Concrete Rose meets Things We Couldn’t Say in Pritty, a debut novel by Keith F. Miller Jr.—the inspiration behind the forthcoming animated short film of Kickstarter fame—that follows two boys who get caught in the crossfire of a sinister plot that not only threatens everything they love but may cost them their own chance at love.
On the verge of summer before his senior year, Jay is a soft soul in a world of concrete. While his older brother is everything people expect a man to be—tough, athletic, and in charge—Jay simply blends into the background to everyone, except when it comes to Leroy.
Unsure of what he could have possibly done to catch the eye of the boy who could easily have anyone he wants, Jay isn’t about to ignore the surprising but welcome attention. But as everything in his world begins to heat up, especially with Leroy, whispered rumors over the murder of a young Black journalist and long-brewing territory tensions hang like a dark cloud over his neighborhood. And when Jay and Leroy find themselves caught in the crossfire, Leroy isn’t willing to be the reason Jay’s life is at risk.
Dragged into the world of the Black Diamonds—whose work to protect the Black neighborhoods of Savannah began with his father and now falls to his older brother—Leroy knows that finding out who attacked his brother is not only the key to protecting everyone he loves but also the only way he can ever be with Jay. Wading through a murky history of family trauma and regret, Leroy soon discovers that there’s no keeping Jay safe when Jay’s own family is in just as deep and fighting the undertow of danger just as hard.
Now Jay and Leroy must puzzle through secrets hiding in plain sight and scramble to uncover who is determined to eliminate the Black Diamonds before someone else gets hurt—even if the cost might be their own electric connection.
Keith F. Miller, Jr. is an award-winning educator, artist, and researcher who studies healing literacies and their role in supporting BIPOC communities in healing, growing, and thriving through trauma. The founder of Healing By Any Means, LLC, Keith’s work powers people, projects, and healing-centered research in service of systems and narrative change through the arts. He is an executive producer of Pritty: The Animation and current M.F.A candidate in creative writing at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY.
"Impressively balances the sweet and the suspenseful. Queer Black boy joy at its juiciest." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Miller’s debut is laudable for its intimate portrayal of a Black community combatting systemic violence by creating their own institutions of support. Moreover, Miller sketches a panorama of queer Black characters who, even under threat, not only survive but thrive. " — Publishers Weekly
"Miller offers a vivid narrative, shining light onto the complexities of queer Black boyhood. This book’s metaphorical layers celebrate the beauty and hardship of growing into adulthood." — Booklist
“Triumphant and deeply moving, Pritty is a life-affirming love letter to Black and brown queer boys that offers them hope and purpose. Hands down the best book I’ve read in a while." — Jay Coles, author of Things We Couldn’t Say and Tyler Johnson Was Here
“A staggering achievement in young adult literature. A tender rendering of Black boyhood that makes you yearn for soul food and the people who you call home.” — Jade Adia, author of There Goes the Neighborhood