In January, Zetta Elliott published a list of new releases by Black authors based in the US for middle grade and young adult readers. I’m continue that process here, listing books that will be released in April, May and June. An additional feature is that I’m also providing adult releases that will have a young adult appeal. I’ve tried to be as thorough as possible in finding new releases, however I’d love to know I’ve missed a few. Feel free to leave additional titles in the comment section and I’ll add them to the list here.
Getting Played by Celeste Norfleet; Kimani Tru 22 March If there’s one thing Kenisha Lewis has learned, it’s that the people you think you know best often surprise you the most. And not always in a good way. It seems the revelations just keep coming. First, her grandmother and her dad are having money troubles, which means she’ll probably have to stay in public school and get a part-time job. And then there’s her boyfriend, Terrence, who has more secrets than she could have imagined. Kenisha can’t believe Terrence is dumb enough to get mixed up in a string of robberies. Or that he’d cheat on her with his old girlfriend. Or could it be that she just doesn’t want to admit the truth? Where Kenisha goes, drama follows, but she’s getting stronger and smarter every day. And she doesn’t plan on getting played again…. (Amazon)
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor; Penguin 14 April Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. She looks West African, but is so sensitive to the sun that she can’t play soccer during the day. She doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. Then she learns why. middle grades (from the author’s website)
Carmen by Walter Dean Myers; Egmont Books, April Into the summer heat of New York’s
Spanish Harlem strides Carmen, a chica who is as hot as the sizzling city streets. When she first meets José, she falls for him hard. He’s not like the gansta types she knows—tipo duros who are tough, who think they are players. But José has a quick temper, and he likes to get his own way. And nobody gets in Carmen’s way. (Amazon)
The break up Diaries by NiNi Simone; Dafina, April The only thing more intense than teen love is a break-up with the uncertainty of a make-up. This exciting new series serves up two tales of love that will shake-up your assumptions of relationships. So buckle up, it’s time to get real, learn to deal, and move on with this first volume ofThe Break-Up Diaries.(GoodReads)
Bird in a box by Andrea Davis Pickney; Hatchette Group, April Otis, Willie, and Hibernia are three children with a lot in common: they’ve all lost a loved one, they each have secret dreams, and they won’t stop fighting for what they want. And they’re also a lot like their hero, famed boxer Joe Louis. Throughout this moving novel, their lives gradually converge to form friendship, family, and love. Their trials and triumphs echo those of Joe Louis, as he fights to become the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion. middle grades (Amazon)
This thing called the future by J. L. Powers; Cinco Punto Press; April Khosi lives with her beloved grandmother Gogo, her little sister Zi, and her weekend mother in a matchbox house on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In that shantytown, it seems like somebody is dying all the time. Billboards everywhere warn of the disease of the day. Her Gogo goes to a traditional healer when there is trouble, but her mother, who works in another city and is wasting away before their eyes, refuses even to go to the doctor. She is afraid and Khosi doesn’t know what it is that makes the blood come up from her choking lungs. Witchcraft? A curse? AIDS? Can Khosi take her to the doctor? Gogo asks. No, says Mama, Khosi must stay in school. Only education will save Khosi and Zi from the poverty and ignorance of the old Zulu ways. (Amazon)
So, so hood (Drama High) by L. Divine; Dafina, 31 May With her senior year just beginning, Jayd s drama is going nowhere anytime soon. Although she’s graduated to the next level with her powers, she’s also going head-to-head with her former best friend, Misty. Jayd’s also got to deal with the aftermath of the debutante ball, her boyfriend’s cheating, and her ex-boyfriend/best guy friend Rah’s continuing baby mama drama. Luckily, when her crew gets to be too much, Jayd can turn to her new crush Keenan, a UCLA first draft football pick, for a time out. Jayd’s got to keep a cool head now more than ever because there’s a new enemy waiting to pounce if she lets down her guard.
Doing my own thing by Nikki Carter; Dafina, June Sunday Tolliver’s hard work and talent have finally paid off-she’s got a smash album and mad-money beyond her wildest dreams. But earning fame is a lot easier than dealing with it. Sunday’s diva cousin, Dreya, and bad-boy rapper, Truth, will do anything to get payback and wreck her reputation. Her gifted new collaborator Dilly has every reason not to make Sunday’s crucial follow-up album a hit. And a new reality show starring Sunday is making her love life way too hot to handle. Now she has to figure out who’s fake, who’s for real, who’s down, and who’s really got her back. And the only way she can take control of her success is to keep making it her way…
Teen Girls Need L.O.V.E. by S. Dodson; Mahogney Ink Publications, June 1 Teen Girls Need L.O.V.E. is suitable for the straight A student, the troubled teen, and the girl that is looking to be empowered. The goal is to transform our teens into successful women by giving them the tools needed to build their self confidence and self esteem. This book focuses on the hottest topics facing teens such as relationships, self esteem, bullying, the importance of education, and how to set goals. If guidance is what you need, Teen Girls Need L.O.V.E. is here to the rescue! (Amazon)
Adult Crossover Titles
Mama Ruby by Mary Monroe Dafina, May 2011 New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe presents an unforgettable tale featuring Mama Ruby, the indomitable heroine of her acclaimed novel The Upper Room. Now readers will get a peek into Ruby’s early years, as she transforms from a spoiled small-town girl into one of the South’s most notorious and volatile women. (Amazon)
Midnight and the meaning of love by Sister Souljah; Artia, April 12 Sister Souljah, the New York Times bestselling author of The Coldest Winter Ever and Midnight, delivers her most compelling and enlightening story yet. With Midnight and The Meaning of Love, Souljah brings to her millions of fans an adventure about young, deep love, the ways in which people across the world express their love, and the lengths that they will go to have it. (Amazon)
Ice: A memoir of gangster life and redemption-from South Central to Hollywood by Ice T, Douglas Century; Random House, April He’s a hip-hop icon credited with single-handedly creating gangsta rap in the 1980s. Television viewers know him as Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola on the top-rated TV drama Law & Order: SVU. But where the hype and the headlines end, the real story of Ice-T—the one few of his millions of fans have ever heard—truly begins. (Barnes and Noble)
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones; Algonquin, May 11 A coming-of-age story of sorts, Jones’s melodramatic latest (after The Untelling) chronicles the not-quite-parallel lives of Dana Lynn Yarboro and Bunny Chaurisse Witherspoon in 1980s Atlanta. Both girls-born four months apart-are the daughters of James Witherspoon, a secret bigamist, but only Dana and her mother, Gwen, are aware of his double life. This, Dana surmises, confers “one peculiar advantage” to her and Gwen over James’s other family, with whom he lives full time, though such knowledge is small comfort in the face of all their disadvantages. Perpetually feeling second best, 15-year-old Dana takes up with an older boy whose treatment of her only confirms her worst expectations about men. Meanwhile, Chaurisse enjoys the easy, uncomplicated comforts of family, and though James has done his utmost to ensure his daughters’ paths never cross, the girls, of course, meet, and their friendship sets their worlds toward inevitable (and predictable) collision. Set on its forced trajectory, the novel piles revelation on revelation, growing increasingly histrionic and less believable. For all its concern with the mysteries of the human heart, the book has little to say about the vagaries of what motivates us to love and lie and betray. (Amazon)