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“I always thought falling in love would feel like an endless summer. Warm and whimsical, sugar-sweet sherbet and sparklers lighting up the sky. But was autumn now, and the world was still beautiful, and it all reminded me of her.”

We Deserve Monuments is a coming of age story that follows our main character Avery, a biracial, pansexual teen who moves with her parents from Washington D.C. to her mother's southern home town, Bardell, to take care of Avery's dying grandmother. While in Bardell, Avery learns about her family tragic history and secrets from her begrudging grandmother, makes friends who are far better than her old ones, and falls in love with the girl next door.

I am a puddle of tears after reading this book. I loved it. I don’t know how the author did it but they managed to make me feel utterly hopeless and completely hopeful at the same time. This book holds a lot of power. It’s in the scenes where three generations of women are battling through their trauma and grief, whether with or against each other, that it really shows. Jas Hammonds did an amazing job of showing the complexities of trauma within a family and how that trauma can be passed on through generations. They also included the very raw and realistic histories of racism in the south. They put a face and a name to these horrors and were able to show how this history of hatred impacts actual people. Some of my favorite scenes were the conversations between Avery and Mama Letty where they were able to reminisce on Mama Lefty’s love with Ray, but also Avery was able to get bits and pieces of the awful events that resulted in Ray’s death. Jas Hammonds conveyed Avery’s desperation to know more and then her anger and helplessness when she realized there was nothing she could do. I loved Avery’s character. I love her determinedness to know more and do more for those she loved. I loved watching her grow into herself. Overall, I laughed, I cried, and I stared into space thinking. This book was beautiful.