Thanks so much to Lauren at Wonderless Reviews and Casey at Adoptabookaus, who both tagged me to take part in the Diverse Books Tag! Please go and check out their posts and all of their brilliant recommendations for diverse books.
Diversity and own voices have always been important in literature, but now more so than ever. I’m the first to admit that I could and should and will diversify my reading. Although I’ve read a few of the books on this list (and brilliant they absolutely were) it’s time for me to do better.
I could definitely do with a little helping hand in breaking out of my reading comfort zone and tracking down some exciting books from different communities, voices, cultures and parts of the world, so if y’all have any recommendations, feel free to throw them my way!
- Credit the original creator, Read Diverse Books.
- The Diverse Books Tag is a bit like a scavenger hunt. I will task you to find a book that fits a specific criteria and you will have to show us a book you have read or want to read.
- If you can’t think of a book that fits the specific category, then I encourage you to go look for one. A quick Google search will provide you with many books that will fit the bill. (Also, Goodreads lists are your friends.) Find one you are genuinely interested in reading and move on to the next category.
Find a book starring a lesbian character
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I haven’t actually read this book because it isn’t out yet, but based on everyone’s love of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda coupled with the synopsis of this book, I will totally be getting my hands on it once it has been published. There are so few YA books that have lesbian protagonists, so I’m super excited to see what Becky Albertalli offers in this book. Early reviews are promising!
Find a book with a Muslim protagonist
Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
I love the sound of this book, partly because the synopsis makes it sound like a very, very funny read, but also because it’s an own voices book that I could learn something about a different culture from. After finding it through taking part in this tag, I’m definitely adding it to my TBR.
Find a book set in Latin America
A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabury
This gorgeous little thing has been on my radar for way too long. Set in Puerto Rico, it’s a richly drawn book that features curses, poisonous plants, legends and romance. NEED IT IN MY LIFE.
Find a book about a person with a disability
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sarah Barnard
I’ve read some incredible books in 2016 and this book is up there with the best of them. The research Barnard has done to create a realistic portrayal of the deaf community, as well as doing justice to the complexity of Steffi’s selective mutism is absolutely stunning. It’s a sensitive, funny and refreshing book where the characters aren’t defined by their disabilities or by their romantic relationships.
Find a sci-fi or fantasy book with a PoC protagonist
Blame by Simon Mayo
Although this book didn’t grab me in the way I wanted it to, I loved the main characters. The story is told from the perspective of Ant and her brother, Mattie, who are British Haitians. Their identity is really well realised and I liked the way the importance of their heritage was demonstrated through the siblings speaking Haitian-Creole when they were angry or in need of comfort from one another. You can find my review here.
Find a book set in (or about) any country in Africa
City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
This is another book that isn’t out yet, but I am keeping my beady little eyes on. Natalie C. Anderson’s debut novel is an action-packed murder mystery set in Kenya. ARC reviews are absolutely gushing, so I have a good feeling about this one. Also, can we just take a sec to appreciate the sheer gorgeousness of that cover? *SWOON*
Find a book set in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka etc.)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
So I’ve been trying to find YA books that I can use for this tag because that is primarily what my blog is about and what I love to read, but I’ve come to realise that YA books set in South Asia are extremely thin on the ground. I actually have a copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns, which was sent to me in a book exchange and I am very excited to read it, but I would love someone to recommend me a YA book from this part of the world. Any ideas?
Find a book written by an Indigenous or Native author
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
In this book, award-winning author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a aspiring cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. I know shamefully little about Native American culture, but this book seems as good a place as any to start!
Find a book with a biracial protagonist
Checkmate (Noughts and Crosses #3) by Malorie Blackman
Checkmate is the penultimate instalment in Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series, which is about a society divided and categorised by race. It was one of the first dystopia books that I came across as a teenager and the way that racism and society is unpicked is both incredibly insightful and incredibly moving. Checkmate is about Callie-Rose, the biracial daughter of Nought and a Cross.
Find a book starring a transgender character or about transgender issues
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
There are some other books about transgender issues and trans characters that are high up on my TBR (If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo and Beast by Brie Sprangler, namely) but Lisa Williamson’s The Art of Being Normal has become a firm favourite of mine. It’s the story of David, who wants to live as a girl. It’s got just the right balance of humour and heartbreak, and it really opened my eyes to how difficult it must be to know that you were born in the wrong body, as the wrong gender. You can find my review here.
Anyone who’d like to get involved in the diverse books movement, push their reading boundaries or simply fancies having a go at this tag!
What are the best books with diverse characters or settings that you’ve read recently? Have a fave indie publisher or #OwnVoices author you can’t get enough of? I’d be stoked to hear about them, so spread the love and gimme those recommendations in the comments.