Now that it’s summer, it’s the perfect time to catch up on all the reading you’ve been meaning to do for the last few months. Whether you’re trying to find new authors or looking to read new genres, these books are great additions to your reading list. Here are five books written by women released just in time for the summer.
Xuan Juliana Wang, a Chinese immigrant, shares the many tales of Chinese millennials in this collection of short stories. Moving across New York and Beijing, these narratives unveil the perspective of teens, young adults, and parents trying to navigate different worlds. We encounter wealthy second-generation kids as well as an immigrant father trying to understand his daughter. Wang’s characters are multidimensional in a way that resonates with readers and opens their eyes to real experiences of Chinese youth.
THE PRETTY ONE
Deeming her book a “journey to joy,” Keah Brown’s collection of personal essays reveal her experience as a disabled woman of color. Once desperate to be normal, Brown is now a proud advocate for disability rights and encourages others to see the beauty within themselves. She’s known for creating the #DisabledAndCute hashtag Twitter trend back in 2017––a call for celebration of both visible and invisible disabilities. In her essays, Brown calls out the media for perpetuating stereotypes about disabled people. She also explores her complicated relationship with her able-bodied twin sister, who was often referred to as “the pretty one.” Her honest yet light-hearted words offer a refreshing take on what it means to be black, disabled, and woman.
WATCH US RISE
Award-winning novelist Renée Watson and accomplished poet Ellen Hagan come together in this YA novel to tell a powerful story of two best friends. Jasmine and Chelsea, upset with how the women and girls around them are being treated, organize a Women’s Rights Club in their NYC high school. Posting essays, poems, and videos online, they seek to empower women everywhere. Their content goes viral and gains more and more momentum, until controversy and hostility in the classroom causes their principal to ban the club. Still, the girls risk everything to ensure their stories are told and their voices are heard.
WORDSL*T: A FEMINIST GUIDE TO TAKING BACK THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
A self-proclaimed “linguistics nerd,” Amanda Montell humorously confronts issues with language and its prejudices. She decodes the English language and points out how words can unintentionally reinforce gender biases––from women apologizing excessively to the word “sweetie” becoming a term of condescension. Although this nonfiction book addresses a serious problem within our culture, Montell’s playful writing creates a space where these conversations don’t feel angry or accusatory. Instead, her cleverness invites readers to be more cautious of what they say, and how they say it.
THE SEVEN OR EIGHT DEATHS OF STELLA FORTUNA
With this debut novel, Juliet Grames is stepping away from editing and making her mark as a novelist. She draws from her own heritage and culture to bring to life Stella Fortuna, a young Italian villager coming of age amidst World War II. As a child, Stella has many close encounters with death, forcing her to develop a motherly and protective relationship with her younger sister, Tina. When the family immigrates to America, however, the hostile new world breaks the loving bond once held between them. Told in flashbacks by a close family member, this story seeks to unveil the complex challenges that come with chasing the American dream, searching for independence, and defying fate.