What to Read in 2022

The Bad Book Streak (if you call two a streak) has ended!

Reese’s Book Club redeemed itself with Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola. While I’m not the ideal audience for the book (it is set in a university and deals with young adult issues), I enjoyed it and got a lot out of the story. It was a big relief because I wasn’t looking forward to reading another book I didn’t enjoy.

Description from Kobo.com 

Sweet like plantain, hot like pepper. They taste the best when together…

Sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship-evasion and the host of the popular student radio show Brown Sugar, she’s made it her mission to make sure the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of “situationships”, players, and heartbreak. But when the Queen of the Unbothered kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” in front of every Blackwellian on campus, she finds her show on the brink.

They’re soon embroiled in a fake relationship to try and salvage their reputations and save their futures. Kiki has never surrendered her heart before, and a player like Malakai won’t be the one to change that, no matter how charming he is or how electric their connection feels. But surprisingly entertaining study sessions and intimate, late-night talks at old-fashioned diners force Kiki to look beyond her own presumptions. Is she ready to open herself up to something deeper?

A gloriously funny and sparkling debut novel, Honey and Spice is full of delicious tension and romantic intrigue that will make you weak at the knees.

My take:

Let me get this off my chest first: while this is technically a debut novel, Babalola has been writing for a while. She did her master’s thesis on Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” and has two other books of essays published. To be clear, this is a debut novel by a seasoned author. 

Back to the book: 

Babalola knows her topic, which is the challenges minorities face, specifically at University. Babalola’s main character, Kiki, is a strong Black, British woman who fights for what she believes is right (at least most of the time). Kiki is a fully developed protagonist, unlike the flat characters from Counterfeit, one of last month’s books. 

Despite the fact that I didn’t understand all of the slang and references made due to my age (ancient according to my teenagers) and my nationality (American vs. British), I didn’t have a problem following the story. Babalola’s writing style allowed me to get the gist of what was going on based on the tone she set in her prose. I looked up some of the unfamiliar terms because I wanted to, not because I needed too. And bonus, I expanded my vocabulary. 

A quick read, I would definitely give this book a try. This would be an appropriate read for high school and college-aged women as well. It gives a clear description about what all women, minority or not, face when they are out on their own for the first time.

Up next month is Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister. 

If there is a book you think I should read, drop me an email at carole@carolewolfe.com.

Until next time…