theGrio’s Top 50 books to read this summer: ‘Family Ties’

Check out the top books to read this summer that spotlight the meaning of family, the bonds we’re born into and the ones we choose for ourselves

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Summer is sacred for Black families. It’s a time when those of us who are typically separated by thousands of miles take the opportunity to reunite and recharge and renew old ties.

With the isolation of the pandemic, many of us are feeling that pull now more than ever. These books shine a thoughtful spotlight on the significance and meaning of family, the bonds we’re born into and the ones we choose for ourselves.


Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley Ford (Memoir)

Steel isn’t the only thing forged in fire. Somebody’s Daughter is an origin story for an artist. Growing up, Ashley Ford had a complicated relationship with her single mother and idolized her long-absent father, who had been incarcerated most of her young life.

In this honest and intimate coming-of-age memoir, Ford reckons with the fraught family dynamics and sometimes traumatic formative experiences that shaped the incredible human being she turned out to be. 


Summer on the Bluffs by Sunny Hostin (Contemporary fiction)

Summer of Bluffs
Summer of Bluffs by Sunny Hostin

Attorney turned journalist Sunny Hostin’s debut novel is a feminist potboiler and one of best beach reads of the year. Summer on the Bluffs revolves around a Wall Street financier turned matriarch and her three goddaughters coming together one summer to reconnect while they figure out who will inherit the family estate in the historic Black district of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard.

More than that, it’s a twisty intergenerational saga centered on four black women— their love, ambition and the quest for family and the idea of home. The best beach reads tend to be soapy and timely page-turners. This one has all that and more: glamour, romance, intrigue and long-held family secrets, plus a touch of social commentary and humor.

Also recommended: Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie and Sunset Springs by Kacen Callender (in LGBTQ+ Pride, or listen to an exclusive audio excerpt from the Sunset Spring Audible Original Novella.) 

Return to TheGrio Top 50 Books of Summer Main Page 

More theGrio Top 50 Book picks: Family Ties | American Art and Ideas | LGBTQ+ Pride | Black Love and Black Glamour | Spreading Our Wings | Crime and Consciousness | Historical Reckoning | Nonfiction | Thrills and Chills: Mystery/Suspense/ThrillerLove and Romance | Historical Fiction | Fiction from the Diaspora | Contemporary Fiction

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