I feel like it’s so easy to get caught up in the Emily Henry and Colleen Hoover and Tessa Bailey hype (to name a few of the authors that have blown up over the years). However, like with any other thing in this society that doesn’t involve sports, the people of color are often left out of the conversation.
In an effort to get the conversation going, I wanted to share five Black authors I thoroughly enjoy.
Why you’ll love her: If you don’t know who Jemele Hill is, I don’t want to accuse you of living under a rock, but… Uphill is her incredibly brave memoir that was released late last year. Jemele Hill is known for her work as a sports journalist, and you can definitely mentally picture her tone as you read the words of her memoir. As her writing has progressed over the years, Jemele has developed a distinguishable voice, one I guarantee you will never get enough of.
Book: Everything, Everything (I personally prefer this one over The Sun is Also a Star, but Instructions for Dancing is also a REALLY good one)
Why you’ll love her: Her writing style is one of a kind, especially in the way she structures her novels. A chapter is not unnecessarily long if it doesn’t have to be; some of her books have chapters that are literally one sentence. Nicola Yoon does an incredible job of telling love stories with unique circumstances, which is especially evident in The Sun is Also a Star. Everything Everything is a personal favoirte of mine not because of the unique circumstance of the female lead but because of the beautiful way she brings together an interracial couple. When all the other young adult romances start to blend together and look the same, Nicola Yoon always manages to share a story like no book you’ve ever read before.
justin a. reynolds
Book: Opposite of Always
Why you’ll love him: Speaking of unique books, justin a. reynolds is another writer who creates and embraces unique story lines. I know he has written other books, but the only one I’m familiar with is Opposite of Always, one of the best books I’ve read in 2023. His books are intimidating with their physical thickness, but just like Nicola Yoon, justin will not make a chapter unnecessarily long. With Opposite of Always, he did a beautiful job of writing a time travel romance without putting all the feels on the backburner. He combined love, adventure, and multiple elements of Black culture seamlessly.
Book: Dear Martin
Why you’ll love her: I know there are definitely other books written by Nic Stone, but the only one I’ve completed thus far is Dear Martin. This is one of the most unforgettable Black-centered books I’ve ever read. Nic Stone knows how to punch you in the gut with her words as this book tackles racism, identity, and the battles of growing up as a Black man in America. I believe there is a sequel this to book, but like many books and movies out there, I fear the sequel will be worse than the original—like it won’t punch me in the gut the same way.
Book: All About Love: New Visions
Why you’ll love her: First and foremost, rest and peace to a legend; I believe she passed away approximately two years ago. There are other books written by bell hooks, but the one to recently resurface and gain popularity over the past few years is All About Love: New Visions, which was originally published in 1999. Yes, it hurts to think me and this book are the same age. Anyway, this book is the key to getting through life as we literally watch the world burn around us; sometimes, love is the answer to solving a lot of the world’s issues, and bell hooks does a fantastic job of explaining how. Furthermore, she does such a perfect job of explaining what love looks like outside of romantic relationships because “I love you” doesn’t have to be solely reserved for a significant other.
Of course, this is barely scratching the surface of all the Black authors making appearances on store shelves; we can’t forget about the legendary Angie Thomas, for starters. In fact, since there are so many Black authors I have yet to explore, there will definitely be a part two of this writing (and maybe a three, four, five…).