Broken down by audience and tone, these genre-defying publications from the past year spotlight various Black perspectives and cultures. As the Black lived experience is diverse, we encourage readers to explore the variety of American, immigrant, and global voices showcased below.
For additional must-reads this month and year-round, see the cloudLibray Black History Month shelf featuring e-books and audiobooks.
Asking for a Friend by Andi Osho
Told from the point of view of three best friends in London, this heartwarming read is a testament to the importance platonic love while searching for romance.
Our Gen by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
The only Black residents in a retirement community outside of Philadelphia bond as they discover new life with each other and ultimately reckon with their pasts.
Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
1990s Harlem serves as backdrop for a narrative told through the eyes of an 8-year-old girl about the intersection of fatness, race, and gender.
Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions: A Novel in Interlocking Stories by Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi
Following the trajectory of four Nigerian women, this sweeping collection tackles coming of age from boarding school to adulthood.
The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings
In this contemporary fantasy, a mythic New Orleans runs on the magic of music, and two mages must recover songs stolen by vengeful spirits in order to save the city.
The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope
Set in 1920s Washington DC, psychic Clara Johnson and her motley crew attempt a heist to save their community while facing off against powerful spirits.
Don’t Cry For Me by Daniel Black
This novel of letters from a dying father to his estranged gay son explores intergenerational trauma and toxic masculinity by recounting the father’s life from the 1940s to present day.
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Reproductive justice is at the heart of this story inspired by true events, with dual timelines in 1973 and 2016 centering one medical professional’s grappling with an unjust system.
House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson
Gothic fiction at its finest! A young woman becomes entrenched in a shadowy world of lush nobility with this new take on the vampire myth.
Jackal by Erin E. Adams
A reluctant homecoming turns frantic when protagonist Liz Rocher discovers a force of evil steals a Black girl from town every year.
Murder in Westminster by Vanessa Riley
Advertised as a darker read-alike to Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton, this new Regency era series starter introduces biracial Lady Worthing on the hunt to uncover a murderer on her property.
Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder by V. M. Burns
Another first in a new series, this cozy mystery introduces Maddy Montgomery as she inherits a bakery and a murder charge in one fell swoop.
I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson
Fake relationship meets second chance romance for exes Kian and Hudson. This book is peppered with plenty of other rom-com tropes and humor for the reader.
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Just when Feyi opens herself to the possibility of love after loss, she finds herself in an impossible situation in this charged novel about forbidden love.
Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi
On a post-apocalyptic Earth, only those unable to afford passage to space are left behind, referencing themes of colonialism and gentrification.
Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus
With intergalactic worldbuilding and political intrigue, this Afrofuturist epic sets the stage for a space opera trilogy about a Pan-African empire under fire.
Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett
A grieving sister suspects foul play and is willing to do whatever it takes to get justice, even if it means putting a target on her back.
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb
When musician Ray McMillian’s heirloom Stradivarius is stolen, he must race against the clock to recover the violin and assert his rightful place in an international competition.
Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
Representative of a genre known for inner-city settings, the story of Kiara in East Oakland and her survival from sex trafficking is told with gritty realism.
Hold You Down by Tracy Brown
This character-driven family saga reflects on the power of choice and consequence in the 1980s and 1990s drug scene of New York City.
A nonfiction addition, this selection of essays challenges the systemic exclusion of Black representation in romance media and celebrates the joys of Black love.
You Don’t Know Us Negroes and Other Essays by Zora Neale Hurston
This new collection from premier Harlem Renaissance novelist Hurston acts as a nonfiction primer of her evolution as a writer.
Dear Reader: A Love Letter to Libraries by Tiffany Rose
This book spotlights a young reader and her search for stories and characters that represent her.
My Fade Is Fresh by Shauntay Grant
This celebration of Black hair highlights the importance of speaking up for what you want in order be true to you.
Middle Grade Books
It’s the End of the World and I’m In My Bathing Suit by Justin Reynolds
Twelve-year-old Eddie is left home to catch up on laundry, but when the power goes out, he and the other left-behind kids in the neighborhood must make sense of a sudden apocalypse.
Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds
Composed as more collage than traditional book, this beautiful visual novel chronicles another perspective of living through 2020 and its effect on a Black American family.
The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
A social pariah outed as biracial and an inaugural integrated prom in a small southern town lays the groundwork for this direct homage to Stephen King’s Carrie.
Katie S., Bensalem branch