PositiveBooklistStrong knows just how to write a quietly emotional novel. Her characters feel both familiar and unique, and she is skilled at creating subtly devastating moments mixed with hope and tenderness. Written during a time of intense isolation, Flight reminds us that there is power in community, family, and those special times in which we don’t have to do anything but be human.
Omolola Ijeoma Ogunyemi
RaveBooklistOgunyemi’s writing has the power to reverberate through generations. She captures the spirit of Nigeria and gives voice to the complicated mix of disappointment, fierce loyalty, and adoration Nigerians have for their country ... Each story is deeply moving and the whole is so well-paced readers will be shocked at how quickly they reach the last page. Jollof Rice and Other Revolutions celebrates friendship, the power of community and home, and the joy of being a woman able to take control of her destiny.
PositiveBooklist[Babalola\'s] first novel is the wonderfully indulgent long-form romance her readers have been waiting for ... While many love stories either pit women against one another or ignore women outside the relationship entirely, this story has a strong undercurrent of sisterhood, demonstrating that love comes from all kinds of places, if you’re open to it.
PositiveBooklistObaro’s debut novel immerses the reader in the highs and lows of being a Nigerian. She skillfully provides enough context for readers outside of the culture while also writing for Nigerian readers who will see themselves, their mothers, and their aunties in the three protagonists. The three women are complex characters with satisfying arcs, and each displays a different aspect of the diverse groups that make up Nigerian society. But the beauty of the novel lies in their friendship and the complexities of the mother-daughter relationships. A perfect choice for fans of Tayari Jones and Bernardine Evaristo.
RaveBooklistA refreshingly complex take on love stories in a tale filled with lingering, heartfelt sentences and passionate embraces ... Emezi has created a dazzling celebration of the messiness of living and feeling with their signature gift for articulating characters’ inner voices in raw and expressive detail. Couple that with a thrilling story of forbidden love, and Emezi has created a seductive and powerful novel that will make readers feel renewed.
RaveBooklistThe innocent tone of Ayosa’s narration steers the reader into a time where there are no distinctions between the spiritual and the physical realms, instead there is the chance to see magic everywhere. To express this, Odour uses elements of magical realism to create a riveting story about love, friendship, and belonging, transporting the reader to a whimsical yet heartbreaking world. This tale of mystery and longing is reminiscent of works by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and perfect for fans of Akwaeke Emezi.
PositiveBooklistEqual parts comedy and tragedy, Wahala is a celebration of female friendships and a commentary on the fine lines that shift between friendly competition and jealousy and resentment. May boldly creates flawed characters who share the kind of vaguely offensive opinions you can only express to a best friend, drawing the reader into the intimacy of the dynamics among her alluring characters. May’s exciting and powerful first novel offers twists and turns that will leave the reader questioning how we’re going to get from A to B and loving every part of the ride.
Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström
PositiveBooklistA striking debut ... As entertaining as it is revealing, Åkerström’s novel has readers hoping that each of these women is able to break free from toxic expectations and achieve her every dream and ambition. Along the way, Åkerström also delivers poignant commentary on Swedish culture and the price Black women pay by virtue of the color of their skin.
PositiveBooklistWilliams proves once again that there is much more to romance novels than meet-cutes and other reliable tropes. As she deepens the genre with multilayered characters living full and interesting lives beyond their burgeoning romance without skimping on explicitly perfect sex scenes, her characters embody this storytelling duality ... The well-crafted love story alone would delight readers, but Williams generously provides even more. She explores motherhood and womanhood, the passion to write, and the sometimes fine line between romance and heartache.
PositiveBooklist... readers will find that they are occupying the story of a truly exceptional human being ... The most significant aspect of this tale of survival and activism is how exactly Nyamayaro’s roots and identity as a girl from Africa shaped her most impactful work for global change. A deeply personal and richly inspirational self-portrait.
PositiveBooklistDebuting novelist Igharo presents a great romantic comedy for fans of the Bridget Jones books or movies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding ... The reader is swept along with the tides of Azere and Rafael’s relationship and equally caught off guard by the twists and turns that shape their romance. With writing that marries genuine and infectious emotion with witty humor, Igharo has created an endearing love story about family, culture, and identity
RaveBooklist[A] a gripping historical tale that will transport readers through myriad emotions ... Lemmie has a gift both for painting pictures with lush descriptions and for eliciting horror with the matter-of-fact way in which she recounts abhorrent acts ... A truly ambitious and remarkable debut.
PositiveBooklistMiller’s debut is a provocative modern rendition of the Romeo and Juliet story. Set against the backdrop of a country ravaged by nature, and written in raw and affecting prose, Zo’s story takes the reader to the very limits of what a person will do for love.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
RaveBooklist... does not disappoint ... With each new work, Makumbi cements her position as a writer of great influence in our time and for future generations. Featuring a tightly woven narrative, carefully crafted dialogue, and multidimensional characters, all shown through an unashamedly Ugandan lens, A Girl Is a Body of Water is a powerful novel celebrating and critiquing mwenkanonkano (feminism) and the highs and lows and everything in-between of being a woman.
PositiveBooklistTenorio creates an unusual perspective on Filipino culture and inspires readers to reflect on what it means to be an undocumented American from birth. What it means, essentially, to not belong anywhere. A thoughtful and challenging first novel.
Lynn Steger Strong
PositiveBooklistStrong has an uncanny way of pulling the reader into the heart of her narrative and creating an intimate portrayal of relationships that are fractured but necessary. Her skill at depicting the inner workings of a frustrated housewife will appeal to lovers of Mrs Dalloway (2002) and Ducks, Newburyport (2019). Want is a surprisingly moving novel that will have you dabbing away at your eyes and swallowing that lump in your throat.