Book Review: Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson – Rage and Hope Come Together in a Story of Resistance and Police Brutality

Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson

Jamal Lawson just wanted to be a part of something. As an aspiring journalist, he packs up his camera and heads to Baltimore to document a rally protesting police brutality after another Black man is murdered.

But before it even really begins, the city implements a new safety protocol…the Dome. The Dome surrounds the city, forcing those within to subscribe to a total militarized shutdown. No one can get in, and no one can get out.

Alone in a strange place, Jamal doesn’t know where to turn…until he meets hacker Marco, who knows more than he lets on, and Catherine, an AWOL basic-training-graduate, whose parents helped build the initial plans for the Dome.

As unrest inside of Baltimore grows throughout the days-long lockdown, Marco, Catherine, and Jamal take the fight directly to the chief of police. But the city is corrupt from the inside out, and it’s going to take everything they have to survive.

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Survive the Dome feels like a breathing manifestation of the emotions felt in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in May 2020. Rage, frustration, anxiety, and pain simmer across the story, held together by a fierce hope in which a queer Black boy saves the city. The story follows Jamal, a Black queer teen journalist who attends a Black Lives Matter protest – against the wishes of his mother – but gets trapped in the city when a large technological dome forms around Baltimore proper. With nowhere to go, Jamal crosses paths with Marco, a mysterious Latino teen hacker, Jamal becomes intertwined with the resistance inside – and becomes instrumental to the fight against corruption and abuse of power.

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Black History Month – An Interview with Charlene Thomas, Author of Seton Girls; On Her Dark Prep School Debut, Female Friendships, and Navigating Publishing

Black History Month – An Interview with Charlene Thomas, Author of Seton Girls; On Her Dark Prep School Debut, Female Friendships, and Navigating Publishing

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Black History Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of February, where Black authors are invited to celebrate being Black and Black books! Find the introduction post for Black History Month here.

If you love a story set in an elite prep school that delves into themes of privilege and power, then listen up: you’re going to want to read this interview. And if you love a story with a cast of Black and brown girls who love and protect one another above all else, then you absolutely need to read Seton Girls by Charlene Thomas. When Charlene and I connected last year and she shared what her awesome debut was about, I wanted to read it immediately – and I absolutely had to invite Charlene to the Pond so we could learn more about her upcoming book.

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Exclusive Cover Reveal + Excerpt: Ravenfall by Kalyn Josephson – A MG Fantasy with a Sentient Inn, an Ancient Celtic Creature, and a Spooky Mystery

Friends, we at The Quiet Pond are privileged to share with you all the exclusive cover reveal and excerpt for Ravenfall by Kalyn Josephson, a middle-grade fantasy where the daughter of a psychics and owners of a sentient inn and a runaway must solve a family mystery and stop a terrifying ancient Celtic creature.

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Book Review: Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas – A Brilliant Interrogation of Heroism, Imperialism and Power, Set in an Alternate History Middle-East

Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas.

Aiza has always dreamt of becoming a Knight. It’s the highest military honor in the once-great Bayt-Sajji Empire, and as a member of the subjugated Ornu people, Knighthood is her only path to full citizenship. Ravaged by famine and mounting tensions, Bayt-Sajji finds itself on the brink of war once again, so Aiza can finally enlist in the competitive Squire training program.

It’s not how she imagined it, though. Aiza must navigate new friendships, rivalries, and rigorous training under the unyielding General Hende, all while hiding her Ornu background. As the pressure mounts, Aiza realizes that the “greater good” that Bayt-Sajji’s military promises might not include her, and that the recruits might be in greater danger than she ever imagined.

Aiza will have to choose, once and for all: loyalty to her heart and heritage, or loyalty to the Empire. 

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I read Squire thinking it would be a story about knighthood and heroism. In a way, Squire is about those two things, but it was also, unexpectedly yet to my delight, so much more. Set in alternate history Middle East, Squire follows Aiza, a young girl of the fictional Ornu people who dreams of becoming a Knight for the Bayt-Sajji Empire – not only for the glory of it, but also because it will offer a path to full citizenship. Hiding her Ornu background, Aiza enlists to become a Squire, but discovers that the ‘greater good’ promised by military is not at all what she initially believed.

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Cover Reveal + Exclusive Excerpt: If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang – A Beijing Boarding School, Invisibility Powers, Rivals-to-Lovers, and Selling Secrets

We are in for a treat today, friends. Today, The Quiet Pond gets the honour to share the cover reveal and exclusive excerpt for If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang, a genre-bending contemporary about a teen who uses her newfound invisibility powers and teams up with her academic rival to discover and sell her classmates’ scandalous secrets.

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