Feature image credit: @bookishandblack

Sarah, the reader behind @bookishandblack, just hit 20K fans on Instagram – wow! We love her feed and book recommendations because they’re a blend of the big books you’re seeing everywhere along with some real gems that she uncovers. Here’s what she read and loved in recent months.

Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic by Kenya Hunt

In this collection of essays that documents some experiences of black womanhood, American journalist, Kenya Hunt gives an informative insight into being a black woman in today’s modern age. Girl Gurl Grrrl, captures a timeless celebratory look of womanhood, blackness, and the possibilities within the two.

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole

It’s hard for Brooklynite, Sydney Green to not notice the new and drastic changes in her neighborhood. New apartment and condominium buildings keep popping up and her neighbors have all gone away. Frustrated, she tours her new neighborhood and meets new neighbor Theo, who becomes an unlikely assistant. Together, they begin to discover that her neighbors aren’t moving out but disappearing. Will Sydney and Theo be able to solve this case before they too go missing?

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Benson and Mike love each other, but don’t know why they’re still a couple. When Mike flies to Japan to see his dying father, his mother Mitsuko visits his home in Texas but with her son suddenly gone, she spends her time with Benson. In Japan, Mike undergoes a transformation as he learns about himself and his family while Benson and Mitsuko’s time together ends up meaning so much for the two of them. In the end, both men will change in ways that can either make or break their relationship.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

To get away from their home of New York City and to spend time with their teenaged son and daughter, Clay and Amanda rent a home out in a remote corner of Long Island where there is no cell reception, internet, or cable. When in the middle of the night, the owners of the home, Ruth and G.H., arrive in a panic to tell them of a citywide blackout, Amanda and Clay are a bit skeptical of trusting the strangers and vice-versa. Without being able to communicate back home, the couple starts to wonder if their family is safe and if they’re safe from one another.

Ties that Tether by Jane Igharo

When her father died, twelve-year-old Azere promised him that she would grow up and preserve her culture by marrying a Nigerian man, even after immigrating to Canada. Ever since, even her mother has been adamant about Azere dating solely Nigerian men. However, after a bad date set up by her mom, Azere ends up in a bar talking to a handsome white man named Rafael Castellano. When their one-night stand becomes more, she is caught up by her feelings for him and her need to please her mother and honor her father. Azere begins to question that if loving Rafael makes her less Nigerian and if she can be with him without compromising her identity.