Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2024) Feature Review: Sun Keep Rising by Kristen R. Lee

  • Sun Keep Rising
  • by Kristen R. Lee
  • Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House
  • Release date: January 24, 2023
  • ISBN: 9780593309193

Teen mom B’onca has always found a way to survive. Things are harder now with her baby, but she finds a way to stay in school, help pay the rent and raise her daughter. Unfortunately, her Memphis neighborhood is being gentrified and the rent is increasing. Soon B’onca and her mom get an eviction notice. B’onca can’t lose her home or her daughter. The father’s family is threatening to take the baby if she can’t prove she has a stable household. Pushed into a corner, B’onca decides to take a risk to get quick money, putting everything even more in jeopardy. 

The difficult, but real issues in this book are handled with grace and also don’t shy away from the pain and injustices. The realistic way it’s written will appeal to reluctant readers who like true stories with believable characters. In this short book the reader is drawn into B’onca’s life.

Readers who enjoy realistic stories that deal with complex life issues will enjoy this book. This tells a story that isn’t often told and gives a voice to young teen mothers who love their babies and strive to make themselves better for their kids. For more books about young women of color finding their voice while grappling with complicated lives read Vinyl Moon by Mahogany Browne and Me: Moth by Amber McBride.

Other Nominated

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.