In honor of Black History month, I created a round-up of my recent reads by Black women authors. If any of these books pique your interest, I encourage you to purchase locally and from small book stores if you can!
1. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Image description: book cover for “Legendborn” by Tracy Deonn. A Black female presenting figure is centered on a blue background and red swirls wreath her arm as she looks straight ahead towards the reader.
Genre: YA Fantasy
TW: Alcohol, Car Accidents, Death, Demons, mention of SA, Racism, Trauma, Mild Violence, mention of Domestic Abuse
After an unexpected accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Mathews wants nothing to do with her past or childhood memories. So Bree is accepted to a prestigious residential college prep program at UNC-Chapel -which seems like the perfect escape- until Bree witnesses something that her mother wished to keep hidden from her. Bree discovers a secret society, undercovers hidden truths, and learns the importance of being true to yourself and honoring your ancestral roots.
My Rating/ Commentary:
I want to preface by saying that I am a VERY picky reader and sparingly give out five stars. That being said, this book was perfect. Legendborn deals with the hardships of being a student of color while navigating PWI institutions, the endurance and strength required to overcome grief, and, most notably, the importance of self-discovery. I won’t spoil the book, but a message that stuck with me is the importance of forgiving yourself and your parents. As you read this book, you’ll see Bree make questionable decisions, some that may come to haunt her. An excellent way to summarize this book? Sometimes we don’t realize the consequences of our actions until it’s too late.
2. Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson
Image description: Cover image for “Love is a Revolution” by Renée Watson. A Black female-presenting individual wearing a yellow shirt and blue pants is pictured in various scenes along with a Black male-presenting individual wearing a black shirt and gray pants on a bright green background.
Genre: YA Fiction/ YA Romance
Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin Imani and her friend’s birthday party. However, Nala’s dread soon becomes pleasure when she lays eyes on Tye Brown, the MC. Nala falls in love instantly and is determined to catch Tye. What appears to be a cheesy rom-com with a cliche plot is a novel that focuses on the importance of self-love and being yourself.
My rating/ Commentary:
This is a solid coming-of-age young adult book that will hit you right in the “feels.”
“Love is a Revolution” is an ode to love stories everywhere; it is a story for the girls who always wished they were a little louder, a little smarter, a little prettier, a little more. “Love is a Revolution” affirms that you are meant to be just the way you are, and no one can or should ever make you doubt that. Warning: the protagonist is extremely judgmental and can be a bit insufferable at times ( “I’m not like the other girl’s trope), but I think that makes it feel all the more genuine.
3. Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan
Image description: Cover image for “Queen Move” by Kennedy Ryan. A Black female-presenting individual wearing a low cut white dress faces the reader and holds the arm of a male-presenting individual who is facing away from the reader.
TW: Alcoholism, Infidelity, IVF, Infertility
“Queen Move” is a classic friend-to-lovers, second chance romance with a contemporary twist. Once upon a time, Kimba and Ezra were inseparable; they did EVERYTHING together. However, life happens, and the pair grows apart. Kimba is a career-oriented political strategist focused on building her consulting business and landing a major campaign deal, all while upholding her family’s name. Ezra was Kimba’s childhood friend and the founder of a local school dedicated to changing the lives of disadvantaged students. Ezra and Kimba go two decades without contact until her Father’s funeral. After that, everything changes.
My rating/ Commentary:
This book was excellent! You can’t help but fall headfirst into the world of Ezra and Kimba. The author does an incredible job of introducing numerous characters and finding a way to make the reader care about all of them. I could not put this book down! Childhood friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers, I simply could not get enough. This was a story of love, family, and difficult choices. This book constantly forced me to reexamine my thoughts about right and wrong. Only “real” critique: I hate infidelity tropes, so I most likely would not recommend reading this if you hate that as well. Also, finding out what caused the rift between the families was surprising and could have been addressed way better. The author kind of builds up this moment and when, and once you find out what happens, it is not as dramatic as it could have been. While I was utterly shocked by what happened, I was disappointed we didn’t get to find out more.
4. Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Image description: Cover image for “Act Your Age, Eve Brown” by Talia Hibbert. A Black female-presenting individual with purple hair, a green shirt, and blue pants embraces a white male-presenting individual wearing a dress shirt and dark blue pants on a bright teal background.
Genre: Adult Contemporary/Adult Fiction
“Act Your Age, Eve Brown” by Talia Hibbert is a great easy read. The main characters, Eve Brown and Jacob Wayne, are complete opposites. Eve is too loud, wears clothes too bright, tends to say whatever comes to her mind, and never goes a day without laughing. Jacob is too quiet, too shy, has little regard for others and their feelings, and never does anything without a plan. Jacob owns a small and quaint bed-and-breakfast in the countryside. Eve hears about a job opening for Jacob’s B&B and decides to shoot her. One thing leads to another, and Jacob has a broken leg- and has no choice but to hire Eve as his head chef. Eve completely takes over Jacob’s life, work, kitchen, and … spare bedroom? Before long, happy-go-lucky Eve looks less like his nemesis and more like a friend or maybe something more!
My rating/ Commentary:
If you’re in a reading slump, I definitely recommend this book! It was such a fun read. First of all, I am an absolute sucker for a cheesy rom-com. Not to mention, enemies-to-lovers??? We love to see it! This book made me laugh, smile, and of course, roll my eyes at painfully-corny-yet-well-executed tropes. I love Eve’s vibrant personality, but I also love the way Hibbert presents Eve’s vulnerability. Hilbert does an excellent job creating space for Eve to simply exist! It is so refreshing to have a book with a protagonist that is plus-size, black, and unapologetically herself! This book is the last book out of the Brown Sister trilogy. Out of the trilogy, this is by far my favorite book. I love a wonderful sunshine/grumpy character dynamic. However, I wish the author kept the same level of banter throughout the book, and I wanted to see more of Eve and Jacob’s relationship dynamic. The end felt somewhat rushed and too similar to the other books in the series.