Writers always wonder if they’ll ever make it, if their story matters enough for people to want to read it.

None could be so phenomenal as watching J. Elle bring Wings of Ebony to us all.

Cover of Wings of Ebony – black girl in a hoodie with gold cuffs.

I met Elle a few years back over Twitter, a fellow author, she was querying a book I was later to learn she’d revised NINETEEN TIMES. I couldn’t imagine being that dedicated to one story – but Elle picked up an agent and I was delighted for her. The story was important, she believed in it, and I congratulated her along with the rest.

This was the step; an agent taking your book seriously as you did was an opening door, but there are others behind it you don’t really see quite as often. The submission to editors to get the book picked up is even harder on the nerves than the search for agent, or so I’ve read, I’m not sure, but Elle did it with the panache and positivity of everything she does.

She believed in her story.

When the book was picked up, I along many were thrilled, sent her congratulatory messages and then… Wings of Ebony began to take off. With astounding dedication and diligence, I watched in wonder at this new book. I wanted to know what it was about. I’d seen the years in the making to get to this point, from way back in 2018 when we followed each other on Twitter, right up until this moment.

I preordered the book, waited for its release, sat down and… was enraptured.

Nothing can prepare you for this book, whether you’re a stranger to American culture, the undercurrent of racism, or its familiar as your own back yard. Elle takes the plot from the first line and creates a world that was familiar but altogether foreign for me. I could not put it down. There is such a sense of rawness within the pages, threaded through this magical world and Rue, who’s power is breathtaking, so much more than just the magic she wields. The lines with the book are pure poetry at times, whilst completely shattering emotionally. Its worth reading, even if YA urban fantasy is not your thing, because Rue’s story is a story of so many black girls being told who they are and should be, and Rue’s not here for it, and proves that beyond a shadow of doubt. A fantastic read, and should be required reading.

I cried when I finished the book, not because I was saddened, but because I was amazed.

When someone presents a story with their whole heart, and so much dedication, I was amazed and honoured to have watched this incredible journey Elle made. In some regards it struck me that its’ not unlike Rue herself, and the importance of such stories was brought home for me with Elle’s writing.

I urge you to pick up this book if you believe in the strength of a writing journey like Elle’s. I insist as a reader that you get this book for the epic journey of black girl magic. Most of all, read it for the voice, the power within the pages in unputdownable, and Elle does it all with heart racing pace that leaves you breathless.