring Brook Press
Family secrets, a swoon-worthy romance, and a slow-burn mystery collide in We Deserve Monuments, a YA debut from Jas Hammonds that explores how racial violence can ripple down through generations.
What's more important: Knowing the truth or keeping the peace?
Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she's uprooted from her life in DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery's mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about. Every time Avery tries to look deeper, she's turned away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.
While tempers flare in her avoidant family, Avery finds friendship in unexpected places: in Simone Cole, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town's most prominent family--whose mother's murder remains unsolved.
As the three girls grow closer--Avery and Simone's friendship blossoming into romance--the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town begin to hint at something insidious underneath. The racist history of Bardell, Georgia is rooted in Avery's family in ways she can't even imagine. With Mama Letty's health dwindling every day, Avery must decide if digging for the truth is worth toppling the delicate relationships she's built in Bardell--or if some things are better left buried.
Target age: 14 to 17
"A gripping portrayal of the South's inherent racism and a love story for queer Black girls." -- Teen Vogue
"We Deserved Monuments gives us a complex and deeply injured family, and shows a path to healing." -- NPR
"Hammonds seamlessly weaves together mystery, romance, and a town's racist history, crafting a gripping and emotional story. A love story--romantic and familial--that is a must-read." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"We Deserve Monuments is an exquisite story about the value of family, the danger of long-held secrets, and the beauty of first love. I can't wait to read everything Jas Hammonds writes." -- Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of The Voting Booth and Little & Lion
"A breathtaking debut that explores love and family in a tender, honest way, with beautiful writing and a mystery that grabs you to the end." -- Kim Johnson, bestselling author of This Is My America
About the Author:
Jas Hammonds was raised in many cities and between the pages of many books. They have received support for their writing from Lambda Literary, Baldwin for the Arts, and the Highlights Foundation. They are also a grateful recipient of the MacDowell James Baldwin Fellowship. Their debut novel, We Deserve Monuments, won the 2023 Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent, among many other accolades.