4 Books By Gen Z Authors To Add To Your TBR List

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As a fellow young writer, I grew up reading books like “The Princess Diaries,” YA dystopian fiction like “Divergent,” and pretty much anything by the iconic British author Jacqueline Wilson. While I enjoyed reading them all, thinking back, the authors were in no way close to my age, nor were a lot of the novels racially diverse. But a decade later, it’s extremely inspiring to see writers in my generation making an impact and telling their authentic stories.

Thanks to social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok — or in this case, ‘BookTok’ — books penned by Gen Z-ers are getting noticed and pushed into the spotlight. From Chloe Gong, an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania who wrote a New York Times bestseller, to Faridah Abike-Iyimide, a 22-year-old writer who locked down a £1 million ($1.39 million USD ) publishing deal, it’s inspiring to see more Gen Z writers blossom in the publishing industry and share their generational perspectives.

Here are four books by Gen Z authors to add to your TBR list:

One of the most highly anticipated books of 2021, “Ace of Spades” is a YA thriller — dubbed as “Get Out” meets “Gossip Girl” — and is a love letter to queer Black teenagers. Delving into institutionalized racism at an elite private school, the story follows students Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo who are faced with an anonymous threat that can turn their bright futures upside down.

A New York Times bestseller, Gong’s retelling of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is set in 1920s Shanghai and filled with romance, rivalry between gangs, and intriguing mystery. Juliette Cai, heiress to the Scarlet Gang, is a young Chinese girl trying to deal with the expectations of her family. And just like Juliette, Roma Montagov is keen to keep his title as heir of the White Flowers, but when a mysterious illness emerges and causes people to self-destruct, they are forced to work together.

“These Violent Delights” is perfect for fans of dark and gory novels, as it explores the effects of colonialism coupled with the lively aesthetics of the roaring 20’s.

If you were one of those people that loved the bad boy and fake dating tropes on Wattpad, Bhuiyan’s book is for you. Dubbed a love letter to young brown girls, “Counting Down With You” follows reserved Bangladeshi teen Karina Ahmed who plans on following her parents’ rules at the expense of her dreams. But while they are away on a trip to Bangladesh, she finds herself doing something that she never expected: (fake) dating Ace Clyde, the resident bad boy.

For Karina, Ace does everything right, and she can’t help but keep up the facade that he asked her to do as a favor. She finds herself counting down the days until her parents return and she has to make the biggest decision of her life: whether to continue her fake relationship or not. 

Li’s novel takes place in the 1980s and is focused on the relationship between Ro, a young biracial Chinese-American girl, and Benji, a white American boy. Ro and Benji are dealing with traumatic experiences — Ro losing her father in a car accident, Benji in search of his father following his abandonment. Both are looking high and low for a connection to their fathers, which results in an unexpected friendship that brews between them. This book explores loss and grief, and how that can connect us to each other.