32 Books You Really Need To Read, According To National Book Award Winner Elizabeth Acevedo

Brad Barket/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

In May, Elizabeth Acevedo — the National Book Award- and Printz Award-winning author of The Poet X — will release her new book, With the Fire on High, about high school senior Emoni, who must balance her passion for cooking with her responsibilities as the primary caretaker of her abuela and her young daughter. (You can start reading from the book on Bustle!) With the Fire on High, like The Poet X, is a revelatory exploration of girlhood, womanhood, class, race, and the coming-of-age process.

In celebration of her new book, Elizabeth Acevedo recommended 32 books, all available at a special "The Author's Bookshelf" display in The Strand Bookstore in New York City beginning on April 8 and on the bookstore's website right now. (Previously, Gloria Steinem, Lauren Groff, and many others have recommended books for The Strand.) On April 9, Acevedo will also be in conversation with Julia Alvarez, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Alvarez's groundbreaking novel In the Time of the Butterflies. The event is sponsored by PEN America and The Strand Bookstore, and you can find more details on their websites.

The books below focus on many of the themes of Acevedo's work, and all 32 of them are sure to light your fire of anticipation for her new book, out May 7:

'Duke By Default' by Alyssa Cole

Alyssa Cole knows how to get your blood pumping with her romance novels, and Duke by Default is no exception: The book circles New York socialite Portia, who takes up an apprenticeship with a Scottish swordmaker to prove to her family — and herself — that she has what it takes to finish something. But she doesn't expect to unexpectedly fall for her boss.

Click here to buy.

'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones

When Roy is arrested and sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, it puts an undeniable strain on his relationship with his wife, Celeste, who turns to her childhood best friend, Andre, for comfort during his absence. When Roy is unexpectedly released, he comes home to discover that his wife may not want to be married to him any longer.

Click here to buy.

'Electric Arches' by Eve L. Ewing

Like Acevedo's stunning debut The Poet X, Eve L. Ewing's Electric Arches examines black girlhood through poetry, as well as art and prose.

Click here to buy.

'Woman Hollering Creek & Other Stories' by Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros, the dazzling Mexican-American poet and author of The House on Mango Street, breathes vibrant life into this story collection's characters, all women who live along the border.

Click here to buy.

'On The Come Up' by Angie Thomas

Elizabeth Acevedo also recommends the new novel from fellow young adult superstar, Angie Thomas, whose debut novel The Hate U Give broke New York Times best-seller list records and was adapted into a 2018 movie. In On The Come Up, Thomas tells the story of Bri, a rapper who wants to be the greatest in the world.

Click here to buy.

See Elizabeth Acevedo's full bookshelf at The Strand Bookstore in Manhattan and on their website.