New good reads released this year for you should check out and add to your reading list!
Wahala by Nikki May | £14.99
“The hottest debut of 2022” Penguin Books
Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English. Not all of them choose to see it that way.
Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction; endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.
When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them. Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.
Explosive, hilarious and wildly entertaining, this razor-sharp tale of love, race and family will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Fearlessly political about class, colourism and clothes, the spellbinding Wahala is for anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms.
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To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara| £20
In an alternate version of 1893 America, New York is part of the Free States, where people may live and love whomever they please (or so it seems). The fragile young scion of a distinguished family resists betrothal to a worthy suitor, drawn to a charming music teacher of no means.
In a 1993 Manhattan besieged by the AIDS epidemic, a young Hawaiian man lives with his much older, wealthier partner, hiding his troubled childhood and the fate of his father. And in 2093, in a world riven by plagues and governed by totalitarian rule, a powerful scientist’s damaged granddaughter tries to navigate life without him—and solve the mystery of her husband’s disappearances.
These three sections are joined in an enthralling and ingenious symphony, as recurring notes and themes deepen and enrich one another: A townhouse in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village; illness, and treatments that come at a terrible cost; wealth and squalor; the weak and the strong; race; the definition of family, and of nationhood; the dangerous righteousness of the powerful, and of revolutionaries; the longing to find a place in an earthly paradise, and the gradual realization that it can’t exist.
What unites not just the characters, but these Americas, are their reckonings with the qualities that make us human: Fear. Love. Shame. Need. Loneliness.
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Brown Girls by Daphne PalasiAndreades| £12.99
A fiercely poetic coming-of-age novel following a group of young women of colour in Queens, New York.
If you really want to know, we are the colour of 7-Eleven root beer. Colour of the charcoal pencil our sisters use to rim their eyes. Colour of peanut butter.
Brown Girls dives deep into the lives of a group of young women of colour growing up in Queens, New York. Here, streets echo with many languages, subways rumble above dollar stores and the briny scent of the ocean wafts in from Rockaway Beach. Here, girls like Nadira, Gabby, Naz, Trish, Angelique, and many others, struggle to reconcile their immigrant backgrounds with the American culture they come of age in. Here, they become friends for life. Or so they vow.
In this bold debut told in a uniquely lyrical voice, Daphne PalasiAndreades paints a stunning collective portrait of the journey from girlhood to adulthood, set against a backdrop of race, class, and marginalisation in America today. Brown Girls is an unforgettable love letter to women of colour everywhere from a daring new writer.
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Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo |£14.99
The powerful, urgent manifesto on never giving up from Booker prize-winning trailblazer, Bernardine Evaristo.
Bernardine Evaristo’s 2019 Booker win – the first by a Black woman – was a revolutionary moment both for British culture and for her. After three decades as a trailblazing writer, teacher and activist, she moved from the margins to centre stage, taking her place in the spotlight at last. Her journey was a long one, but she made it, and she made history.
Manifesto is Bernardine Evaristo’s intimate and inspirational, no-holds-barred account of how she did it, refusing to let any barriers stand in her way. She charts her creative rebellion against the mainstream and her life-long commitment to the imaginative exploration of ‘untold’ stories. And drawing deeply on her own experiences, she offers a vital contribution to current conversations around social issues such as race, class, feminism, sexuality and aging.
This is a unique book about staying true to yourself and to your vision. It’s about how to be unstoppable – in your craft, your work, your life. It is Bernardine Evaristo’s manifesto for never giving up.
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The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. | £8.99
The Halifax plantation is known as Empty by the slaves who work it under the pitiless gaze of its overseers and its owner, Massa Paul. Two young, enslaved men, Samuel and Isaiah dwell among the animals they keep in the barn, helping out in the fields when their day is done. But the barn is their haven, a space of radiance and love – away from the blistering sun and the cruelty of the toubabs – where they can be alone together.
But Amos – a fellow slave – has begun to direct suspicion towards the two men and their refusal to bend. Their flickering glances, unspoken words and wilful intention, revealing a truth that threatens to rock the stability of the plantation. And preaching the words of Massa Paul’s gospel, he betrays them.
The culminating pages of The Prophets summon a choral voice of those who have suffered in silence, with blistering humanity, as the day of reckoning arrives at the Halifax plantation. Love, in all its permutations, is the discovery at the heart of Robert Jones Jr’s breath-taking debut, The Prophets.
Where to find click here