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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Salmon Croquettes by Glodean Champion is the coming-of-age story of a young girl called Zayla who feels like she doesn’t belong anywhere. Zayla is confused and believes she is not normal. While her father loves her just as she is, her mother is borderline obsessed with changing Zayla and “fixing” her before it is too late. Zayla, on the other hand, has no idea if what she is feeling is right or wrong. All she knows is that she is in love with her friend Dee-Dee and she is different from everyone else in her school. However, help (or is it?) comes in the form of Suzanne, her cousin, when Zayla spends some time with her in Chicago. When she returns home, Zayla is changed and far more confident about herself than ever before. And now, her community has no idea how to handle the firecracker that is Zayla.
Author Glodean Champion delivers an exciting and powerful story of acceptance and finding yourself. Zayla is a brilliant character who is confused, a little dejected, and very much ready to figure it all out. Her journey is realistic and will be very encouraging for other people questioning their identity, regardless of their age. The narrative is rich and purposeful, and the development of the story is meaningful. The author’s narrative style felt very similar to Toni Morrison’s, for example, in the way they use emotions and realism to make the characters and stories relatable. The author tackles sexuality, acceptance, homophobia, and how family plays a role in a person’s journey of self-acceptance and self-love. Such an incredible way to tell the tale of a young girl coming to terms with her sexuality and owning it! Salmon Croquettes is an unapologetically good must-read.