This is a meme from The Broke and the Bookish. For info about the topics and how to participate, click here.In the past couple of years, the call for diverse books has been enormous, and finally some of those shunted minorities are getting to see themselves in books. This is, obviously, a tremendously good thing. There can never be enough diversity in books because every person deserves to have that one book that makes them feel like they’re not alone.
Now, I’ll freely admit that I probably don’t read nearly enough diverse books. Part of that is because they can so often turn out to be issue books. I’m not much of an issue book reader – though I’m glad they exist, because a lot of readers out there need them, I like my books happy, with an overall air of acceptance without question. So my list today probably isn’t the best or the most inclusive, but it’s the diverse books that I’ve enjoyed the most.
1. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This book is as cute as puppies. I have said this far too often and yet not enough. Happy, bantery gay ship perfection.
2. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. It’s got so much voice, and I just loved seeing through the eyes of a schizophrenic MC. Her condition doesn’t define her, and in many ways she still has “regular people fun”. But there is some heartbreak too. Feelings all around.
3. Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler
F/F hot sexings. ‘Nough said?
4. One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
Cute as hell gay ship + an excellent glimpse of the Armenian culture? This book was filled with voice and so delightful.
5. How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo
My review for this will go up later this week, but basically I loved this powerful story about autism. It not only taught me a lot more about the condition, but also about the many ways it can shape a family. It’s all about love, compassion, and the power of your voice.
6. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
As this series goes on, the cast of characters is growing and each one is getting more and more distinct. What I love most is that the ways they are diverse are introduced in the most casual manner ever. There are POC characters, LGBT characters – a gay ship already, with hints of more sexualities to come – and the dystopia Samantha created, in spite of its flaws, is very accepting. Basically: I read all of her Tumblr asks which reveal much more background about the characters and the world and I just love the way she’s built it all up.
7. Eon by Alison Goodman
Obviously there are a lot of Chinese mythological and cultural elements, but the biggest diversity plus in Eon is the transsexual secondary character. Not only is it awesome to just see that in a book for a change, I love that in this fantasy world, she’s actually regarded as lucky – a transsexual has a “twin soul” which brings good fortune to their community. (Bonus: disabled main character.)
8. Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas
So much diversity in this book, all around – racial, religious, socioeconomic – and the greatest part is that in spite of all of these differences, this diverse cast of characters all manage to become friends. There are so many great messages about acceptance here, and it’s just a ton of Breakfast Club-type fun.
9. More Than This by Patrick Ness
Some people say it’s a spoiler, but View Spoiler »Seth, the main character, is gay « Hide Spoiler. You don’t really find this out until midway through the book, and I love that it was just not an issue or a major plot point. It felt so natural, and it didn’t define his character. Plus, just having this representation in a dystopian novel is a big deal.
10. The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
Okay, there’s a lot to be said for this series being full of forced diversity. Riordan clearly tried to be so all-inclusive that none of it felt genuine – at least to me. But there’s one thing that wins all the awards, though it’s a bit of a spoiler: View Spoiler »Nico being gay « Hide Spoiler. I love that this made it into such a massive, worldwide hit which is mostly read by middle grade readers. It’s helping to foster a culture of acceptance and letting kids find characters they identify with at such an early age.