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Charlotte Nicole Davis Books In Order

Publication Order of The Good Luck Girls Books

The Good Luck Girls (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Anthologies

A Phoenix First Must Burn(2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Charlotte Nicole Davis is an American author best known for her debut novel “The Good Luck Girls.” Her debut is a young adult fantasy novel that has received critical acclaim for tackling controversial issues of race, culture, and gender. Davis attended “The New School,” where she got her MFA under the Writing for Children program. Charlotte has always loved books with maps on the front and comic book movies ever since she was a child. While “The Good Luck Girls” is her first published novel, she has been writing novels since she was in middle school. In fact, she has asserted that the current novel is her seventh attempt though she was never confident in her previous works and never sought to get them published. She currently lives with her cat in Brooklyn.

Charlotte grew up in Kansas City, in what was once the heart of the Old West and hence she was very interested in writing a fantasy novel set in her corner of the world. While she was born and raised in what used to be the Old West, she was never interested in Westerns as a child. The reason for this was that for the most part these had heroes such as Matt Dillon and John Wayne that she could not relate with a queer woman of color. As an adult, her research showed her that the West of old was much more brown, female and queer than the movies and books would have us believe. As such, she set out to write a fantasy novel that combined history with the good and bad in “The Good Luck Girls.” In an interview, she did assert that her objective was to reclaim the fantasy western that had erased so many people from their history. Charlotte Davis says that the Western is typically the embodiment of what is American though it has come to feature a certain hero and excluded all the others. People of color such as her characters are normally portrayed as political dissidents, fallen women and outlaws even though they may have been the real-life heroes.

Charlotte Davis was inspired to write her dystopian fantasy with an adventurous heroine from her reading of similar novels such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Westworld.” According to the author, the setting of her novel in Arketta is inspired by late nineteenth-century America in which sharecropping had replaced chattel slavery. Thousands of Black Americans who thought that they had escaped slavery now found themselves in a new form of enslavement. They are now trapped in the cycle of convict leasing and debt and many are re-enslaved as prison labor. Charlotte asserts that she sees the same patterns of oppression of poor black people especially when it comes to women. As such, the novel is not so much a dystopia which is typically a forward-looking narrative while her story looks at the past and the present. As a modern author, she thought it fitting to write a western about people that looked like her. The brown and black girls thus get a chance to be part of the tropes that include enjoying campfires in the trail, being bounty hunters and bank robbers. Similar to the “Handmaid’s Tale” her novel tackles issues of liberation and feminism though its tone is not as dark, as it is meant to be a fun book emphasizing an escape or revenge fantasy.

The theme in Davis’s novel are weighty issues such as differences in social class, gender inequality, underage prostitution, and human trafficking. The novel was pitched as a young adult fiction which proved quite a challenge. These are hard issues to talk about particularly when targeted towards young readers. Moreover, Davis has asserted that she did not want to exploit the shock value of such themes yet did not want to make light of the trauma that her characters experience. In the end, the novel emphasized the reaction of the girls to their trauma rather than an exposition of the trauma and this made for a good balance. It is not about coddling the young readers but it is written to change the narrative of suffering which black girls get to see in most media that they are exposed to. As such, the novel is more about the characters taking back control over their lives

“The Good Luck Girls” is the fun even if dark story featuring five black protagonists. They are the catalyst Clementine, the fighter Mallow, the favorite Violet, and the protector Aster. They live in the country of Arketta and are unlucky to be born at the bottom of the social ladder. They have been sold to a “Welcome House,” where they are branded and are then forced to work as prostitutes. The novel begins with Clementine waking up nervous since it is the day she is supposed to start work as a prostitute. Aster her sister is consumed with trying to find a way to prevent her underage sister form being initiated into a “Good Luck Girl” at the Welcome House. Aster had been initiated the year before since she is a year older than her sister. She knows all about the life and will do anything to ensure her sister is not initiated. But like most Good Luck girls that are tricked into prostitution at a young age, she does not have the power to protect her sister. But then she realizes a crack in the operations of the traffickers and seizes a chance to get all the girls on the way to freedom. The girls soon escape from the Welcome House and as they travel in the Wild West countryside soon realize that they have the knowledge and skills they got from their tormentors to become some of the best bank robbers. It is a classic coming to age novel as the girls transition from being enslaved people with a shared identity to individuals that are a part of a team that collaborates for the greater good.

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