#OwnVoices · Books · Diverse Books · Young Adult

Top 7 Diverse YA Books on My TBR

Happy Monday, everyone! For today’s post, I wanted to share with you all the diverse young adult novels that are currently on my long-term TBR (to-be-read) list. I have heard phenomenal things about every single one of these novels, and through having awesome friends and family, I own a copy of them all as well. Now, I just need to get off my lazy ass and read them!

I will be providing you with the subgenres, a brief synopsis, a couple of the reasons why I am looking forward to reading them, and everything is ordered from number seven to my number one pick.

7. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

  • #OwnVoices Mexican-American Literature; Contemporary Fiction
  • The book follows Gabi Hernandez during her senior year of high school and all the shit that she must deal with, from her best friend coming out as being gay to his strict parents, to her dad’s meth addiction, and how her super religious Tia Bertha is always ranting about the dangers of premarital sex. Written in lyrical diary format, we get to watch Gabi navigate through all these ordeals, while prepping for college.
  • I have read reviews describing the perspectives the novel offers on slut- and fat-shaming as being “refreshing.” I also want to read how a young woman tackles all the conservative expectations of her family, while trying to balance creating an identity that is wholly her own.

6. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

  • #OwnVoices Korean Literature; Contemporary Romance
  • Desi Lee is a very smart young girl who believes that if you have a plan, anything is possible. It is how she became student body president and varsity soccer star, and that is how she plans on getting into Stanford. The only thing Desi has never experienced is having a boyfriend. In fact, she is quite a disastrous hot mess when it comes to love. So, when the hottest dude ever walks into her life, she turns to the only textbook she can: Korean Dramas (K-Dramas). But when her fun theatrics mutate into actual, hard-core feelings, Desi finally learns that real love is nothing like a drama.
  • This sounds hilarious as all hell. As someone who occasionally watches K-Dramas, I am curious to see what sorts of things Desi will try out to obtain the romance she is after. But my main interest in this is because it sounds super amusing and feel-good.

5. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

  • LGBTQIA+ Romance, Fantasy (*I am not sure if the author herself is from the LGBTQIA+ Community, so I cannot comment on whether this is #OwnVoices in that regard*)
  • “Sixteen-year-old Mina is motherless, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone―has never beat at all, in fact, but she had always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she will have to become a stepmother. Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start.” –Taken from inside of the book cover.
  • I love fantasy and the world for this story sounded very intriguing to me. When you combine that with a Queer romance about rivals, or enemies, who eventually develop feelings for one another (a trope I enjoy if executed well), I knew I had to add it to my TBR.

4. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

  • #OwnVoices Indian Literature; Fantasy
  • “No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer is not enough. The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on one another. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.” –Taken from inside of the book cover.
  • All the Indian culture, lore, and mythology have caught my interest, and more than a few Indian bloggers that I follow have found great pleasure in this book.

3. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

  • Vietnamese-American Literature; Dark Fantasy
  • “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 fulfil 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 to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fuelled 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.” –Taken from inside of the book cover.
  • My main reason for wanting to read this is that it is East Asian inspired. I absolutely love East Asian literatures, especially when they are rich with fantastical elements. The second reason is that has been described to be very dark and beautifully written.

2. Want by Cindy Pon

  • #OwnVoices Chinese Literature; Science-Fiction
  • “Set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died because of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.” –Taken From inside of the book cover.
  • I love science-fiction and the premise for this novel sounds magnificently original. It also sounds like it’s going to be a great combination of high-tech science, with environmental sciences, and I have heard that it is fast-paced and remarkably written.

1. Boy of Fire and Earth by Sami Shah

  • #OwnVoices Pakistani-Australian Literature; Fantasy
  • “Born of a smokeless fire, and raised in Karachi, Wahid’s life comes apart when he loses the girl he loves to vengeful djinns. Setting out on a journey to recover her soul and find out the truth of his own origins, he is accompanied by Iblis, the Devil himself. Together, they traverse a city infested with corrupt cops and hustling beggars, and discover deathly creatures lurking under the its sinister surface, even as the threat of Judgment Day looms large.” – Taken from back cover of the book.
  • The first thing that caught my attention was the recommendation given by another brilliant book blogger. The second is the fact that this is fantasy laced with Pakistani-Islamic culture and lore. I have also heard this is breathtakingly dark and magnificently written.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. If you have read any of these, please let me know what you thought of them down in the comments section! Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing.

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