As a child, reading books was one of my favorite activities. On the weekends while my friends were playing outside, I loved reading chapter books in my room. Weekly trips to the school library and receiving a summer reading list were the highlights of my elementary and middle school experience. I went so hard that I used to win a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut every month through the Book It! program because of the number of books I read! 

Eventually, Nerd Bae became very bored with the books that I was being assigned at school. The characters were overwhelmingly white and predictable. Sure, I enjoyed learning about people and cultures that were different than mine. However, it was only so many times that I was going to be reading about An American Girl named Molly or Samantha or worse, Addy.

I started to outgrow children’s books at a young age because of the lack of representation of girls like me. When we were featured as characters it was the sidekick, the neighbor, or strong black girl who thrives in adverse situations the slave. But see, here’s the tea of it all…my school was a black school. Go. Figure.

One day, I decided to take matters into my own hands. My mom used to talk about her books with her friends and they sounded way more interesting than the books we had at school. When asked if I can read a few of her books, my mom almost had a heart attack. Apparently, they were “grown people books about grown people business”. Grown people business?!? I’m fascinated. Lol.  

Andddd chileeeee I found out quickly why she had her reservations about me reading her books. After my mom put my baby sister to bed, she used to take her shower for the night. While she was in the shower, I quietly went into the den to “steal and conceal” one of her books.

There were so many choices that I didn’t know where to start! The first book I picked up was Nervous by Zane. And honeyyyyyy. I could not put it down! Honestly, I don’t know if it was the rush of adrenaline from disobeying my mom or me finally figuring out what “grown people business” meant. 

I was 10 or 11 when I started “sneaking and geeking” around with my mom’s books. Since entering adulthood, I have been promising myself that I will reread these books. The unfortunate passing of Eric Jerome Dickey has made this a bit more urgent. Considering the status of the world, it is the perfect time to unwind. Let us dive into three books that I am very excited to revisit again!

Nervous By Zane

I am beyond ready to dissect Jonquinette Pierce’s adventures now that I understand more about personality disorders. Honestly, I thought that Jonquinette and Jude were two different people! As a child, I skipped all of the “nasty parts” because they were very intense and I knew I was pushing it. Lol. So I am looking forward to the freaky tales the most!

The Coldest Winter Ever by Sistah Soulja

Sister Souljah is the TRUTH! If you are not hip, you need to get into it! I wanted to be Winter Santiaga! I was going to be dripped out in designer threads and my boyfriend was going a part of a criminal enterprise. Lol, Jk. It is very hard for readers not to become captivated by Sister Souljahs writing style! The more I think about it, I still want to be Winter. Lol minus the drama, of course.

Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey

Last, but certainly not least, Milk in My Coffee is a book that I definitely have to read again. As a child, I didn’t personally know anyone that was in an interracial relationship. I remember thinking “so what’s the big deal”? I was not aware of the nuances and intricacies of dating outside your race. Jordan Greens’ love life will hopefully make better sense to me now as an adult.

Do you have any favorite books from the 90’s or early 2000’s? Are there any characters that influenced you? Let us know below!

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