Three Stunning Debut Novels From Emerging Caribbean Authors

This week’s Three to Read features powerful books written to honor the Caribbean culture. Read on to see our recommendations!

Diversity Fiction Recommendations Three To Read
Three book recommendations beneath Bookstr's Three To Read logo.

It’s time for another Three to Read! To celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we’re recommending books by debut authors with historical ties to the Caribbean, as reflected in their books. If you’re interested in gripping fantasy stories, tales about personal growth from past traumas, or narratives about rediscovering cultural roots, these books will be right up your alley. So, stay inside to avoid the heat, grab a cold drink, and crack open one of these books!

HOT PICK

So Let Them Burn by Kamilah Cole

Book cover for So Let Them Burn by Kamilah Cole
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SYNOPSIS:

Faron Vincent has the ability to channel the power of the gods. Years ago, she liberated her island from the dragon-riding Langley Empire. She’s a legend to her people, but now she has nowhere to direct her powers. When an international peace summit asks her to come, she expects to perform tricks for them before returning home. To her surprise, her sister Elara forms a bond with an enemy dragon, and the gods who gave Faron her powers demand she kill her sister. Faron’s attempt to find another solution takes her down a dark path, and Elara uncovers shocking secrets about the Langley Empire, forcing the sisters to make difficult decisions that will shape the lives of each other and the rest of the world.

WHY:

As an indie national bestseller, Kamilah Cole frantically writes at night in the hopes people will read her stories, and if they don’t, they are missing out. A Jamaican-born, American-raised author, Cole found a way to create a beautiful and deep fantasy story inspired by her Jamaican roots. Cole melds powerful themes into a young adult story with unique magic and curious mysteries that readers won’t soon forget.

BEACH READ

The Island Sisters by Micki Berthelot Morency

Book cover for The Island Sisters by Micki Berthelot Morency
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SYNOPSIS:

When four women from Haiti, St. Thomas, and Guam meet as first-year college students, they discover they share a history of abuse. Calling themselves the “island sisters,” they create a powerful friendship that sees them through the challenges of forced marriages, violent men, motherhood, and dreams of freedom. Hot-headed Monique, quiet Cecilia, devout Lanei, and determined Ella manage to bring each other up by supporting each other in areas they lack. They choose to pursue their freedom but face the consequences of their decisions when they challenge their cultural beliefs.

WHY:

Born in Port-au-Prince Haiti with six siblings, Micki Morency graduated from Northeastern University, Boston, and worked in the corporate world before working as a Case Manager at a transitional housing for abused women and their children. Unsurprisingly, her debut novel, The Island Sisters, covers similar themes. Her diverse background as an immigrant and her previous work experience have turned her into a powerful writer with even more powerful stories to tell.

DARK HORSE

Broughtupsy by Christina Cooke

Book cover for Broughtupsy by Christina Cooke
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SYNOPSIS:

Twenty-year-old Akúa flies from Canada to her native Jamaica to reconnect with her sister Tamika. Their brother recently passed from sickle cell anemia — the same disease that took their mother. Akúa carries his remains with her as she attempts to reassemble her family. As Akúa and her sister revisit places from their childhood, she realizes how different and distant she’s become from her home culture. She asks herself if she is truly Jamaican and wonders if her own blood abandoned her. Broughtupsy confronts the reality of what people owe their families. Did Akúa make the right decision to leave, and is she estranged from her culture?

WHY:

Born in Jamaica before becoming a Canadian citizen, Christina Cooke’s writing has appeared in several journals and even won a MacDowell Fellow and Journey Prize. Thirteen years in the making, Broughtupsy is her debut novel, and it shares a powerful message of culture and family. Furthermore, it explores the process of discovering oneself and the difficult reality of being gay in a deeply religious family.

That’s it for this week’s Three to Read! We hope you’ll enjoy our picks. Check back next week for more curated recommendations!


Want to check out last week’s Three to Read selections on children’s books to deal with grief? Click here!

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