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Red at the Bone

A Novel

By Jacqueline Woodson
Narrated by Jacqueline Woodson & Various / 3 hours 52 minutes

An extraordinary new novel about the influence of history on a contemporary family, from the New York Times-bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming.

Bookseller Recommendation

Red at the Bone

“Jacqueline Woodon's novella RED AT THE BONE is the story of a black American family told through the perspective of 5 people. Vastly different perspectives of the same events (a teenage pregnancy, prejudice, class issues between generations) creates a compelling audiobook. Listening to this book was a delight, as the 5 narrators truly made it a beautiful production. I've never experienced a story like this and was spellbound. Highly recommend.”

Avid Bookshop image Rachel, Avid Bookshop

Two families from different social classes are joined together by an unexpected pregnancy and the child that it produces. Moving forward and backward in time, with the power of poetry and the emotional richness of a narrative ten times its length, Jacqueline Woodson's extraordinary new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of this child.

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody's coming of age ceremony in her grandparents' Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the soundtrack of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody's mother, for her own ceremony-- a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody's parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they've paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives--even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.


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“Jacqueline Woodson is a master storyteller.”

Angela Flournoy, author of the National Book Award finalist The Turner House

“Woodson brings the reader so close to her young characters that you can smell the bubble gum on their breath and feel their lips as they brush against your ear.”

Tayari Jones, New York Times-bestselling author of An American Marriage

“Jacqueline Woodson has such an original vision, such a singular voice.”

Ann Patchett, New York Times-bestselling author of Commonwealth

About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books, including the 2016 New York Times–bestselling National Book Award finalist for adult fiction, Another Brooklyn. Among her many accolades, Woodson is a four-time National Book Award finalist, a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a two-time NAACP Image Award Winner, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her New York Times–bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, received the National Book Award in 2014. Woodson is also the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and the recipient of the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award. In 2015, she was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She lives with her family in New York.


Reviews

“[A] beautifully imagined novel. . . Woodson’s nuanced voice evokes the complexities of race, class, religion, and sexuality in fluid prose and a series of telling details. This is a wise, powerful, and compassionate novel.”

Publishers Weekly

“Opening at the coming-of-age ceremony of 16-year-old Melody in Brooklyn, the story unspools the history of her family, and how they arrived at this moment. Exploring issues of gentrification, sexual identity, and class, Red at the Bone is a novel you won't soon forget, one that begs to be discussed.”

PopSugar

Red at the Bone breaks down the ways in which parenthood changes people for both better and worse and what it means to find your true identity.”

Parade

Related Reading

Jacqueline Woodson Reveals the Cover of Her New Novel, Red at the Bone
The Oprah Magazine

In this excerpt from Jacqueline Woodson’s new novel, a teenage daughter reckons with her mother’s past.
The Cut


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