I read A LOT of books. And once a year, normally in February, I try to put together a list of books by Black authors that I want to read. And while, that’s good, I’ve realized, I often don’t set a time frame or a plan to read more books from Black authors. Especially fiction reads.
So, this is what I’m working on right now. For the summer, I’d like to read ten books from Black authors. And then continue that habit of consistently picking up fiction from Black authors all year round. not just as a response to police murder or a seasonal thing for Black History Month. But a habit of investing in Black authors and their works.
Anyway, that said, here are nine fiction books from Black Authors I plan on reading this summer!
The Fifth Season
This is the way the world ends. Again.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter.
Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.
honestly, this sounds SO GOOD and folks have been telling me it’s FANTASTIC. Literally, so many people in my life are currently very surprised that I’ve never read The Broken Earth trilogy. Well, that changes RIGHT NOW! well, not this second because I’m currently typing instead of reading. But you get the point.
All Boys Aren’t Blue
In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.
I’ve heard AMAZING things about this book – it’s been HIGHLY recommended and just reading that blurb set the stage for learning and loving this book so much.
ok so this is being pitched as Brigit Jones Diary but actually realistic. And I may have slow clapped. because I don’t find Brigit Jones life anything like what my friends and I are living today. Even my blonde bestie who lives in a much bigger city than me feels very distant to Brigit Jones. So! excited for this book may be an understatement.
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.
alrighty, if that doesn’t convince you to immediately pick this book up, you’re a lost cause.
Noughts and Crosses
Sephy is a Cross — a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought — a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum — a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?
Anyway, I look forward to reading this story and then looking up the mini-series. Double win.
Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.
I just need to go read this as soon as possible. Part of why I’ve not read it, is my local library doesn’t have a copy but I plan on ordering this book by the end of June.
Felix Ever After
Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
From what I’ve heard this story has rich layers – painful, raw, and happy moments. Also that cover screams summer (and pick me up RIGHT NOW) so I’m looking forward to reading Kacen Callender’s latest book!
You Should See Me in a Crown
Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.
Doesn’t that sound just AMAZING? As a person who never was into prom but who would definitely do ANYTHING to get into my college of choice, this sounds like the perfect high school read.
The only sad thing is I waited until after release day to order this book and now it’s out of stock. A good problem to have.
If it Makes you Happy
High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she’s spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”
Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it’ll go away if they can’t make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn’t want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?
I might have a real soft spot for books set right after high school. So, I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, and it hasn’t been available at my library. So, like Full Disclosure, I plan on ordering it this June. yay!!
Clap when you Land
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
Since I have this beautiful book, I can confirm it’s even prettier in person. Just stunning. Since this book is written in verse like The Poet X, I’d like to wait to read it until the audiobook is on Hoopla. But if it’s not available by mid-July, I’ll just go ahead and enjoy the story.
I really enjoyed putting this list together – there are so many great books available. And actually just putting a small set into one blog post is refreshing. better than writing pandemic news or trying to explain the police reform debate on the five o’clock news (because that’s what I do for a living)
anyway, while the news is important, it’s also very important to read good books. and if you need a place to start, I hope this list was helpful!