…I’m really late to this and I am so sorry.
Originally I wanted to post this during the BLM movement to show support… but it wasn’t written in time. I’ve pushed it to now, with the convenient reason that you should be supporting Black and POC authors all year round, not just when it’s a trend!! (That being said, however, I sadly wouldn’t have thought to do this if it wasn’t being talked about so much.)
Today I’m here to recommend 22 books by Black authors (with Black protagonists, more than likely). Quite a few are queer too ❤ Ten of them I have read and the other twelve I’ve heard amazing things about and want to read! I (You might notice most of the books I’ve read (except for LTAL, THUG, and The Poet X) are in the featured image!!) I’m going to be making a conscious effort to be trying to promote more BIPOC authors and books – I like to think I’m doing okay but really? I could always do better. If you have any recommendations PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE drop them in the comments!! (Also this post reached over 2.5k words I’m sorry!! I need to start splitting my posts up into two parts!! Remember the good old days of me doing that…. gone. Out the window never to be seen again. ((Also no one asked for this but recently all my posts have been like more than 1.5k and it’s so bad??)))
I also want to say that if I messed up any of the authors/books (aka, the authors (or protagonists) aren’t actually Black please let me know!! I tried to go searching as best I could but I also didn’t want to pry if it isn’t explicitly listed… anyway please!! Tell me!!!
This book!!! It follows a HIV positive teen who also identifies as bisexual and I just loved this!!! It was a little ‘mystery vibe’ at times which… I’m not known for liking but this still did well in my books (wow i’m hilarious)?? Simone’s story isn’t something you see much of in YA but if anything that made it more special.
I loved the banter in this – and the relationships between the characters are well developed and beautiful to read about!! Simone’s friends (who I don’t know the names of) were so important in her life which isn’t always the case with YA but it’s very realistic ❤ It also looks at Simone being bi and she’s CHOOSING to stay closeted purely because she isn’t ready which should be normalised more!! You don’t have to come out just because you have a safe environment!!
The other two things I loved about this book: her dads + the family dynamic, and her passion for drama and musicals and showtunes. That’s all.
ELIZABETH ACEVEDO’S BOOKS
WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH
OKAY I’VE ONLY READ THIS ONCE BUT I LIKED IT A LOT!!! WTFOH (that acronym though) is a beautiful book and Emoni is such a likeable person.
The culture and food!!! THE FOOD MADE ME HUNGRY. It was explored in a way that other books don’t have – you could feel it was central to Emoni’s life and the way she was raised. Her family relationship as well is just incredible… pick up the book for that if nothing else.
THE POET X
She also wrote this which I didn’t love as much as WTFOH but I still loved it!! As you may know, I write poetry (it’s not very good but i like it?? there’s a few snippets in my last monthly recap) so it’s close to my heart and I loved Xiomara’s story!!!
CLAP WHEN YOU LAND
I haven’t read this yet but I’m putting it here with Elizabeth Acevedo’s other books!! It’s apparently amazing and I’m hoping to read it very soon (even though I have no clue where I’m getting a copy… don’t think my local bookstore has it.) It’s also sapphic!! Catch me being 10x more excited!!!
(basically i want to read it asap!! elizabeth acevedo is out here giving the gays what we want!!)
THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS
(Also can someone appreciate how I kind of asked for some books with Black queer leads and by Black authors before the main BLM movement started and I’m so happy I could unknowingly support at a time when it’s especially important!!)
I got this for my birthday after wanting to read it for almost 9 months now…. it’s gays in space. I love it already from three words.
There’s so many things to love about this book but I’ll just list a couple since a (mini) review will be going up soon!! The relationship that develops between Alexandria and Ryann, between Alexandria and everyone else, and the glimpses we see of Alexandria’s parents’ relationship made me so happy and so sad, I teared up. The prose is apparently a signature style of K. Ancrum, and while I haven’t read The Wicker King (although I desperately want to!!) I only got more excited to after this. Please please please read this for the prose, the relationships, the tears, just. Please. It’s as much Alexandria’s story as Ryann’s.
(Also I keep calling this The Weight of Our Stars and it’s the same vibe as me calling the All For the Game trilogy the After the Game trilogy and subsequently making my friends call it that oops)
THE STARS AND THE BLACKNESS BETWEEN THEM
Another book I asked for and my parents got me (!!! i love them so much aah) which just looked incredible – the cover, the plot, the family relationships, everything about it.
I have no words for how beautiful this is, and how much it meant to me.
There will be a mini-review up by the end of the month, but I really can’t express how much I love this book. The first bit up until the diagnosis was a bit slow, but as you get further in you realise how much you need the start to understand it all – Mabel and Audre and the families are all so sweet. The ending made my heart go !!!!! at how incredible it was (although a tad confusing for a minute there) and if there’s one more book you read this year, this should be it.
ALSO LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL COVER. PLEASE I LOVE IT SO MUCH. (it’s going in every photo I take from now on you CAN’T STOP ME)
LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE
Alice, an asexual biromantic teen has just broken up with her girlfriend (on account of her being ace) and it didn’t intrigue me to begin with?? I only read this because my friend adored it and I didn’t have anything else to read at the time…..
I was wrong. I should’ve gotten to this book so much sooner. Please don’t make the same mistake I did.
It’s a romcom with people working in libraries!!! Librarian matchmakers!! Give me all the library content!!! I also loved Alice and her LI and I could really feel her struggle and happiness.
SLAY features such a strong independent, proudly Black woman – Kiera – who is very determined and motivated. I mean… she coded an ENTIRE game, for one thing. This reminded me of Don’t Read The Comments…. but better. Divya and Kiera do have a lot in common, so if you liked that I’d really recommend a read of SLAY, since in my opinion it’s like the cool older cousin.
Kiera is just a teen, but she’s dealing with so much – including a troll who’s threatening to sue her. She deals with everything on her own and Kiera just gives me so much empowerment and motivation??? PLEASE READ THIS.
(also no i totally didn’t have to look up the protagonist’s name and that’s why i used it far too much in that ‘review’ i 100% wouldn’t do that what are you talking about)
ODD ONE OUT
This was only….. okay. (we’re sticking with the ‘o’ words: odd one out: only okay) It felt a little forced at times and the cover is kind of a mess. (Who am I kidding it’s awful). Nic Stone though has apparently written some other great books though (which I’m yet to get to but I want to!! This post is already 2k I don’t need to make it longer) and I wanted to include it because it wasn’t BAD, per se, it was just…… not incredible like some other books on this list.
Everyone is literally in love with everyone and it’s the messiest love triangle ever but in a good way??? Like… that wasn’t my issue with it surprisingly!! I would definitely recommend
if you want the book you read after it to be the best book ever in your life for people who like romance novels…. as that’s practically the entire plot. (it also could’ve been good polyam rep but no??)
OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS
Once again, I wasn’t in LOVE with this book but it was definitely interesting!! It’s a Groundhog Day concept in which Jack gets the chance to redo three months… in that time he met his girlfriend, who has died by the end of the three months. He has to try and save her with as many redo’s as it takes…
I actually got this reshelved in our school library when we did the genre reading challenge (oh, remember when I thought seven books was a lot to mention in a post) from contemporary to sci fi since I needed another genre… but this was good!! It is a mix of contemp and sci-fi though :)) My friend bought it for me and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it but I would recommend… both Jack and Kate are soft kids who deserve a hug.
THE HATE U GIVE
I’m wary of recommending this because while it is very relevant, it seems to be ‘oh I’ve read THUG, my education stops and I’ve read all the Black authored books that exist’…. which, no. I’ve just recommended another nine that I can personally say are good – and while I didn’t like THUG that much (yes, i know it’s “amazing”, i just had issues with some things for reasons idrk why!! i’m for sure in the minority though) you can’t deny it’s not a) put on a pedestal as the most popular book by a Black author (at least in my eyes) and b) not very very specific to what is happening as I write this at the start of June. So by all means read it but also look into the other incredible books I’ve listed here!!! (Especially the queer ones which own my entire heart <3)
HAVEN’T READ YET, BUT I WANT TO
(i was going to do what i normally do and put the book cover NEXT TO the book title/description but it was too much formatting for my weak petty soul so i did this instead)
YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN
This is probably the number one read I think: it’s enemies to lovers sapphic!! Liz, who is relying on winning prom queen for a scholarship to her dream college, accidentally falls in love wiht her biggest rival….. to say I’m excited would be an understatement. (I’m reading it at the moment and it’s great so far! I’ve been reading for a while since it’s an audio but hoping I’ll finish soon!! High hopes…)
JULIAN WINTERS’ BOOKS
RUNNING WITH LIONS
This has been compared to The Foxhole Court so I have REALLY high hopes of this!!! I think mostly from the found-family-in-a-sport-team-with-some-gay which honestly? I’m kind of addicted to as shown from my inability to go a day without talking/thinking about AFTG. It hasn’t gotten the BEST praise for the writing but am I going to read it anyway? YES.
HOW TO BE REMY CAMERON
I’ve only heard like three things about it but I’m still looking forward to it!! I feel like it’s going to be a kind of stereotypical coming-of-age which… look if it’s pulled off I’ll adore it. But other books I loved with such good COA storylines include Ari and Dante and Darius the Great so there’s a good chance I’ll be disappointed!! (I’m still reading it though because I have no self-control.)
THE SOUND OF STARS
Thi is sci fi which I don’t usually read but this looks too good to resist!!! I like spacey books and I’ve been meaning to read more so this is hopefully on my soon-to-find-and-read pile!! It seems to focus on illegal books and forbidden music so I’m thrilled if it delivers on the premise!!!
THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE
I… originally skipped over this because it looked like a kinda of basic straight white romance??? IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when I find out it’s a QPOC novel!! I WAS THRILLED. I went from ‘this kind of sucks why would i ever read this’ to ‘GIVE IT TO ME NOW’ so… while I’m kind of glad I didn’t feel this way before, I also wish I’d known about it and was promoting it sooner. (Also the girl on the cover is too pretty for this world!!!)
LITTLE AND LION
Confession time… I’ve seen this so many times at the bookstore I frequent, but never picked it up. It just looked not that great?? However, I feel like I’m near the edge of ‘i see it so much i should see what the hype is about’ so I’ll see how it goes!! I’m a little scared for the bipolar rep if it’s not done right…. if you’ve read it let me know!!
FELIX EVER AFTER
This only came out recently but already the praise is streaming fast!!! (It also has an ironic pun with the name and that makes my heart soar!) Felix seems so likeable and proud, but scared to ever be loved or deserve that love. Reading the premise where he comes up with a plan of revenge….. I’m scared for him.
ANGER IS A GIFT
I get the sense this will make me cry a lot. I’m ready.
The cover is beautiful, the contents are apparently beautiful too, I need this fast. It’s so relevant to right now with the riots happening in America and the brutality. Also Moss. That name… I want to see where this goes. *NOTE* !!!!! The author of this is Latinx not Black !!!!!
THIS IS KIND OF AN EPIC LOVE STORY
I saw this on my local bookstore’s website with my mum and the cover… immediately turned me off. However, it looks good!! Childhood best friends to lovers AND it’s gay??? What did we do to deserve this???
IF IT MAKES YOU HAPPY
Diners!! Cooking competitions!! It reminds me a bit of With The Fire On High with the food vibes and I love the main character, Winnie, already!! Also… she’s sneaking around her grandmother… this is a recipe for disaster.. does anyone like my food pun?
(also I know this is by the same author as Let’s Talk About Love but I only realised after I’d formatted so….. not going to do what I did with Elizabeth Acevedo’s books)
CINDERELLA IS DEAD
I only JUST found out about this (as in, a couple days before this post goes out) but I’m super happy to include it because a) it brings my number up to a nice even 20 books, and b) it looks incredible!!!
From what I know it’s a sapphic story (unsure if friends to lovers) but it’s about queer Black girls overthrowing the patriarchy which honestly? I wanted this in We Set The Dark On Fire but I think this one will actually deliver??? (There was nothing wrong with WSTDOF but it just didn’t work for me…. in fact I don’t remember anything about it.)
any Black authors/books for me? read any of my recs/tbr pile? have you made a recs/tbr post as well? …would you like to make me feel better and say yours was late too?!