Black Girls Must Die Exhausted: A Novel (Paperback)
“It’s a good thing that this is only the first book of a trilogy, because after getting to know Tabitha, you won’t want to leave her at the end. . . . Written intimately as if you’re peering into the mind of a close friend, this book is a true testament to the stresses on women today and how great girlfriends (and grandmothers) are often the key to our sanity.” — Good Morning America
The first novel in a captivating three-book series about modern womanhood, in which a young Black woman must rely on courage, laughter, and love—and the support of her two longtime friends—to overcome an unexpected setback that threatens the most precious thing she’s ever wanted.
Tabitha Walker is a black woman with a plan to “have it all.” At 33 years old, the checklist for the life of her dreams is well underway. Education? Check. Good job? Check. Down payment for a nice house? Check. Dating marriage material? Check, check, and check. With a coveted position as a local news reporter, a "paper-perfect" boyfriend, and even a standing Saturday morning appointment with a reliable hairstylist, everything seems to be falling into place.
Then Tabby receives an unexpected diagnosis that brings her picture-perfect life crashing down, jeopardizing the keystone she took for granted: having children. With her dreams at risk of falling through the cracks of her checklist, suddenly she is faced with an impossible choice between her career, her dream home, and a family of her own.
With the help of her best friends, the irreverent and headstrong Laila and Alexis, the mom jeans-wearing former "Sexy Lexi," and the generational wisdom of her grandmother and the nonagenarian firebrand Ms. Gretchen, Tabby explores the reaches of modern medicine and tests the limits of her relationships, hoping to salvage the future she always dreamed of. But the fight is all consuming, demanding a steep price that forces an honest reckoning for nearly everyone in her life. As Tabby soon learns, her grandmother's age-old adage just might still be true: Black girls must die exhausted.
Jayne Allen is the pen name of Jaunique Sealey, a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School. An avid traveler, she speaks three languages and has visited five continents. Drawing from her unique experiences as an attorney and entrepreneur, she crafts transcultural stories that touch upon contemporary women’s issues such as workplace and career dynamics, race, fertility, modern relationships and mental health awareness. Her writing echoes her desire to bring both multiculturalism and multidimensionality to a rich and colorful cast of characters inspired by the magic uncovered in everyday life. Black Girls Must Die Exhausted is her first novel which she calls “the epitaph of my 30s.” A proud native of Detroit, she currently lives in Los Angeles.
“If her opening salvo is any indication, Allen promises to show the relentlessness of the trauma Black women deal with every day leavened with the solidarity of friends who can relate.” — New York Times Book Review
“Emotional, funny, and heartbreakingly real.” — Popsugar
“It’s a good thing that this is only the first book of a trilogy, because after getting to know Tabitha, you won’t want to leave her at the end…Written intimately as if you’re peering into the mind of a close friend, this book is a true testament to the stresses on women today and how great girlfriends (and grandmothers) are often the key to our sanity.” — Good Morning America
“Black Girls Must Die Exhausted encapsulates the infinite expectations and challenges thrown in the direction of Black women while also confronting the ways women are gaslit and thrown into impossible situations that they have no choice but to overcome. This is a novel about female friendship, the weight of the future, and learning to accept that you can want what you truly want.” — Shondaland
“The first in a series of three novels that follow Los Angeles–based reporter Tabitha Walker. The thirtysomething journalist is forced to reevaluate her priorities when life laughs at the checklist she has devised for being a perfect adult. Readers will find themselves deeply invested in her relatable quest to become a mother before her biological clock runs out—and will recognize their own relationships in her enduring bonds with her homegirls.” — Essence
“This contemporary first book of a series focusing on modern womanhood will appeal to many readers.” — Ms. Magazine
“An impossible-to-put-down novel chronicling Tabitha Walker’s extremely relatable journey through relationships – with men, friends, family, and most importantly, herself. With finely-drawn characterizations and touching life lessons, Jayne Allen paints Tabitha’s “adulting” journey with heartbreaking, heartwarming strokes that stayed with me long after I’d finished reading. (On a personal note, as a Black woman who struggles with infertility, it’s so refreshing that Allen sheds a light on this rarely-told story.) Sign me up for the trilogy!” — Tia Williams, award-winning author of The Perfect Find and Seven Days in June
“Black Girls Must Die Exhausted is a smart, sophisticated portrait of three very different women, united in both their struggles and their joy. Allen seamlessly blends sharp social commentary with a heartwarming story of friendship between irresistibly complex characters. A fresh, punch-packing debut from an author to watch!” — Emily Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read
"A a story for our times, dealing with urgent, important themes in an exhilaratingly entertaining way. Tabby, the gutsy heroine navigating her way through the challenges of life for a thirty-something, Black professional woman, is a wonderfully relatable character who had me rooting for her from the very first page. The choices Tabby has to make will resonate with anyone trying to stay true to themselves in balancing their personal and career aspirations. I was beguiled by the warmth and humanity that shine throughout the book, particularly in Tabby’s relationships with her beloved grandmother and her spirited friends. Jayne Allen has created a fresh, modern and uplifting book that left me wanting more. I adored it." — Sarah Haywood, New York Times bestselling author of The Cactus
“Black Girls Must Die Exhausted follows the heartwarming journey of a young woman who is thrust out of survival mode and into living—really living. Love and magic jump off the pages, which are chock full of relatable moments that offer hope and encouragement along the way.” — Trisha R. Thomas, author of Nappily Ever After
"Allen writes in a sharp, lively voice that is full of warmth and humor...Tabitha and her friends are well-drawn, and it is the dynamic between the protagonist and the women in her life that propels the story. Touching on issues of professional womanhood, race, and family, the author crafts a novel that is both timely and enjoyable." — Kirkus
“A promising debut… Allen has the chops to become a terrific storyteller.” — Publishers Weekly
“Allen's debut novel. . . captures the complexities of Black women coming into adulthood while learning to manage the disappointments and expectations placed on them by society.” — Booklist
"Allen crafts an engaging and evenly plotted story of a woman who, after learning that she has only a limited window in which to have children, evaluates her relationships and personal aspirations....readers will readily connect with her search for fulfillment on her journey of self-discovery." — The BookLife Prize