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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

Since February is Black History Month, your TBR list should prioritize Black authors for the entirety of the month. Despite all the progress the writing community has seen in the past few years (with huge help from the #blackbooktok community on TikTok), authors of color are still not getting the attention they deserve.

Do yourself a favor, put down that Colleen Hoover book and pick up a book written by a Black author. Don’t know where to start? Not to worry. I’ve compiled a list of books you should consider checking out. If you’ve already read them, re-read them!

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

A book about books, Guillory’s book retells the story of Beauty and the Beast as the second novel in the Meant to Be series. Izzy is the only black employee at her publishing house where she works as an editorial assistant. Wanting more out of her life and career, she volunteers to get a popular author, Beau, to finish and turn in his overdue manuscript. But in her plan for a promotion, she doesn’t expect to find common ground with him and grow closer.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the picture of the American Dream, find themselves torn apart when Roy is wrongfully arrested and imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Struggling in the aftermath of the arrest, Celestial finds herself relying on her childhood friend Andre. When five years go by and Roy is released early, he expects to reunite with his wife and continue where they left off—even though Celestial’s love for Roy has withered over time.

A beautiful story about love, Jones truly knows how to weave together a compelling story.

Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling by Elise Bryant

Delilah is used to hiding herself behind a persona of nonchalance while Reggie plays at being a confident nerd. They first meet on New Year’s Eve, and then again on Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day, and on and on. They continue to bump into each other and slowly, they begin to fall for each other. Or at least the version of themselves they present.

A cute rom-com in book form, this love story is worth the read.

Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes From a Trap Feminist by Sesali Bowen

Bowen takes feminism to a new level in this book that combines an essay with commentary. Feeling that she as a Black woman was not found or represented in the mainstream feminist media. So what else was she supposed to do but write feminist literature that does represent her? That is how Trap Feminism was born!

Truly an interesting read, especially considering it tackles more than just her Black identity, but queerness, sexism, fatphobia, and capitalism. All of this is explored through the lens of hip-hop and race.

Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans

Spoken word poet, Jasmine Mans writes about queer identity, race, and feminism in this collection of poems. She writes to herself—and whoever else needs to be called home—as she explores adulthood.

Sometimes, poetry can tell a story better than a novel.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

In a land familiar with chaos and catastrophe, Essun, comes home to find her husband has murdered their son and taken their daughter. Meanwhile, the ruling empire collapses and the land has split apart. With the land dying and the world as she knows it ending, Essun embarks on a journey to find and rescue her daughter.

This book is the first in a trilogy series and the Jemisin really delivers with this world-ending read.

When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris

Jay Murphy, a high school junior, knows that missing Black girls don’t usually get the necessary attention from law enforcement, the media, and the general public. Feeling like he is to blame for hanging up on his sister the night she went missing and for thinking she wasn’t actually missing afterward, Jay is on a mission to bring her home.

A truly captivating, thrilling read, When You Look Like Us tells a story of what one is willing to do for family.

There are plenty of amazing books written by Black writers that weren’t mentioned on this list. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and read something different! There’s so much knowledge out there just waiting to be consumed, and reading works from writers of a different identity than yours is a start.

Alexa is a fourth-year English major at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Interests include: listening to music, exploring, and reading.