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15 Books by WOC You Have to Read This Summer

The temperatures are rising, and those warm months of summer are almost here. This time of year is all about relaxing vacations, lounging at the beach and pool, and finding little moments here and there to unwind and soak up the sun. Of course, you are going to want to have a great summer read (or several) to accompany you during these lazy lounge moments. Luckily, we got you!

We looked at recent releases, and books about to be published this summer, to find the coolest libros by WOC authors you will definitely want to read. These include chica-lit books, an inspiring memoir, collections of essays that look at topics like pop culture and Latinidad, and fiction that you won’t want to put down. So, stock up, relax, and dig in with these fab summer reads!

The GoBetween, by Veronica Chambers

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The first book on our summer reading list is The Go-Between, a novel by Afro-Panamanian author Veronica Chambers. The story centers around Camilla del Valle, the rich Mexican daughter of a big actress mother and voice-actor father. She’s living the glamorous life, but when her mom gets a role in Hollywood, the sudden change to L.A. proves difficult for Cammi.

With the Fire on High, by Elizabeth Acevedo

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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 Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory

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New York Times Best Seller author Jasmine Guillory penned our next great summer read last year, and it has quickly become a rom-com fave. When Alexa, who lives in San Francisco, and Drew, whose home is in L.A., meet in a faulty elevator, he convinces her to be his date for his ex’s wedding. They hit it off, but is the long-distance romance that follows a fling or something more? You will have to read The Wedding Date to find out!

Queenie, by 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. In this funny relatable story, Jenkins balances dating, her family, and comparisons with her white peers.

The Dirty Girls Social Club: A Novel, by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

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An older book that you should definitely add to your summer reading list (if you haven’t read it already) is The Dirty Girls Social Club, written by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. Think of it as similar to Sex and the City and Waiting to Exhale, but recast with all Latinas. These six friends meet at Boston University and catch up every few months after, dishing on what’s going on in their very different lives.

Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros

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You can always count on literary icon Sandra Cisneros to deliver great books that focus on Latinidad. Caramelo tells the story of Ceyala “Lala” Reyes. Each year, her family takes a road trip from Chicago to Mexico City. After telling a tale about her grandmother that her abuelita says is an exaggeration, a deeper look into Lala’s family results. “Soon, a multigenerational family narrative turns into a whirlwind exploration of storytelling, lies, and life.”

Feel Free: Essays, by Zadie Smith

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Books which are a collection of essays allow the author — and the reader — to delve into several different stories, different worlds. Zadie Smith’s Feel Free: Essays tackles everything from interviewing Jay-Z to a billboard in SoHo, and the concept of joy. It’s always fun to see how other minds look at things in life that we too connect with, and how they deconstruct such things and experiences.

The Latin Deli: Telling the Lives of Barrio Women, by Judith Ortiz Cofer

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Another book of essays worth dropping into your oversized summer tote and reading this upcoming season is The Latin Deli: Telling the Lives of Barrio Women. In the collection of stories, Judith Ortiz Cofer’s focus is on the Puerto Rican women she encountered in El Building, in Patterson, New Jersey. Each story is unique, but they all touch on the experience of Puerto Ricans who have moved from the island to the states.

Number One Chinese Restaurant: A Novel, by Lillian Li

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When TIME; InStyle; NPR; The Village Voice; The Wall Street Journal; O, The Oprah Magazine, and other big publications rave about a book, you take heed. The all loved Lillian Li’s book, Number One Chinese Restaurant, a novel about the inner workings of The Beijing Duck House in Rockville, Maryland. Amazon calls it “an exuberant and wise multigenerational debut novel about the complicated lives and loves of people working in everyone’s favorite Chinese restaurant.”

Everyday People: The Color of Life — a Short Story Anthology, by Jennifer Baker, Editor

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Everyday People: The Color of Life — a Short Story Anthology brings together several writers of color to weave their fictional tales in one tone. But these stories aren’t solely about being POC. According to editor Jennifer Baker, “The name of this anthology is not meant to solely focus on the racial composition of the writers or characters but to showcase the larger story and relationships depicted as well as the landscape — be it in New York City, Maine, Alabama, Great Britain, South Korea, Ghana, or Sri Lanka.”

More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say), by Elaine Welteroth

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Summer is for relaxing whenever you can and recharging your energy. One way to do this, while you are lounging (which is definitely one way to recharge) is to read an inspiring book. One particular memoir we want to recommend is Elaine Welteroth’s More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say). With a release date of June 11 (just in time for summer!) the book is about the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Project Runway judge, former editor at Glamour and Ebony, and her rise to the top — no matter what anyone said.

Next Year in Havana, by Chanel Cleeton

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Havana, 1958. Miami, 2017. These are the two locations and years that will tell the tales of Cuban sugar heiress Elisa Perez and her granddaughter Marisol in Chanel Cleeton’s novel Next Year in Havana. When Elisa dies, Marisol travels to Cuba and learns about her grandmother’s life before she was forced to leave the island during the revolution. Marisol learns family secrets, while also really realizing what it means to be Cuban. Real Simple calls the story “The Ultimate Beach Read.”

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

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Little Fires Everywhere: A Novel is a New York Times Best Seller by Celeste Ng, that you will want to get into this summer. The setting is Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. There lives the Richardson family, with its perfect matriarch, Elena. When Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl rent one of the Richardson’s homes, Mia makes it known she doesn’t believe in doing things in a cookie-cutter way. When neighborhood drama puts Elena and Mia on opposite sides of the issue, Elena decides to dig around in Mia’s past.

An added bonus to reading this intriguing book? The story is coming to the small screen as a Hulu limited series, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors: A Novel, by Sonali Dev

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Our next beach read, Sonali Dev’s Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors: A Novel, takes us to San Francisco, where the Rajes family lives. Descended from royalty, their surgeon daughter Trisha finds herself to still be the rebel. DJ Caine is a chef hired by the Rajes, who comes from less lavish beginnings. He quickly butts heads with Trisha, but Caine soon finds out that Trisha is the only doctor who can save his sister’s life. This celebrated read is a fresh take on the Jane Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice.

The Right Swipe: A Novel Paperback, by Alisha Rai

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Dating has definitely gone digital, so rom-coms have to keep up with the times, no? Alisha Rai’s The Right Swipe is a story about Rhiannon Hunter, a successful dating app creator who finds herself ghosted after a romantic rendezvous with former professional football player Samson Lima. Months later, she sees him again — working with a business rival. He’s back in her life for a second chance, but is she game? You’ll just have to read this book, when it comes out on August 6, to find out!