In the United States, February is Black History month and in honour of that I want to talk about some amazing books by Black authors. I’ve also included a few books from my TBR that I’m super excited to start reading soon. As a white reader in Canada I will never know what it’s like to be Black in America, but I never want to limit myself to only reading books with characters who are like me. We need to normalize reading stories that are intersectional and/or have characters with different identities than our own. Although February is almost over, you can and should read books by Black authors at any point in the year!!
1) Slay by Brittney Morris
Slay is an Afrofuturist novel about a seventeen-year-old named Kiera who creates a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORGP). Sick of dealing with racism in the gaming world, she develops her own game called Slay that requires a passcode for players to join. This way, anyone who isn’t Black can’t play the game, allowing Kiera and other Black gamers a safe space to connect and have fun over virtual reality. Kiera navigates her senior year as one of the very few Black students at her high school while trying to keep her identity as the developer of Slay a secret. This story is about social justice issues, Black love, girl power, and more. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to young adult and adult readers of all skin colours and genders. Click here to read my full review.
2) Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Dear Martin is a contemporary young adult novel about Justyce McCallister a high school senior who is faced with some tough choices. To keep himself on the right path, he writes letters to Martin Luther King Jr. in an effort to manifest his teachings. Stone does an excellent job of discussing topics such as racism, gangs, and interracial dating. Dear Martin is honest, emotional and inspiring. What makes this book unique is how she combines prose, hand written letters and news reports to tell the story. I flew through this book and I’m glad there’s a sequel because I didn’t want to say goodbye to Justyce so soon.
3) Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
This is the sequel to Dear Martin and I can’t praise it enough. The world would be a better place if everyone read this book because it’s impossible not to empathize with Quan, the novel’s protagonist. He is a smart kid with potential that gets dealt a bad hand in life. As Quan sits in jail for his involvement in the shooting death of a police officer, he writes letters to Justyce that explain the circumstances that lead him there. This is an unforgettable story about survival, second chances and hope that will hit you right in the heart.
TBR #1: Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America by Ibi Zoboi
This contemporary anthology features seventeen authors and covers a wide range of topics. Its synopsis says “Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race and immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.” Having diverse and realistic representations of Black characters in books is important and I think this book will have a big impact on those who read it.
TBR #2: The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
I remember seeing the movie trailer for this back in 2019 and getting chills over how good it looked. I’m glad that I didn’t get a chance to watch it because duh, the book is always better. I’m sure this book doesn’t need an introduction, but if you aren’t familiar, a chance encounter on the streets of New York City between Natasha who is twelve hours from being deported and Daniel, a hopeless romantic turns into an extraordinary love story.
TBR #3: Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas
If you’re a fan of dark academia this one is for you! Catherine House is an exclusive boarding school that promises a future of success in exchange for its students cutting themselves off from the outside world completely for three years. When a tragedy occurs, new student Ines decides to investigate and discovers the dangerous secret that Catherine house has been hiding. Despite the mixed reviews on Goodreads, I’m excited to read this because I’ve heard it’s similar to Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo which I really liked.
2 thoughts on “Black History Month recommendations and TBR”
Oooh Black Enough looks good. I love Ibi Zoboi! Have you read Punching the Air!? It’s fantastic. Good list!!!
Thank you 💕 I haven’t read it but I’ve seen it at my library so I’ll definitely pick it up. Thanks for the suggestion!!
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