10 of the best fiction books by Black authors in 2021
1. “The Prophets” by Robert Jones Jr.
This novel follows the love story of two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation. When an older man starts preaching at the master’s gospel, the couple find themselves navigating a community that considers them as a danger to the plantation’s harmony.
2. “Black Buck” by Mateo Askaripour
Twenty-two-year-old Darren goes from Starbucks employee to NYC tech startup salesperson overnight. Navigating the ups and downs of success and its strains on his personal life, Darren searches for meaning in his brand new future.
3. “Yellow Wife” by Sadeqa Johnson
Pheby Brown expected to be freed on her eighteenth birthday. Instead, she finds herself thrust into Virginia’s most infamous slave jail, wrestling with the implications of giving up love and freedom.
4. “The Kindest Lie”by Nancy Johnson (pre-order)
Engineer Ruth Tuttle returns to her hometown in Indiana, she discovers the sacrifices her family made to give her a better future. Through Tuttle’s journey home, Johnson examines the struggles Black Americans face to achieve success.
5. “What’s Mine and Yours” by Naima Coster (pre-order)
After a community in Piedmont, North Carolina, decides to draw students from the largely Black side of town into the white high schools on the west, students Gee and Noelle find themselves at the center of a complicated debate around integration.
6. “Libertie” by Kaitlyn Greenidge (pre-order)
Libertie Sampson feels stifled by her mother’s wish for her to be a practicing physician in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn. Compelled to pursue music over science, Sampson discovers what such freedom means for a Black woman.
7. “Caul Baby” by Morgan Jerkins (pre-order)
Laila desperately wants to become a mother and, after previous pregnancies fall through, turns to the Melancon family for their precious “caul,” which possesses healing powers she desperately hopes to gain. This magical novel brings together the weight of tradition and the power of family, exploring both positive and negative applications thereof.
8. “The Other Black Girl” by Zakiya Dalila Harris (pre-order)
Zakiya Dalila Harris’s thriller centers around editorial assistant Nella Rogers, who’s fed up with the isolation and microaggressions at her company. As colleague and Harlem-born Hazel climbs the workplace hierarchy, Rogers considers perceived hostilities and how to best work through them.
9. “Razorblade Tears” by S.A. Cosby (pre-order)
When Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee learn their sons have been murdered, the odd couple band together in a desperate desire for revenge. Initially the tale of bloody retribution, the pair confront their own prejudices in Cosby’s story of change and redemption.
10. “Harlem Shuffle” by Colson Whitehead (pre-order)
Furniture salesman Ray Carney gets tied up with sketchy clientele out of necessity and finds himself navigating rougher and rougher waters. Set in 1960s New York, a family saga unfolds that promises tales of love, crime and hilarity.