Although it is impossible to fully encompass the breadth of women's experience, these are some of our recent favorites.
The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois2021 by Jeffers, Honorée FanonneGet this item
This debut work of fiction by the poet Honoree Fanonne Jeffers is, as Kirkus Reviews so nicely puts it, a "sprawling, ambitious debut novel that is as impassioned in promoting Black women’s autonomy as it is insistent on acknowledging our common humanity." Recommended by Chris.
Joan Is Okay2022 by Wang, WeikeGet this item
We all handle grief. But what happens when we are forced to grieve, and in doing so, are forced to look at the personal life we would prefer to keep at arm's length? I enjoyed this title and I think Kirkus described it best as, "a character study about otherness set partly against the backdrop of early-pandemic anti-Asian sentiment that manages to be both profound and witty." Recommended by Becca.
A Woman Is No Man2019 by Rum, EtafGet this item
Etaf Rum weaves together the stories of multiple Palestinian American women living in Brooklyn, spanning three generations. We see the issues of patriarchy, suppressed desires, domestic violence, and the courage to speak up spread throughout this compelling and culturally diverse story. Recommended by Paul.
Followers2020 by Angelo, MeganGet this item
I really enjoyed this smart, clever dystopian that asks us how addicted we are to social media, fame, and attention, and to what lengths we are willing to go to uphold those addictions. Recommended by Rummanah.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess2022 by Tan, Sue LynnGet this item
This lush, character-driven fantasy with great world building grabbed my attention from the first page. I loved learning about Chinese folklore and mythology. Recommended by Rummanah.
Detransition, Baby2020 by Peters, TorreyGet this item
Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, this is an amazing novel about motherhood, love, and what it means to be a woman. I loved this book. It's everything I want in literary fiction and more. Recommended by Becca.
Black Cake2022 by Wilkerson, CharmaineGet this item
An engrossing family saga that stretches from 1960's Caribbean to present-day Southern California. Like the dessert, this story has many ingredients and layers as it uncovers a mother's secrets and choices and their impact on her children and their identities. Recommended by Rummanah.
The School for Good Mothers2022 by Chan, JessamineGet this item
One moment of poor judgment, and now the government has ordered Frida to attend a Big Brother-like institution for the chance to keep her child. I can't tell you how many times I had to take a break from reading this book out of the sheer frustration I felt. This is an Orwellian and unsettling book that effectively presents the impossible societal pressure forced on mothers. Recommended by Leslie.
How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe2021 by Vasquez Gilliland, RaquelGet this item
I adored this book and cheered for Moon as she learns to embrace her own beauty and power. This would be a perfect recommendation for fans of Colleen Hoover. Not only does it sensitively explore grief, trauma, abuse, mental illness, disability, and sisterhood, but it also has a sweet, sexy slow-burn romance. Recommended by Rummanah.
30 Things I Love about Myself2022 by Sanghani, RadhikaGet this item
A sweet and funny contemporary novel in which the main protagonist learns to embrace all aspects of herself, including her flaws. Recommended by Rummanah.
Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?2022 by Blackburn, Lizzie DamilolaGet this item
This romantic comedy has more substance than fluff. The focus is that Yinka Oladeji is trying to find a date to her cousin's wedding using the same strategies she uses in her career (including flip charts and key performance indicators), but the heart of the novel is Yinka's community--her family and friends who love her as she is and urge her to be her authentic self in her pursuit of love. Recommended by Becca.
White Ivy2020 by Yang, SusieGet this item
I was enthralled by this book. It has light elements of a thriller and takes a critical look at race, class, and privilege. I highly recommended it for readers who love complex, character-driven novels. I can't wait to see it adapted for television. Recommended by Rummanah.
All Her Little Secrets2021 by Morris, Wanda M.Get this item
This smart legal thriller kept me on my toes, and I appreciated that it touches on racism and sexism in the workplace. Recommended by Rummanah.
Perfectly Parvin2021 by Abtahi, OliviaGet this item
I was completely charmed by this girl-centered young adult rom-com that has the expected breezy romance tropes, but also deals with deeper concerns such as navigating one’s cultural identity, Islamophobia, and immigration bans. Parvin is witty and relatable, and I am so eager for the next in the series. Recommended by Sharon.
The Maid2022 by Prose, NitaGet this item
Molly loves her job as a maid at an upscale hotel, but the recent death of her beloved grandmother followed by the murder of a high-profile guest has really thrown her for a loop. She not only has to figure out how to make her own way but also help solve the mystery that she has been accused of committing. A fresh take on a locked-room mystery with a neurodivergent character at its center. Recommended by Becca.
If I Had Your Face2020 by Cha, FrancesGet this item
With the increased popularity of K-Pop and K-dramas over the past few years, the obsession with "aesthetic beauty" has skyrocketed in South Korea--especially, with women. Plastic surgery, suicide, strict social hierarchies, and oppressive beauty standards have eroded female individuality, and this novel both confronts and gives insight into what many South Korean women face every day. Recommended by Paul.
My Dark Vanessa2020 by Russell, Kate ElizabethGet this item
This was one of the darkest books I read in 2020, but once I started to read I could not put it down. While it is very dark, disturbing, gut wrenching, and rage inducing, it gave me a lot to think about and it highlighted the complexities of the #MeToo movement. Recommended by Rummanah.
Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead2021 by Austin, Emily R.Get this item
Gilda goes to a Catholic church in response to a flier she found advertising free therapy, and the priest mistakes her for an applicant for the open receptionist position. She is too nice to correct him, so she takes the job. But it becomes clear that maybe the job isn't the best fit for a twentysomething atheist and lesbian with an anxiety disorder . . . a darkly funny and exceptionally quirky novel. Recommended by Becca.
Light from Uncommon Stars2021 by Aoki, RykaGet this item
I absolutely loved the characters of this book and their found family. With equal measures of heartbreak and lighter moments, this is a remarkable speculative fiction. Recommended by Rummanah.
Like Other Girls2021 by Lundin, BrittaGet this item
Whether or not you’re a sports fan, this coming-of-age/coming-out young adult novel about a group of girls joining the boys’ football team scores high points with a lot of grrrl power and LGBTQIA themes. Recommended by Sharon.
Girls Burn Brighter2018 by Rao, ShobhaGet this item
A moving story of sacrifice, exploitation, and reclamation, but most of all a story of true and enduring friendship. I admired Poornima's and Savitha's resilience, bravery, indefatigable courage, and their undying hope in the midst of their adversities. Recommended by Rummanah.
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