22 Must-Read Books by Black Authors for Your 2022 TBR

A collage of the covers included in this article

Make room, readers, your 2022 TBR is about to be stacked! In honor of Black History Month, we’re taking a look at some of the must-read books being published by Black authors this year. We’re highlighting 22 books here, but it’s just a small sampling of the great books by Black authors hitting shelves in 2022. With this list as your guide, you’re certain to have an incredible TBR list for this month and every one to follow.

To Catch a Raven by Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins, one of romance’s most beloved authors, returns this summer with the third book in the Women Who Dare series. Grifter Raven Moreaux agrees to fake a marriage with the handsome Braxton Steel when they team up to recover the stolen Declaration of Independence.

We Lie Here by Rachel Howzell Hall

TV writer Yara Gibson is pulled into an unsolved mystery when she travels home for her parents’ anniversary. It begins with a series of ominous texts from Felicia, an estranged friend of her mother’s. When Felicia’s body is discovered in a local lake, Yara begins to investigate.

Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi

Tochi Onyebuchi explores the idea of who is left behind in his adult novel debut. In the wake of a pandemic and climate disasters, the wealthy and privileged leave Earth for space colonies. Those without means or opportunity to travel are abandoned and must fight to survive.

Black Love Matters edited by Jessica P. Pryde

Essay collections are fantastic ways to discover new voices and this one features an incredible list of contributors ranging from readers to writers to cultural commentators. Together they explore the history, evolution, and impact of Black love’s presence in TV, books, and more.

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

With early praise from Tommy Orange and Ayana Mathis, Leila Mottley’s debut is already generating buzz ahead of its summer release. Kiara’s world is shaken when she’s named a witness to a scandal in the Oakland police department after taking a job nightcrawling.

You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen

In Laila Sabreen’s YA debut, Islamophobia spreads in a community following a terrorist attack. Three Black Muslim girls connect in the aftermath and soon Bri is inviting Zakat and Farah to help her run You Truly Assumed, a blog where they can share their experiences.

Boys Come First by Aaron Foley

Aaron Foley’s debut novel explores the highs and lows of life and friendship for three gay Black men living in Detroit. Each is struggling to reconcile where they’re at in their life with where they thought they’d be in their 30s when it comes to their jobs, their love lives, and their futures.

Bet on It by Jodie Slaughter

Jodie Slaughter had us at “bingo-based sex pact.” Walker Abbott returns to Greenbelt, South Carolina with the intention of helping his sick grandmother get better. He never expects sparks to fly between him and her younger bingo buddy, Aja Owens.

A Killer Sundae by Abby Collette

Cozy fans, rejoice—Abby Collette is back with another Ice Cream Parlor Mystery. Win Crewse is having a great time showing off her new ice cream truck at the annual Harvest Festival. But things take a turn when she’s accused of poisoning an attendee and must fight to clear her name.

The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope

In Leslye Penelope’s historical fantasy, someone or something is preying on Black residents in 1925 Washington DC. Clara Johnson’s investigations and interviews with spirits lead her to seeking a magical ring and partnering with supernatural jazz musician Israel Lee to steal it.

Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jason Griffin

You can never go wrong with Jason Reynolds. In his latest, he collaborated with his close friend Jason Griffin to create a multimedia experience that explores what it means to be Black in America today—touching on topics such as protesting, police brutality, and COVID-19.

What the Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris

Kai Harris’ debut is a coming-of-age story about a young girl in the aftermath of her father’s death. Eleven-year-old KB and her sister are sent to live with their grandfather and over the course of a summer KB’s world seems to fall apart and slowly begins to come back together.

I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson

One of our most-anticipated reads of 2022, this rom com debut offers exes Kian and Hudson a second chance. Hudson needs a date while his parents are in town and Kian agrees to step in, neither realizing how it’ll spiral into attending a wedding together and reigniting old feelings.

Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett

Reality TV star Desiree Pierce’s death was labeled an overdose, but her half-sister Lena Scott senses that the truth is more sinister. She sets out on her own to uncover what happened and quickly realizes that her hunt for answers may put her in the path of a killer.

The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings

Alex Jennings’ fantasy debut is set in an enchanted New Orleans. A magical piano keeps the city thrumming through its songs. But something goes wrong and songs go missing, it’s up to failed magician Perilous Graves and his sister Brendy to get them back and save their city.

Breath Better Spent by DaMaris B. Hill

Through the lens of history and her own memories, DaMaris B. Hill explores Black girlhood. Hill pays homage to women such as Toni Morrison, centers stories of missing Black women and girls, and shares her own stories in a collection that combines poetry, essays, and photographs.

This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron

Kalynn Bayron returns this summer with the next installment in the This Poison Heart duology. To save her mother, Briseis is in a race against her enemies to find the missing piece of the Absyrtus Heart. YA fantasy fans, start with book one now to be prepared for the exciting sequel!

Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe

Toya Wolfe’s debut transports readers to Chicago in 1999 when four young girls come together and find their worlds rocked. Years later, Felicia “Fe Fe” Stevens looks back on the summer when her high-rise home was torn down and when a new friend changed everything.

The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon

At her friends’ guidance, pediatric surgeon London Kelley is looking to de-stress with a no-strings-attached hook-up and thinks she’s found it in a surprising place: her rival Drew. It’s all fun and games until she discovers Drew has the power to shut down her hospital.

Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus

Sweep of Stars is the first in Maurice Broaddus’ Astra Black trilogy, an Afrofuturist space opera following a society of Pan-African people across the galaxy. The Muungano empire broke free from Earth in search of a better future, but old threats have resurfaced that threaten them all.

Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare

Readers who love a locked-room mystery will want to hop aboard The Queen Mary. Lena Aldridge leaves London for the opportunity to star on Broadway, but when a fellow passenger is murdered, she fears the journey will be far more perilous than she ever imagined.

The Kindred by Alechia Dow

Sci-fi fans won’t want to miss Alechia Dow’s new YA novel. When Felix’s royal family is murdered, he takes off to find Joy, with who he shares a telepathic link. Together they escape their galactic kingdom in a spacecraft, only to crashland on a strange planet called Earth.

Which of these books is at the top of your to-read list?

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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