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13 Books by WOC We Can’t Wait to Read in 2019

2019 is almost here, and with a new year, comes a whole new reading list! Luckily for you, we have all the deets on 13 great books by women of color that you’ll want to read.

On the Come Up, Angie Thomas

On the Come Up is the latest novel from Angie Thomas, author of the #1 New York Times best-selling book-turned-film, The Hate U Give. The story is about Bri, a 16-year-old aspiring rapper whose first song goes viral “for all the wrong reasons.” Her family is facing eviction, her mom lost her job, and Bri is facing controversy due to her rhymes, but she has to make it in order to save the day.

When We Left Cuba, Chanel Cleeton

Chanel Cleeton’s new novel, When We Left Cuba will be available April 9. It is a continuation of the book, Next Year in Havana, and the story of the Perez sisters. Sugar heiress Betty Perez is a Cuban exile in Florida, recruited by the CIA to spy on Fidel Castro. Add in a forbidden affair with a powerful man, and you have an exciting book full of suspense.

Sabrina & Corina: Stories, Kali Fajardo-Anstine


When the legendary Sandra Cisneros co-signs on a book’s greatness, you know it will be worth reading.  Sabrina & Corina is a book by Colorado Chicana, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, telling the stories of strong indigenous Latinas, and their life in the Western state.

With the Fire on High, Elizabeth Acevedo

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This has been an emotional ass week and for the first time I saw a copy of WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH. This is the story of Emoni Santiago, a teen mom who wants to be a chef but isn’t sure if following that dream is best for her family. This character arrived to me fully formed and whispering in my ear and on May 7th she will be in the world. To be honest, THE POET X has done so well that I’m scared anything I make after won’t be good enough…but part of being a storyteller and writer is stretching myself to tell new stories and believing in my talent enough not to give into the fear. So, I’m not going to psych myself out of joy and I’m going to trust the instinct that led me to write this in the first place. I can’t wait for you all to read this. 🌺

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Elizabeth Acevedo hit a home run with her immensely successful book, The Poet X, and she’s back with another Latinx novel. With the Fire on High is a story about Emoni Santiago, a teenage mom who has to balance her obligations to her child and abuelita, with her desire to be a chef.

The Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Fruit of the Drunken Tree is a novel by Ingrid Rojas Contreras, centering on two friends from very different backgrounds, in ’90s Escobar-terrorized Colombia. Chula is a young girl who lives in a gated community, and Petrona is the family’s 13-year-old maid who is working to support her family.

THE MEMO, Minda Harts

If you didn’t get the memo, you’re about to. Minda Hart’s THE MEMO is her counterargument to Sheryl Sandberg’s suggestion to “lean in” in the workplace. The book, available in April, highlights “the structural and systematic oppressions that make it harder for women of color to get ahead in the workplace.” Several WOC share their stories on the topic, making this a must-read for any woman of color aiming to get ahead in her career.

Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging, Alex Wagner

Photo: Penguin Random House

Futureface is journalist Alex Wagner’s journey to find out about her ancestry. The daughter of a mother from what was once Burma, and a Midwestern father whose family was from Luxembourg and Ireland, travels abroad and takes DNA tests, in order to finally learn the truth.

Queenie, Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie is such a good book, that it has already been acquired in a six-figure deal, and gotten “massive film and tv interest.” The story follows 25-year-old Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican British woman in London, who works at a national newspaper, and broke up with her long-term white boyfriend. She balances dating, her family, comparisons with her white peers, and life in general, in this funny, relatable story.

Do What Feels Good: Recipes, Remedies, and Routines to Treat Your Body Right, Hannah Bronfman

We definitely appreciate someone helping us to live a healthier, happier life. DJ, entrepreneur, and founder of HBFIT.com, Hannah Bronfman is dropping her book, Do What Feels Good, on January 8. It offers recipes, DIY masks, and more that will help you to live your best 2019.

The Affairs of the Falcóns, Melissa Rivero

The Affairs of the Falcóns is the debut novel of author Melissa Rivero. It is about a Peruvian family, who left their country for a better life in New York. The odds are stacked against them, but Ana, the undocumented mother, wants to fight to keep her family in the United States.

Optic Nerve, Maria Gainza

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“In between autofiction and the micro-stories of artists, between literary meet-ups and the intimate chronicle of a family, its past and its misfortunes, this book is completely original, gorgeous, on occasions delicate and other times brutal. And this woman-guide, who goes from Lampedusa to The Doors with crushing elegance, is unforgettable: she knows too much even though she declares herself scatter-brained and uncapable for modern life, even though she only feels alive in front of a secret painting, hiding somewhere in a South American museum.” —Mariana Enríquez, author of THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE 👁 OPTIC NERVE by María Gainza, translated by Thomas Bunstead, goes on sale April 9, 2019. You can pre-order now—and yes, our holiday sale applies! Use code HOLIDAY18 on catapult.co for 25% off everything and free priority shipping. #opticnerve #opticnervebook #mariagainza

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Optic Nerve is a book by Maria Gainza, her first work to be translated into English. It focuses on an Argentinian woman, who narrates her story, intermingling it with art, which she is obsessed with.

Stubborn Archivist, Yara Rodrigues Fowler


Another debut novel is Yara Rodrigues Fowler’s Stubborn Archivist. Available in February, the book is about a Brazilian woman in London, and her life between two cultures.

The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit in, Ayser Salman

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Thank you @getredpr for the awesome shout out! if you want a publicist, Ann-Marie is the BEST! I’m starting an international fan club. She’s badass! ♥️ #Repost @getredpr with @get_repost ・・・ I loved everything about this book, and I hope you will too. Out on March 5 via @skyhorsepub, The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Arab American Woman Just Trying to Fit In by @aysersalman 🔳 ABOUT What happens when a shy, awkward Arab girl with a weird name and an unfortunate propensity toward facial hair is uprooted from her comfortable (albeit fascist-regimed) homeland of Iraq and thrust into the cold, alien town of Columbus, Ohio—with its Egg McMuffins, Barbie dolls, and kids playing doctor everywhere you turned? This is Ayser Salman’s story. First comes Emigration, then Naturalization, and finally Assimilation—trying to fit in among her blonde-haired, blue-eyed counterparts, and always feeling left out. On her journey to Americanhood, Ayser witnesses a risque game of doctor at pre-kindergarten daycare, breaks one of her parents’ rules (“Thou shalt not participate as an actor in the school musical where a male cast member rests his head in thy lap”), and other things good Muslim Arab girls are not supposed to do. And, after the 9/11 attacks, she experiences the isolation of being a Muslim in her own country. It takes hours of therapy, fifty-five rounds of electrolysis, and some ill-advised romantic dalliances for Ayser to grow into a modern Arab American woman who embraces her cultural differences. Part memoir and part how-not-to guide, The Wrong End of the Table is everything you wanted to know about Arabs but were afraid to ask, with chapters such as “Tattoos and Other National Security Risks,” “You Can’t Blame Everything on Your Period; Sometimes You’re Going to Be a Crazy Bitch: and Other Advice from Mom,” and even an open letter to Trump. This is the story of every American outsider on a path to find themselves in a country of beautiful diversity. #books #book #booklover #igreads #reader #bookshelf #instabooks #amreading #immigrants #supportcreativity #california #inspiring #empowerment #nonfiction #writersofinstagram #memoir

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Ayser Salman’s The Wrong End of the Table, will be available on March 5. It is the author’s honest, and funny “immigrant love-hate story,” as an Iraqi in America. Readers will get an insight into what it means to be a Muslim Arab American.