#Diversiverse Author Spotlight – Alaya Dawn Johnson

/ posted in: Reading by Alaya Johnson
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal

The number one book that I’ve recommended this year to bloggers looking to diversify their reading is The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson.

the summer prince

A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.


I love authors who write books that aren’t carbon copies of each other.  Her books are set in different times and locations.  The Summer Prince is set in future Brazil.  The second book of hers that I read was Love is the Drug which takes place in Washington, D.C. in the near future.

loveisthedrug

Emily Bird was raised not to ask questions. She has perfect hair, the perfect boyfriend, and a perfect Ivy-League future. But a chance meeting with Roosevelt David, a homeland security agent, at a party for Washington DC’s elite leads to Bird waking up in a hospital, days later, with no memory of the end of the night.

Meanwhile, the world has fallen apart: A deadly flu virus is sweeping the nation, forcing quarantines, curfews, even martial law. And Roosevelt is certain that Bird knows something. Something about the virus–something about her parents’ top secret scientific work–something she shouldn’t know.

The only one Bird can trust is Coffee, a quiet, outsider genius who deals drugs to their classmates and is a firm believer in conspiracy theories. And he believes in Bird. But as Bird and Coffee dig deeper into what really happened that night, Bird finds that she might know more than she remembers. And what she knows could unleash the biggest government scandal in US history.


What can be more different than those two?  How about 1920s New York City with a thriving vampire population?  Her Zephyr Hollis series is made up of Moonshine and Wicked City.

moonshine

Zephyr Hollis is an underfed, overzealous social activist who teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. Strapped for cash, Zephyr agrees to help a student, the mysterious Amir, who proposes she use her charity worker cover to bring down a notorious vampire mob boss.

What he doesn’t tell her is why. Soon enough she’s tutoring a child criminal with an angelic voice, dodging vampires high on a new blood-based street drug, and trying to determine the real reason behind Amir’s request — not to mention attempting to resist (often unsuccessfully) his dark, inhuman charm.

wickedcity

In Wicked City, the page-turning follow up to Moonshine, it’s summer in the city and most vampires are drunk on the blood-based intoxicant Faust. The mayor has tied his political fortunes to legalizing the brew, but Zephyr Hollis has dedicated herself to the cause of Faust prohibition–at least when she isn’t knocking back sidecars in speakeasies.

But the game changes when dozens of vampires end up in the city morgue after drinking Faust. Are they succumbing to natural causes, or have they been deliberately poisoned? When an anonymous tip convinces the police of her guilt, Zephyr has to save her reputation, her freedom and possibly her life. Someone is after her blood–and this time it isn’t a vampire.

In a New York City populated by flappers and vampires, debutantes and djinn, it’s best to watch your back. You never know what’s lurking in the shadows.

My only complaint here is that the end of Wicked City leads into a new story that hasn’t been published.  I hope that’s going to happen.

This author is great for lovers of:

  • YA
  • Urban Fantasy and sci-fi
  • Smart and brave female main characters

Where to Start

The Summer Prince is still my favorite but Moonshine is a close second.

Have you ever read any of her books?

All book summaries are from Goodreads.