These seven books are not only diverse, but they are also great shows of representation. I personally run a blog all about representation in books, TV, and movies.
This Side of Home by Renee Watson
If you’ve checked out some of my reviews before, you already know how much I love This Side of Home. I’ve been talking about it ever since I read it two years ago.
The reason I loved this book so much is that reading this was one of the first times I felt truly represented in Young Adult Fiction. I decided to check out Renee Watson’s Piecing Me Together and it did not disappoint. She’s one of my favorite current authors because her stories are just so real and I always find myself connecting to the characters.
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
After reading All-American Boys for The Battle of the Books in high school (Yes, I’ve always been a book nerd), I knew I needed to check out more works from Jason Reynolds.
I knew I liked his writing, but The Boy in the Black Suit made me love it. I’ve said this a million and one times before, and I’ll say it again: Jason Reynolds is like the Walter Dean Myers of this generation. He has such an amazing range of works from Middle Grade, to YA, to Poetry. This man can really write!
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Last year, I was so excited to read American Street by Ibi Zoboi. It was going to be my first YA novel with a Haitian lead, how rare. The story also claimed to be centered around issues of deportation and the culture clash that the main character would face.
Then, I read the story and I was utterly disappointed. I had such high hopes and I wanted that feeling of representation, but American Street fell so flat for me.
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine restored my faith in Haitian YA. I love stories set in the Caribbean, so having one set in my own family’s country was so much fun to read. As someone who’s grown up in the US but still has strong ties to the culture, I feel like I really understood Alaine.
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
With the Fire on High was one of my favorite reads of 2019. It’s such a rarity for YA Fiction to have a single parent in the story, it’s almost unheard of to have that single parent be the main character. This story is so well written and really captures the reader. I highly recommend it. Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X was actually the first book I read that year. I’ve listened to her poetry before and I love her writing style.
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Dear Martin is such a well told, gripping story. What I especially love about it is that it’s its own kind of story. It’s not a repeat of every other police brutality story.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Nicola Yoon was another author that really surprised me. I read Everything, Everything as another Battle of the Books challenge in high school. It was a great story. Something I liked about it was that it was an interracial love story without the emphasis being on the fact that they were different races. The premise of the story was very different from anything I’d read before.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This list wouldn’t be complete without having added this soon to be classic. The Hate U Give should definitely be added to school reading lists all over the US. The movie was actually really good, it took a different turn from the book but I loved it.