The Vanishing Half
“Brit Bennett’s second novel broke my heart. She doesn’t shy away from the sadness inherent in each character’s life, yet she left me feeling better for having met all of them. I read The Vanishing Half with a sense of hope, despite my dread that terrible things might befall the characters. Desiree and Stella’s story unfolds with a deft delicateness in a book that is astonishingly accomplished and sweeping, and yet so very intimate.”Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First
“Lena just lost her grandmother, her mother has health problems and to top of off they are having financial problems. Lena takes a mysterious job in hopes help her mother and to pay off bills. Lakewood takes you into a dark world of medical testing where human rights are disregarded. This whole story felt more than real and makes you question how far you would go for to help your family.”Alexandra, Birdy's Bookstore
Saving Ruby King
“Saving Ruby King is a slow burn—a richly woven three-generation history of two families on the south side of Chicago, bound forever by trauma and religion. A tragic murder in the present unearths secret wrongdoings of the past. Intergenerational trauma is a primary focus, and the given circumstances allow readers to both hate and empathize with nearly all of the main characters. The full cast—including the omniscient church building—narrates the audiobook beautifully. Readers will learn that the bonds of true friendship can withstand anything. Trigger warnings: domestic violence, incest, rape.”Mary, Raven Book Store
Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick
Stories from the Harlem Renaissance
“Zora Neale Hurston’s (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Barracoon) body of work continues to grow and impress. In Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick, 21 short stories, including several “lost” pieces depicting the Great Migration to northern cities and Harlem’s educated New Negro middle class, offer an updated perspective of Hurston’s Harlem Renaissance-era cultural commentary. These stories, written in the 1920s and 30s, explore toxic masculinity and women’s agency, urban vs. rural class representations, colorism/shadeism, identity politics, and the intersectionality of race, class, age, and gender in a way that remains relevant today. And, by using humor, folklore, and her unique combination of delicate prose and vernacular speech, Hurston also has written thoroughly engaging slices-of-life, always centering Black characters, from a very specific time period. To fully appreciate Hurston’s stories, Tayari Jones (An American Marriage) recommends in her foreword, “reading this work aloud, enjoying the feel of the words in your mouth, and the sound of English tightened and strummed like the strings of a banjo.””BrocheAroe, River Dog Book Co.
The Gone Dead
“This was so engrossing and just so well done that it made for a compelling read. Billie is grieving and trying to find out what happened to her long dead father in the south, where race relations are still tense. I really liked the parts where she bonded with her family and she hadn’t seen in so many years. And one really got a sense of place, listening to the author's description and the narrator's excellent narration.”Audrey, Belmont Books
We Ride Upon Sticks
“This is such a fun romp! It has everything you could possibly want in a book: field hockey, witches, and ’80s bangs that have literally taken on a life of their own. Set in Salem in the 1980s, we follow a group of high school field hockey players as they struggle with their new dark powers and attempt to end their losing streak. One of the strangest, most satisfying books I have read in a long time!”Hillary Smith, Copperfield's Books Calistoga
The City We Became
The Great Cities Trilogy: Book #1
“I love N.K. Jemisin’s books, I love New York City, and I love this book about the soul and personification of New York. The City We Became might just be my favorite book to be published in 2020. This story is filled with tension, humor, and great characters, with a guest appearance near and dear to me. While this book is the beginning of a trilogy, it is completely satisfying as a stand-alone novel. Read it and be happy.”Doug Chase, Powell's Books
These Ghosts are Family
PEN/Hemingway Award For Debut Novel Finalist
Shortlisted for the 2020 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
A “rich, ambitious debut novel” (The New York Times Book Review) that reveals the ways in which a Jamaican family forms and fractures over generations, in the tradition of Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
Stanford Solomon’s shocking,... Read more »
Clap When You Land
“When a plane bound for the Dominican Republic crashes shortly after takeoff, two girls grieve the loss of their father. Camino lives in the Dominican Republic with her aunt and dreams of studying in New York City, where her father lives. Yahaira, a skilled chess player, lives in New York with her parents. Unbeknownst to them, they share a father who maintained two separate families. Camino and Yahaira struggle to understand the complicated man they knew as their father while beginning to develop a familial bond of their own. Elizabeth Acevedo returns to poetry as she takes a close look at grief, betrayal, and family.”Ann, Blue Willow Bookshop
If you enjoyed Such a Fun Age, then you’ll love Luster.
“An incredibly unique story, Luster inserts the reader into the head of the novel's protagonist, a young Black woman having an affair with an older white man in an open marriage. Things get complicated when she sneaks into her lover's house and is caught by the wife who then invites her to stay for their anniversary party. Luster is a brilliant mash-up (kind of) of Such a Fun Age and The Roxy Letters, but with added layers. Raven Leilani's writing is going to stick with me for a long time!”Mary, Skylark Bookshop
Following her National Book Award–nominated debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton returns with this equally elegant and historically inspired story of survivors and healers, of black women and their black sons, set in the American South.
In 1925, Josephine is the proud owner of a thriving farm. As a child, she channeled... Read more »
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
“Escape into a time of heroes with Achilles' heels, women in armor, villains who might not be, murderous gardens, feisty gods, and little girls with terrible power. Enter, and gasp in awe at the rich, ancient culture, like no other in fiction, at the ricochet speed of shattering trust, the twisting of allegiances and the fracturing facets of an origin myth about to explode through the crowded streets during a raucous national festival. Two teens have explicit reasons to find and kill each other, one hobbled by ignorance, the other by illness, both with motives of love and desperation, each on opposite sides of a fracturing empire. Who is the griot putting each on such an unlikely path to meet? Or is there a more disturbing reason these two are drawn to each other? Highly recommended for teens and adults!”Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
Party of Two
A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking in this New York Times bestseller.
Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late... Read more »
The Boyfriend Project
“Smart, steamy, and fun! I listened to this one through Libro.FM and loved everything from the author's voice to the female friendships to the recognition that internet fame is an emotional burden. (I was also deeply amused by the fact that the male lead had lived/worked in Vienna, in the building locals affectionately refer to as "The Toilet Bowl.")”Leah, Bards Alley
“This is a flippin’ gorgeous book. The writing is exquisite, the story is moving, and the characters are rendered with the skill of a true artist. Can you tell that I enjoyed this? Transcendent Kingdom is about Gifty, a young neuroscientist studying addiction. We come into her story just as she has taken her depressed mother into her care and is wrapping up an experiment. We see how her relationships with her mother, faith, and science have brought her to this point. If you need a book that is heartfelt and honest, read this one.”Izzy, Off the Beaten Path
“Grown exposes the underbelly of a tough conversation, providing a searing examination of misogynoir, rape culture, and the vulnerability of young black girls. Groundbreaking, heart-wrenching, and essential reading for all in the #MeToo era.” —Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
Award-winning author Tiffany D.... Read more »