Book Club Kit: The Mayor of Maxwell Street by Avery Cunningham

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Pub Date 29 Jan 2024 | Archive Date Not set

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This is a downloadable and printable resource for book clubs reading The Mayor of Maxwell Street by Avery Cunningham. The kit includes an author interview, discussion questions, and more. This is not the actual book. This kit was sponsored by Disney Publishing Worldwide.

How to Review a Book Club Kit:

The feedback you share will help us in the creation of future kits—just use the Give Feedback button to get started. Whether you’re reviewing a book club kit or a book, many of the same reviewing principles apply. In your review, discuss if your expectations were met—did the kit provide the items your book club needed? Was there something your group felt was missing? Highlight the elements that you enjoyed, as well as content that was less useful to your group. Close your review with an idea of who you believe would benefit from downloading this kit. 

About the Book:

"A debut novel everyone will be talking about," Avery Cunningham's epic love story is "a triumph" and "a tale of intrigue, racial tension, and class warfare, set against the glamorous and gritty backdrop of early 20th century Chicago."

When a rich Black debutante enlists the help of a low-level speakeasy manager to identify the head of an underground crime syndicate, the two are thrust into the dangerous world of Prohibition-era Chicago.

The year is 1921, and America is burning. A fire of vice and virtue rages on every shore, and Chicago is its beating heart.

Nelly Sawyer is the daughter of the “wealthiest Negro in America,” whose affluence catapulted his family to the heights of Black society. After the unexpected death of her only brother, Nelly becomes the premier debutante overnight. But Nelly has aspirations beyond society influence and marriage. For the past year, she has worked undercover as an investigative journalist, sharing the achievements and tribulations of everyday Black people living in the shadow of Jim Crow. Her latest assignment thrusts her into the den of a dangerous vice lord: the so-called Mayor of Maxwell Street.

Born in rural Alabama to a murdered biracial couple, Jay Shorey knows firsthand what it means to be denied a chance at the American dream. When a tragic turn of fate gave Jay a rare path out, he took it without question. He washed up on Chicago’s storied shores and forged his own way to the top of the city’s underworld, running Chicago's swankiest speakeasy, where the rich and famous rub elbows with gangsters and politicians alike.

When Nelly’s and Jay’s paths cross, she recruits him to help expose the Mayor and bring about lasting change in a corrupt city. But Jay also introduces a whole new world to Nelly, one where her horizons can extend beyond the confines of her ivory tower. Trapped between the monolith of Jim Crow, the inflexible world of the Black upper class, and the violence of Prohibition-era Chicago, Jay and Nelly work together and stoke the flames of a love worth fighting for.

Debut author Avery Cunningham’s stunning novel is at once an epic love story, a riveting historical drama, and a brilliant exploration of Black society and perseverance when the ‘20s first began to roar.

This is a downloadable and printable resource for book clubs reading The Mayor of Maxwell Street by Avery Cunningham. The kit includes an author interview, discussion questions, and more. This is not...

Available Editions

ISBN 0129202400000

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Average rating from 87 members

Featured Reviews

I started a book club with my husband's high school friends wives. "The Mayor of Maxwell Street" is our first book club pick. I cannot wait to use this for our discussion.

I especially love how it comes with bookmarks to cut out and give as gifts, recipes to serve, and a Spotify playlist to help set the mood.

I am hoping NetGalley will create more of these in the future.

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Wonderful interview with the author! This will be great for a book club or any group reading The Mayor of Maxwell Street. Thought-provoking discussion questions along with everything needed to make a book party. The drinks and food look fabulous and don't forget to dress the part. A playlist to set the mood and one has everything needed to go back to the 20's in style. Thanks for the free book club kit!

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Thoroughly enjoyed the book and when I saw the Book Club Kit, I had to get it. If your book club is reading this book, then this kit will help you prepare a fun and immersive experience for your group. The author interview gives you a little behind the scenes about writing the book and characters. There is a content warning about the challenging topics in this story. There is a good selection of discussion questions. I haven't tried them yet, but there were cocktail and food suggestions that pair nicely with the 1920s. There are several specialty, book cover themed bookmarks you can print out for your meeting. I was nicely surprised by the suggestions to create a 1920s themed experience from dress to dancing to speakeasy ambiance. The author created a fantastic playlist with 12 songs of the era that you can play on Spotify. There were also suggestions about What to Read Next. I would agree that Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce pairs nicely with this book for 1920s Chicago and The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson pairs nicely to explore the class divides and the Black elite in 1950s Washington, DC.
If you are planning to read The Mayor of Maxwell Street with your book club, I would highly recommend this kit to enhance and enrich your experience discussing this amazing book.

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