Book Review: Something Kindred

Something Kindred is a new coming-of-age story of a young Black girl returning to her roots, to a town filled with ghosts. Echoes.


Magical realism meets Southern Gothic in this commanding young adult debut from Ciera Burch about true love, the meaning of home, and the choices that haunt us.

Welcome to Coldwater. Come for the ghosts, stay for the drama.

Jericka Walker had planned to spend the summer before senior year soaking up the sun with her best friend on the Jersey Shore. Instead she finds herself in Coldwater, Maryland, a small town with a dark and complicated past where her estranged grandmother lives―someone she knows only two things about: her name and the fact that she left Jericka’s mother and uncle when they were children. But now Jericka’s grandmother is dying, and her mother has dragged Jericka along to say goodbye.

As Jericka attempts to form a connection with a woman she’s never known, and adjusts to life in a town where everything closes before dinner, she meets “ghost girl” Kat, a girl eager to leave Coldwater and more exciting than a person has any right to be. But Coldwater has a few unsettling secrets of its own. The more you try to leave, the stronger the town’s hold. As Jericka feels the chilling pull of her family’s past, she begins to question everything she thought she knew about her mother, her childhood, and the lines between the living and the dead.


Is this a ghost story? No. Not in the way people want a ghost story. This is a coming-of-age story about a young woman discovering her bisexuality and the meaning of home and family. Yet, the town is haunted with echoes, ghosts stuck in the town of Coldwater. Not everyone can see them. Only a few can, and those ghosts are filled with sadness, which makes others feel that sorrow and despair.

As Jericka prepares her photography portfolio for Parsons, she struggles with finding a topic to shoot until she decides to photograph the echoes.

But all of this is such a small part of the story. The main part is Jericka’s relationships with her estranged grandmother, her father (whom she hasn’t seen since she was 4), and his new family, her mother (who carries a secret that could destroy her relationship with her daughter), and her new friend Kat.

This book focuses mostly on family relationships and the need to run away, far away, from the people that hurt you. There are generations of people that leave Coldwater and the pain this small town causes. But this book also focuses on mending those past hurts and letting go of the past.

All in all, I think this is a great book to give to a young woman preparing to leave home for college or a new life, especially if they’re running from a lot of pain. Speaking from experience, there are some rifts that can never be mended. Sometimes, the healing comes at the end of someone’s life. There are even those instances where there is no forgiveness and the trauma shapes us and our decisions to stay away from the places that brought us our greatest despair.

Coldwater represents that pit of sadness that will never be fixed. But there are people who choose to make the best of things and create a home in that place because it’s where they found their peace. A hometown is different for everyone.

The author did an excellent job diving into these themes, working out the suffering inside to find peace in the things that haunt them…the echoes.

This book is out now. You can find this book in the and Amazon Bookshop in the Shop menu.