We Can’t Skip This Year of 2020 Because We Need These 33 Upcoming Books by Authors of Color
Yes, this year has been tough. Yes, this year has given us pain. Yes, if we had a time machine we would jump forward. No, we don’t want to do that. Because let’s no forget, 2020 has been a great year so far with the books that have hit the shelves. And with so many more diverse books waiting to be released in the next four months of the year, there’s no way we would want to skip it all. So here’s a list with 32 amazing books by authors of colour releasing soon.
A debut #ownvoices YA fantasy inspired by West African culture and mythology. Also explores themes of “imperialism, poverty and institutionalised misogyny” as stated in a starred review by Publishers Weekly.
An ownvoices debut of a queer Filipina-American daughter that deals with sexuality and heritage while a young immigrant walks on a path of self-discovery. In clear words, School Library Journal says it’s “not to be missed”.
Following the immigrant lives of two families, a Pakistani boy and an Iraqi girl walk through humour, love, and heartbreak against a political and spiritual backdrop. Neel Patel calls it “the story we always needed but never had.”
A diverse ownvoices story with queer Mexican-American characters embracing the pansexual and transgender representation in the centre of a glamorous pageant world. And according to Abdi Nazemian, it’s “a story that celebrates the eternal power of friendship.
An ownvoices story, starring a young gay Muslim protagonist, deals with themes of immigration, prejudice, identity, and LGBTQ+ representation. Set during a holiday in Italy, Adib Khoram says “this book is perfect”.
A story spanning over 24 hours, this YA contemporary is all about three young women saving the Indie bookstore they work at. Fantastically diverse and voice-driven novel will give a budding friendship worth appreciating.
The first in a MG trilogy, this ownvoices West-African mythology inspired contemporary fantasy is all about a twelve-year-old girl being at the centre of a dangerous battle between two worlds to find her missing father.
A YA urban fantasy inspired by southern folklore and culture that dives into self discovery as a Black girl infiltrates a secret society of powerful magic wielders, and along the way, finds her own magic. Kwame Mbalia says it’s “a thrilling and tense fantasy”.
A suspenseful literary fiction around two families (one white and one Black) forced together on a long weekend, this speculative and thrilling contemporary dives into themes around parenthood, race, class, marriage, and other timely social issues.
A standalone but also a companion sequel to Wicked Fox, this YA urban fantasy stars a strong female lead, an unexpected romance, and an inspiration from Korean folktales. Said to be addictive, entertaining and emotional by early readers.
A powerful YA contemporary that highlights grassroots activism around themes of social justice & racism, and explores how poetry and art can greatly impact teen lives. Jason Reynolds says it’s “an honest depiction of what it means to be young and Black in America.”
An ownvoices anthology of powerful stories by diverse YA writers like Zoraida Cordova, Maurene Goo, Nafiza Azad, and many more talking about their immigration experience in a time where such discussions are necessary.
An epic fantasy set in a world inspired by the Pre-Colombian Americas and has matriarchal clans where the story dives into politics, history, and magic. Ken Liu said the author is “the epic voice of our continent and time”.
A realistic YA story with BIPOC and queer characters around a comic book geek who comes to face adulthood with no armour except for beautiful and heartfelt friendships. Lev A.C. Rosen calls it “a great bear hug of a book that will keep your summer going”.
A Romeo-Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai with dark twists, rival gangs, and monsters while the romance gives yearning and tension. June Hur says this “debut is a terrific, deliciously unputdownable read”.
A sequel to War Girls, this will mark the end of an action-packed science fiction duology. A strong female protagonist and lots of loved tropes like the evil government conspiracy, this epic is worth devouring.
A contemporary adventurous fantasy with a MG and YA crossover appeal where an inter-sectional diversity is appreciated and a Latinx diaspora is highlighted. Also, dragons and itnernational sports tournament!
The first in a duology, this YA fantasy is filled with glamour, danger, and magical performances. A competition that stirs the fire between a gorgeous woman, a broody magician, and an enigmatic club owner, this debut is gripping.
A titan voice returns with a true crime for YA where the suspense builds up for a shocking conclusion. Dhonielle Clayton says it’s “groundbreaking, heart wrenching, and essential reading for all in the #MeToo era”.
A psychological suspense thriller that dives into the Brooklyn history and timely issues of race and corporations vs communities, this complex and realistic story around gentrification of a neighbourhood is worth anticipating.
An ownvoices LGBT+ paranormal YA where a Latinx trans boy summons a ghost in this story that dives into colonisation, racism, and the rich culture. C.B. Lee says it’s “nothing short of an astonishing work of art”.
This post was first published on Instagram as a carousel but three books were removed from the list for the following reasons: Iron Heart by Nina Varella isn’t a work by an author of colour and my personal excitement & unfortunate mistake led to the title being a part of the list. I deeply apologise.
I have also removed The Bookweaver’s Daughter by Malavika Kannan since the book has some serious issues in terms of representation—as rightfully pointed out by ownvoices reviewers—and the author subtweeting in response to valid criticism isn’t something I wish to support.
Smash It by Francina Simone is not a part of the list anymore since the author has not only made deeply problematic comments around child bearing on Twitter, but has also included some content around an Israeli-Palestinian couple in the book which, considering the sentiments of readers from the oppressed country, should not be promoted.
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