To be quite honest, I’m always a bit uncomfortable recommending books about identities I don’t share. But these past couple of years I’ve been making a conscious effort to read more diversely, and we are halfway through Black History Month.
So although I can’t personally speak to the quality of the rep in these books, they all have diverse characters and engaging stories. Whether you’re looking for Contemporary or Fantasy, hopefully you’ll be able to find something that intrigues you.
- Of this whole list, Color Me In by Natasha Diaz is probably the most overtly focused on social themes: the Goodreads synopsis specifies race, religion, and romance. If you like coming-of-age stories, this might be one for you.
- Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann centers on a Black biromantic asexual/questioning collegiate main character, as well as a diverse supporting cast. It seems to be a go-to rec for contemporary (“clean”) romance, but it only has 5.5k ratings on Goodreads so there’s no harm in reminding y’all that this book exists.
- I’ve already talked about the Sidekick Squad series a lot, but I couldn’t just leave Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee off this list. In this one, the spotlight is on Bells Broussard, who is Black and queer and a badass teenage shapeshifter and an amazing friend.
- Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron is one of my most memorable 2019 ARCs, a West African-inspired fantasy with equal emphases on familial and romantic relationships. I was intrigued by the way it incorporates tropes; the writing flows, and I’m really looking forward to continuing the series.
- I stumbled across Westwood Monster Patrol by Andrea Beatriz Arango in a Goodreads giveaway. A quick read at just under 150 pages, it’s not much like anything else I’ve read; although I had a few critiques, I generally enjoyed watching these kiddos fight monsters and bigotry.
- From its thought-provoking title to the last intriguing story, How Long ’til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin was an all-around surprise. I don’t generally read much sci-fi or many anthologies, and I’m rarely satisfied even when I do. But this one, wow. It masterfully spans a wide range of settings and prose styles and POC experiences; I was left wanting more without feeling deprived.
- Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
- What are your favorite books by Black authors and/or about Black characters?