In the past few weeks, we’ve all been trying to step up when it comes to supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. From making donations to joining protests to holding our racist aunts accountable on Facebook, we’re trying to be better allies in the fight against police brutality and systemic racism. Part of being an ally means taking the time to educate ourselves and listen to Black stories and Black voices. We’ve already touched on good documentaries to watch, and since there already are many lists of anti-racism books to read out there, we’re focusing on another way you can support the Black community: by reading books from Black authors that do not have to do with race. Black people are more than their skin color, and their stories are about more than just racial injustice. Normalizing Black representation in media is another important step towards equality. After all, white people get stories all the time that don’t revolve around their whiteness (and, in fact, rarely tend to even mention it). Which is why I’ve compiled a list of great beach reads that support Black writers and voices, that you can buy from Black-owned bookstores.
‘Party of Two’ by Jasmine Guillory
Jasmine Guillory has been a powerhouse in the romance/women’s contemporary fiction genres for the last few years and I’ve been singing her praises to literally anyone who will listen. The way she writes rom-coms is *chef’s kiss* absolutely brilliant. Her books are always the perfect blend of sweet meet-cutes and hot sex—basically everything my Hinge dates are not. In her most recent novel, Party of Two, main character Olivia has just moved to LA to start up her own law firm when she meets a sexy stranger in a bar: Senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when Max pursues her she can’t say no. Cut to clandestine date nights, funny disguises, and swerving to ditch the press, and Olivia somehow finds herself falling in love with the last guy she ever expected to. If you loved the Olivia Pope/Fitz political powerhouse couple trope but wished for more of the happier couple moments, then this book hits the perfect sweet spot.
‘Blitzed’ by Alexa Martin
Set in the fast-paced, glitzy world of the NFL, Alexa Martin’s Playbook series is as fun and fizzy as a glass of champagne. The author is actually the wife of a former NFL player, so she has firsthand knowledge of the games played on and off the football field, which is probably why her books are so freaking addictive. In her latest novel, we meet bar owner Brynn Larson, whose establishment has become the local drinking hot-spot for NFL players and their reality TV star wives. But just because she likes their business doesn’t mean she’s stupid enough to jump into bed with a professional athlete. Or so she thinks! Enter: Maxwell Lewis, who’s been in love with Brynn ever since he first laid eyes on her. Add in steamy sex scenes and hilarious banter and you’ve got the perfect beach accessory.
‘The Sun Is Also a Star’ by Nicola Yoon
If you’re wondering why you’ve heard of this book before, it’s because it was recently turned into a movie starring Yara Shahidi and Riverdale’s Charles Melton—but trust me, the book is just as good as the movie. Cynical, logic-driven Natasha is hours away from being deported with her family to Jamaica when she meets Daniel. Their meet-cute on the subway leads to 12 hours of the most adorable relationship I’ve ever read. And I’m even willing to suspend reality here and believe that someone could find love and not human feces on a New York subway because the book is that cute! While this book is technically a young adult novel, it touches on deep issues, like what it means to be a child of an immigrant and breaking away from parental expectations, while at the same time being a beautiful love story. If you’re looking for a good cry (when am I not?), then this will be a good read for you.
‘My Sister, The Serial Killer’ by Oyinkan Braithwaite
If your idea of a feel-good beach book involves murder and homicidal siblings, then you’re going to absolutely loooove this book. My Sister, The Serial Killer came out in 2018, but it’s not as popular as it really deserves to be, so listen to me as I shout this from the metaphorical rooftops: BUY THIS BOOK. In the novel, Korede is always cleaning up after her self-absorbed beautiful sister. And while for some that might mean picking up your sister’s bar tab or helping her clean puke stains off her shirt from the night before, for Korede it means helping her sister hide the body of the latest man she’s just murdered. Dark, twisty, and weirdly funny, this book feels like an insane mix between Dexter and Sharp Objects. I couldn’t put it down.
‘The Opposite of Always’ by Justin A. Reynolds
Another young adult must-read, The Opposite of Always is all about love, loss, and second chances. Jack meets Kate at a party, and by the time the sun rises, he knows all of her favorite movie, that they share a love of Froot Loops…and that he’s falling in love with her. Their love story was supposed to be epic, but then Kate dies. But instead of their story ending there, Jack finds himself transported back to the beginning, to the night they first met, when Kate is still alive and they’re both so in love. Jack doesn’t know if he’s losing his mind, but he’s willing to do anything to prevent Kate’s death, even if it means believing in time travel and trying to change the future. Though this book sounds heavy—and it is super emotional—it’s also ridiculously funny, with laugh-out-loud banter and a little bit of a choose-your-own-adventure twist. Part love story, part sci-fi time travel, part funny coming of age story, this book truly has it all. I dare you not to fall in love with it.
‘Ties That Tether’ by Jane Igharo
So this book actually comes out in September, but I’m alerting you now so you can go ahead and preorder it. The premise is this: 12-year-old Azere promises her dying father that she’ll marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture, even after her family immigrates to Canada. Years later, Azere ends up at a bar hitting it off with Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and…white. Azere finds herself falling for Rafael, but can she really be with him without compromising her identity? This book packs a lot int0 its 320 pages, but it feels effortless. A Nigerian immigrant herself, Igharo tackles issues like immigration, cultural identity, and interracial dating in a compelling way. While a love story at heart, this book is so much more than that. It’s a must-read for your summer vacation.
‘Spin’ by Lamar Giles
Young adult thrillers aren’t typically my thing, but Spin by Lamar Giles is top-notch when it comes to teen thrills. When famous DJ ParSec is found dead, her best friend Kya and one of the DJ’s groupies, Fuse, have to put their differences aside to find out what happened. As they dig deeper, secrets are uncovered, motives are unearthed, and Kya and Fuse fall deeper and deeper into ParSec’s tangled web of a life. Kya gives off some serious Veronica Mars vibes, but the author puts a new and interesting twist on the teenage whodunit. It’s definitely worth the read!
Images: Gift Habeshaw / Unsplash; Amazon (7)
Raise your hand if you’re a messy b*tch who thrives on drama and other people’s misfortunes. If you didn’t raise both of your hands and feet, then you might want to get out now because this post is for gossip mongers only. You’ve been warned. Now that that’s been handled, welcome, bottom feeders, to the book round-up you never knew you wanted! Celebrities are literally always trying to sell a memoir about their innermost secrets and are constantly disappointing me and the register girl at Barnes & Noble when she sees me coming to return a book five days after purchase. Most times, these so-called “tell-alls” are just a way to revive a career, promote a new season of their show, or just generally cling to their relevance for another five seconds. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m not shelling out $27 for a hardcover version of information I could’ve tracked down through a semi-intense dive into their social media. So, for those of you craving the real tea and gossip that’s juicier than whatever your Aunt Linda is about to spill at the Thanksgiving dinner table, these are the celebrity memoirs for you.
Inside Out by Demi Moore
We’ve talked about this one before but, y’all, Demi Moore’s new memoir is actually bonkers. Not only does she finally open up about her marriage to Ashton Kutcher (#tbt) and the wild threesomes they used to have to try (in vain) to save their marriage, but she also talks about her meteoric rise to fame and struggles with addiction. She doesn’t just come for her ex Ashton Kutcher, either (though that in itself is messy as hell and way worth the read). She comes for ALL of Hollywood: she dishes on her other ex-husband Bruce Willis and one-time flame Rob Lowe. She even speaks to that one time Jon Cryer publicly declared she took his virginity, claiming he’d been with other women before and that he was just “bad at sex.” HE WAS JUST BAD AT SEX. I’m dead. Deceased. This isn’t just a book, it’s a Hollywood hit list and a petty work of art. Basically, a must-read. We bow down to you, Demi.
My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams
In another article I wrote for this site, I made a bold statement when I compared those who are actively not following the Anna Delvey story to mole people, and I still stand by that statement. When news broke about Anna Delvey, the fake German heiress who somehow managed to con $200K out of Manhattan’s elite party scene, I was completely captivated. How did she get away with this? And do any of her friends understand how Venmo works? These were the questions that kept me up at night. My Friend Anna focuses on those friends, the people she scammed, and how she got away with it—one friend in particular, who arguably got hit the worst by Anna’s cons. Written by her former friend Rachel Williams, whom Anna personally scammed out of $62,000 during one lavish vacation, this book reads like a twisty thriller about a sociopath, except everything actually happened IRL. For those looking to familiarize yourself with the story before Shonda Rhimes’ new Anna Delvey Netflix series drops, then I URGE you to pick up this book. Rachel answers probably every single question you’ve ever had about Anna.
Coreyography by Corey Feldman
For those of you who are like “who tf is Corey Feldman” just know that I’m marking you for the youth you so clearly are, and I hope you can feel my shame through this screen. Corey Feldman was one of my FAVORITE child stars and starred in cult classics such as The Goonies and Stand By Me. He was the height of ‘80s fame and also a childhood crush of mine. I still secretly harbor ill wishes towards that trollop Stef for getting to make out with him during The Goonies. I will say, post-child star fame, Corey has not fared well. He’s battled with drug addiction and, to my knowledge, has not landed an acting role since we entered the 21st century. His memoir, Coreyography (great title tbh), sheds light on this. In his book he talks about the dark underbelly of Hollywood for child stars: from getting hooked on drugs at a young age to the rampant sexual abuse he experienced during his time in the lime light and his “innocent” friendship with the late Michael Jackson. This book can be pretty heavy and, at times, even triggering, but it’s definitely worth the read.
It’s Not Okay by Andi Dorfman
This one is for all you Bachelor Nation fans out there. Andi Dorfman, ex-Bachelorette and Mike Fliess’s worst nightmare, wrote a tell-all back in 2016 about her time as The Bachelorette. Not only did she give us an inside look at what actually happens during the fantasy suite dates, but she wasn’t afraid to talk sh*t about her exes Nick Viall and Josh Murray. You love to see it. It is the ultimate burn book for all things Bachelor and Nick Viall, which should be reason enough to pick this one up.
Darkness to Light by Lamar Odom
I, personally, have been waiting for Jordyn Woods to set her NDA on fire and break the internet by releasing her own tell-all about the Kardashians, but until then I’ll settle for Lamar Odom’s memoir. Former NBA player and ex-husband to Khloé Kardashian, Odom spilled all the tea when his memoir came out at the beginning of the summer. Tbh I feel like the Khloé Kardashian drama is the least exciting of all the bombshells he dropped in this book. Like, for example, did you know that he used a FAKE PENIS to pass a drug test before the Olympics? HOW?? Or that he was a host to multiple orgies when he lived in Miami? For people who Keep Up, or those who just really want a wild read, then you need to binge this one ASAP.
A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston by Robyn Crawford
This book was just released this week, and it’s already everywhere. The author, Robyn Crawford, is the late Whitney Houston’s longtime best friend, and in her memoir she comes clean about the romantic rumors that swirled for a long time regarding her friendship with Houston. Crawford confirms that her and Houston did have a romantic and sexual relationship in the early 1980s, but called things off when Houston started to get famous because Houston said it would “make our journey even more difficult.” It’s been rumored for a while that Houston was bisexual (her ex-husband Bobby Brown made a comment about it in 2016), but nothing has been confirmed, as Houston passed away in 2012. Whitney Houston is an absolute legend and this book shines a light on aspects of her life that have never been released to the public.
Open by Andre Agassi
Even if you’re not a big tennis fan, or your idea of being “sporty” consists of going to a bar on Sunday in your ex-boyfriend’s stolen jersey, you’ll still love Andre Agassi’s memoir if you’re a fan of juicy gossip. Agassi, who was known early in his career for his giant hair, admitted that he actually wore a wig on the tennis court once his hair started to thin. Impossible beauty standards at it again!! Honestly, he looks better with a shaved head anyway. Over in the personal life department, we also get an inside look at his failed marriage to Brooke Shields. He comes clean about testing positive for meth (yikes) in 1997, and basically says he did drugs because he was scared to marry Brooke (double yikes). He also admits that he blamed his assistant to avoid the consequences of said positive drug test. Weird, this reads a lot like my last boyfriend’s explanations for why we broke up.
Ladies Who Punch by Ramin Setoodeh
I haven’t watched The View in years, mostly because I’m not a middle-aged housewife, but I still couldn’t put this book down. Journalist Ramin Setoodeh somehow managed to interview basically everyone involved with the show in its 20-year history, and the behind-the-scenes drama is messier than your Sunday brunch that turns into “one more drink” at a bar nearby. This book has the tea on how basically everyone who has ever left the show was fired, even though they acted like leaving was their choice. You’ll read about how Star Jones used the show to get her entire wedding free, and of course, all the drama with Rosie O’Donnell. But for me, the craziest thing was that Barbara Walters basically had to be pushed out when she retired, and the producers had to forcibly stop her from extending her contract. What a way to go.
Images: Amazon (8)
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