West Allis Reads

West Allis Reads 2023

West Allis Reads brings our community together to talk about books. Get a copy of our first pick, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton.

About the Book

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.

In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.

Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices and a bold heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling.

Where to Find the Book

We will hand out a limited number of copies at these locations:

Art on the Plaza, Centennial Plaza and Art Gallery at West Allis City Hall, Sept. 8
West Allis Farmers Market, Sept. 9
West Allis Public Library, beginning Sept. 8

You can check out copies of the book, large-print book and audiobook CD at the library. The award-winning audiobook is also available through Libby.

Book Discussions and Programs

Stay tuned for a schedule of book discussions and programs related to The Final Revival of Opal & Nev at the library and throughout West Allis.

How to Share Your Story With Us

We will collect brief oral histories of your first or most memorable music concert at outreach events throughout the summer and at the library in September.