Hii readers! I hope you’ve been well lately. My pledge and primary reading goal for 2017 is to read more diversely. I want more than half of the books I read to be diverse. Half the books I buy to be diverse. Half the books I promote to be diverse. You get the point.
And I’m getting there, trust me.
Since my birthday was last week and I turned the ripe old age of seventeen (note the sarcasm) I wanted to do something special. But I wanted it to be unlike last year (which was 16 things to know.) So, tying in with my diverse goal for 2017, I want to share my favorite diverse books from the year so far.
I’ll leave marginalizations and possible trigger warnings in a little snippet below each book title, for further details.
1. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
As everyone knows, TSIAAS is my favorite book ever and I constantly mention it on social media. It features a Jamaican-American MC and a Korean-American MC (also the love interest.) The story revolves around immigration, family values, and the possibility of love at first sight. (This is the only book I didn’t read in 2017, but it deserves special privileges because it’s my favorite ever, okay?)
2. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
One book I didn’t expect to become my pride and joy was THT. It’s my first book that features an MC who is officially asexual, instead of being assumed asexual by the author in an interview or some rubbish like that. This book deals with aphobia, discovering yourself, and has the Youtuber culture that we’re all familiar with.
3. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
WHAT AN ADORABLE BOOK. It is the love story of two Indian-American teenagers spending the summer at a web design program. It’s wonderful to see stories with POC falling in love, living their lives, and the culture is so real I adored the Indian families in WDMR.
4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
If you had to read one book, MAKE IT THIS BOOK. THUG is about a black teen whose life is shaken when her unarmed friend is killed by the police. The story deals with police brutality, knowing your identity, and how we treat the people around us. It’s easily the most culturally relevant book of 2017, and you should definitely pick it up. (TW//racism)
5. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Lara Jean is a Korean-American teen who is facing the woes of her senior year, dating, and family. The first book, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, is to be made into a movie. (Although the actresses of Lara Jean and her sisters will not be played by Korean actors. I’m salty.) Otherwise, the trilogy has Korean culture and it’s a wonderful way to end a trilogy.
6. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
URTS features an agoraphobic, OCD MC with anxiety. It is an own voices Mental Illness story which makes the perspective so much more authentic. I read this book in an evening and couldn’t put it down. (TW//panic disorder, other MI)
7. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
WTMWO features a bi Latina MC and a trans Pakistani MC. The story deals with magical realism rooted in legend and the storytelling is beautiful. If you’re looking for diversity past YA contemporary, I recommend WTMWO. (TW//transphobia, queerphobia)
8. Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
I haven’t read very many YA novels featuring a Muslim MC, but I’m glad this was one of them. S&M deals a lot with assault, culture, and identity. I love how the MC learned to stand up for herself. The aspect of religion and culture was so prevalent, and I really enjoyed learning about this part of the MC’s identity. (TW//possible islamophobia)
9. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
This book is short, but it has so much emotion. The MC runs away from California to college in NYC, leaving the trauma of her dead grandfather and her (female) best friend that she loves. The story is told in a before and after perspective, and trust me, it’s really emotional.
10. A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
One of the few fantasies on my list, I found myself falling in love with ACoW as opposed to its predecessor, The Star-Touched Queen. ACoW is set in a fantasy universe based on Indian mythology and deities. The romance is so rich and full of sarcasm (my favorite thing.)
11. Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
Ah, this story is centered around an interracial relationship between a white female MC and a black love interest with one arm. There is surfing and skateboarding, hobbies often skipped over in YA novels. The story handles the tumults of racism, family, and ableism well. (TW// ableism)
12. A Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
AFITM is marketed as a Mulan retelling in feudal Japan. There is samurais, suspense, romance, and tea, but I would hold on the retelling part.
It’s just cross dressing. I’ve read three cross dressing novels in 2017 and only one was marketed as a Mulan retelling. It’s fantastic and nonstop action. I can’t wait for the sequel.
13. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
OMG THE DIVERSITY IN THIS BOOK. There is an anxious MC with Aspergers and a bi Chinese-Australian MC. Not to mention a female love interest and a Latino one. And does it get better? YES, IT TAKES PLACE AT A COMIC CON. Please just read it. It’s so beautiful and diverse and wonderful. (TW//anxiety)
14. Shadowshaper by Daniel Josè Older
I just finished this book yesterday. It features a mostly POC cast, with queer supporting characters. The MC is Afro Latinx in Brooklyn with Puerto Rican roots. It deals with Caribbean legend (to my knowledge) and lots of artsy murals. The love interest is Haitian too. *swoons*
15. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
OKAY. Allow me to explain myself. I have listened to queer people discuss this book. I personally thought this book portrayed how sexuality can be fluid in a natural way. The novel features an MC who is certain she is a lesbian, but falls for a boy and rethinks herself. IT SOUNDS SHADY. I get it. You don’t have to agree. Julie Murphy is bi and I want to trust her storytelling. And I do. (TW//biphobia)
16. Warcross by Marie Lu
FINALLY, A SCIENCE-FICTION ON THIS LIST. There has been so little QPOC/diverse sci-fi in YA recently. Warcross features a Chinese MC with raindow hair who is a bounty hunter for a video game in a distant future. (Sword Art Online, anyone?) A majority of the novel is set in Tokyo, and the love interest is Japanese. READ IT WHEN IT COMES OUT. So good.
17. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
OF&S was an interesting case. I almost got rid of it. What made me keep it is its unique concept. The MC is sent to a neighboring kingdom to marry the prince of an ally nation. However, her plans are derailed when she falls for the princess of the country instead. From what I’ve heard, one girl is bi and the other is lesbian (unfortunately I don’t know which.) It has a generic fantasy plot, so the romance is really all that kept me going.
I’d like to note that no book is 100% approved.
Unless it’s The Hate U Give. That book transcends every criticism. As I bought/received/read these books, I went in believing they are diverse and properly represent their marginalization. I’m not a perfect blogger, either. If you have any issues with these books, I’d like to hear them! My mind is always open to different perspectives. As long as we discuss these things, then we progress as a reader and a community.
Which books made you feel represented? Diverse, or not. Comment below! Thank you, as usual, for reading and listening and supporting your diverse authors and bloggers ❤