diversity in ya lit

Also, what is stopping JK Rowling from publishing stories with explictly LGBTQ characters now? And why hasn’t she publicly discussed why it would have been difficult for her to include LGBTQ characters in her novels? If it was mostly due to publishing regulations, why doesn’t she just… explain that?

And I admit I haven’t searched for it, but I feel like I would have read something about that by now had she said anything about it.

And not to pick at JK Rowling specifically… all YA lit authors need to be writing diverse characters. 

lgbt+ book recommendations

I often see people talking about how they would like to read more lgbt+ books/series but do not know where to find them. SO I’ve made this list to give people somewhere to start !

PLEASE NOTE; I’ve written which stories are #ownvoices that I know of, some of them that I didn’t mention may be - sometimes it is hard to know, especially since it’s not something all authors write in bio’s ect. :) Please forgive and correct if you know some are #ownvoices that I have not mentioned. 

f/f

  • counting to zero - a.j quinn (#ownvoices)
  • everything leads to you - nina lacour
  • of fire and stars - audrey coulthurst
  • not your sidekick - c.b lee (poc)
  • the long way to a small, angry planet - becky chambers (#ownvoices)
  • a closed and common orbit - becky chambers (#ownvoices)
  • ice massacre - tiana warner
  • axiom: the last hope - marie rachel pearcy (#ownvoices)
  • get it together, delilah ! - erin gough
  • empress of the world - sara ryan
  • the upside down of unrequited - becky albertalli
  • girls man up - m-e girard
  • tell me again how a crush should feel - sara farizan
  • juliet takes a breath - gabby rivera

m/m

  • the foxhole court - nora sakavic (also poc)
  • the raven cycle - maggie stiefvater
  • six of crows duology - leigh bardugo (also poc)
  • aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe - benjamin alire saez (ft. poc characters) (#ownvoices)
  • will grayson, will grayson - john green and david levithan (semi #ownvoices)
  • we are the ants - shaun david hutchinson (#ownvoices)
  • the five stages of andrew brawley - shaun david hutchinson (#ownvoices)
  • the mortal instruments - cassandra clare (also bi rep, poc)
  • the dark artifices - cassandra clare (also bi rep)
  • the love interest - cale dietrich
  • captive prince series - c.s pacat
  • the song of achilles - medeline miller
  • whatever. or how junior year became totally fucked - s.j goslee
  • grasshopper jungle - andrew smith
  • ill give you the sun - jandy nelson
  • simon vs the homosapiens agenda - becky albertalli
  • carry on - rainbow rowell
  • boy meets boy - david levithan (#ownvoices)
  • two boys kissing - david levithan (#ownvoices)
  • the perks of being a wallflower - stephen chbosky
  • the gone series - michael grant (also, lesbian character. However, both side characters (though major ones), and not explored until later books. both poc )

trans

  • a kind of justice - renee james (#ownvoices)
  • if i was your girl - meredith russo (#ownvoices)
  • the art of being normal - lisa williamson
  • george - alex gino (#ownvoices)
  • every heart a doorway - seanan mcguire (asexual character)
  • coffee boy - austin chant
  • when the moon was ours - anna-marie mclemore 
  • roller girl - vanessa north (also f/f couple)

bi

  • adaptation - malinda lo (#ownvoices)
  • ash - malinda lo (#ownvoices)
  • radio silence - alice oseman

other lgbt:

  • magnus chase and the gods of asgard - rick riordan (genderfluid character)
  • every heart a doorway - seanan mcguire (asexual character)
  • the long way to a small, angry planet - becky chambers (gender fluid and non-binary characters - NOTE: this is a space opera and features aliens who are non-binary/gender fluid not humans. however, the main character who is human is lgbt - this is a very socially aware book and I recommend it even if it’s non-human characters) 

FINAL NOTE: I have not read all these books and cannot comment on the representation in all of them, but I have only included books I’ve heard good reception about. 

feel free to add on !! or check my READING LIST for more

a story of one of the many reasons why real diversity in YA lit is important (involving fanart, harry potter, and blue from the raven boys)

so, why is this important to me, a person who can throw a rock in a bookstore and hit a million titles that represent me? 

i don’t know the legitimate hurt feelings that come from growing up never seeing a character accurately share my experiences. at the same time, i never thought twice about the fan art and head canons where harry potter characters were not white. i thought it was absolutely lovely when jk rowling came out and said there was no reason hermione couldn’t be black, or when she said that dumbledore was gay. i was happy that other people were so happy that they could see themselves in such a great story and in such great characters.

BUT.

in my head, hermione is still white. why? it’s not because of emma watson or the fact that for many americans british automatically = white. it’s because when i grew up reading harry potter, white was my baseline. not for any malicious reason. only because that was my experience, and i lived in a super white place where i didn’t get exposure to diversity until i was old enough to start seeking it out. i had no reason when i was a kid to picture her otherwise.

this didn’t hurt me, per se, because i am white, i am the majority in YA lit, i didn’t explicitly need a black hermione or a gay dumbledore. but it did hurt me. it hurt my ability to think about the world in bigger ways, ways that i didn’t start learning about until i was a teenager. it limited me, which then limited my viewpoints.

enter The Raven Boys.

before i ever picked up those wonderfully weird books, i saw posts about it on tumblr. FAN ART EVERYWHERE. and in a lot of it, Blue is depicted as Black or Asian. when i finally read the books, i almost expected Blue to be characterized as a certain race because of all the fan art i’d seen. but just like hermione, blue is never explicitly characterized as a certain race.

so what happened? I read the books and automatically pictured Blue as a WOC. I pictured her family as WOC. this came naturally to me because i had been exposed to diverse viewpoints, and so i was able to read about these characters and these stories and picture them in more and real diverse ways.

THIS IS A GOOD THING.

And if this is such a no-brainer, good thing to me, a white girl who doesn’t need to fight to find representation of myself, THINK OF HOW GOOD DIVERSE REPRESENTATION IS FOR SOMEONE WHO NEEDS THAT REPRESENTATION, FOR SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T AUTOMATICALLY HAVE IT WHEN THEY PICK UP A YA LIT BOOK, FOR SOMEONE WHO EXPERIENCES MARGINALIZATION IN REAL LIFE SO THEY CERTAINLY DON’T NEED THAT MARGINALIZATION IN THE FICTIONAL WORLD. 

this is why real diversity in YA lit is important.

at the end of the day, diversity isn’t about me. it’s about the people that get a voice when diversity happens. it’s about #ownvoices being able to write their own stories, and about people who are not writing from their own experience doing the best they can to accurately capture somebody else’s. diversity has benefits, and a side effect of those benefits is that everybody is better off.

Do you want

- brutally badass female antiheroes?

- quiet, unassuming characters who are surprisingly cunning and powerful?

- girls who are unafraid to fight for themselves?

- diverse representations of women living in an blatantly misogynistic world, each fighting in their own way to live their life how they want?

- dangerous political intrigue and characters with gray moral compasses?

- main characters with gray moral compasses?

- a cut-throat alternate historical fiction setting?

- a historical fiction setting that’s not Western Europe?

- queer/LGBTQA+ representation?

- Muslim representation?

- queer/LGBTQA+ Muslim representation? 

Read And I Darken by Kiersten White 

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BOOKS I READ IN 2016: Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

What makes you think I want to keep doing that? I want to be my own person, be liked for who I am, not just for copying you!

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MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2017 [1/?] → The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

↳“Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.“ (Goodreads)

anonymous asked:

Do you have a list of YA books that don't feature romance as a main plot, only as a minor/background sub-plot involving other characters? As an aromantic and asexual teenage girl, it would be really nice to read a book in which it isn't the main focus and not feel like a freak of nature for once. Thanks!

Editor of YA Interrobang here! First of all, you should never - ever - feel like a freak of nature. Half of Team Interrobang is on the asexual spectrum, including me, and there are plenty of authors who are asexual or aromantic or both, even if it’s not something they actively discuss. (Take Katie Locke, for instance, an author on the asexual spectrum whose debut YA novel hits shelves next year.) You are not alone, and you are no more a freak than I am.

But time to answer your actual question! Here are some books with as little romance as possible or no romance:
- A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
- Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
- The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
- Archivist Wasp by Nicole Korhner Stace
- Tunnel Vision by Susan Adrian
- Seven Second Delay by Tom Easton
- The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
- The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
- Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
- This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
- A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro
- Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (out in UK now, releases in US in March 2017)
- On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis
- I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
- Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall
- Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung (releases in September)
- Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
- The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
- Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
- Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner
- You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (releases 2017)
- and many, many more, but if I keep going my fingers will break

Here are some books with specifically asexual characters:
- This Song Is Not For You by Laura Rawlin
- Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari
- Ultraviolet + Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson
- The Beast of Callaire by Saruuh Kelsey
- Make Much of Me by Kayla Bashe
- Deadly Sweet Lies by Erica Cameron
- We Awaken by Calista Lynne
- As Autumn Leaves by Kate Sands
- Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (a personal favorite)
- We Go Forward by Alison Evans
- Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (releases 2017)

Tristina Wright’s 27 Hours, which releases in 2017, has a character that is both asexual AND aromantic.

And here are posts on YA Interrobang that may be of interest to you:
- Calista Lynne talks about sexual representation in YA
- Adrianne Strickland talks writing as a genderqueer asexual
- Julie Daly talks asexual representation in YA (with recs)

Happy reading!
- Nicole ( @nebrinkley ), editor

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diverse book recast:  the enemy series by charlie higson  london crew leaders

the enemy is a post-apocalyptic young adult horror novel first published in 2009. The series takes place across London, after a worldwide sickness has infected adults, turning them into something akin to voracious, cannibalistic zombies.  In order to survive, the surviving children band into crews and groups, many sheltering in iconic london architectures and locations such as buckingham palace, parliament house and the tower of london. Crews possess their own beliefs and cultures, sometimes incompatible with the other kids around them,leading to street wars and crew clash. 

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young adult:

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (trans girl mc in a relationship, happy ending)

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cron-Mills (trans boy mc with his own radio show, happy ending)

Look Past by Eric Devine (mystery/thriller with a trans boy mc)

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie McLemore (trans boy mc, happy relationship, happy ending, magical realism + trans woman minor character)


middle grade:

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (trans girl + bipolar boy dual pov, supporitve family and friends)

George by Alex Gino (trans girl mc, ultimately supportive family and friends)

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Fall To-Read List

There are seriously so many amazing books coming out this coming October. These are just a fraction of the ones on my to-read list. What books by/about PoC are you planning on reading this fall?

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress #1) by Julie C. Dao

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Love grows such strange things. For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Akata Warrior (Akata Witch #2) by Nnedi Okorafor

A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book.

Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity. [Image and summary via Goodreads]