By Qian Julie Wang
In this memoir, Qian writes of growing up in New York undocumented and afraid, her parents (former professors), struggling as they worked in sweatshops to get by. Through lyrical prose, Qian weaves her memories into an eye-opening novel in hopes that those in the shadows know they are not alone.
By Sylvia Plath
Thought to be based on Sylvia Plath’s own experiences, The Bell Jar follows college student Esther as she struggles in New York as an aspired poet. Esther’s depression worsens as she faces issues of identity, unable to accept the limited roles of women. This coming-of-age novel is filled with insight and striking prose.
By Madeline Miller
Circe, born of Helios and Perse, is a lesser goddess who is banished to Aiaia after cursing Scylla. Alone on the island, Circe harnesses her witchcraft for years until her paradise is threatened. Told in stunning prose, you’ll want to live in this lullaby of a novel even after you’re done.
By Asha Lemmie
It’s 1948 in Kyoto, Japan, and Noriko is left at her grandparents’ estate where she learns not to ask questions. Hidden away because she is illegitimate and biracial, Nori doesn’t yearn for the outside world until her brother shows up. Will the bond they build be powerful enough to change the course of their lives?
By Abi Dare
All Adunni wants is an education—the power of having a voice and using that voice to change the lives of others. But after she loses her mama, Adunni is forced to give up schooling and marry, her dreams of having a louding voice seeming out of reach.
By Kaitlyn Greenidge
Exploring themes of colorism and freedom, Libertie is about a young woman who moves to Haiti with her new husband, a proposal she accepted to avoid her mother’s expectations of her. What she finds is more inequality, and she’s left questioning how to find freedom as a Black woman in the Reconstruction-era.
By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
Chronicling the multigenerational history of a Black American family, this novel follows Ailey Pearl as she sifts through her family’s history, where she uncovers generational trauma from years of slavery and oppression. The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois moves between past and present as Ailey learns how to accept her identity.
By Sarah Waters
When Mrs. Wray and her daughter Frances take in lodgers Lilian and Leonard Barber, neither of the two are prepared for what’s to come. Especially not Frances, whose new friendship with Lilian turns into something more. Set in 1922, London, this historical novel will leave you guessing until the end.
By Alix E. Harrow
Mr. Locke, January’s guardian, calls her an “in-between thing” and it’s no surprise that January feels more like a specimen than an active participant in her own life. When she finds a strange book among her collection, she’s led on an adventure where she finally hopes to break free.
By Yaa Gyasi
With a bedridden mother and a brother who died of addiction, Gifty, a neuroscience student, looks to science for answers. A story of grief, readers will journey with Gifty as she tries to reconcile her feelings about science, religion, depression, and addiction.