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
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
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
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
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.