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Publisher's Summary

An African American girl comes of age during the Civil Rights Movement in April Sinclair's hilarious, insightful novel that was named Book of the Year (Young Adult Fiction) for 1994 by the American Library Association.

Jean "Stevie" Stevenson lives in Chicago's South Side, a neighborhood that acutely feels the social changes of the 1960s. Curious and witty, bold but naïve, Stevie ponders questions such as what makes good hair and which skin shade is better in light of "black is beautiful". Amid the War on Poverty; the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.; race riots; and the Black Power movement, Stevie grows into a socially aware young adult with a burgeoning sexuality and pride in her identity. Learning as much from her mother's strictness, her father's steady encouragement, and her grandmother's strength as she does from her wild friend, Carla, and her white teacher, Nurse Horne, Stevie makes the sometimes harrowing, often hilarious, always enthralling journey into adulthood.

Coffee Will Make You Black received the Carl Sandburg Award from the Friends of the Chicago Public Library.

©1994 April Sinclair; This edition published in 2015 by Open Road Integrated Media, Inc. (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Stevie Was Me

Coffee Will Make You Black is by far one of my most favorite books growing up. The journey of Jean “Stevie” Stevenson from grade school through her junior year of high school is a journey we all can relate to. April Sinclair did a fantast job writing the book. The accuracies take me back to my childhood. Hot combs, double-dutch, penny candy, and talkin trash are all things we did while “growing up black”. I would like to think we all had a friend like Carla Perkins and a mother like Mrs. Stevenson. Stevie’s family was almost a mirror image of mine. I could hear the gospel music in the background on Sunday morning while she helped her mama in the kitchen. And I can see Mrs. Stevenson in her house-gown on Saturday afternoons cleaning. That was my life. Amber Patrick did an amazing job narrating through the book. The journey of self-discovery is one we all can relate. Having a crush on my nerdy math teacher Mr. Alvis and falling for the older cool guy was mine. Not too different from Stevie’s. A great listen!

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  • Aj
  • 08-06-18

Great coming of age story

This is a great coming of age story of a young African American girl. The author did a fantastic job with the pacing of the story and telling the story in a way that most African Americans would be able to relate to that grew up during these times. I did not grow up in the era the main character did, but the storytelling was so vivid it is easy to get caught up and imagine what life was life back then.

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I loved this book so much.

How April Sinclair managed to write a coming-of-age story of a black girl in Chicago during the late '60s, and make it not just sensitive and wise, but also light and funny, I will never know. What skill! I fell in love with Stevie and can't wait to read the sequel set in her college and post-grad years. The narration was great except for a really unpleasant voice choice for an important character (Nurse Horn, whose words are poignant and careful, speaks them in the most obnoxious, squeaking, asshole time). Note to listeners: A couple of times I had to rewind or check against the ebook text where time jumped ahead, but it was always accurate to the text, just hard to tell that it was an intended leap on audiobook.

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Interesting Story - Excellent Narration

I enjoyed the journey of growing up with Stevie. She and the other characters were portrayed well by the narrator. Just a chapter or two into the story, I had sent several text messages to friends suggesting they listen, too.

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FUNNY Loved the portral of Black community

main character grows at a logical rate. Characters are all developed just enough. Listened to entire book in one day

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I found my new favorite book!

This story of a young lady coming of age during the civil rights era is the best I've ever read. I wish I'd read this when I started puberty. It's realistic and accurate. My weird feelings and questions would have been answered. This is a definite must read.