Nigeria Jones: A Novel

Nigeria Jones cover
Nigeria Jones: A Novel by Ibi Zoboi

by Ibi Zoboi
Balzer + Bray, 2023
384 pages

Age 14 and older

Sixteen-year-old Haitian American Nigeria Jones has been raised inside her father’s small, insular, radical Black Power Movement, which emphasizes self-actualization outside white systemic oppression. Since her mother’s death following the birth of her brother more than a year ago—a trauma Nigeria has been unable to fully acknowledge—Nigeria has pushed against some of the boundaries of the vegan, militant, homeschool commune in which she’s been raised. Learning that her mother had been advocating for her to attend Philly Free School, a Quaker prep school where she’s earned a scholarship, Nigeria decides she wants to go. The struggle for Nigeria isn’t academic, it’s everything else—moving beyond the insular world of the Movement while not wholly rejecting it; challenging her father’s authority and, at times, her classmates and teachers; gaining new perspectives on her parents’ relationship; her sexual attraction to new Movement member Chris (Black); and her developing friendship and foray into romance with white Liam, her debate sparring partner. She also discovers her father has a girlfriend in the Movement, who is pregnant. Nigeria knows her father loves her, and knows her mother did, too, yet their dreams for her diverged. Nigeria’s own voice and heart are what she must listen to as she figures out her path forward. In a book that is intense, passionate, and critical of many aspects of society, especially racism, sexism, and classism, Nigeria courageously navigates uncertainty and conflicting ideas to discover the truth and dreams that matter: her own. ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center