9 Black British YA Books for Black History Month and beyond + 3 honourable mentions

Here in the UK, the month of October celebrates Black History Month, it’s a great opportunity to recognise the contributions of great African and Caribbean descent Britons. I also want to take the chance to highlight some amazing books and authors.

Now, I do feel conflicted because while I do think it’s important to take the time to celebrate these amazing authors and have lists like this. I wish it wasn’t just this month, there’s many amazing Black authors who write about life in the UK (and/or their heritage), this is only a sample of 9 I decided to pick. They get published every year and every year they should get the support and the widespread notice, not just this month.
That said, YA in the UK isn’t as divere as I wish it was, there are still gems that come out every year but there aren’t as many as there could be. By supporting these authors who publish every year and screaming at the publishers to start putting their money behind all those ‘we support diversity and Black authors’ statement.
Anyways, I’m going to stop here, be on the lookoutfor more amazing Black authored books πŸ™‚ and of course this won’t be the only time I make a list like this.


Contemporary=πŸ‘£
Fantasy=✨
Historical=⏳
LGBTQIA=🌈
Magical Realism=🌹
Mystery=πŸ”

Novella=πŸ“–
Poetry=πŸ“
Romance=πŸ’˜
Sci-fi=πŸͺ
Thriller=😱

πŸŒˆπŸ”πŸ˜±Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence

Becks is into girls but didn’t come out because she was never in.
She lives with her mum, stepdad and eighteen-year-old Silva, her stepdad’s daughter. Becks and Silva are opposites, but bond over their mutual obsession with K-pop.

When Becks’ mum and stepdad go on honeymoon to Japan, Becks and Silva are left alone. Except, Silva disappears. Becks ventures into the forbidden territory of Silva’s room and finds the first of eight clues that help her discover her sister’s secret life. 

[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

πŸ‘£And the stars were burning brightly by Danielle Jawando

An emotionally rich and current story of suicide, mental health, bullying, grief and growing up around social media.

When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.
Al was special.
Al was talented.
Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

πŸŒˆπŸ“πŸ‘£The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo.
A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.

This is not about being ready, it’s not even about being fierce, or fearless, IT’S ABOUT BEING FREE. Michael waits in the stage wings, wearing a pink wig, pink fluffy coat and black heels.
One more step will see him illuminated by spotlight.
He has been on a journey of bravery to get here, and he is almost ready to show himself to the world in bold colours …Can he emerge as The Black Flamingo? 
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

πŸŒˆπŸ‘£Becoming Dinah by Kit de Waal

A YA coming-of-age road trip novel about obsession, self-discovery, female power, and the people we meet along the way – by Costa Award shortlisted author Kit de Waal. The perfect read for anyone who’s ever wondered where they came from and where they might be going next.

Dinah’s whole world is upside down, dead things and angry men and cuts all over her head that are beginning to sting….
Seventeen-year-old Dinah needs to leave her home, the weird commune where she grew up. She needs a whole new identity, starting with how she looks, starting with shaving off her hair, her ‘crowning glory’. She has to do it quickly, because she has to go now.
Dinah was going to go alone and hitch a ride down south. Except, she ends up being persuaded to illegally drive a VW campervan for hundreds of miles, accompanied by a grumpy man with one leg. This wasn’t the plan.
But while she’s driving, Dinah will be forced to confront everything that led her here, everything that will finally show her which direction to turn…
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

πŸ‘£Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle

What’s worse than hiding a secret? Liccle Bit’s about to find out…

Venetia King is the hottest girl at school. Too bad Lemar is the second shortest guy in his year. Everyone calls him Liccle Bit, and his two best friends, McKay and Jonah, never tire of telling him he has no chance with girls. Things aren’t much better at home. His mum is permanently hassled, his sister a frustrated single mum and his dad moved out years ago. Liccle Bit wishes he could do something – anything! – to make life better. A new phone would be a start…
As a new gang war breaks out on his estate, Lemar discovers that South Crongton’s notorious gang leader has taken an interest in him. Before he knows what’s happening, he’s running errands. When he puts his own family in danger, Liccle Bit will be forced to question his choices. How can he possibly put things right? 
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

β³πŸ’˜The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson

Cassandra Worrell is beautiful, rich and very, very bored. Trapped in her parents stately home, she dreams of escape. Life suddenly becomes much more interesting with the appearance of a beautiful, disorientated young woman, who speaks a mysterious language… Cassandra is convinced she’s found a princess from a far away land.

Could the princess hold the key to the adventure she’s been seeking?

Or might the escape she desires be found in the arms of the wholly inappropriate but utterly delectable local boy, Will Jenkins?

[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

✨Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard

Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic.
But, for Helen Thomas, it’s tragic.

She’s just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings – who happen to be the ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London!
Between keeping her family’s true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen’s stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus.
She needs to rein in her chaotic family before they blow their cover AND her chances at a half-normal social life.
Or is Helen fated for an embarrassment of mythical proportions?
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

πŸ“–Hello Mum by Bernardine Evaristo

A fresh and striking story of young lives ripped apart by gang violence and peer pressure.

It’s a hot summer afternoon.
Tension is in the air.
A gang of youths on bikes gathers outside a chip shop.
A teenage boy is stabbed and left bleeding on the street.

The boy’s mother wonders how this could have happened to her son. She is full of questions, but when the answers lie so close to home, are they really what she wants to hear?

[AmazonWaterstonesHiveBookDepository]

✨πŸͺπŸ’˜Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

‘Stop it! You’re all behaving like animals! Worse than animals – like blankers!’
Sephy is a Cross: she lives a life of privilege and power. But she’s lonely, and burns with injustice at the world she sees around her.
Callum is a nought: he’s considered to be less than nothing – a blanker, there to serve Crosses – but he dreams of a better life.
They’ve been friends since they were children, and they both know that’s as far as it can ever go. Noughts and Crosses are fated to be bitter enemies – love is out of the question. Then – in spite of a world that is fiercely against them – these star-crossed lovers choose each other. But this is love story that will lead both of them into terrible danger . . . and which will have shocking repercussions for generations to come.
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

I’m including these three books that even though they are not YA, the characters are young adult and are coming of age stories.

πŸ‘£The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu

The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney is a comic novel about Nnenna, a half-Nigerian teenager living in modern-day Manchester with her mother Joanie. As Nnenna approaches womanhood she starts trying to connect with her Igbo-Nigerian culture. Her once close and tender relationship with her mother becomes strained as she asks probing questions about her father who she’s never met and whom her mother who refuses to discuss.

Each chapter begins with a biblical quote which harks back to the beginning of Maurice and Joanie’s relationship – meeting in a church group in a cafΓ© in Cambridge – but is really Nnenna’s diary headings which she is trying to hide from her mother’s prying eyes. Nnenna is asking big questions of how to ‘be’ when she doesn’t know who she is as Joanie wonders how to truly love when she has never been loved.
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

πŸ‘£πŸŒΉ26a by Diana Evans*

Identical twins, Georgia and Bessi, live in the loft of 26 Waifer Avenue. It is a place of beanbags, nectarines and secrets, and visitors must always knock before entering. Down below there is not such harmony. Their Nigerian mother puts cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding and has mysterious ways of dealing with homesickness; their father angrily roams the streets of Neasden, prey to the demons of his Derbyshire upbringing. Forced to create their own identities, the Hunter children build a separate universe. Older sister Bel discovers sex, high heels and organic hairdressing, the twins prepare for a flapjack empire, while baby sister Kemy learns to moonwalk for Michael Jackson. It is when the reality comes knocking that the fantasies of childhood start to give way. How will Georgia and Bessi cope in a world of separateness and solitude, and which of them will be stronger?
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]

πŸ‘£Fruit of the lemon by Andrea Levy*

Faith Jackson knows little about her parents’ lives before they moved to England. Happy to be starting her first job in the costume department at BBC television, and to be sharing a house with friends, Faith is full of hope and expectation. But when her parents announce that they are moving “home” to Jamaica, Faith’s fragile sense of her identity is threatened. Angry and perplexed as to why her parents would move to a country they so rarely mention, Faith becomes increasingly aware of the covert and public racism of her daily life, at home and at work.
At her parents’ suggestion, in the hope it will help her to understand where she comes from, Faith goes to Jamaica for the first time. There she meets her Aunt Coral, whose storytelling provides Faith with ancestors, whose lives reach from Cuba and Panama to Harlem and Scotland. Branch by branch, story by story, Faith scales the family tree, and discovers her own vibrant heritage, which is far richer and wilder than she could have imagined.
[AmazonWaterstonesHiveIndiebound]


I am kinda late on celebrating Black History Month, so on Wednesday expect another list but this one is about Adult Black British Books and on Saturday I will be posting about Black British Romance books.

One thought on “9 Black British YA Books for Black History Month and beyond + 3 honourable mentions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.