Nigeria Jones: A Novel (Hardcover)
“An unwavering proclamation of Black girlhood.” —Candice Iloh, author of National Book Award finalist Every Body Looking
From Ibi Zoboi, bestselling, award-winning author of American Street and co-author of Punching the Air, comes a bold new YA coming-of-age story, which explores race, feminism, and complicated family dynamics. The ideal next read for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Jacqueline Woodson, and Roxane Gay.
Warrior Princess. That’s what Nigeria Jones’s father calls her. He has raised her as part of the Movement, a Black separatist group based in Philadelphia. Nigeria is homeschooled and vegan and participates in traditional rituals to connect her and other kids from the group to their ancestors. But when her mother—the perfect matriarch of their Movement—disappears, Nigeria’s world is upended. She finds herself taking care of her baby brother and stepping into a role she doesn’t want.
Nigeria’s mother had secrets. She wished for a different life for her children, which includes sending her daughter to a private Quaker school outside of their strict group. Despite her father’s disapproval, Nigeria attends the school with her cousin, Kamau, and Sage, who used to be a friend. There, she begins to flourish and expand her universe.
As Nigeria searches for her mother, she starts to uncover a shocking truth. One that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about her life and her family.
From award-winning author Ibi Zoboi comes a powerful story about discovering who you are in the world—and fighting for that person—by having the courage to be your own revolution.
Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her novel American Street was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times bestseller. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough. Born in Haiti and raised in New York City, she now lives in New Jersey with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at ibizoboi.net.
“Zoboi artfully introduces each chapter through an epigraph, each a quote either altered to center or by Black women, and structures the book by article, ultimately creating the Constitution of Nigeria Jones. These stylistic choices echo the themes of Black girlhood and intersectionality seamlessly woven throughout Nigeria’s story. A beautifully constructed portrait of one young woman growing into her own that will move readers to deeply consider the very same questions Nigeria must answer for herself.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“Through Nigeria’s powerfully resonant first-person voice, Zoboi’s mesmerizing storytelling soars.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This book calls for deep discussions about the roles of Black women in the Black freedom struggle as well as the role of young people in these movements…. An opportunity for teen readers to begin grappling with their own ideas of what the revolution looks like.” — Horn Book (starred review)
“An emotional journey…. It is through this story that we see the multilayered truth of Black identity.” — ALA Booklist
“[Nigeria’s] personal journey toward emotional and radical self-honesty shapes this superb story.… A thoughtful reflection of real multilayered freedom struggles within Black diasporic communities. A strong declaration for supporting, loving, and empowering all Black women everywhere.” — Kirkus Reviews
“An elaborate structure and ideological boldness truly set Zoboi’s novel apart.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Nigeria Jones is an unwavering proclamation of Black girlhood that stretches far beyond surface ideas of strength, tenacity, and survival. This is a story that plunges head first into the nuances of a teenage girl's personhood, while contemplating what it means to be seen as a small part of a whole. Ibi Zoboi offers a bold meditation on what it means to question your place in, while being critical of, a community that has always been your home. Here, she asks: what does a Black girl do with her guilt and her grief in the midst of all her power?" — Candice Iloh, author of National Book Award finalist Every Body Looking
"To read Nigeria Jones is to have the honor of being invited to one of the most unapologetically Black, womanist, and liberating worlds ever penned. Ibi Zoboi has masterfully woven together a story that explores the dynamism of marginalized people who have often been erased from American literary canon. Through Nigeria and other deeply compelling characters, Ibi has written a love letter to any and everyone who has yearned to feel seen, fought for survival, and been driven by the hope of freedom. If there is a list of essential books for young people, Nigeria Jones MUST be on it." — Frederick Joseph, New York Times Bestselling Author
"Nigeria Jones is a passionate, powerful, and fearless novel about grief and discovering one's own true identity. A brilliant coming-of-age declaration." — Malinda Lo, National Book Award–winning author of Last Night at the Telegraph Club
"The bravest book--about the bravest teenage girl doing the absolute bravest things--I've read in a long time. That we would all learn to move, think, live, and LOVE as fervently as Nigeria Jones." — Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin