There’s no doubt that societal issues and enlightened opinions make their way into the books we read every day. If you’re looking for books that cover important topics, these are the five books to keep you woke that we recommend you read in 2019.

Bad Things by Nancy Bush

Nancy Bush’s Bad Things spreads an important message about the #MeToo movement with a suspenseful twist that makes this an absolute must-read. Successful men keep turning up dead and while it’s unclear whether or not it’s due to accidents or a murder plot, a strange pattern eventually emerges that links the men to their cruel pasts. As their misogynistic pasts come back to haunt them, there’s no telling if any of these linked men will make it out alive.

In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado

In Carmen Maria Machado’s new memoir, she details an abusive relationship she had with another woman. Uncovering the psychological effects a love affair can have on a person, In the Dream House explores Machado’s religious past, the stereotypes placed on lesbian relationships and abuse within queer partnerships. This new memoir is unlike any other being released in 2019.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong’s first novel is written as a letter from a son to his mother who is unable to read. In this story, the family’s history is unpacked but it’s not until the end that the narrator comes to shocking revelations about his family. This debut covers trauma, addiction and violence – topics that are currently plaguing the United States – and introduces readers to a new voice in literature.

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino

Jia Tolentino’s new essay collection is an enlightening read about the ways in which we use and abuse our bodies and minds. Looking at our current culture and dissecting the missteps we take in our everyday lives to become the “best” versions of ourselves, this new book is a call to anyone who feels as if they’re not enough due to societal pressures. This wake-up-call of a book is one every young man and woman should read this year.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead returns this summer with an important book about America’s dark past – one that isn’t widely talked about. In the early 1960s Jim Crow South, Elwood Curtis stays away from trouble knowing he will face a grim future if he gets caught up with the wrong people. But then he makes an innocent mistake and before he knows it, he’s being sent to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy where boys regularly disappear. Elwood must make all the right moves to stay alive in The Nickel Boys.

(This post is sponsored by Kensington Book Corp.)