Jas Hammonds joins the literary world with We Deserve Monuments, a mysterious and romantic YA novel featuring a young Black-presenting biracial woman unsure whether to share the decades of concealed truths she uncovers in her mother's hometown.
Seventeen-year-old Avery imagines getting away to the beach or "an unfamiliar metropolis." Instead, her mother, Zora, announces they will be leaving Washington, D.C., and relocating to Bardell, Ga., to care for Mama Letty, the terminally ill grandmother Avery barely knows. Avery starts to form friendships with her fascinating next-door neighbor, Simone Cole, and the daughter of Bardell's most prominent family, Jade Oliver--whose mother's murder remains unsolved. As Simone and Avery's friendship blooms into romance, Avery wonders why Zora and Mama Letty's relationship is so unstable. While Mama Letty's health continues to decline, Avery, is haunted by Bardell's racist history--the town of only 9,127 harbors many secrets, and Avery's family is not unaffected.
Hammonds's debut is an outstanding, emotional novel that uncovers decades of familial secrets in a racist Southern town. Family, love, prejudice, death, trauma, sexuality and identity are all examined with care and subtlety. Hammonds is thoughtful as they showcase many kinds of love stories, both romantic and familial, and their deliberate and steady plotting connects the lives of the three generations of women. When their truths are finally revealed, the abundance of heart-wrenching revelations will surely leave engrossed readers catching their breath. --Natasha Harris, freelance reviewer