Blog Tour Review: The Black Queen by Jumata Emill

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As twisty and turny as you’d expect.

Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Jumata Emill for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with complimentary ARC and media kit!

Book Information

Genre: YA Mystery Thriller
Published: January 31, 2023

Nova Albright was going to be the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High—but now she’s dead. Murdered on coronation night. Fans of One of Us Is Lying and The Other Black Girl will love this unputdownable thriller.

Nova Albright, the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, is dead. Murdered the night of her coronation, her body found the next morning in the old slave cemetery she spent her weekends rehabilitating.

Tinsley McArthur was supposed to be queen. Not only is she beautiful, wealthy, and white, it’s her legacy—her grandmother, her mother, and even her sister wore the crown before her. Everyone in Lovett knows Tinsley would do anything to carry on the McArthur tradition.

No one is more certain of that than Duchess Simmons, Nova’s best friend. Duchess’s father is the first Black police captain in Lovett. For Duchess, Nova’s crown was more than just a win for Nova. It was a win for all the Black kids. Now her best friend is dead, and her father won’t fact the fact that the main suspect is right in front of him. Duchess is convinced that Tinsley killed Nova—and that Tinsley is privileged enough to think she can get away with it. But Duchess’s father seems to be doing what he always does: fall behind the blue line. Which means that the white girl is going to walk.

Duchess is determined to prove Tinsley’s guilt. And to do that, she’ll have to get close to her.

But Tinsley has an agenda, too.

Everyone loved Nova. And sometimes, love is exactly what gets you killed.

Content and Trigger Warnings

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for these book, check out

About the Authors

Jumata is a journalist who has covered crime and local politics in Mississippi and parts of Louisiana. He earned his B.A. in mass communications from Southern University and A&M College. He’s a Pitch Wars alum and member of the Crime Writers of Color. When he’s not writing about murderous teens, he’s watching and obsessively tweeting about every franchise of the Real Housewives. Jumata lives in Baton Rouge, La.

Author Links:

Review (no spoilers)

If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.

Phew! I’m getting this review out so late in the night because I accidentally passed out after getting home from work. Sorry for the late post!

The premise of the book is that the first Black homecoming queen, Nova, is murdered the night of her coronation. Two girls, Duchess and Tinsley, take it upon themselves to solve the crime before the police charge the wrong person. Duchess was Nova’s best friend, while Tinsley was Nova’s greatest rival and the police’s prime suspect.

This book explores very real issues such as racism, systemic racial injustice in the police system, and familial abuse. It’s told through multiple POVs, switching between Duchess and Tinsley, so we get two different perspectives (Black and White) on what’s unraveling in these character’s lives. Throughout the book, both Duchess and Tinsley are forced to self-reflect on who they are, while calling each other out on their biases and privileges.

For me, The Black Queen is a difficult novel to classify, because I’m not entirely sure who the intended audience is. The use of a Black girl on the front cover and the fact that the author himself is Black leads readers to believe the main character (and perhaps main audience) of this book is also Black. However, the book does seemed to be heavily focused on Tinsley’s story of self-discovery rather than on Duchess’ story of fighting for racial equality. On top of that, the main focus on the Black community in this book revolves around trauma and pain. If you look at the reviews of this book on Goodreads, a lot of Black readers were put off by these aspects, and I can understand why.

On the other hand, the book starts off with a very Black vs White narration where it’s a constant feeling of “us vs them” between the Black students at this school and the White students, both justified and not. There are a instances of the White characters being very openly racist and instances of the Black characters being openly prejudice in return. Other racial groups were not really acknowledged at any point. I was worried that this book was going to be like that the entire way through, where there was going to be no accounting of the wrongs committed on all sides, but I ended up being pretty satisfied with how things were resolved in the end. That being said, if there were a non-Black reader who was on the fence about their feelings regarding racial tensions, I think that initial framing would put them off from getting to the important message at the end.

All in all, if you’re someone who likes YA mystery/thriller novels and are prepared to read about hard issues like racism, sexual abuse, blackmail, abortion, parental abuse, etc, then this book is a good option. As always, I have a link for more detailed content warnings included above.


4 thoughts on “Blog Tour Review: The Black Queen by Jumata Emill

  1. ratmom February 4, 2023 / 2:04 pm

    Sounds interesting to get differing points of view like that.

    Liked by 1 person

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