Authors: Summer 2024

Monarch Book Recommendations

WILLOW SMITH & JESS WENDEL
Black Shield Maiden

Black Shield Maiden is primarily a fantasy story about a young Black woman who rises to become a queen, and as such, she stands as a good role model and example, which tend to be few and far between for Black young adults. This 2024 book by Willow Smith showcases the journey of a strong protagonist while offering inspiration and representation. The narrative weaves elements of fantasy and historical fiction, creating a rich tapestry that highlights resilience, courage, and leadership. Smith’s writing brings to life a world where diversity and empowerment are central themes, making Black Shield Maiden a compelling read for young adults seeking heroes that reflect their own experiences and aspirations.

KUCHENGA SHENJÉ
The Library Thief

The Library Thief by Kuchenga Shenjé is an enthralling 2024 novel that combines mystery, adventure, and social commentary. In 1896, Florence Granger, a white-passing bookbinder, finds herself thrown onto the streets of Manchester after bringing scandal to her father’s door. Desperate for options, she intercepts her father’s latest commission and talks her way into the remote and forbidding Rose Hall. Her mission: to restore Lord Francis Belfield’s collection of rare books. The narrative is rich with cultural references and vibrant characters, making the reader ponder the significance of literature and history in shaping our identities. The protagonist’s resilience and ingenuity are inspiring, offering a fresh and engaging perspective on the power of determination and intellect. Kuchenga’s prose is both lyrical and compelling, drawing readers into a world where every book holds a secret and every character has a story to tell. The Library Thief is a must-read for those that appreciate a blend of intrigue, heart, and thought-provoking themes.

FIONA WILLIAMS
The House Of Broken Bricks

The House of Broken Bricks by Fiona Williams is a poignant and gripping 2024 novel that delves deep into the complexities of family, memory, and healing. Williams’s narrative is both evocative and introspective, skillfully navigating the delicate terrain of trauma and reconciliation. Her characters are richly developed, each carrying their own secrets and sorrows, making the reader empathize with their struggles and triumphs. The house itself, almost a character in its own right, symbolizes brokenness and the potential for rebuilding. Williams’s prose is lyrical and haunting, capturing the essence of longing and the search for identity. The House of Broken Bricks is a beautifully crafted tale that resonates with anyone who has ever sought to piece together the shards of their history.

AKWAEKE EMEZI
Little Rot

Little Rot by Akwaeke Emezi is a raw and compelling exploration of love, loss, and the chaotic aftermath of a breakup. The novel centers on Aima and Kalu, a couple who have recently separated, and Kalu’s attempt to escape his pain by attending a lavish sex party hosted by his friend Ahmed. Emezi masterfully unravels the complexities of their emotions, leading to a fateful decision that disrupts their lives irreversibly. The prose is haunting and visceral, drawing readers into the tumultuous inner worlds of the characters. The story’s intensity and unflinching examination of human frailty make Little Rot a gripping read, showcasing Emezi’s talent for blending poignant narrative with profound psychological insight. This novel is a vivid portrayal of how a single moment of despair can lead to unforeseen consequences leaving a lasting impact on everyone involved.

TAMU THOMAS
Women Who Work Too Much

Women Who Work Too Much by Tamu Thomas is a compelling and insightful examination of the modern woman’s struggle with work–life balance. Drawing from real-life experiences, Thomas delves into the societal pressures and personal aspirations that drive women to overextend themselves in their professional lives. She thoughtfully explores the consequences of this relentless pursuit, including burnout, strained relationships, and the loss of personal fulfillment. Thomas’s narrative is both empathetic and empowering, offering practical strategies for achieving balance and self-care without compromising ambition. Her engaging writing style, combined with profound wisdom and actionable advice, makes this book a must-read for any woman feeling overwhelmed by the demands of her career. Women Who Work Too Much not only highlights the issue but also inspires readers to redefine success on their own terms, fostering a healthier, more sustainable approach to work and life.