Thursday 11 June 2020

5 Books by Black Authors I'm Excited to Read

The past few weeks have made me take a long, hard look at my shelves, and it’s painfully lacking black authors. When it came to choosing my next read, I never usually took into consideration the gender or race of the authors I picked up. If a book sounded good, I wanted to read it, and I didn’t think too much about it. I’ve always been here for good stories, regardless of where they come from. Over the past few years though, thanks to discussions I’ve seen between bloggers and authors alike, I’ve actively sought out more diverse authors and main characters. But I know that it’s still not enough.

This month has made me delve so much deeper into the lack of diversity in the book world. From Black Lives Matter to the Publishing Paid Me tag, I’ve been reading and educating myself. Many of the books on my shelves have been read because of the people I follow. In being a blogger, I love both sharing and discovering recommendations. In looking at my Twitter timeline, my booktube subscriptions, and my Instagram feed, I’ve realised that a lot of the people I follow are white. This isn’t something I’ve thought nearly enough about in the past, so it’s something I’m changing from now on. The predominantly white book community needs to be paying attention to and following black reviewers. Thanks to the wonderful threads and Instagram stories that have been shared lately, I’ve discovered so many incredible new bloggers and booktubers to follow.

When it comes to my shelves, I will be actively searching for more black authors to support. I can’t rely on recommendations all the time. I must be searching for myself to make sure I’m reading and sharing a wider range of books. I will also say that a large amount of the books I read are gifted from publishers, and I know that there is a distinct lack of support for black authors in the publishing world, but that’s a whole other conversation. I’ll definitely be searching for publishing companies and book retailers that amplify black voices in the future.

Since my blog is YA focused, I thought I’d share with you five of the books by black authors on my TBR that I’m most excited to read.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Liz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it's okay -- 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.

The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She's smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?
HELLO??? RIVALS FOR THE CROWN WHO ARE ALSO LOVERS???? I'm so here for this book. It sounds absolutely adorable and I'm always searching for more wlw stories, so this one already has me hooked.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

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.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle....

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
Gosh, this one sounds wonderful. I love stories that focus on the importance of learning how to be happy with yourself. Also: that cover is gorgeous!

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Courtney "Coop" Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn't mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed "new girl" would be synonymous with "pariah," but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I'm right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .
So this one has been on my shelf for a while but since it focuses on the theme of exploring sexuality, I'd been saving it for Pride Month. I've just started it and I'm very intrigued by both the characters and the plot so far! 

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.

But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.

Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.

Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.
I love contemporary stories that have a little fantasy or sci-fi twist, so this sounds exactly like the sort of book I'd devour. Hopefully I'll get my hands on a copy soon!

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta 

I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.

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'm always searching for YA books with main characters in university rather than high school because it can be such an important time in a young person's life. This sounds like such an uplifting and empowering read.

There are many more books I've been adding to my TBR lately, but these are the ones I'm hoping to get to as soon as I can. To black bloggers, booktubers, bookstagrammers, content creators in general: please leave me your links and recommendations in either the comments or over on my Twitter page.

Information on what you can do to help Black Lives Matter can be found here, and a list of organisations that help black people in the LGBTQ+ community can be found here.

To white bloggers and creators: keep sharing links, keep signing petitions, do as much as you can and listen to black voices.

1 comment:

  1. That's a wonderful list! I'm always trying to find new ways to diversify my reading, so you should go for it! I discovered some of my favourite books in this process!

    I actually wrote a discussion post on ways to diversify your reading, so you can check it out How to Diversify your Reading


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