Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend, and since February is also Black History Month, I thought it would be fun to look at four recent romantic reads that feature Black protagonists. These books are so fun and swoonworthy, and they serve as a good reminder that when reading diverse books, we should seek out books that celebrate Black love and joy as well as texts about antiracism and Black pain. Here we go!
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
Tessa is a believer in happily ever afters, at least on the page. She loves writing romances that star Black girls like her, and she shares her stories with her best friend Caroline. When Tessa is accepted into a writing program, it should be a dream come true…except she develops a severe case of writer’s block. Caroline has the perfect solution: Tessa needs to find real-world inspiration for her fiction, and to do that she needs to dive in and find love in her own life!
Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest
Evie is the granddaughter of screen legend Evelyn Conaway, and she’s on her own path to Hollywood stardom with a major break. But when a betrayal rips everything away from Evie, she’s left scrambling to salvage her career. There’s only one choice ahead of her: accept a role offered to her by her Gigi’s nemesis. She travels to NYC to ask Gigi’s permission, but is surprised to find that Gigi has disappeared for a short while. The only person left around to help Evie find her is Milo, Gigi’s friend and grocery delivery person. Milo is Evie’s age and an aspiring musician, and even though Evie isn’t interested in romance, she can’t deny the sparks between them as they search for Gigi before time runs out.
Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson
In this time-bending romantic novel, Andre has just received a life-sustaining liver transplant and is overjoyed to finally embrace life and new health…but when he wakes up, he’s not in the hospital. He’s in the year 1969, and he meets Michael. They connect in ways Andre’s never experienced, but then Andre is ripped back into his own time, where he learns that the person who donated his liver is a member of a time-traveling family. Andre is assigned to Blake, his donor’s brother, to help him figure out his new abilities. Despite Blake’s grief, Andre is attracted to him as well as he juggles time travel and his feelings for two very different boys.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz Lighty lives in a midwestern town where she doesn’t quite belong. Not only is she Black in an overwhelmingly white community, but she’s also not rich like her classmates, nor is she obsessed with prom. But when her funding for college dries up, and her plans for the future seem tenuous, she remembers one scholarship she hasn’t yet considered: the one awarded to prom queen. Now Liz is in the running, determined to get the scholarship. The only problem? Cute new girl Mack is also running, and Liz is quickly falling for her competition.
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