Top 10: YA Books by Black Authors on my TBR

Top 10: YA Books by Black Authors on my TBR

Hello there everyone!

Recently, I was busy writing a guest post for another blog (which will be up soon.) It was going to be about black authors whose works I would recommend in the YA genre. But then I stopped and thought – what books could I recommend? And I literally could only think of two. TWO. I was so disappointed in myself, and I’ve decided I definitely need to correct that. So here’s a list of some new books which are on my TBR, and all of them are by black authors. Time to show some appreciation for #blackculture!


Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.


The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?


Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Ida Mae Jones dreams of flight. Her daddy was a pilot and being black didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dreams. But her daddy’s gone now, and being a woman, and being black, are two strikes against her.

When America enters the war with Germany and Japan, the Army creates the WASP, the Women Airforce Service Pilots – and Ida suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something significant to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But even the WASP won’t accept her as a black woman, forcing Ida Mae to make a difficult choice of “passing,” of pretending to be white to be accepted into the program. Hiding one’s racial heritage, denying one’s family, denying one’s self is a heavy burden. And while Ida Mae chases her dream, she must also decide who it is she really wants to be.

When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson dies from two gunshot wounds, his community is thrown into an uproar. Tariq was black. The shooter, Jack Franklin, is white.

In the aftermath of Tariq’s death, everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events line up. Day by day, new twists further obscure the truth.
Tariq’s friends, family, and community struggle to make sense of the tragedy, and to cope with the hole left behind when a life is cut short. In their own words, they grapple for a way to say with certainty: This is how it went down. 


When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . . 

Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. 

He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.

He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable. 

Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. 

Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying. 

My name is “J” and I’m awkward—and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right. Where do I start?

Being an introvert in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award–winning hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” is that introvert—whether she’s navigating love, work, friendships, or “rapping”—it sure is entertaining. Now, in this debut collection of essays written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself—natural hair and all.

A reflection on her own unique experiences as a cyber pioneer yet universally appealing, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girlis a book no one—awkward or cool, black, white, or other—will want to miss.
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.
Stolen from her village, sold to the highest bidder,

fifteen-year-old Amari has only one thing left of her own: hope.

Amari’s life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and living in a beautiful village, she could not have imagined everything could be taken away from her in an instant. But when slave traders invade her village and brutally murder her entire family, Amari finds herself dragged away to a slave ship headed to the Carolinas, where she is bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a birthday present.
Survival seems all that Amari can hope for. But then an act of unimaginable cruelty provides her with an opportunity to escape, and with an indentured servant named Polly she flees to Fort Mose, Florida, in search of sanctuary at the Spanish colony. Can the elusive dream of freedom sustain Amari and Polly on their arduous journey, fraught with hardship and danger?
Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be a normal human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changes when her sister is murdered—and she uses a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate.

Zephyr is on the run from a punishment worse than death when an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend (a surprisingly HOT friend) changes everything. Because it seems like Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess made flesh that is prophesied to change the power balance. For hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that.

But how is she supposed to save everyone when she can’t even save herself?

Olivia’s Question: Who is your favourite black YA author? Have you read any of these?

Olivia-Savannah x



28 thoughts on “Top 10: YA Books by Black Authors on my TBR”

  • I've not read Everything Everything yet either!
    There's tempting choices here. American Street and How It Went Down particularly appeal.
    Can I add Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor to your list, loved that story! and Blue Talk And Love by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan – fab short stories and one of the best cover images ever.

    Stephanie Jane @ Literary Flits

    • I am not the only one! It seems like everyone has read that one but me sometimes xD I’m always open to more recommendations so I have added to my list. Thanks Stephanie x

  • There are so many interesting books in this list! All of them sound really good actually xD

    I don't usually pay attention to ethnicity, gender or anything like that when looking for a book, I just start looking the author up when I've already started reading. Especially if I'm enjoying the book and want to know what else they've written.

    And I seriously feel like the only person who has not read "Everything Everything" yet 🙁

    Lipstick and Mocha

  • I haven't read any of these books. Thanks for introducing me to them 🙂
    I don't usually go by ethnicity of the author but by genre, and then if the book sounds interesting enough.
    I really like N.K. Jemisin- I checked her out because her book The Fifth Season was so good.

  • These all look good titles. Just other day we were talking on FB about one of the big four publishers now having a black hero/heroine on covers. And publishing all types of books.

  • I enjoyed Everything, Everything, it's a pretty good book (but I must say, I don't think the movie adaptation did the book justice).

    I've been seeing The Hate You Give everywhere but haven't picked it up yet, I better read it soon! The rest of these books seem really interesting, I'm going to put some on my TBR!

    • I haven't seen the movie yet and I don't think I will until after I've read it. Especially if it isn't as good as the book.

      You have to read it soon! Before the movie comes out. I'm glad you're finding some of these interesting 🙂

  • Wow! I didn't know some of these books are by black authors. I usually don't think about the ethnicity of the author–more if the book is well written or not. I'm so informed. Thank you!

    Lonna @ FLYLēF

    • If I am honest, I don't usually look into the authors too much unless I find the author's note or the book exceptionally amazing after I read it. It's very different for me to look into the author before reading the novel!

  • Looks like you have some great books coming up. I have been wanting to read The Hate U Give and Everything, Everything- so I can't wait to hear what you think of them. I loved Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (MG- she is also really nice- we interviewed her on our blog). I really like Christopher Paul Curtis (again, a MG author). I have read some MG historical fiction by Rita Williams-Garcia and loved it all. Lots of voice! Those are the first books/authors that came to my mind when I read your question. 🙂

    ~Jess

    • I can't wait to dive in and start them all, although a few of them I still have to buy first! Those ones are really popular books. Out of My Mind was one I just adored as well, so I can't wait to read more by her. I have to look into those MG authors because I've never heard of them before. Thanks for the recommendations <3

  • I just finished another book by Brandy Colbert, Little & Lion, which is published next week. I really enjoyed it and want to read more of her work. I bought The Hate U Give a few weeks ago and hope to read it as soon as my daughter finishes it. Everything, Everything was also a great read. Great list!

  • I'd have to say Malorie Blackman for her brilliant Noughts & Crosses series. And although they write adult fiction, I'm also a big fan of Zadie Smith and Dorothy Koomson. And I love how these wonderful writers are British women too.

    • I wouldn't be able to put Noughts & Crosses on this list only because I've already read it 😀 But I absolutely loved it and I totally agree with your choice! Oh, and I haven't read any Zadie Smith before but I want to eventually as well!

  • Ooh, these are some great ones. The Hate U Give is my top rec to anyone who wants to read a book by a black author. As I stated in my latest review, it is my top YA debut read this year. How It Went Down is also another great one. I have that on audio and the cast is amazing to listen to. I think that's my favorite audiobook. I have to read Copper Sun too, and I could kick myself because it's been on my shelf for years now. Sharon Draper is a great author and her Hazelwood High trilogy is really good. It's required reading here in some schools. Well, the first book, Tears of A Tiger, is. I have American Street on my list but I haven't gotten it yet. Funny, because I wanted it so bad before it was even released. And yes, Everything Everything is also a good one. I hope you get a chance to read them all soon!

    • The Hate U Give has a lot of hype around it so it definitely is on my list of ones to try. I've been meaning to try an audio book so maybe How it Went Down is a good one for me to try out that method of reading with. I've read another book by Sharon M. Draper and loved it, so I know her writing is going to be one I can appreciate. American Street sounds so good and I love that cover too. Really looking forward to reading all of them <3

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