5 books to read if you loved 'Here For It' by R. Eric Thomas

These books will make you laugh, cry and inspire you to think about the world in a new way.
/ Source: TODAY
By Stephanie Larratt

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"Here For It" by R. Eric Thomas is one of two picks for Jenna Bush Hager's Read With Jenna book club in August.

Thomas shares personal stories about growing up Black and queer in a world that often made him feel like an outsider. He uses humor and heart to relay the challenges, happy moments and accomplishments of his life. The book is both eye-opening and entirely relatable.

If you loved reading this memoir, Thomas has five other books that he recommends you read next. From young adult novels to essay compilations, there is sure to be something for everyone on this list.

1. "Luster," by Raven Leilani

An instant New York Times bestseller, "Luster" by Raven Leilani is the story of Edie, a young Black woman in Brooklyn, who finds herself in a relationship with a man in an open marriage in New Jersey.

As she tries to navigate her relationship, racial politics and everything else in her life, Edie finds herself unemployed and is invited to move into her lover's home. In this coming-of-age tale, Edie works to make sense of her life and believe in her own talents.

"'Luster' is a brilliant, funny, sharply observed short novel," Thomas said.

2. "True Story," by Kate Petty Reed

In 2015, Alice Lovett is a reclusive ghostwriter who's made a living helping others tell their stories. Yet, the one story she can't tell is her own.

In 1999, after a high school party in a wealthy Maryland neighborhood, a passed-out Lovett was driven home by two championship-winning boys on the lacrosse team. After that night, rumors swirled about what occurred in the backseat of the car, but Alice was unable to remember anything and the boys denied the allegations. Then the town moved on, leaving one of the boys, Nick, to devolve into alcoholism, while Alice was left to reckon with events she had no memory of.

When Alice is finally granted the opportunity to learn the truth, will she take it?

This timely exploration of trauma and sexual assault will leave readers guessing until the end.

"Kate Petty Reed, who is a fellow Baltimorean, will appeal to anyone who got excited by the formal invention of 'A Visit from the Goon Squad' or the twisting narrative of 'Trust Exercise.' I devoured it," Thomas said.

3. "I Know You Know Who I Am," by Peter Kispert

Kispert's book is a collection of short stories, each about a character who is a liar. Some of the stories are about elaborate falsehoods while others are about coping with deceptions that eat away at you over time.

Overall, the book explores deception, performance and how one reconciles queer identity in the world.

Thomas called the book "breathtaking."

4. "Camp," by Lev A.C. Rosen

"'Camp' is a delightful YA novel about a kid who tries to remake himself at an LGBTQ summer camp to get a boy's attention," Thomas said.

Centered around 16-year-old Randy Kapplehoff, Rosen's book is a story of young love and the lengths one is willing to go to capture it. For Randy, getting his camp crush to notice him means he has to change nearly everything about himself.

However, as Randy gets closer to his crush, he's forced to wonder if it was all worth it and if it really is love if he isn't being true to himself.

5. "This Is Major," by Shayla Lawson

"'This Is Major' is a book of incisive, wildly funny, revealing essays about Blackness and womanhood in the present," Thomas said.

Lawson's collection of personal essays takes on microaggressions and racist stereotypes and tells stories from a new perspective. The book is a rich and insightful exploration of Black girl culture.

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