Whether you’re looking for a few good reads or wanting to get a jump start on your 2020 reading goals we’ve got you covered!
From stories exploring race and class, the migration crisis, family dramas, and more 2020 has a plenty of new releases from both fresh new voices and seasoned ones that are worth looking forward to. Read on below to find our list of the most anticipated books coming this year. You might find yourself adding a new bookshelf to your Amazon cart. For more #BlackGirlLit sign up for our newsletter.
Such A Fun Age
"Such a Fun Age" was making headlines well before its official release date earlier this month. The debut novel from a fresh new voice in literature captured the interest of Emmy-winning screenwriter Lena Waithe ("Queen & Slim", "The Chi") who acquired film and TV rights through a collaboration with her production company Hillman Grad Productions and Sight Unseen Pictures. The story is set around Emira Tucker, a young Black babysitter who is racially profiled at a supermarket and accused of kidnapping the child in here care while at a high-end supermarket. What follows is an exploration of the complicated nature of transactional relationships, of being a “grown up,” and of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Available now.
Fat Girls Deserve Fairy Tales Too
In "Fat Girls Deserve Fairy Tales Too", Evette Dionne wants fat women to take back their bodies-from the diet industry, doctors, harassers, and anyone else who treats them as problems to be solved. Author and "Bitch Media" editor-in-chief Dionne deftly illustrates the complexities of life as a fat woman of color in a thin-obsessed, racist culture and eviscerates the unspoken rules that allow this culture to continue. Drawing on her own experiences, Dionne explores subjects ranging from dating while fat to finding adequate healthcare in a medical system that prioritizes thinness, to the particular stigma experienced by fat black women. In this powerful and wildly liberating manifesta, Dionne enjoins all women to reclaim the story of their own bodies and assert their right to live in the world as they are. Available now.
Hitting A Straight Lick with A Crooked Stick
"Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick" is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world. Available now.
If there's one upcoming release being heralded as 2020's "must read" title it's newcomer Jeanine Cummin's "American Dirt". Already being called the "Grapes of Wrath" of our times, "American Dirt" follows Lydia Quixano Pérez, a bookstore owner in Acapulco, Mexico whose nearly idyllic life comes to an abrupt end when her family is brutally murdered after her husband publishes a tell-all profile on the jefe of the newest drug cartel that's taken over the city. Forced to flee, Lydia and her eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place the jeje's reach doesn’t extend. Available January 21, 2020.
Rooted in the hope that can live in anger, "Riot Baby" is as much an intimate family story as a global dystopian narrative. Ella and Kev are both shockingly human and immeasurably powerful. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by racism. When Kev is incarcerated Ella must decide what it means to watch her brother suffer while holding the ability to wreck cities in her hands. Available January 21, 2020.
In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, "Hood Feminism" delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed. Available February 25, 2020.
So We Can Glow
On a hot July night, teenage girls sneak out of the house to meet their boyfriends by the train tracks... members of a cult proclaim their adoration for the same man... a woman luxuriates in a fantasy getaway to escape her past... a love story begins over cabbages in a grocery store, and a laundress's life is consumed by her obsession with a baseball star. In "So We Can Glow", Leesa Cross-Smith weaves 42 sensuous stories--some told over text and emails--exposing the hearts of girls and women in moments of obsessive desire and fantasy, wildness and bad behavior, brokenness and fearlessness, and more. Available March 10, 2020.
When Lena Johnson’s beloved grandmother dies, the black millennial drops out of college to support her family by taking a job as a participant in a secret research program in the mysterious and remote town of Lakewood, Michigan. The discoveries made in Lakewood will change the world—but the consequences for the subjects involved could be devastating. Part The Handmaid’s Tale, part The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, "Lakewood" takes an unflinching look at the moral dilemmas many working-class families face, and the horror that has been forced on black bodies in the name of science. Available March 24, 2020.
Wow, No Thank You
Samantha Irby returns to the printed page for her much-anticipated, sidesplitting third book following Meaty and New York Times bestselling We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. In "Wow, No Thank You." Irby talks about aging, marriage, settling down with step-children in white, small-town America, health food and skincare obsessions, money trouble, the real story of glamorous Hollywood life and more. Available March 31, 2020.
As one of the most celebrated musicians in the world, Alicia Keys has enraptured the globe with her heartfelt lyrics, extraordinary vocal range, and soul-stirring piano compositions. Yet away from the spotlight, Alicia has grappled with private heartache—over the challenging and complex relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that characterized her early career, the loss of privacy surrounding her romantic relationships, and the oppressive expectations of female perfection. In "More Myself", Alicia shares her quest for truth—about herself, her past, and her shift from sacrificing her spirit to celebrating her worth through her own candid recounting and vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her. Available March 31, 2020.
In Julia Alvarez's "Afterlife", Antonia Vega has always sought direction in the literature she loves—lines from her favorite authors play in her head like a soundtrack—but when her husband suddenly dies, her sister disappears, and a pregnant, undocumented teenager appears on her doorstep she finds that the world demands more of her than words. Available April 7, 2020.
Clap When You Land
In the Dominican Republic Camino Rios awaits for her father's plane that never arrives... in New York City Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. "Clap When You Land" is a powerful novel in verse by award-winning and bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo, about two sisters grieving the devastating loss of their father who learn about each other after his death and must grapple with what this bittersweet new bond means for them. Available May 14, 2020.
The Gilded Ones
"The Gilded Ones" is the start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. Outcast for her golden blood, sixteen-year-old Deka chooses to leave her village to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. Available May 26, 2020.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
"A Song of Wraiths and Ruin" is the first in an immersive fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction—from debut author Roseanne A. Brown. Perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Renée Ahdieh, and Sabaa Tahir. Available June 2, 2020.
The Vanishing Half
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, "The Vanishing Half" is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Available June 2, 2020.
Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at Stanford University School of Medicine determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her--her brother, a gifted athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin and her suicidal mother who is living in her bed. "Transcendent Kingdom" is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief--a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Available September 15, 2020.
The Death of Vivek Oji
In a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. "The Death of Vivek Oji" is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader. Available November 5, 2020.
Editor-in-Chief, Eve Naturally Often found reading a book, writing down story ideas, or in the comments section telling folks to "read the actual article".