February has a ton of amazing new releases coming from black authors. From fantasy to science fiction, all the way to middle grade and comics, there’s a well of new reads that I’m dying to get my hands on. So, in the spirit of Black History Month and at the potential outrage of my future wallet, let’s get into the first round, my top three picks in adult fiction.
BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF by MARLON JAMES – Fantasy
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
Why I’m Hyped:
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by has been called by early readers an African Game of Thrones, which I am 100% here for. Dark themes, gritty prose, with a foundation in African myth? What is there not to like? Wrapped up with the premise and that gorgeous cover Black Leopard, Red Wolf promises to be thrilling (and probably bloody.)
Black Leopard, Red Wolf was published on February 5, 2019
Marlon James is a Jamaican-born writer. He has published three novels: John Crow’s Devil (2005), The Book of Night Women (2009) and A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014), winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Now living in Minneapolis, James teaches literature at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
AMERICAN SPY: A NOVEL, by LAUREN WILKINSON – Historical Thriller
It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club, and her career has stalled out; she’s overlooked for every high profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes.
Why I’m Hyped:
I love historical fiction, and I’ve never read Cold War-era historical fiction – meaning it’d be a great segue into getting started. Reviews have called it a stunning debut novel with exciting twists and a strong, intriguing protagonist intent on making hurdles out of the obstacles her time period has put in front of her. If there’s anything I’m a sucker for, it’s badass women who don’t let themselves be limited by society.
American Spy: A Novel, comes out February 12, 2019
Lauren Wilkinson earned an MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University, and has taught writing at Columbia and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She was a 2013 Center for Fiction Emerging Writer’s Fellow, and has also received support from the MacDowell Colony and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Lauren grew up in New York and lives on the Lower East Side. American Spy is her first novel.
THE CARE and FEEDING of
RAVENOUSlY HUNGRY GIRLS by ANISSA GRAY – Contemporary
The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.
Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.
Why I’m Hyped:
I don’t read nearly enough contemporary fiction. I tend to lean heavily on fantasy fiction and in my journey to consume more contemporary fiction, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls promises a lot of the things I look for in family-oriented fiction: angst and heartache, sibling bonds, and the same kind of unconditional love that I’ve found in my own family in times of need.
Also.. that cover.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls releases February 19, 2019
Anissa Gray was born and raised in western Michigan, where her father pastored a Pentecostal church and her mother was a homemaker. She graduated from Western Michigan University and received her Masters in English from New York University. After graduate school, Anissa went on to work as a print reporter at Reuters in Manhattan, covering global financial news. That was followed by a move to Atlanta and the initiation of her career in broadcast journalism at CNN, where she has held roles as writer, editor, and producer, receiving Emmy and duPont awards for contributions to the network’s coverage of major stories.
Annd that’s it. What new adult releases are you looking forward to this month? Maybe we have similar lists~