Our favorites for today (May 24) is Diverse Books.
I’m taking this to mean “diverse” in the all-inclusive sense. Okay that came out as a weird sentence. What I mean is, main characters who are persons of color (NOT just side characters), books which include the LGBTQ spectrum, and ownvoices stories. There will be multiple types of plots going on this list.
My Favorite Diverse YA & Fantasy:
YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD ESCAPED MY TAMORA PIERCE OBSESSION, DIDN’T YOU. I lured you into complacency. It was a plot. I always planned to come back strong with her books leading off this list.
Read Pierce for: POC main characters, eloquent take-downs of bigotry & racism and especially take-downs of misogyny, strong female characters, main character LGBTQ relationship.
Okay I adore Basilton Grimm Pitch. And Simon Snow, but mostly Baz. My favorite snarky vampire love.
Read Rowell for: hilarious dialogue, crazy magic, and main character gay romance.
If you want to talk OLD, old school fantasy series Mercedes Lackey is your source. Consider me your dealer. She got her start with Tarma and Kethry short stories in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s classic Sword and Sorceress anthologies all the way back in 1987. And continued on to her famous Valdemar series. She’s like, the genesis of diverse fantasy from an era when it wasn’t exactly celebrated by publishers.
Read Lackey for: POC main characters (TARMA, MY GODDESS), scathing dismantling of bigotry in general, ownvoices characters with anxiety, panic attacks, the non-anachronistic fantasy version of what’s clearly autism, dyslexia, and PTSD, and main character gay romance. (YES! All of that back in the 1980s-90s).
Prepare to have your heart broken into a thousand perfect pieces, but these are totally worth it. Heartbreak laced with Cait’s signature humor cover every page. You probably know CG Drews as PaperFury and yes, her books are just as offbeat and funny as she is. Also, eviscerating.
Read Drews for: ownvoices books with main characters who have autism, severe anxiety, and OCD.
Mark is a beautiful human being, who has graced the world with his reading of beloved series (like all of Tamora Pierce’s books, I’m JUST SAYING) and watching of cult classics. All so we can watch and feel all warm inside as he hits plot twists head-on and dies a little, for example in season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He is also a debut YA author.
Read Oshiro for: ownvoices books about dealing with panic attacks, racism, and police brutality.
My Favorite Diverse Romances:
Jeannie writes luscious, beautiful books set mostly in Tang Dynasty era China. They’re written so you can see, feel, even taste the culture surrounding you and, oh yeah, there are some sweet romances worked in as well. Seriously if you have any interest in learning some Chinese history as two great characters fall in love, these are for you.
Read Lin for: Main characters who aren’t white Europeans, strong female characters, and and huge dash of rich culture.
Alyssa Cole writes some pretty hilarious plots which don’t shy away from addressing the overt racism her characters have to deal with on a daily basis. And she works in royalty, travel, grumpy Scottish dukes, and plenty of texting as well.
Read Cole for: her brilliant historicals, main characters who are POC, and main character LGBTQ relationships.
I need to read Carry On like so damn bad! I don’t know why I haven’t already. Also YAY FOR TAMORA PIERCE OBSESSION!
I think Baz will become your new wounded cinnamon roll villain type favorite. Just a feeling I have, haha. And Penny! She never gets enough love for the fantastic dialogue she contributes.