Say Her Name – Stefani Deoul

Say Her Name - Stefani DeoulStefani Deoul’s latest in the Sid Rubin series came out yesterday and if you haven’t started this series then you are seriously missing a wonderful ride, and if you have, then get this one in your hands as soon as possible.

The series is Emerging Adult (which Amazon can’t cope with yet) and follows the adventures of Sid Rubin and her engaging gang of friends. They have investigated steam punk murders, saved Chinese gaming slaves and now face a mystery much closer to home, the discovery of what appears to be slave bodies in Central Park, NYC. But while we follow their adventures and explorations of the technical, intellectual and moral world around them what we are really doing is watching them grow up.

This, the third in the series, deals with an emotive topic, the discovery of eight skeletons which leads us to the treatment of slaves, and free Afro-Americans, by an uncaring white New York of the early 19th Century. But while the five friends are both engaged and horrified by their discoveries, bringing home emotive responses from the Jewish Sid and her Kenyan best friend, it is their emotional development which Deoul captures and imparts, seemingly without effort, through their discovery of the world.

Exploring themes of friendship, relationships, and especially, a young adults sense of self, particularly in relation to the absorption of a new love – Deoul has created a wonderful world where we are watching the emergence of moral and emotionally mature adults. Sid’s friends are, by and large, far more aware than she is herself, and act as foils for her development, gently prodding her along and waiting to pick her up when she falls. She is an intellectual prodigy with a brain full of sarcastic quotes, mischievous plans and an unending thirst for knowledge, all of which entertain and amuse, as she very plainly intends, but it is the growth of an individual that really makes these novels stand out as something very special.

Deoul cleverly weaves together the search for a slave girls name, the recognition of similarities to the total disrespect for human life, for humanity, that resonates with Sid and her knowledge of the Holocaust, her personal need to be herself, no matter what pulls at her desires, and the identity politics which is the current generations political focus. Add in falling for a politicised deaf woman and the realisation that sometimes languages cannot be bridged, identities have to be respected and the theme is complete.

As you can tell I loved it. Highly recommend it to adults young and old, and recently had the pleasure of recommending it to a mum struggling to find age appropriate materials for her book-loving son. Great Christmas present for a teen – spread the word because these books are genuinely a wonderful read.

Product info:

  • Paperback: 185 pages
  • First published 2019
  • Publisher: Bywater Books (December 10, 2019)
  • ASIN: B07RZDGKB3
Amazon.com
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