It’s the Black History Month so I wanted to focus my posts the next few weeks on books by and/or about Black people. As you can see from the title, today I will be recommending book written by Black authors. And specifically: books that are only about to come out. Most of them are set for this year, but there are a few 2020 titles as well.
Two books listed here are by authors I’ve already read something by before (I wonder if you can guess which authors I’m talking about…) & you can read my reviews of their previous books here and here.
There are some amazing stories coming our way, I can tell you that much already! So let’s dive in without any further ado.
The Weight of the Stars
Rep: lesbian mc & li, mixed-race li, side mlm
Release date: March 19th 2019
Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.
One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.
Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .
In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page.
A Place For Wolves
Rep: Black mc, mlm (ownvoices), biracial couple
Release date: April 2nd 2019
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets Code Name Verity in this heartbreaking and poignant historical thriller.
James Mills isn’t sure he can forgive his parents for dragging him away from his life, not to mention his best friend and sister, Anna. He’s never felt so alone.
Enter Tomas. Falling for Tomas is unexpected, but sometimes the best things in life are.
Then their world splits apart. A war that has been brewing finally bursts forward, filled with violence, pain, and cruelty. James and Tomas can only rely on each other as they decide how far they are willing to go―and who they are willing to become―in order to make it back to their families.
Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn
Rep: Jamaican mcs, wlw mc (ownvoices)
Release date: June 4th 2019
When Patsy gets her long-coveted visa to America, it’s the culmination of years of yearning to be reunited with Cicely, her oldest friend and secret love, who left home years before for the “land of opportunity.” Patsy’s plans do not include her religious mother or even her young daughter, Tru, both of whom she leaves behind in a bittersweet trail of sadness and relief. But Brooklyn is not at all what Cicely described in her letters, and to survive as an undocumented immigrant, Patsy is forced to work as a bathroom attendant, and ironically, as a nanny. Meanwhile, back in Jamaica, Tru struggles with her own questions of identity and sexuality, grappling every day with what it means to be abandoned by a mother who has no intention of returning. Passionate, moving, and fiercely urgent, Patsy is a haunting depiction of immigration and womanhood, and the silent threads of love stretching across years and oceans.
The Black Flamingo
Rep: mixed-race, gay mc (ownvoices)
Release date: August 8th 2019
Fiercely told, this is a timely coming-of-age story, told in verse about the journey to self-acceptance. Perfect for fans of Sarah Crossan, Poet X and Orangeboy.
A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.
*I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.*
How to Be Remy Cameron
Rep: Black gay mc (ownvoices), Korean-American gay li
Release date: September 10th 2019
Everyone on campus knows Remy Cameron. He’s the out-and-gay, super-likable guy that people admire for his confidence. The only person who may not know Remy that well is Remy himself. So when he is assigned to write an essay describing himself, he goes on a journey to reconcile the labels that people have attached to him, and get to know the real Remy Cameron.
Rep: trans mc (ownvoices)
Release date: September 10th 2019
A thought-provoking and haunting novel about a creature that escapes from an artist’s canvas, whose talent is sniffing out monsters in a world that claims they don’t exist anymore. Perfect for fans of Akata Witch and Shadowshaper.
There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster–and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also uncover the truth, and the answer to the question How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?
In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
Rep: wlw (ownvoices)
Release date: September 17th 2019
Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.
Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.
Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.
Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.
Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.
Until You Came Back
Rep: mlm mc
Release date: 2020
A contemporary YA novel about a teen whose world is turned upside down when he develops feelings for a new recruit on his basketball team at the same time that the mother who abandoned him eight years earlier returns home.
Jake in the Box
Rep: Black mc, gay mcs (ownvoices)
Release date: 2020
It’s hard being the only Black kid at a conservative prep school, especially when you’re routinely harassed by the dead. In his junior year of high school, sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston plans to make real friends, which won’t happen if he keeps retreating to a world no one else can see.
But when Jake meets Sawyer Doon, he discovers a spirit too vengeful to ignore. Six years ago, Sawyer carried out a school shooting and killed himself before finishing the job. His targets are still out there, and he’s determined to possess Jake to finish what he started.
The more Jake tries to ignore Sawyer, the more he feels the ghost boy’s impact on his psyche. And the more he uncovers about who Sawyer was, the more he realizes how similar he is to Sawyer–a boy once bullied relentlessly for his sexuality, now hell-bent on taking power from a world that took it from him. To protect himself from possession, Jake will have to find a voice in a school he feels he has none and discover his own reason to live.
The Passing Playbook
Rep: biracial trans mlm mc (ownvoices)
Release date: 2020
The #OwnVoices YA contemporary novel features a queer, biracial, transgender protagonist fighting for his rights and falling in love for the first time on the soccer field. When Spencer is benched due to the “F” on his birth certificate, he has to make a choice: cheer from the sidelines or fight the ruling even though it would mean coming out to everyone, including the conservative Christian teammate he’s falling for.
That’s it from me for today!! Ten magical books I can’t wait for myself & I hope you can’t either! As you can see, 2019 (and 2020) really is shaping up to be a beautifully diverse year for books. My only advise to you is: pre-order all those gems as soon as you can!!