Let’s be real: It’s not officially summer until you’ve curated that perfect summer playlist. And no playlist is complete without at least one or two or ten Lizzo songs. To celebrate the release of Lizzo’s new album Special on July 15, we’ve paired some of our fav Lizzo songs with some of our fav books!
Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Sesali Bowen learned early on how to hustle, stay on her toes, and champion other Black women and femmes as she navigated Blackness, queerness, fatness, friendship, poverty, sex work, and self-love.Her love of trap music led her to the top of hip-hop journalism, profiling game-changing artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, and Janelle Monae. But despite all the beauty, complexity, and general badassery she saw, Bowen found none of that nuance represented in mainstream feminism. Thus, she coined Trap Feminism, a contemporary framework that interrogates where feminism meets today’s hip-hop.
Like A Girl
Rue has no memory of how she ended up locked in a basement prison without her magic or her allies. But she’s a girl from the East Row. And girls from the East Row don’t give up. Girls from the East Row pick themselves back up when they fall. Girls from the East Row break themselves out. But reuniting with her friends is only half the battle. When she finds them again, Rue makes a vow: She will find a way to return the magic that the Chancellor has stolen from her father’s people.
Rachel Lindsay rose to prominence as The Bachelor’s first Black Bachelorette and has since become one of the franchise’s most well-known figures — and outspoken critics. But there has always been more to Lindsay than meets the eye, and in this book, she finally tells her own story, in her own words.
Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her. She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else.
Good as Hell
A lot has changed in four years since Union released her book We’re Gonna Need More Wine: She became a mom, raising two amazing girls. Her husband retired. Her career has expanded so she has the opportunity to lift up other voices that need to be heard. But the world has also shown us that we have a lot we still have to fight for — as women, as Black women, as mothers, as aging women, as human beings, as friends. Union shows readers how this ever-changing life presents challenges, even as it gives us moments of pure joy. It’s Union at her most vulnerable.
Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong. Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry and he expects nothing less than perfection. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore… and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.
Cuz I Love You
Charlie and Nick’s relationship has been going really well, and Charlie thinks he’s ready to say those three little words: I love you. Nick feels the same way, but he’s got a lot on his mind — especially the thought of coming out to his dad and the fact that Charlie might have an eating disorder. As a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick will have to learn what love really means.
Better in Color
Broome’s recounting of his experiences — in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory — reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in. Indiscriminate sex and escalating drug use help to soothe his hurt, young psyche, usually to uproarious and devastating effect. A no-nonsense mother and broken father play crucial roles in our misfit’s origin story. But it is Brian’s voice in the retelling that shows the true depth of vulnerability for young Black boys that is often quietly near to bursting at the seams.
Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life — and love — without the burden of his crown. The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?
About Damn Time
Lenore Bennett has always been a force. A star artist and style icon at her high school, she’s a master in the subtle art of not giving a . . . well, you know what. But now that graduation is here, she’s a little less sure. When her family embarks on a post-graduation Mediterranean cruise, her friend Tessa is sure Lenore’s in for a whirlwind romance. But Lenore knows that doesn’t happen to girls like her. Then she meets Alex Lee. After their parents bond over the Cupid Shuffle, she ends up stuck with him for the remainder of the cruise. As they get to know each other during the picturesque stops across Europe, Alex may be able to help Lenore find something else she’s been looking for, even if she doesn’t want to admit it to herself: love.
Jennifer Vance is a publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.