"This poignant debut expertly follows Taja Brown as she stretches outside the world of her family and becomes her own woman, knitting conflicting feelings about family, spirituality, and her place in the cosmos into a cohesive sense of self—one that radiates love, curiosity, and strength."— Meghan
“Calling My Name is a treasure.”—Nic Stone, New York Times–bestselling author of Dear Martin
Calling My Name is a striking, luminous, and literary exploration of family, spirituality, and self—ideal for readers of Jacqueline Woodson, Jandy Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Sandra Cisneros.
This unforgettable novel tells a universal coming-of-age story about Taja Brown, a young African American girl growing up in Houston, Texas, and deftly and beautifully explores the universal struggles of growing up, battling family expectations, discovering a sense of self, and finding a unique voice and purpose.
Told in fifty-three short, episodic, moving, and iridescent chapters, Calling My Name follows Taja on her journey from middle school to high school. Literary and noteworthy, this is a beauty of a novel that captures the multifaceted struggle of finding where you belong and why you matter.
Liara Tamani holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA from Duke University. She is the author of the acclaimed young adult novels Calling My Name, a 2018 PEN America Literary Award Finalist and SCBWI Golden Kite Finalist; All the Things We Never Knew, a 2020 Kirkus Best YA Book of the Year; and What She Missed. Before becoming a writer, she attended Harvard Law School and worked as a marketing coordinator for the Houston Rockets and Comets, production assistant for Girlfriends (TV show), home accessories designer, floral designer, and yoga and dance teacher. She lives in Houston, Texas. www.liaratamani.com
★ “An excellent portrayal of African American culture, gorgeous lyrical prose, strong characters, and societal critique make Tamani’s debut a must-read.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Taja deals with the insecurities that most young people feel regarding identity, love, and fitting in. Stylish prose brings home quiet depths.” — Kirkus Reviews
“If there’s one book I wish I could reach through time and hand to seventeen-year-old me, it’s this one. Calling My Name is a treasure.” — Nic Stone, author of Dear Martin
“This lush debut novel is written in distinct prose that reads like poetry. Young adults will connect with this protagonist and this dynamic new voice. Fans of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas will especially love this lyrical novel. A great selection in any library collection.”
— School Library Journal
“Tamani’s debut novel brims with heart and soul, following its African-American protagonist, Taja Brown, as she searches for spirituality, love, and a sense of self. Absorbing.” — Publishers Weekly
“This debut coming-of-age novel showcases the complex relationship between family, spirituality, and self. On her journey to discovering herself, Taja learns the importance of recognizing self-worth and feeling like you truly belong.” — Brightly
“While not quite stream of consciousness, this novel moves dreamily along wayward paths. ...Readers willing to be swept along by Tamani’s poetic language and imagery will appreciate the journey. ... This debut is reminiscent of Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming or Marilyn Hilton’s Full Cicada Moon.” — Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“For Taja, the narrator of Liara Tamani’s luminous episodic debut, faith in God is as much a part of her as her long legs and brown skin...a complex portrait of a young woman trying to reconcile what she’s been taught, both in church and out in the world, with what she truly believes.” — Chicago Tribune