‘The Vanishing Half’: Waiting for it? Loved it? Try these titles!

By Collection Management Librarian Kathy

I love how much our community uses the library. Sometimes that means waiting for the hottest titles. Don’t fret! I can help you find a similar reading experience to THAT book you are waiting for or that you finally read and loved. 

The Vanishing Half read-alikes

The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen by Nella Larsen

Why you should try it: While Larsen's most famous novel, Passing, is most closely related to The Vanishing Half, all of her stories explore themes of race and finding one's place in the world.

Description: Gathers three stories and two novels by Larsen, an influential writer of the Harlem Renaissance, including Passing, about a light-skinned beauty who has spent years passing as white, and Quicksand, in which a young mulatto searches for a place she can call home.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (ebook), Media on Demand & Libby (ebook)

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Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Why you should try it: Woodson's slim novel explores similar territory, but more so, these two authors are exceptional writers capable of seamlessly transitioning between multiple narrators. 

Description: As Melody celebrates a coming-of-age ceremony at her grandparents’ house in 2001 Brooklyn, her family remembers 1985, when Melody’s own mother prepared for a similar party that never took place in this novel about different social classes. 

Stream & download with: Media on Demand & Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

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God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

Why you should try it: Bennett is clearly influenced by Toni Morrison, and this novel also features a dark-skinned daughter born to a light-skinned mother, even if they are very different circumstances.

Description: By the Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Bluest Eye, God Help the Child traces the impact of childhood trauma on the lives of a beautiful multiracial woman, the man she loves, and an abused white girl who looks to her for help.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand & Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

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Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

Why you should try it: For a different perspective on a similar time period that also stars divergent twin sisters.

Description: Two sisters struggle to find their place, be true to themselves, and adapt to rapid changes happening throughout the latter half of 20th-century America. 

Stream & Download with: Media on Demand & Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

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We Wear the Mask: 15 True Stories of Passing in America by Brando Skyhorse

Why you should try it: Some of the most affecting parts of The Vanishing Half deal with passing. If you want to learn more about passing, in all different contexts, try this.

Description: In fifteen essays, various authors discuss their experiences of presenting themselves as another race, gender, or ethnic identity during their lives and the complications and personal conflicts they faced.

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Librarian Kathy

About Kathy

Kathy is a Collection Management Librarian who loves reading, sharing, and talking about books. Her missions in life are to: create communities of readers, convince folks that her official title should be "Book Pusher," and refute that "disco" is a dirty word.