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About Leah Vernon
Leah Vernon is a plus-size Hijabi model, social media influencer, public speaker, and freelance writer. She’s been featured by Buzzfeed, Yahoo, CBS, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Seventeen, and The New York Times, and worked with brands like Adidas and Lululemon. She grew up in Detroit, but currently resides in New York City. Connect with her on Instagram (@Lvernon2000) and on her website (Leahvernon.com).
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Books By Leah Vernon
From author and body-positive activist Leah Vernon comes a daring dystopian novel that explores the power of friendship in a future society built on violence and division.
A thousand years in the future, a Black elite class reigns. The lower classes toil in the fields or scrape by in blighted cities, serving their rulers in a cruel, divided world.
Among the Elites is eighteen-year-old Avi Jore, born to a powerful father and destined to rule. But as she comes of age, Avi cannot help but notice the injustices in her world—the treatment of enslaved workers, the oppression of the lower classes. Her disillusionment grows when she meets Saige Wilde, a mixed-race enslaved girl whose only goal is escaping beyond the borders of their brutal nation.
When Saige saves Avi from an assassination attempt, their paths become intertwined in ways they never imagined. As Saige plots her path to freedom, Avi tries to enact change from the inside. But it’s a complicated endeavor, fraught with danger and malice.
Together, their efforts could spark a revolution—and underscore the staggering power of friendship.
Publisher Note: This title was previously self-published as Impure. This edition of The Union includes substantial editorial revisions.
Ever since she was little, Leah Vernon was told what to believe and how to act. There wasn’t any room for imperfection. ‘Good’ Muslim girls listened more than they spoke. They didn’t have a missing father or a mother with a mental disability. They didn’t have fat bodies or grow up wishing they could be like the white characters they saw on TV. They didn’t have husbands who abused and cheated on them. They certainly didn’t have secret abortions. In Unashamed, Vernon takes to task the myth of the perfect Muslim woman with frank dispatches on her love-hate relationship with her hijab and her faith, race, weight, mental health, domestic violence, sexuality, the millennial world of dating, and the process of finding her voice.
She opens up about her tumultuous adolescence living at the poverty line with her fiercely loving but troubled mother, her absent dad, her siblings, and the violent dissolution of her 10-year marriage. Tired of the constant policing of her clothing in the name of Islam and Western beauty standards, Vernon reflects on her experiences with hustling paycheck to paycheck, body-shaming, and redefining what it means to be a “good” Muslim.
Irreverent, youthful, and funny, Unashamed gives anyone who is marginalized permission to live unapologetic, confident lives.
“Vernon’s determined advocacy for body positivity as a feminist and mental health issue, and her painful journey to self-acceptance, are moving and powerful, forcing readers to examine their own preconceptions about beauty standards and health.” —Booklist