I’m Jess, a teenage book blogger from the UK, and I love reading YA as well as exploring other genres, like the classics and poetry.
One of my favourite things to look out for in a book is how diverse it is, which to me means having a range of sexual orientations and ethnicities included in the book. Diversity in literature is so important, as I think it’s key that everyone can recognise themselves in books, so here are five books that I would recommend to anyone looking for something diverse to read.
- Radio Silence by Alice Oseman – this book is one of my favourite books of 2016, but as well as being an all-round amazing read, it’s also incredibly on the diversity front. There is such a wide range of sexualities included, and nearly all of the main characters are on the LGBT spectrum. The main character is also mixed race, and there is a scene in the book where she discusses with another character how they wished they’d embraced their heritage more. I honestly couldn’t recommend this book enough, and I think it’s an essential book for anyone looking to read about more diverse characters.
- All of the Above by Juno Dawson – this book is practically overflowing with themes that make it perfect for this list! Juno Dawson explores friendship, sexuality and mental health, and there is a range of ethnicities too. In fact, Juno Dawson is definitely a champion of diversity, as her books always include a range of characters, so you can’t really go wrong with any of her books if you’re looking for diversity.
- Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Becky Albertalli’s debut novel definitely made an impression on me because of how much I enjoyed it, but it’s also wonderfully diverse, as the plot focuses on Simon and his sexuality, as well as his relationship with an online friend, Blue. There is also variety in the ethnicities of the characters. The book is funny and romantic, but also sad, and overall it’s such an emotional read.
- Cwtch Me If You Can by Beth Reekles – this addition to the list is slightly different from the others as it’s a short story, not a full length novel, but I still thought it would be great for this list. I think it could have been easy to brush over diversity in a short story, as there isn’t much room for subplots or supporting characters. However, Beth Reekles slipped in additions to the book, such as that one of Alex’s female co-workers had a girlfriend, and that Alex was of Indian descent, which meant that, for me, it was definitely a diverse book. It’s also more of a new adult story, and the fact that it’s a short story means it’s great for people who want something diverse to read but don’t have much time on their hands.
- Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley – the plot in this book focuses around two girls, Linda and Sarah, who are white and black respectively, and their budding feelings for each other during the process of desegregation. I was horrified by the way Sarah and her friends were treated at the previously all-white school, and definitely think that it is a very, very important book. The addition of their relationship, which doubled the opposition they would face as a couple, made for an amazing idea, and Robin Talley wrote it well. This is a book I will recommend time and time again, both for its plot and the diversity within.