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Charis welcomes Jas Hammonds in conversation with Mark Oshiro to celebrate We Deserve Monuments. What’s more important: Knowing the truth or keeping the peace? Family secrets, a swoon-worthy romance, and a slow-burn mystery collide in We Deserve Monuments, a YA debut from Jas Hammonds that explores how racial violence can ripple down through generations.
Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she's uprooted from her life in DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery’s mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about. Every time Avery tries to look deeper, she’s turned away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.
While tempers flare in her avoidant family, Avery finds friendship in unexpected places: in Simone Cole, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family—whose mother’s murder remains unsolved.
As the three girls grow closer—Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into romance—the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town begin to hint at something insidious underneath. The racist history of Bardell, Georgia is rooted in Avery’s family in ways she can’t even imagine. With Mama Letty's health dwindling every day, Avery must decide if digging for the truth is worth toppling the delicate relationships she's built in Bardell—or if some things are better left buried.
Jas Hammonds was raised in many cities and in-between the pages of many books. They have received support for their writing from Lambda Literary, Sundress Academy of the Arts, and the Highlights Foundation. They are also a grateful recipient of a MacDowell James Baldwin Fellowship. We Deserve Monuments is their debut novel.
Mark Oshiro is the award-winning author of the young adult books ANGER IS A GIFT (2019 Schneider Family Book Award), EACH OF US A DESERT, and INTO THE LIGHT, as well as their middle grade books THE INSIDERS and YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, DAVID BRAVO. They are also the co-author (with Rick Riordan) of the upcoming PERCY JACKSON novel centered on Nico di Angelo and Will Solace. When not writing, they are trying to pet every dog in the world.
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"An absolute must read." —Buzzfeed
"A gripping portrayal of the South's inherent racism and a love story for queer Black girls." —Teen Vogue
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