Virtual Book Club – Readalikes for The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

If you follow publishing news, then you know that the #1 New York Times bestselling Own Voices novel The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett has been generating a ton of buzz in the literary world. But that also means that the holds list for it at the library is long … very long. So while you wait for your prized copy of the book, we thought we’d put together a list of similar titles for you to read!

If you’ve never heard of The Vanishing Half, no problem! The book stars Black twin sisters: one who lives as a Black woman in the town where they grew up, and the other who passes as white, with a white husband who has no idea she is Black. Both have children, and who knows what will happen when their lives intersect. This is a timely novel and deserves all of the praise it’s been getting, but it may be difficult to get your hands on it at the library any time soon.

Click any of the readalike book covers below to be taken to our catalog, where you can request a copy of the book with your library card number and PIN. We’ve also included links to our e-media services Overdrive and Hoopla where available. You can find The Vanishing Half on Overdrive here. We guarantee that any of the books below will come in faster!

We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

In a near-future South where an increasing number of people with dark skin endure cosmetic procedures to pass as white, a father embarks on an obsessive quest to protect his son, who bears a dark, spreading birthmark.

We Cast a Shadow Overdrive link


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Two half-sisters, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana and experience profoundly different lives and legacies throughout subsequent generations marked by wealth, slavery, war, coal mining, the Great Migration and the realities of 20th-century Harlem.

Homegoing Overdrive link


The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy 

Learning after a half-century of family life that their house on Detroit’s East Side is worth only a fraction of its mortgage, the members of the Turner family gather to reckon with their pasts and decide the house’s fate.

The Turner House Hoopla link

The Turner House Overdrive link

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through the story of three generations of an African American family in New Orleans.

A Kind of Freedom Hoopla link

A Kind of Freedom Overdrive link

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

In 1980s Atlanta, James Witherspoon is living a double life. He has two families, a public one and a secret one. When the daughters from each family become friends, James’ secrets are revealed and lives are changed forever.

Silver Sparrow Hoopla link

Silver Sparrow Overdrive link

All plot summaries courtesy of Novelist.

Join us next week for another installment of the Virtual Book Club!

Book Review- The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

I recently finished Stephen Graham Jones’ latest novel, The Only Good Indians, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The book is amazing, and unlike anything I’ve read. Teetering along a fine line between literary horror (yes, there is some disagreement as to whether that exists but I strongly support the notion that it does), a straight-up revenge story, and multi-faceted narratives of various Native American experiences, it delivers some serious gore alongside real emotional pain. It’s wildly atmospheric and to put it plainly, weird. Weird in the very best way, of course.

The revenge plot centers on four Native American men getting their just deserts after disrespecting the sacredness of an elk herd while hunting on elder tribal lands. The group’s excessive spray of bullets decimates an elk herd that includes a pregnant elk, who struggles with every thing she has to survive for her calf. She succumbs to her wounds and the Blackfeet reservation’s game warden discovers their trespass which results in them being forced to leave all the elk meat behind, except for the cow who fought so hard. The four pals are banned from hunting on the reservation for ten years as further punishment, but their real punishment arrives years later.

Without spoiling too much of the story, because there are indeed some surprising twists and turns, I can say this moment of carelessness and disregard results in very serious repercussions for the four men, their friends and family, and even their pets. In the beginning readers increasingly question what is real and what is being told to us by an unreliable narrator. Eventually, through a very clever shift in perspective, readers see the truth of what is happening and the story really picks up speed as we hurtle towards a conclusion.

The Only Good Indians is a stellar example of how horror can also be literary, as Jones has crafted a deeply felt look at cycles of violence, identity and the price of breaking away from tradition, and perhaps most surprisingly, the power of forgiveness and hope. I can’t promise it will all make sense in a neat, tidy way in the end but it doesn’t really need to honestly. A #ownvoices title that is highly recommended reading for fans of horror, literary fiction, strong character writing, and twisty plots.

Trigger warning: When I say there is gore in this, I am not exaggerating. It does include some brutal ends for specifically dogs. I assure you, the book overall is worth reading and you can breeze past some of the grisly paragraphs if need be.

Check out the ebook here or request the print copy here.

The Only Good Indians is the November selection for Novel Scares book club, my book club devoted to all things horror. Please join us for a lively discussion on Zoom November 12th @ 7 pm! Registration for fall programs begins September 1st and you can register for Novel Scares here. This program is also part of the county wide One Community Reads, taking place now through September, inviting you to read and reflect about race, injustice, history, and a better future.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Virtual Book Club – #OwnVoices Alternatives to American Dirt

While the book American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins has had its share of success – debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list, selected for Oprah’s book club – it has also had a quite large (and justified) share of controversy. It is a novel about the experiences of a Mexican migrant, written by a white American woman, praised by many review sites for being an ‘authentic’ novel about the border crisis.

What this novel actually does is steal the spotlight from books written by Latinx and Mexican authors. For more information on the controversy, click here. In light of this, as our patrons are starting to come back to the library and may want to read Cummins’ book, we thought we’d share some excellent alternatives that are written by members of the Latinx community.

For all of the books below, click on the cover to be taken to our catalog, where you can place the book on hold with your library card number and PIN. Links to our ebook services have been included where available.

Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

An award-winning poet chronicles his experiences of growing up undocumented in the United States, describing how his family and his attempt to establish an adult life were heartbreakingly complicated by racist policies. 

Overdrive link



Where We Come From by Oscar Casares

Where We Come From by Oscar Cásares 

Moving to his godmother’s volatile Texas border town after his mother’s sudden death, a 12-year-old Mexican-American boy discovers a young illegal immigrant taking shelter in his godmother’s home before their shared desire for independence puts all of them at risk. 



Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras 

Follows a sheltered girl and a teen maid, who forge an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both amid the violence of 1990s Columbia. 

Overdrive link



Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine  

A debut story collection about female relationships and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands features Latina protagonists of indigenous descent who cautiously navigate the violence and changes in a Denver, Colorado community. 

Overdrive link



With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Navigating the challenges of finishing high school while caring for a daughter, talented cook Emoni Santiago struggles with a lack of time and money that complicate her dream of working in a professional kitchen. 

Overdrive link


All plot summaries courtesy of Novelist.

Join us next Sunday for the next installment of the virtual book club!