I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation but apparently some people will never learn. Doesn’t it pain you to see white straight people at it again, complaining when we make things not about them for once in their privileged lives. “I don’t see skin colour,” they cry, “Who cares if a character is gay or not?” they pout. You know who does care? You know who does see it? The people represented by it.
Dear those who think diversity is wrong: take a look at how angered you are when you don’t see white characters in books. Now multiply that by a thousand, act like you never see yourself represented in media, pretend that when you do it’s usually littered with harmful stereotypes, and then stop. Because that is a reality for people who are not white, who are not straight, who are not able bodied. That is what they face every single day and for you to talk as if diverse literature is a bad thing is disgusting. Utterly disgusting.
So, because I stand for diversity and am sick of the incessant white guy whining, here’s a list of some diverse books I’ve loved with a few I haven’t read yet (but know I will love too) sprinkled in.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
I probably talk about this one enough but if you aren’t already aware of this one I’m head over heels for it. A gripping, character driven story that questions what it means to be smart, the importance of being yourself, and whether university is for everybody. And to top it all off the main cast of characters are delightfully, prominently, non-white and not straight.
You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
Perhaps one of my favourite LGBTQ+ books, You Know Me Well is the most emotionally evocative novels I’ve ever read. It’s a tiny thing of less than 250 pages but the way it celebrates the LGBTQ+ community is phenomenal. Both David Levithan and Nina LaCour are gay so it’s unsurprising they’re so able to pull this off beautifully but I’m so so glad books as epic and filled with pride as this one is exist.
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Yet to be released and unread by this poor soul who doesn’t have an ARC, The Sun Is Also a Star has a super intriguing synopsis which makes me itching to read it. Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of 3 star read Everything, Everything and thought the relationship was pretty insta-love, I do want to see what else Nicola Yoon has to offer and whether this story, between a girl who is being deported in 12 hours and a boy she’s just met on the streets of New York City, will stumble into the same pitfalls.
Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz
Whilst I only enjoyed Something In Between enough to give it three stars, and probably wouldn’t reread it, I think a lot of other people would thoroughly enjoy it. The market for this is definitely there – especially in the current political climate.
Jasmine and her family are on the brink of being deported back to Thailand after it’s revealed her family do not actually have green cards. Whilst I personally felt the story wasn’t executed as well as it could’ve been, the gripping fear Jasmine experiences is tangible. Definitely keep your eye out for this one: out in October!
The To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han
If you’re looking for something lighthearted and utterly adorable, Jenny Han’s got your back. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and the sequel P.S. I Still Love You are delightful romances about Lara Jean Song and her all-over-the-place romantic endeavours. Don’t baulk if love triangles aren’t your thing though – these books are engaging, funny, and sweet nonetheless. Yes there’s a selection of male love interests throughout but half-Korean Lara Jean’s story is one not to miss.
Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
For some reason I didn’t expect to love Not If I See You First as much as I did but Parker Grant is one of my favourite characters ever! Blind, her trust was shattered by her closest friend during childhood and she’s held the grudge ever since. Unlike some characters, Parker is flawed and imperfect – she’s abrasive and quick to judge and, yeah, maybe holding the grudge for so many years wasn’t the best idea.
Parker is definitely no damsel in distress and that’s what I ultimately adore about her. Kick ass, girl.
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Yet to be released, Jennifer Niven’s next novel Holding Up the Universe has been hotly anticipated by a lot of the bookish community.
About an overweight girl and a boy who can’t recognise faces, I’m hoping Jennifer Niven is going to deliver another heartbreaking romance about all-encompassing love. Hopefully it’s not as heartbreaking as All the Bright Places though… Stll getting over that one, thank you very much.
The Last Beginning (The Next Together #2) by Lauren James
Ever since The Next Together came out and I read those final few chapters I’ve been dying for the sequel. The Last Beginning has a f/f relationship, one hella awesome cover, and will hopefully answer all my questions from the first book in an epic way.
This series is a perfect blend of sci-fi and historic, romance and mystery, the epistolary format, mindblowing science and government corruption. It takes clichés and well loved tropes and puts them through their paces. It takes love and shows how strong it is. Plus Lauren James is just a very lovely person, so there’s that too.
What are your favourite diverse reads? Got anything else I can add to the list?