Hi everyone! I hope you’re keeping safe and well.
Today, I really wanted to highlight some wonderful Black voices in YA literature, so I decided to compose a list of some books by Black authors that I’m really excited for. I hope you’ve read some of these books, or that they’re on your TBR!
1. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
I cannot believe I have not read this book yet. I’m actually annoyed at myself. I’ve had the beautiful, Waterstones edition with the purple sprayed edges sitting on my shelves since it released, waiting for me to read it. I adore Angie Thomas’ writing style, so I just know I’ll love this one.
2. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Goodreads Synopsis: 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?
This book released very recently, and has been receiving so much love since its publication. It does genuinely sound fantastic. I’m so very excited to read it. If you’ve read it already, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
3. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Goodreads Synopsis: The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY! This book is out today, in my part of the world! This sounds like such an interesting read, and I’m sure it is very deserving of the hype it’s receiving at the moment.
4. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Goodreads Synopsis: With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.
I have wanted to read an Elizabeth Acevedo book for the longest time. I’ve heard nothing but praise for her novels, so my expectations are high. I decided to choose this one, specifically, because I heard Katie from Katesbookdate talking about it on her BookTube channel. It sounds like something I’d really enjoy, so it’s definitely on my TBR.
5. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Goodreads Synopsis: Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.
But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.
With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.
I picked this up in the bookstore the other day. I’ve been interested in this novel for a couple of years now, but never acquired it. Now that I own a copy, I’m eager to read it soon.
There are so many books by Black authors that deserve to be read and loved. These are just a few of the books that I’m excited about. I’d love to know what your thoughts are, if you’ve read any of them!