There are some real contenders for my favorite book of the year on this list! I absolutely fell hard for the debut The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois and recommend everyone making time to read it. I know it’s a big book, but you become so immersed in the story and characters that it flys by. I would have read another 800 pages without a second thought! Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow was a book I finished and thought was good but not spectacular, but as time has passed it’s continued to grow on me. I can recall so many details of the book and I do find myself thinking about it and reflecting on it often. That is a sign that it deserves more love from me!
What were your top reads of Q2? Drop me a comment!
The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
This debut is one of the first books I read in the second quarter, and it sticks out the most in my mind. I can still pick out the details of this story (I have a tendency to remember liking a book but not knowing the finer details). This is a literary masterpiece – not only in its scope, but also because of the range of emotions it elicits from its readers. These characters embed themselves into your soul and I won’t soon forget this journey. This is definitely a top contender for my favorite book of the year!
Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow
This complicated story dives into generational trauma, individual and collective abuses, and racism. Set in Memphis, it’s an additional character within the other three main characters. Each one stands out on their own and adds so much depth and layer to the story. Stringfellow meshed the past and present together so flawlessly and really emphasized to the reader how the two are always inextricably combined. I fell hard for Stringfellow’s writing and found myself absolutely immersed in the story.
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Garielle Zevin
This book has been everywhere this summer and for good reason! It’s an incredible character study and deep dive into true platonic love; Sam, Sadie, and Marx are #friendshipgoals. I must admit that this book has been slow to grow on me. When I finished it initially, I was a little disappointed in how long it took to get into it (maybe about 100-125 pages). But as time has passed, the characters, the story, and the overall message behind the book have stuck with me. You don’t have to care one iota about video games to appreciate the many themes of love that Zevin weaves: from platonic love to the love and passion one has for their chosen career. I can totally see me rereading this at some point in the future and coming away with even more appreciation.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour
I love a story that’s dark and gritty and slowly reveals intricate layers to the overall puzzle. Once again, these characters tugged at my heartstrings and have stuck with me over time. There are obsatcles that must be overcome and each of them demonstrate such grit, determination, and tenacity that you can’t help but want the best for each of them. It’s a story about healing and finding one’s path to happiness in life – no matter how long that may take. This may be my number one underrated gem this quarter and I would love for it to get more attention!
The View Was Exhausting by Mikaella Clements
When two A-list celebrities fake a romance to increase their publicity, there is sure to be a tangled web of trouble to follow. Win and Leo agree to such an arrangement to keep themselves relevant and popular in the tabloids. They meet each other in various parts of the world, make public appearances to fuel the celebrity gossip fires, and then head their separate ways until next time. Except, after keeping up these antics for over a decade, secrets and turmoil must be confronted in order for Win and Leo to move forward. Not only did I like the angst between Win and Leo and keeping up their public image, I also loved how Clements tackled the way media favors male celebrities over women and the fact that this is also harder for Win, a woman of color. The cards are definitely stacked against her more than Leo, and watching Win navigate these issues make this an unforgettable book.
You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
This one has been hit or miss amongst the reviewers I follow, but it absolutely worked for me! There is a strong theme of grief and I almost always choose a book that tackles this subject. In this case, Feyi is grieving the death of her husband. After five long years of grieving, she’s ready to get back to living life. After a one-night-stand at a bar turns into a steady relationship, Feyi travels with her very rich boyfriend to a remote island to meet his family. Here, things take a very unesxpected turn (and this is where a lot of readers got left behind). Though it is a weird turn of events, I loved Feyi’s character arc – her growth from the beginning of the book to the end, and the way she finally found her way back to herself. Above all, Emezi proves herself as a powerful writer once again. I can’t get enough of her writing!
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
Ward grew up in New Orleans and watched five of her male friends die at a young age. In alternate chapters, she tells stories from her childhood with eulogy-like remembrances of her fallen friends. Her writing is poignant and she really has an ability to cut right to the heart of the matter. By the end, I felt like I knew these men and I felt like I missed them as much as she did. She honored them and their memories so well. I can imagine this was a hard book to write – taking a hard look at the community she called home with all its flaws and faults, while also honoring the place she came from.
Speak: Find Your Voice, Trust Your Gut, and Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Tunde Oyeneyin
Tunde is my favorite Peloton instructor and I was so happy to listen to her book on audio. Her reading her own story really added to its impact and I was left feeling pumped up, proud, and ready to wreck this world – honestly, the same vibe I get after taking one of her classes! Tunde is a hardworker who refused to let blocks in the road detour her. I admire her tenacity and her keen sense of following her heart. Her motivational message is universal and I’m really glad I made the time for this one!
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
I just love Emily Henry and it would be really hard for me to rate her books because each one is written so differently. She is the romance queen and while I wouldn’t normally claim this genre, when it comes to Emily Henry, I’m all in! I love the angst she creates in her characters, I love the witty humor she inserts, and I love how she concludes the story. She is a master at her craft and I can’t help but love her and her books!