Underrated authors — Elise Bryant 


Photo courtesy of Amazon

Bryant isn’t afraid to talk about complicated and serious subject matter while telling an uplifting romantic story.

Oftentimes, when hearing about books and media related to books, we hear about the same authors over and over again — from grand talents to questionable authors with questionable tropes. 

I want to bring to light an author who I believe to be extremely underrated, and someone that deserves more attention and recognition for her writing and how she uplifts underrepresented communities. I am talking about Elise Bryant, a Black Young Adult (YA) author of books like “Happily Ever Afters,” and “One True Loves.”

I’ve praised Bryant’s works before, talking about the masterpiece that is “One True Loves”  and how it captures the raw, authentic emotion of Black teenagers, their insecurities and love stories. 

I find it refreshing how Bryant is an author that specifically focuses on Black girls and their love stories. Sometimes it feels rare that that happens in the YA genre. She touches on insecurities that are very real when it comes to dating and being in particular spaces. 

Bryant’s freshman and sophomore novels are part of the same series, with “Happily Ever Afters” being from Tessa’s perspective, and “One True Loves” being from Lenore’s perspective. They’re best friends, and seeing their connection is something that I really enjoy. 

So many romance books focus so hard on the romance that we don’t get to see the protagonist’s relationships with other characters. Bryant’s breaking from this trend is a part of her writing that I really appreciate. 

Another thing that I admire about Bryant is her sense of inclusion. In her first book, Tessa has a disabled brother. Disability representation is something that needs to be handled well, yet rarely is. Bryant handles it very well, even calling out particular slurs and ableist reality. 

In her second book, Bryant talks about anxiety and Blackness, which I think is something very important. Stigma around neurodivergence such as anxiety, especially in our community, is a conversation that needs to be had. 

Bryant isn’t afraid to talk about complicated and serious subject matter while telling an uplifting romantic story. The way she writes romance is top tier — it’s beautiful and fun to read about.

Bryant’s characters are one of the reasons why I love her writing. She makes relatable characters that girls get to see themselves as in a genre that isn’t as accessible and welcoming. Her characters feel real and original. 

Bryant offers an audience the chance for authentic, wholesome, beautiful stories about family, finding your path in life, dealing with unexpected circumstances and, of course, romance. I believe that she deserves more recognition as an author, and I would hope that we get a HEA book-to-screen adaptation. (Come on — a girl can dream, right?) 

Bryant’s new book “Reggie and Delilah’s Year of Falling” will be released on Jan. 31st, 2023. This dual POV rom-com follows the titular characters — the former a Dungeons and Dragons superfan, and the latter a singer in her friends’ punk band — who fall in love over the course of several holidays.