Ten Diverse Books I Love

Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Ten Diverse Books I Love

I think one of the biggest things I’ve gained from joining this online book community is a better perspective and awareness of my privilege as a straight white woman from the middle class. Before I joined I had no idea, as I was reading and finding myself in almost everything I read, that non-white kids and teens were reading lots and lots of books where who THEY were wasn’t reflected anywhere — maybe a side character but rarely ever the main character. It’s so easy for me to pick up a book that features a white female and I never knew how much I took that forgranted. It made me so sad that young people who weren’t white or straight would have such a hard time finding literature that reflected who they are. Sure, they can relate to the things happening on the page but why should it be so hard for them to find a black or lesbian or disabled main character? The world is so diverse! There are a lot of reasons this is the way it is and I highly recommend checking out We Need Diverse Books — an organization dedicated to diversity in publishing along with educating and advocacy.

At the end of the day I want a good book. But I also found that I’ve been trying to also make it a point to seek out books that are good AND are written by/feature a marginalized person. I want publishing to know that YES WE WILL READ THIS. THESE STORIES ARE IMPORTANT TOO.

So here are some books I’ve really enjoyed that feature diverse main characters:
(diversity for me: POC, Quiltbag, religious minorities, cultural, disabled, socio-economically)

diverse-books-YA

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed: I could not put this down at all! The main character is an American Pakistani. Part of culture is arranged marriage but she’s secretly had a boyfriend who is a family friend. Her parents find out, are beyond furious and take a family trip to Pakistan that ends up being more than just a family vacation. I loved how it explored arranged marriages and I definitely learned a lot/squashed some per-conceived notions I had about arranged marriages. (My review)

 
Boy In the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds: I loved this book so much! The main character is a black teen living in Brooklyn and his story resonated so much with me. He is grieving the loss of his mother and it’s just such a beautiful, quiet novel. I dog-eared so many pages! (My review)

 
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio: This book made me cry along with teaching me what intersex is. I honestly didn’t quite know what it was and learned right alongside of the main character, a teen girl, who finds out that she is intersex. It was so hard to watch her struggle with this new part of her identity and all the crap she got from people at school who were so, so cruel and misinformed. (my review)

 
Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee: OH MAN. OREGON TRAIL. I loved this historical fiction novel featuring a Chinese girl (two things that make life hard for her here in 1849 in Missouri and seemingly impossible on their journey) and a runaway slave. (my review)

 
Far From You by Tess Sharpe: I couldn’t put this one down! A great mystery! Great writing & character development! A bixsexual main character! (my review)

 
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen: The main character, previously a runner, loses her leg in an accident and adjusts to life as an amputee. This one was a happy feeling inspirational kind of book even though you felt how hard it was for her. There was another main character, Rosa, who was my favorite. She had cerebral palsy and she teaches the main character a lot about not just seeing someone’s disability but seeing them in addition to being an amazing friend. (my review)

 
Like No Other by Una LaMarche: This was the first time I’ve ever read about a person who is a Hasidic Jew in YA lit. I really enjoyed learning about a sect of religion I didn’t know anything about. Not to mention this love story, a forbidden one, was just so easy to get tangled up in. It was so complicated and I loved the end and GAH it was just so good!!  (my review)

 
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley: This is another historical fiction novel! It was so heart-wrenching. It’s set during the 60’s when the Civil Rights Movement was happening and it follows two girls — one who is being integrated into this previously all white school along with a handful of other black students, and one who is white and doesn’t want this integration to happen. I loved how two people who are pit up against each other SEE each other as humans plus there is a romance involved that definitely wouldn’t have been approved by the majority for two reasons. Such a powerful read! (my review)

 
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia: Made You Up was an interesting book as it is from the perspective from a character who has schizophrenia and so it makes it had, as a reader, to know what is real and not real as the main character struggles with it. (my review)

 
Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: One of my favorite books I read last year!!! It’s so delightful and wonderful and GAHHH HEART EYES FOREVER. The main character, Simon, is gay and hasn’t come out yet and has this email relationship with growing feelings with a boy who goes to his school but they have remained anonymous behind their screennames. There is black mail and great friendship dynamics and the romances is the CUTEST EVER.  Plus Simon has some really poignant and funny thoughts about the whole idea of coming out. (my review)

 

So tell me…what are some books featuring diverse characters that you’ve loved recently? Always looking for good recs!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. Great list!!! You have a few that I have been dying to read. This just makes me wants to read them more. Thanks for sharing. Happy reading.
    Top 10 @Libby Blog

  2. Ugh, I still need to read quite a few of these that you list…that I own…^^;;; But I HAVE read and enjoyed NONE OF THE ABOVE!!

  3. So many great books! I’ve added a couple to my TBR pile.

    My TTT

  4. Under a Painted Sky looks amazing! I’ve seen it on quite a few lists this week.:)

  5. Great post – I really need to check out The Lies We Tell Ourselves; I’ve had that on my TBR ever since it was published, but for some reason I haven’t picked it up yet.

  6. Awesome list. And thank you very much for making sure my TBR keeps growing. 🙂 A few were already on my TBR. Lies we tell ourselves has been on my Kindle forever, but I still haven’t read it. I think that is because I know it will be super heavy and emotional. I really need to be in the right head space for it. Here is my top ten list: http://bookbinges.blogspot.it/2015/07/top-ten-tuesday-diverse-reads.html

  7. Amazing list! 🙂 I adore Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Lies We Tell Ourselves. I’m reading None of the Above soon (hopefully!) so it’s good to know that you rate it so highly!

  8. You have some books here I have been so keen to get to! I’ve heard nothing but good things about Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and None of the Above. I plan to get to them soon!

  9. Great list! I’d like to read None of the Above, and Far From You sounds brilliant, too; I try to read as diversely as I can, but I still don’t think I’ve read a book in which a character has said they’re bisexual.

  10. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is on my list too. I totally forgot about Made You Up, it seems awesome! I need to read that one!
    Great list! 🙂

  11. I’m so so excited for Simon Vs the Homo Sapien Agenda. I’VE HEARD IT’S DOWNRIGHT ADORABLE (and also oreos?! I’m in!) and afkdjlsa yes and yes Lies We Tell Ourselves is heart breaking. I found it really hard to read, though, because just so much abuse and so cruel and unfair. STILL. Such an important book, I reckon.
    Here’s my TTT!

  12. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says:

    A diverse diverse list! Thank you.

    Here’s my Top Ten!

  13. Now my TBR pile is exploding. I kept adding books…

    My TTT

  14. I really, really need to read Far From You and Made You Up! I keep meaning to but I also still don’t own Far From You yet and I’ve heard soooo many good things!!

  15. I love your introduction. I hadn’t really thought about it until I was discussing YA novels with my niece, who is a lesbian. She told me about one book that she loved because the boy and girl in the story don’t fall in love. (I can’t remember the book now.) But I hadn’t thought how annoying that would be to be a lesbian and always have to read romance plots between a girl and a guy.

    This is a great list. I’ll definitely be checking out Written in the Stars, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens, and Like No Other. I’ve already read None of the Above and The Running Dream. I loved them both.

  16. Great list!! I cannot wait to read so many of these books! I loved Written in the Stars. I hope to read Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda soon! I need to check out None of the Above. Thanks for all the great recommendations!

  17. Under the Painted Sky and Written in the Stars sound positively fascinating! I will HAVE to check out your reviews to read all of your thoughts on why you loved them so much.
    -Monica @ Tomes Project

  18. I haven’t read any of these! I have some investigating to do!!!

  19. I’ve heard so many great things about Simon vs The Homo Sapien’s Agenda and None of the Above, and also Made You Up sounds really interesting, so I’m definitely adding them to my to-read list ASAP! Thanks for the recommendations 🙂

    My TTT

  20. I actually haven’t read any of these books. But several definitely intrigue me–especially Lies We Tell Ourselves and Boy in the Black Suit. I will definitely have to check those out.

    Check out my TTT: https://greenishbookshelf.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/top-10-tuesday-celebrating-diversitydiverse-characters/

  21. Several of these made my list as well!

    Clearly I need to read Written in the Stars. It looks RIGHT up my alley.

    I am totally kicking myself for forgetting None of the Above & Lies We Tell Ourselves. Both of them were so good and I’m shocked that I forgot to include them on my list.

    Made You Up and Simon both made my list. Two of my favorite books this year.

  22. Like No other sounds amazing, and your other picks Im also excited to read soon. Awesome Post. Check out my Top Ten Tuesday

  23. I didn’t realize Made You Up featured diversity. It’s on my backllist to read next month. These are great recommendations, too.

  24. I’ve only read Simon and Far From You, and really enjoyed both!

    My library just got None of the Above and Under a Painted Sky this weekend, so I’m excited to get to those! They did a huge diversity purchase, so hopefully more is to come! 😀

    Here’s my top ten!

  25. I haven’t read most of these, but I love that you included Simon (sooo good) and Made You Up (completely forgot about that one!)
    I’ve heard great things about Under a Painted Sky and Written in the Stars. Will have to get around to those!
    Great picks, babe. <3

  26. Great list, Jamie! I’ve only read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (agree with your HEART EYES FOREVER), but I have all the rest on my tbr…except for The Running Dream, which I actually hadn’t heard of but will be checking out now. 🙂

    ~Marie @ Ramblings of a Daydreamer
    My Top Ten Diverse Books

  27. I’ve been enjoying the variety and diversity of my reads this year, and it makes my heart happy to see some of my favorites (Far From You, Under a Painted Sky and Written in the Stars) included in your own list. Great choices, Jamie!

  28. Simon vs and NONA! I cannot stress enough what a great service these two do the LGBTQIA+ community! Also, I’ve wanted to read Made You Up since forever! And I’ve heard so much good stuff for The Boy in the Black Suit. I’m really glad this is a subject Top Ten Tuesday champions!

  29. The boy in the black suit, I SO wanna read that one!!! Together with Made you up and Simon 😛

  30. These are all on my TBR list. Can’t wait to read None of the Above and Far From You. Great list. My TTT