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.