We are back with our recommended monthly reads!
January was a slow burner for us so in this month’s list you’ll see books published last month and up-and-coming releases for this month. So check out TBB’s Lit List.
In Memory Of Us by Jaqueline Roy
What does it mean to remember?
Joined at birth, then pulled apart, Selina and Zora’s relationship is marked by a pattern of closeness and separation. Growing up in 50s’ and 60s’ London under the shadow of Enoch Powell, they are instinctively dependent on each other, and yet Zora yearns for her own identity. But in the eyes of the people around them, the twins are interchangeable.
They come as a pair. They are Selzora.
Now in her seventies and living with the early stages of dementia, Selina is tracing shards of memory. She is intent on untangling the traumatic events of the past that changed the twins’ lives. Perhaps Lydia, who has reintroduced herself to Selina with sharp, cool charisma, will help her find answers. But even as Selina struggles to make sense of her memories, it’s all too clear that Lydia is hiding something.
‘In Memory of Us is a heartstring-tugging exploration of memory, grief and race in Britain. Roy’s prose drips with poignancy and elegance; her characters come to life on the page and you have no choice but to surrender your heart to their journey‘
Elvin James Mensah, author of Small Joys
Publish Date: 18th January 2024 | Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK.
Where We Come From: Rap, Home & Hope in Modern Britain
by Aniefiok Ekpoudom
A landmark social history of British rap and grime – from the artists and communities who created and were shaped by the music, to the listeners who found a sense of identity and home within it – by one of the nation’s foremost cultural chroniclers.
‘A stunning exploration of a genre, a movement and a world. It’s every bit as lyrical as the rap Ekpoudom has documented.’
Candice Carty Williams, author of Queenie
‘Illuminating and intimate. Ekpoudom’s prose is rhythmic and deft but also crackles with joy. I know I’ll be reading it for years to come.’
Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of Small Worlds
Publish Date: 19th January 2024 | Publisher: Faber&Faber
The House of Broken Bricks by Fiona Williams
As Tess traces the sunrise over the floodplains, light that paints the house a startling crimson, she yearns for the comforting chaos of life as it once was. Instead of Max and Sonny tracking dirt through the kitchen – Tess and Richard’s ‘rainbow twins’ – Tess absorbs the quiet. The nights draw in, the soil cools and Richard fights to get his winter crops planted rather than deal with the discussion he cannot bear to have.
Secrets and vines clamber over the broken red bricks and although its inhabitants seem to be withering, in the damp, crumbling soil – Sonny knows it – something is stirring . . . As the seasons change, and the cracks let in more light, the family might just be able to start to heal.
‘Wonderful. . .brave in its deep truths about loss and love’.
Ingrid Persaud, author of Love After Love
‘A clever, heartbreaking, heartwarming depiction of family love, grief and the possibility of hope.’
Jo Browning Wroe, author of A Terrible Kindness
Publication Date: 18th January 2024 | Publisher: Faber & Faber (UK) and Macmillan (US)
Parasol Against The Axe by Helen Oyayemi
The Czech capital is a living thing—one that can let you in or spit you out.
For reasons of her own, Hero Tojosoa accepts an invitation she was half expected to decline and finds herself in Prague on a bachelorette weekend hosted by her estranged friend Sofie. Little does she know she’s arrived in a city with a penchant for playing tricks on the unsuspecting.
A book Hero has brought with her seems to be warping her mind: the text changes depending on when it’s being read and who’s doing the reading, revealing startling new stories of fictional Praguers past and present.
Uninvited companions appear at bachelorette activities and city landmarks, offering opinions, humour, and even a taste of treachery. When a third woman from Hero and Sofie’s past appears unexpectedly, the tensions between the friends’ different accounts of the past reach a new level.
‘Oyeyemi writes here as an heir to Calvino or Borges…A dizzying, dazzling romp.’
‘Like so much of Helen Oyeyemi’s acclaimed work, Parasol Against the Axe defies a simple logline—which, of course, is to its credit as an immersive, variegated study of a city and the people within…you’ll want to do all you can not to tear your eyes from the page.‘
Publication Date: 1st February | Publisher: Faber & Faber
Faebound by Saara El-Arifi
Yeeran is a warrior in the elven army and has known nothing but violence her whole life. Her sister, Lettle, is trying to make a living as a diviner, seeking prophecies of a better future.
When a fatal mistake leads to Yeeran’s exile from the Elven lands, they are both forced into the terrifying wilderness beyond their borders. There they encounter the impossible: the fae court.
The fae haven’t been seen for a millennium. But now Yeeran and Lettle are thrust into their seductive world – torn between their loyalty to each other, their elven homeland, and their hearts. . .
‘A romantic fantasy of epic proportions, crackling with magic and passion’ Samantha Shannon – best selling author of The Priory of the Orange Tree
‘A devastatingly romantic and breathtaking fantasy – opulent and sweeping, this book is unforgettable’ Tasha Suri – award-winning author of The Jasmine Throne
Publish Date: 23rd January | Publisher: Harper Collins
Strong Like Me by Kelechi Okafor. Illustrator Michaela Dias-Hayes
Kamara loves being super strong – it makes her feel fizzy and zappy! However, her classmates and their microaggressions lead her to question herself and the confidence she has in her physical ability.
With Sport’s Day and the Big Race looming, does Kamara have what it takes to reach the finish line?
‘A beautiful celebration of strength in all its forms.’
Dapo Adeola, Illustrator.
Publish Date: 1st February | Publisher: Puffin
Every Smile You Fake by Dorothy Koomson
Please take care of my baby. But don’t try to find me. You’ll put him in danger. x
Profiler and therapist Kez Lanyon is shocked when she finds a baby on the backseat of her car, with an unsigned note asking her to take care of him. Kez has a pretty good idea who the mother is – Brandee, a popular social media star with a troubled background, who once lived in Kez’s house.
Recently, the seemingly bright and bubbly Brandee’s videos changed in tone before she completely dropped out of the limelight. Kez is beginning to understand why. And if the internet rumours are true, Brandee’s life could be in real danger. Kez is torn. Should she simply take care of the baby, as she’s been asked to do, and wait to hear from his mother?
Or should she put the baby and her whole family at risk by using – less than legal – contacts from her previous job to save this young woman? Time is running out for Brandee. Can Kez find her before it’s too late?
‘A brilliant rollercoaster of a thriller about obsessive love and hidden secrets. Tense, twisty and unputdownable.’ Harriet Tyce, author of It Ends At Midnight
‘Just like Desperate Housewives, but even darker and more devious.’
Jendella Benson, author of Hope and Glory
Publish Date: 15th February | Publisher: Headline Review
Babygirl, You’ve Got This! Experiences of Black Girls and Women in the English Education System Book by April-Louise Pennant
How do Black women experience education in Britain?
Within British educational research about Black students, gender distinctions have been largely absent, male-dominated or American-centric. Due to the lack of attention paid to Black female students, relatively little is known about how they understand and engage with the education system or the influences which shape their long-term strategies and decision-making in order to gain educational ‘success’.
This book will illustrate the educational experiences and journeys of Black British women graduates and considers the influence of the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, culture and social class on their educational journeys.
‘Pennant has provided this generation of black girls and women with the tools for understanding and tools for action and for self-affirmation as they participate in the transformation of their work …‘
Professor Gus John, Education and Human Rights Campaigner
‘In this ultimate Black girl’s survival bible, Pennant is batgirl – tenacious, smart, courageously calling out the endemic anti-Black sexualised racism that threatens to limit the life chances of her beautiful Black Sistas …‘
Heidi Safia Mirza, author of Young female and Black
Publisher/Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic | Publish Date: 22nd February
Luna Wolf 2: Code Danger by Alesha Dixon
Luna Wolf and her amazing powered-up animals are back! A gang of rogue super-pets (an elephant, a cheetah and a rhino) are on the rampage and causing chaos across the city – and the police are calling Code Danger to summon Luna to restore order! And when Luna digs deeper, she discovers that a shadowy villain is behind it all – a villain with ties to her family’s past and an evil agenda that must be stopped.
Publisher: Scholastic; 1st edition | Publish Date: 15th February 2024
The Jagged Path: A Journey from Heartbreak to Hope by Charlotte Osho
Tells the story of a young girl’s journey from an idyllic life in rural Nigeria, through the heartbreak of losing her parents, arriving in mid-sixties London faced with an onslaught of new experiences, unfamiliar foods, a very different climate and of course, the shock of racism. But though she quickly adjusted to her new home, dreams of a happy marriage and security were soon shattered by a husband who became emotionally, financially and physically abusive.
Left to raise their three children alone, Osho was, at times, bereft, uncertain how she would overcome these challenging circumstances. But through a chance conversation with a colleague, she reconnected with the church, finally finding the fellowship and sense of community she had been looking for.
And through her new-found faith, she gained the resilience to keep fighting, truly building a life on her own terms and the confidence to develop her nursing career to support her young family.
Publisher: Troubador Publishing | Publish Date: 28th February