10 YA Books By Black Authors To Add To Your TBR

10 YA Books By Black Authors To Add To Your TBR

Last week I joined a Twitter chat, talking about the Black Lives Matter movement, which then evolved into talking about media by Black artists and creators. As we were discussing books, The Colour Purple by Alice Walker in particular, one member said something that stuck with me – to read books that focused on Black joy rather than simply trauma.

It got me thinking about all of the fantastic books I’ve read with Black protagonists living their lives. There are some in this list that deal with racism and police brutality but not all.

I’ve pulled together some books that I’ve enjoyed personally and that you will hopefully enjoy. If you have any more please do recommend them in the comments.

The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

Dean Atta wrote a beautiful novel in verse about a young man growing up, exploring his sexuality and learning about drag culture. A quick read but one that’s incredibly well written. You can read a full review here.

Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

It’s been a long time since this came out but Nicola Yoon has a way for writing stories that involve romance that make you think about the bigger picture. The novel follows a teenager who has a rare medical condition meaning she can’t leave her home and her journey of falling in love with the boy next door. It’s adorable.

The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon

Another romance but set over a day if I remember rightly between two young people who are trying to deal with forces outside their control. Natasha is fighting the deportation order against her family and Daniel is feeling the pressure from his parents standards. Another truly wonderful love story that will make you think about possibilities. You can read a review here.

With The Fire on High – Elizabeth Acevedo

The first Elizabeth Acevedo novel that I read and I devoured it as much as I wanted to devour the cooking that is described. It follows a young mother trying to juggle high school, caring for her daughter, her future dreams and career. A really wonderful book that you should not read on an empty stomach.

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

I was lucky enough to recieve an early copy of this book and it was absolutely brilliant. The story of two young women who lose their father in a plane crash. What they don’t know is that they have the same father, they didn’t know the other existed. This is probably one of my favourite reads of 2020 so far. Review here.

Dear Martin

Dear Martin – Nic Stone

A story of police violence and the first I read (I think). Justyce begins to question the world around him after being faced with discrimination from a police officer. He begins writing letters to Martin Luther King jr as he tries to navigate being a young black man. A really interesting read and especially poignant. You can read a review here.

Tyler Johnson Was Here

Tyler Johnson Was Here – Jay Coles

After Marvin’s twin brother is found dead after a house party he and his mother think that is bad enough, that is until a recording surfaces that changed everything. Tyler was murdered by a police officer. As his brother becomes a hashtag, he needs to pick up the pieces of a family left behind. Get your tissues for this one, review here.

Piecing Me Together – Renée Watson

I think this sentence from the blurb sums up this novel perfectly ‘Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.’

Full Disclosure – Camryn Garett

Full Disclosure is about a young woman living with HIV and trying to live her life as a normal teenager, while also trying to keep her status a secret. It covers friendship, romance has LGBT characters and is about a topic I hadn’t read about before. It an incredible book you can read a review here.

We Will Not Be Erased: Our Stories About Growing Up As People Of Colour – Gal-Dem

I’m not entirely sure that this is YA but it is a really great read, especially for those of us who have grown up with White Privilege. The people who have written for this book identify as people of colour, but I would still include it in this list. I read this back in May and it was eye opening, I’d highly recommend picking it up.

Book Review: The Black Flamingo - Dean Atta

Book Review: The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

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 masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.*

This book is definitely a coming of age novel with a twist. I, personally, have never read a book about how someone becomes a drag queen. Personally, I think it is an amazing creative art form and the make up skills? Damn.

A few people I know have pushed back from reading this because it’s written in verse, which I understand. When I read my first novel in verse as a teenager I didn’t get it BUT now I see it as a really creative way of telling a story. If you’re new to novels in verse this is a great place to start because it flows so well and it’s easy to just read it and forget because you’re so absorbed in the story.

This is a story about finding who you are, about balancing expectations and family with your own truth. It looks at the LGBTQ community and drag but I think this could speak to anyone who has struggled with working out who they are and who they want to be. I could relate because I also started to work myself out at university and found confidence I didn’t know I had.

The story also follows Michael’s realisation that he is gay and what this meant for him as well as his crushes, relationships and the like. I’m pretty sure all of us can relate to teenage crushes.

The poetry within the pages were absolutely beautiful! Also the flow from around the middle to the second half seemed effortless, even though I know it must have taken a long time to put together.

This was a 4 star read for me, incredibly interesting, well written and, for me at least, very original in both the way it was written and the story it told. I will say that towards the beginning I struggled a little bit, particularly with Michael’s younger years but found as he got to university I could relate.

Livin' La Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Two What I Read In March 2020

Livin’ La Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Two What I Read In March 2020

Better late than never, right?! March was a strange month and I found myself in a slump, particularly as news about the virus started to pick up speed. That said, I managed 4 physical books, 2 ebooks and 1 audiobook. Pretty good going, huh?

First up I finished my book club read of The Near Witch by V.E Schwab. Now I have loved everything I’ve read by Schwab but because of that I put off reading it until right before. In the words of Hermione Granger what an idiot. For a first novel this was pretty amazing and it was a 4.5 star read for me.

Next up I got to Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill that I borrowed from my friend Fred. I find Nikita Gill very hit and miss and this was no different. It was a 3 star read for me, while it was good I didn’t really know enough about greek mythology and had to keep stopping to look stuff up.

I got to a highly anticipated read of mine, partly because I knew the author at university and that is The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper. Two guys move to a NASA facility as their parents have been chosen for a space mission. There’s a love story, social media and space – the last of which I didn’t realise I’d be that interested in. A 4 star read for me and there’s a review coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Another LGBTQ based book which explores the world of drag – The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. This is a novel written in verse and while it did take me a little while to get into and get a rhythm with it. Because of the breaks I took while reading it I gave it 4 stars rather than 5. It also has a review coming soon.

I finally got around to getting to one of my Sara Barnard books that I won in a Twitter giveaway. Now, fair warning I love A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard book a whole lot. It features a girl who has selective mutism and a guy who is deaf and it’s their story of getting to know each other in a hearing and speaking world. It was excellent and, of course, it got 5 stars from me.

I also got Scribd in this month which meant I could catch up on some poetry collections I haven’t been able to get hold of or been able to afford before. Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace is the start of a new collection and it was okay. Again, this is another poet I have mixed feelings about. This collection was a 3 star read for me as the collections are starting to feel quite repetitive.

And last but not least another Scribd read and a book I’ve been curious about for a long time it’s The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. This romance was excellent and I absolutely loved reading it. It’s enemies to lovers, it’s passionate without being over the top and I want to read more Christina Lauren soon.

Did you get through many books in March? Any recommendations for me? Let me know below!