The best novels about the strengths of found family

Catherine Adel West Author Of The Two Lives of Sara
By Catherine Adel West

Who am I?

Catherine Adel West was born and raised in Chicago, IL where she currently resides. She graduated with both her Bachelor and Master of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois - Urbana. Her debut novel, Saving Ruby King, was published in June 2020. Her work is also published in Black Fox Literary Magazine, Five2One, Better than Starbucks, Doors Ajar, 805 Lit + Art, The Helix Magazine, Lunch Ticket, and Gay MagazineThe Two Lives of Sara is her sophomore novel.


I wrote...

The Two Lives of Sara

By Catherine Adel West,

Book cover of The Two Lives of Sara

What is my book about?

Sara King has nothing, save for her secrets and the baby in her belly, as she boards the bus to Memphis, hoping to outrun her past in Chicago. She is welcomed with open arms by Mama Sugar, a kindly matriarch and owner of the popular boardinghouse The Scarlet Poplar. Like many cities in early 1960s America, Memphis is still segregated, but change is in the air. Black literature and music provide the stories and soundtrack for these turbulent and hopeful times. 

Romance blooms between Sara and Jonas, a local schoolteacher, but secrets from Mama Sugar’s past threaten their newfound happiness with Sara and Jonas soon caught in the crosshairs, leading Sara to make decisions that will reshape the rest of their lives.

The books I picked & why

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A Little Life

By Hanya Yanagihara,

Book cover of A Little Life

Why this book?

A both excruciating and hopeful look into the bonds between four men: JB, Jude, Malcolm, and Willem, this phenomenal book delves into the love, hate, trauma, and acceptance filtered through male friendships. From young adulthood into manhood, Yanagihara takes us through the huge moments and small intimate moments shaping these lifelong relationships ultimately defining these characters and guiding them throughout their lives.

A Little Life

By Hanya Yanagihara,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Little Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2015
Shortlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction 2016
Winner of Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2016
Finalist for the US National Book Awards 2015

The million copy bestseller, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted,…


Honey Girl

By Morgan Rogers,

Book cover of Honey Girl

Why this book?

A beautiful and engaging look at a woman named Grace Porter who surprises herself and those around her when she marries a woman she barely knows during a girls’ Vegas trip. The reason I love this book is the way Grace’s friends support her when she makes a decision she barely understands, but they’re with her regardless of wherever this journey will ultimately lead. A group of people whose expectations are not the determination of their love for you is one of the things for which we all yearn.

Honey Girl

By Morgan Rogers,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Honey Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Oprah Magazine * Marie Claire * Ms. Magazine * E! * Parade Magazine * Buzzfeed * Cosmo * The Rumpus * GoodReads * Autostraddle * Brit & Co * Refinery29 * Betches * BookRiot and others!

A LibraryReads Pick
 
“HONEY GIRL is an emotional, heartfelt, charming debut, and I loved every moment of it.”
— Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author of The Proposal

When becoming an adult means learning to love yourself first.

With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas…


The Nickel Boys

By Colson Whitehead,

Book cover of The Nickel Boys

Why this book?

An unflinching and raw look at the early twentieth-century juvenile justice system for two, young Black boys named Elwood and Turner. The Nickel Boys explores how Elwood and Turner come to depend on one another through times of unimaginable trauma, loss of innocence, and grief. Sometimes your family is the one person standing right next to you and that bond not even the evilest of actions can break.

The Nickel Boys

By Colson Whitehead,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Nickel Boys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • In this Pulitzer Prize-winning follow-up to The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys unjustly sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.
 
When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way…


Love Times Infinity

By Lane Clarke,

Book cover of Love Times Infinity

Why this book?

Sometimes the way you’re brought into the world is a burden you feel you’re meant to carry. This is something a teenager named Michie takes with her into the relationships she develops. It’s the bold and brave love of those around her, not always tied by blood, helping Michie to see the value she has, to not just herself, but the world at large.

Love Times Infinity

By Lane Clarke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love Times Infinity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The swoon of Nicola Yoon meets the emotional punch of Elizabeth Acevedo in this layered rom-com that answers big questions about identity, family, and love.

High school junior Michie is struggling to define who she is for her scholarship essays, her big shot at making it into Brown as a first-generation college student. The prompts would be hard for anyone, but Michie's been estranged from her mother since she was seven and her concept of family has long felt murky.

Enter new kid and basketball superstar Derek de la Rosa. He is very cute, very talented, and very much has…


Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell

By Taj McCoy,

Book cover of Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell

Why this book?

A lighter examination of how your friends become family when your family isn’t always as supportive as you need them to be. Though Savvy’s relationship falls apart at the beginning of the book, she has the exact people in her life to help her see her worth isn’t defined by the man who loves her, but how she ultimately learns to love herself. And, not to mention, it’s a fun rom-com where Black love is at the center of the plot! We need so many more of these books on shelves.

Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell

By Taj McCoy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sexy romance about a plus-size sweetheart who gets a full-life makeover after a brutal breakup and falls for the incredibly hot contractor renovating her home.

Savvy Sheldon spends a lot of time tiptoeing around the cracks in her life: her high-stress and low-thanks job, her clueless boyfriend and the falling-apart kitchen she inherited from her beloved grandma—who taught her how to cook and how to love people by feeding them. But when Savvy’s world starts to crash down around her, she knows it’s time for some renovations.

Starting from the outside in, Savvy tackles her crumbling kitchen, her relationship…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in self esteem, sagas, and school?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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