The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor
The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Must-read books for Black History Month

Genres of fiction, romance and crime that can’t be missed
Jada Portillo
Covers of books to read during Black History Month written by Black authors. These books are a range of genres and have something for everyone. (Graphic Created in Canva by Jada Portillo)

Finding a book to read can be hard, but to relieve that stress here is a list of five Black authors and their novels, to add to your list, with genres such as thriller, romance and fiction there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Cover of the book “My Sister, The Serial Killer” by Oyinkan Braithwaite published in 2018. This book is a thriller crime story based in Nigeria about a diabolical duo, who makes murder seem like a sport. (Created in Canva by Jada Portillo) (Jada Portillo)

“My Sister, The Serial Killer” by Oyinkan Braithwaite

For those who love the thriller and crime genre, this story will be the one for you. A fictional story written by Oyinkan Braithwaite titled “My Sister, The Serial Killer” is based in Nigeria about two sisters with a strange relationship to murder. Ayoola, the youngest, who has so far murdered three of her lovers, has always begged her older sister Korede to help clean up her mess.

Though the saying family comes first to Korede’s mind all the time due to her love for her sister, it isn’t until Ayoola starts dating someone at Korede’s workplace, that she worries about her colleague’s fate.

Will he end up as just another victim like the rest of Ayoola’s lovers or will Korede save him and turn her sister in?

This book has a 3.67 rating on Goodreads, a website where bookworms can express their love or hate for a book by rating it on a scale of one to five and leaving a comment.

To know what happens next, you’ll have to read “My Sister, The Serial Killer”.

Cover of the book “The Hate U Give” written by Angie Thomas published in 2017 won two awards during its publishing year. Thomas won the awards of Best Debut Goodreads Author and Best Young Adult Fiction. (Created in Canva by Jada Portillo) (Jada Portillo)

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

Similar to Spiderman, “The Hate U Give” written by Angie Thomas, is about a girl named Starr Carter who feels like she is in two places at once, living in her poor neighborhood and attending her upper-class private school.

After paying witness to the killing of her best friend Khalil, who was shot fatally by a police officer, a string of protests follow that demand justice for Khalil. The police want to silence Starr as her testimony has the power to hold the officer accountable for his actions.

Only Starr knows what really happened that night and as a fear of backlash haunts over her shoulder, Starr is faced with the brutal choice of sharing the truth or staying silent.
“The Hate U Give,” deals with social justice issues and is a banned book in states, like Georgia, due to its anti-police views and racism.

Though this book is banned in several states, you can find this book online.

This book has a 4.48 rating on Goodreads and will have readers gripping their seats with every page.

RELATED: Diary of a Bookworm: Learn to annotate books aesthetically, mistake free


“Black Buck” written by Mateo Askaripour published in 2021 and was nominated for best fiction and best debut novel in 2021. This book covers the problems workplaces face with no diversity. (Created in Canva by Jada Portillo) (Jada Portillo)

“Black Buck” by Mateo Askaripour

“Black Buck” written by Mateo Askaripour, follows the ups and downs of 22-year-old Darren, a Starbucks worker who enjoyed his simple life, until he ran into Rhett Daniels, the CEO of Sumwun. After a conversation or two Rhett offers Darren an invitation to join the sales team, making Darren the only Black person in the company.

Darren then takes on the nickname and facade of Buck, a degrading term for Black men given by white men who are often looked down upon. In an effort to find his place in and outside of the company he leaves his friends and family in the shadows of his past.

“Black Buck” explores the prevalent and present tribulations of people of color working in white dominated workplaces. Darren overcomes this by creating his own narrative despite being the only Black person in the company.

This book due to its vast popularity has a 3.72 rating on Goodreads.

Cover of the book “While We Were Dating” written by Jasmine Guillory published in 2021 was a nominee for best romance. Guillory is also a New York Times bestselling author. (Created in Canva by Jada Portillo) (Jada Portillo)

“While We Were Dating” by Jasmine Guillory

Jasmine Guillory’s,“While We Were Dating” is the perfect romance novel for the month of February due to its star-crossed lover trope and romance genre.

“While We Were Dating” was nominated in 2021 as the Best Romance Novel and although did not win the title, is far deserving of its praise.

Movie star Anna Gardiner meets Ben Stephens during an ad campaign and due to Anna’s family emergency causing a late-night road trip to Palm Springs, the two grow an unfathomable connection of flirtatious banter and small conversations. Their connection leads Ben and Anna to agree to fake a relationship for publicity.

The two soon realize, though the thin line between pretend and reality, as they fall in-love and create a starstruck Hollywood love.

Will Ben and Anna confess their feelings for each other and have their Romeo and Juliet love story?

This love storybook has a 3.74 rating on Goodreads and is full of heartwarming moments readers will have to enjoy.

To know if Ben and Anna live happily ever you should check out “While We Were Dating”.


Cover of the first book in the “Dork Diaries” series, written by Rachel Renee Russell featuring images from the book. Russell is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of the comedy novel “Dork Diaries”. (Created in Canva by Jada Portillo) (Jada Portillo)

“Dork Diaries” by Rachel Renee Russell

Sometimes books have too many words, so let’s take a step back and get nostalgic with cartoon style sketches and a unique diary format in “Dork Diaries,” by Rachel Renee Russell.

This book series follows the daily life of 14-year-old Nikki Maxwell, through her middle-school adversities and hardships, with school bully MacKenzie Hollister, handsome crush Brandon Roberts and spontaneous adventures with best friends Chole and Zoe.

This book has a 4.5 rating on Goodreads and will satisfy readers of all ages.

This easy to read book is perfect if your New Year’s resolution was to start reading.

Feeling inspired to read but a trip to your local store is out of reach? Not to worry because all these books except “Dork Diaries” are available for purchase at the Sacramento State Bookstore.

With some new books to add to your shelf virtually or physically, don’t forget to rate and review these books on Goodreads.

Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Jada Portillo
Jada Portillo, A&E Staffer
(she/her) Jada Portillo is a transfer student from Delta College where she wrote for the Collegian as an opinion editor. Portillo is currently on her first year of writing for The State Hornet and currently is a fellow for CalMatters. Portillo hopes to find new experiences and opportunities with The State Hornet.
Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal