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30+ Books We Love Written by Black Women

add these to your TBR list ASAP! đź“š

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From contemporary literature to fantasy to thrillers and every genre that lands in between, there are female authors that impress us daily, sending us into week-long book hangovers after gracing us with their unique talents, creativity, and wisdom. We could talk about our favorite female authors for hours, but during Black History Month, we are especially celebrating and recognizing Black people, Black lives, and Black culture. Goodreads is our go-to source for finding new book recommendations, exploring new genres, and discovering outstanding authors, so we leaned on the millions of readers who use Goodreads to figure out what books written by Black women authors we should add to our TBR lists.

Below, check out 30+ books written by Black women authors across several genres that we should all read—during Black History Month and throughout the rest of the year.

Kiley Reid
Such a Fun Age

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. So, she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while on a grocery shopping trip with the Chamberlains' toddler at a local high-end supermarket. The store's security guard, seeing a young Black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping 2-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

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books by black women authors
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is the incredible story of Ifemelu, an ambitious Nigerian woman who moves to the United States to pursue her academic dreams. Besides Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's beautiful writing style and Ifemelu's lovable character, what makes this read so engaging is that it's equal parts a magical love story and one of mighty self-discovery. How do you hold out hope for true love, while having to reconcile with what it means to be a Black woman in America with African roots that run deep in your soul?

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the idea of you book
The Idea of You

Even though Solène Marchand is reluctant to take her teenage daughter to see her favorite boy band, she agrees in an effort to become closer with her after Solène's divorce from her husband put a strain on their relationship. She couldn't anticipate meeting and falling for one of the band members, who happens to be 20 years old. A fling quickly turns into a heated relationship they meant to keep private. But when the truth comes out to the world, Solène must deal with the consequences of her choices and how they will affect those she cares about.

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take my hand book
Take My Hand

Inspired by true events, this historical fiction novel follows a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who ends up taking care of two young Black girls. As she gets a handle on her new role helping the family, the unthinkable happens and nothing is ever the same. Decades later, she is ready to retire, but the story of her past refuses to give her peace.

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black cake book
Black Cake

Chosen as a nominee for Goodreads' Best Historical Fiction and Best Debut Novel award in 2022, Charmaine Wilkerson's Black Cake is a book you won't be able to put down. It follows the lives of Eleanor Bennett’s two children after she dies. She left behind a black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. The heartbreaking story and mystery that unfolds changes what the siblings think they knew about their family and themselves.

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books by black women authors
adrienne maree brown
Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good

Seeking permission for pleasure? adrienne maree brown leads the way to understanding that pleasure is yours for the taking, no green light necessary. In fact, having pleasure is in your best interest. Through a series of creative and thought-provoking essays that honor a diversity of voices and experiences, Pleasure Activism proves that pleasure is the ultimate recipe for personal joy and collective positive change. It will feed your soul, while carrying just the right fiery sparkle of feminism to charge your heart, too!

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finding me book
Viola Davis
Finding Me

With intricate details of her life, Viola Davis shares the tribulations she encountered in order to find her purpose. She's learned that self love can only come from complete honesty and reflection, and along the way inspires readers to do the same.

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nightcrawling book

Chosen as a nominee for Goodreads' Best Fiction and Best Debut Novel award in 2022, Nightcrawling follows the complicated story of Kiara, her brother, Marcus, and the little boy next door who was abandoned by his mom. Struggling to keep their dreams alive and their apartment lights on, Kiara gets offered a job that could solve all of their woes. The only problem? She ends up as a key witness in a massive scandal because of it.

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memphis book

Memphis traces three generations of a Southern Black family and one daughter's realization that she could possibly change her family's legacy. Told through various points of view across the span of 70 years, this unforgettable story explores the complexity of inheritance, sacrifice, justice, and love.

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the other black girl book
The Other Black Girl

A 26-year-old woman named Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books, so she is excited when Harlem-born and bred Hazel joins her. Not long after, uncomfortable events elevate Hazel to 'office darling' and Nella is left in the dust. When Nella starts to spiral, she realizes there is more at stake than just her career at Wagner Books—but is she ready to face it?

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the city we became book
The City We Became

The City We Became is one of three books in a series by N.K. Jemisin, and it was an instant New York Times bestseller. The story follows five New Yorkers who must come together in order to defend their city and, in doing so, they unexpectedly become the living embodiments of each of the city’s five boroughs. Unfortunately, the first thing they learn is that the city is under attack. What follows are paranormal battles, city politics, and more that will destroy the city unless they can stop evil once and for all.

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by the book
Jasmine Guillory
By the Book

This is the second book in Jasmine Guillory's Meant to Be Series (don't worry, you don't have to read them in order), and readers are loving it just as much as the first one. When 25-year-old Isabelle finally sees an opportunity to get the promotion she deserves at her publishing house, she sets out to convince a high-profile author to finally deliver his manuscript. When she learns that Beau Towers is just as lost as she is these days, they encourage each other and learn that they have a lot more in common than they anticipated. But will it all work out before their deadline?

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like a sister book
Like a Sister

In this mystery novel, no one seems to care when Desiree, a Black reality TV star, is found dead—except her estranged half-sister Lena, whose refusal to believe that the cause of death was an overdose leads her on a search for the truth. Even though she hasn't talked to Desiree for two years, Lena knows the details are very unlike Desiree. When no one seems to be listening to her, Lena becomes determined to get to the bottom of it.

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books by black women authors
Cupcake Brown
A Piece of Cake

In a miraculous—yet gut-wrenching—memoir, Cupcake Brown recounts how she triumphed over one ugly adversity after another, starting in early girlhood. Between navigating the foster care system, learning how to hustle, trying all kinds of drugs, and being a prostitute, life was all but crushing her completely. With honest, self-aware, and captivating storytelling, Brown shares how she found herself, healing, and light after darkness and trauma. It's a brave story to tell, and opens your eyes to true struggle and the grit it takes to remain whole.

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all her little secrets book
All Her Little Secrets

Ellice Littlejohn has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job, great friends, and a relationship with a rich, charming executive, who just happens to be her white boss. When she walks into his office one morning to find him dead, she leaves as if nothing ever happened because she'll be damned if she's thrust into the spotlight—again.

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the light we carry book
Michelle Obama
The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times

Start your year off right with some inspiring words from our former First Lady. While there's no guidebook for how to handle life's challenges, Michelle Obama believes there are tools we can use to manage change and personal tribulations. Read along as she offers tangible advice for some of our burning life questions, like how to handle self-doubt and helplessness.

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books by black women authors
Tayari Jones
An American Marriage

Celestial and Roy are African-American newlyweds whose relationship takes a striking turn when Roy is wrongfully convicted and sent to prison. It's the kind of devastation that would threaten any love. But, it's all the more painful considering the racial injustice that poisons the U.S. prison system. With Celestial's life transforming out of her control, she must navigate love, loss, and the possibility of finding happiness in ways she couldn't possibly have anticipated. Praised by both Oprah and Barack Obama, it's a bold take on a love story worth journeying through.

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when no one is watching book
When No One Is Watching

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole was an instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller. This thriller follows Sydney Green's life in Brooklyn when she and her neighbor Theo realize that the neighbors they've known all their life are disappearing. Committed to figuring it out, Sydney and Theo have to decide if they are able to trust each other and get to the bottom of what's happening before one of them is next.

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jackal book

As a frantic search begins for Caroline, a young Black girl who goes missing in the woods, main character Liz Rocher is the only one that notices a pattern in her predominantly white rust belt town. This isn't the only time that a young girl has gone missing in the woods, on a summer night, during a party. As Liz starts to unravel the town's history, she uncovers a horrifying secret.

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call us what we carry book
Call Us What We Carry

This book is a collection of poems from New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, as she explores history, language, identity, and erasure.

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Talia Hibbert
Get A Life, Chloe Brown

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life,” and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. Read on for what's next.

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the women could fly book
The Women Could Fly

Set in a world in which witches are real and single women are closely monitored, this novel is about the bond between a young woman and her mysterious mother. Josephine Thomas has heard every conceivable theory about her mother's disappearance, but it's been 14 years since then, and Jo is ready to let it go. When she's offered the opportunity to honor one last request from her mother's will, Jo leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time.

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Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

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we lie here book
We Lie Here

Rachel Howzell Hall, New York Times bestselling author of And Now She's Gone and These Toxic Things, is back with another standout thriller book. This story follows Yara Gibson when she heads back to her hometown to celebrate her parents' anniversary. When she receives a disturbing text from Felicia Campbell (who claims to be a childhood friend of Yara's mother) mentioning that she has information that will change Yara's life, Yara ignores it. The next day, Felicia is dead, but she leaves keys to a cabin and mysterious files for Yara to find.

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Brit Bennett
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 16, 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. Many 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. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?

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Jasmine Guillory
Party of Two

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist—it is chocolate cake, after all.

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Maya Angelou
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a childhood friend, a new mother who wanted to know how to raise her baby girl to be a feminist. "Dear Ijeawele" is Adichie’s letter of response: 15 invaluable suggestions—direct, wryly funny, and perceptive—for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. Filled with compassionate guidance and advice, it gets right to the heart of sexual politics in the 21st century, and starts a new and urgently-needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

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Toni Morrison

At its center—a friendship between two women, a friendship whose intensity first sustains, then injures. Sula and Nel—both Black, both smart, both poor, raised in a small Ohio town—meet when they are 12, wishbone thin, and dreaming of princes.

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Zadie Smith
Swing Time

Two brown girls dream of being dancers—but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about Black bodies and Black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It's a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early 20s, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten either.

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books by black women authors
Roxane Gay
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

No one is able to keep storytelling real and raw, yet sensitive and compassionate, quite like Roxane Gay can. If you've been waiting for your next riveting memoir, Hunger is a must-read. Tackling womanhood, body image, and how shame can take us by storm without warning—topics so many of us can relate to—it's as much Gay's own vulnerable journey as it is an invitation to see ourselves in parts of it. In a society that will always find ways to judge our bodies and appearances, she’ll convince you that finding authentic self-love is the only remedy.

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Jesmyn Ward
Sing, Unburied, Sing

Jojo is 13 years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. He doesn’t lack in fathers to study, chief among them his Black grandfather, Pop. But there are other men who complicate his understanding: his absent white father, Michael, who is being released from prison; his absent white grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t acknowledge his existence; and the memories of his dead uncle, Given, who died as a teenager.

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