We review books all year round, and so far this year, there have been some gripping reads from Black authors you may or may not know. Have a look at our list of the best Black reads of 2022 so far, and find your next reading obsession. With thought-provoking fan favourites like Charmaine Wilkerson's Black Cake to sequels such as Akwaeke Emezi's Bitter, there's a book on here for every age group, every interest and every mood.
Bitter is a highly original novel that explores the crossovers between social activism, mental health, and art.
"Emezi explores mental health through the character of Bitter, who, with the help of her friends, we see progress and overcome her anxiety by the end of the novel. Overall, Bitter is a wonderful mix of brutally honest social commentary, fantasy and coming of age tale."
A stunning debut, Memphis is a portrait of familial bonds, sisterhood, friendship, and community.
"Although all of the women have had their lives ravaged by some form of tragedy, they come together to heal. In this sense, the novel can be seen as a celebration of sisterhood and life. Memphis is a beautifully written novel and a tribute to resilience, with a wonderful cast of characters."
Black Cake is a moving and powerful debut that explores racial identity, family legacy, sexuality, history and culture.
"After reading Black Cake, it is easy to see why Hulu has snatched the story up in a bidding war to bring it to viewers’ screens."
Seven Days in June is a hilarious, passionate, and raw novel about two writers discovering their second chance at love.
"Seven Days in June is not only a love story but an exploration of the coexistence of joy and unhappiness."
The Merciless Ones is an exciting YA fantasy novel about girls who bleed gold and monsters who hide behind the guise of being saviours.
"Here we have queer, non-binary and trans characters. The inclusion of these characters allows Forna to delve further into gender issues and society’s treatment of those who do not fit their constructed gender norms. It was enjoyable to read about our fierce female protagonist Deka again."
The Final Strife is an epic fantasy novel that weaves together a fascinating tale of magic and love in a world brutally divided by violence and oppression.
"Sylah and Anoor, like both men and women, yet no one comments on this, and there are no labels for it. It is part of the norm, just as women holding positions of power in the Empire is also the norm. Saara El-Arifi is a new voice in the fantasy genre to watch out for. With The Final Strife being the first in a trilogy, it will be great to see what else El-Arifi comes out with."
The Weight of Blood is a chilling and suspenseful retelling of Stephen King’s Carrie through a racial lens.
"All in all, The Weight of Blood is a forceful twist on Carrie. The true horror of the novel lies not in the massacre and Maddy’s telekinetic abilities but in the horror of American racism."
Caul Baby is an engrossing tale about family drama, motherhood, infertility, and gentrification.
"The issues Jerkins explores throughout Caul Baby undoubtedly make it a powerful and worthwhile read. Caul Baby is a fascinating debut, which holds much promise for Jerkins’ future fictional works."
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins Valdez is a deeply moving examination of how institutional racism and classism inflict lasting wounds.
"Take My Hand is a thought-provoking and sensitively told novel that should be considered essential reading. With the recent overturning of Roe V. Wade, Take My Hand is especially timely and relevant."