“[A]n emotive and powerful feminist novel that inspires the innate goddess in every girl.”


In Yodassa Williams’s debut novel, The Goddess Twins (SparkPress), twin 18-year-olds find out they are descended from goddesses when their opera-singer mother is kidnapped. As they meet their extended family, they discover they are so much more than they ever dreamed.

1. A new twist on goddesses

Williams creates a fresh mythology with its roots in Jamaica, and bound up with the Fates. While I won’t spoil the story, it’s grounded with a modern sensibility and whimsy, and sets up the entire novel’s (dare I say series’) conflict. Each goddess has a different magical power, allowing them to become stronger by working together.

2. Williams is a traditional storyteller

Yodassa Williams is a traditional performing storyteller, with experience that includes her own podcast where she performs her personal stories, Berkeley Book Festival and Burning Man’s Center Camp stage (yes, that Burning Man). You can practically hear the characters speaking as you read. She even plays with stories within stories, giving her a chance to let her storyteller voice shine.

“But not just any girl — a child beyond human, one blessed with the eternal gifts of the gods and goddesses. (I really like this part of the story. I imagine them [the Fates] standing around, open-mouthed, while Grandfather spouts some patriarchal mess, and then looking around like, “Oh hellz naw,” and rolling up their sleeves.)”

3. Family drama

Not only has Williams built a world based on magic and mythology, but she’s set it in a large, sprawling family, complete with decades-old misogynistic grudges, polar-opposite twins and a Gran Gran to lead them all. The characters are flawed and own it, especially Aurora and Arden, the main protagonists — they fight like every sibling, annoying and frustrating one another.

“Having a twin is so not the incredible delight people assume it to be. Just because we look alike doesn’t mean we think alike. People love pointing out our similarities, but if you take a real look, it’s totally easy to tell us apart.”

4. Strong, Black women

I would expect no less from a woman with a podcast titled The Black Girl Magic Files. Every woman we meet has her own perspective that is brought to life on the page. Alone, they fight for what they want, but when they come together, they cannot be stopped.

“I can be fearless in the love I give others, and I can be fearless in the love I demand for myself, too.”

5. Sets up more stories

The end comes much too quickly, and will leave you wondering what happens next. Williams bookends the story with seeds for a sequel, wishing you were a goddess, too.

Buy this book!

Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70 percent Jedi, 30 percent Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, award-winning performing storyteller, an alumna of both the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and the Fortify Writer’s Retreat and the creator of the podcast The Black Girl Magic Files, Yodassa (Yoda) launched Writers Emerging, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color, in 2019. She grew up in Cincinnati, OH, and currently resides in the Bay Area. The Goddess Twins is her debut novel.