Hi readers! Okaaaay I know what you’re thinking: what’s this new segment Diversity Recs w/ Jill?
Well I’d like to start a little series of diverse books (#ownvoices, specifically) that I’d like to showcase. It’s different from the Diversity Spotlights by Aimal because these recs won’t be in threes, but any number of books and authors I choose.
Today I’m starting off with brown authors and books. I chose to start off with this because Sabaa Tahir revealed her new An Ember in the Ashes covers and she preached about diversity and brown people (or POC in general) deserving of the center stage on book covers and I wholeheartedly agree! That’s why I want to recommend some other brown authors and books 🙂
Note: None of these are in any specific order.
1. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Okay, I’m a bit of a bias here. I received an ARC for WDMR back in February and it was FLIPPING FANTASTIC. It has all the charm of a rom-com in a diverse YA contemporary with all main and supporting cast of color. AND Sandhya is a sweet bean who follows me back on Twitter. It’s a wonderful thing.
2. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
I read this book a while ago, before I even began advocating diverse reads. WITS is about a Pakistani-American who is visiting her familial roots in Pakistan. I don’t want to give much away but it’s really heartbreaking and so profound. It’s YA contemporary, but the subject matter is more mature than the likes of say, WDMR.
3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
YOU KNEW THIS WAS COMING! Ahh these books are amazinggg. It’s not very easy to find great diverse YA fantasy but AEITA does fall in that category. The new covers are stunning and PEOPLE OF COLOR ON THEM. Sabaa does so much for the community and her books are great, she’s great, she just deserves the world.
4. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
I recently read this novel and OH MY GOD.
Warning: I cried a little. I believe it is influenced by Indian mythology, and it’s set during the Persian Empire-esque era. There is an incredible friendship arc between the main and supporting character and I devoured the novel so quickly. More amazing diverse YA fantasy.
5. Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
I LOVE THIS BOOK. (I realized I said this about every book so far, but hey, it’s recs, what do you expect?) It is a YA contemporary with an Indian/Egyptian-American and centers around her family, friends, and people in her community. The culture is so rich in this book, and I enjoyed all of it. Trigger warning for assault.
6. Tahereh Mafi
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS LADY. While Shatter Me isn’t #ownvoices, Mafi’s storytelling is so poetic and unique. Her middle grade novel, Furthermore, has that same charisma as Shatter Me. From what I heard, the companion sequel to Furthermore called Whichwood will feature a Persian protagonist and will be own voices!! I didn’t find this out until recently but I am very excited for it. Plus, she and Ransom Riggs are a swoon worthy YA writing duo couple ❤
7. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
CAN I TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH I ADORE TW&TD?? Ahdieh herself isn’t a brown author, but TW&TD is a retelling of One Thousand and One Nights and features a brown girl on the cover. It’s a duology, but I hear most people aren’t fond of the sequel. Either way, the first book is incredible and Khalid is a dream.
Thanks for reading! Have you read any of these novels? Share your thoughts below!