Set at a luxe, aspirational boarding school inspired by the author’s beloved alma mater Spelman College, this debut is a captivating celebration of the friends we choose, the family we protect, and the love we owe ourselves.
It’s fourteen-year-old Avielle “Avi” LeBeau’s turn to do what everyone in her family has done: leave home to attend Briarcliff Prep—a Historically Black Boarding School (HBBS). And as scared as she is to say goodbye to her parents and move to Georgia, she knows her fearless big sister Belle will be there to show her the ropes.
Before long, Avi settles into life at Briarcliff. New friends (and foes), challenging classes (at times too challenging), and maybe a cute tutor-turned-something-more (if her brothers don’t get in the way). Meanwhile, Belle does what she always does: she runs the campus’s social scene, especially now that she’s dating Logan, the pride and joy of Briarcliff’s sibling school Preston Academy.
But something about Logan doesn’t sit well with Avi, no matter how many times Belle reassures her Logan is a good guy. And when Avi stumbles across the truth, her relationship with Belle is put to the test. If Avi reveals what she knows, their sisterhood might never recover. But if she doesn’t, she might lose Belle forever.
Debut author Brianna Peppins deftly balances a celebration of sisterhood, self-discovery, and Black joy with an empathetic exploration of teen dating violence in this novel that is, at its heart, a love letter to Black girls.