Discussion Time: Diversity in YA Books

Diversity seems to be a hot topic in books now. Go back a few years and it was rare to see a book that featured a LGBT relationship, or a book where a POC character was the protagonist. Yes we’ve come a long way, but I think there’s still a long way to go. Diversity is important in books, I don’t think anyone would say it isn’t, so why isn’t there more of it?

Maybe it’s simply a case of slowly introducing it into the market, maybe in another few years there’ll be more books on the shelves that feature characters and relationships that aren’t focused on now. However, is it so bad to say that I’d like to see more diversity now rather than waiting for it?

Diversity in YA Books

Diversity in YA Books

In recent years I’ve seen more and more books that discuss different sexualities. A lot of the time it can be secondary characters, like Magnus and Alec from The Mortal Instruments series or Rhy and Alucard from the Shades of Magic series, but there are also plenty of gay characters who have their own stories, like Simon from Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Seth from More Than This.

Gay Characters and Relationships

The only thing is, it’s rare to see other sexualities represented as much. As many gay characters and relationships I’ve read I haven’t seen books that feature lesbian relationships nearly as much. In fact the only one I can think of off the top of my head is Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. That’s saying nothing of the other sexualities there are, asexual, pansexual, demisexual, transsexual, where is there representation?

everything-leads-to-you

There are plenty of books that feature gay characters and relationships, but where are the books that feature characters of other sexualities? Gay is only one part of the LGBT spectrum but I rarely come across a book that features a bisexual or asexual character.


There are also plenty of books that feature POC characters, even in fantasy as well which I can admit does seem to be lacking diversity when compared to the contemporary YA genre. There’s Cinder, Kai and Winter from The Lunar Chronicles and Maya from The Star-Touched Queen. However what about the different religions? At the end of last year I took part in the Diverse Books Tag and while some of the questions were easy to answer, I even had a couple of books I could have featured for some of the questions, there were a few that I struggled with. A book starring a Muslin protagonist? A book set in Africa? A book set in South Asia? Can anyone answer those questions?

POC Characters


One thing I do think YA books are currently doing well is discussing mental health. There are more and more books that feature characters who have mental health issues, some as big as Solomon in Highly Illogical Behaviour who suffers from agoraphobia, and some more manageable like Autumn in By Your Side. Reading about both character’s struggles allows readers to see that they’re not alone if they’re suffering from the same thing. If you’ve got a young teenager reading a book like this seeing someone else going through the same thing is incredibly helpful.

Mental Health Issues

Diversity is important. People like to see themselves represented in books be it through their heritage, their religion, or their sexuality. It gives us some level of support to see these characters struggling with the same issues we are, and it allows us to connect with them when we see them go through the same things we are.


Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:

Do you think diversity in YA is positive or negative?

Do you think there’s enough diversity in YA books at the moment, or do you want to see more?

Is there any particular type of diversity you’d like to see more in books? Are you struggling to find books that you feel represent you?

Are there any diverse books you can recommend that you feel are must-reads? Bonus points if they focus on more obscure diverse topics that aren’t discussed as much.

Let me know in the comments below.

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57 thoughts on “Discussion Time: Diversity in YA Books

  1. Ahhhhh I love this discussion SO MUCH!! ❤ ❤ I agree with everything you said here. I love the progress we have with diversity right now, but now that I have a taste of such great, wonderfully diverse books out there I just want so much more?? Among all the potential diverse stories, only a few have been told and I really hope that can change. Not to mention positive and correct rep as well!! Diversity shouldn't be just a marketing ploy or something added in just for the sake of it, as some earlier comments mentioned I believe. That always ends with negative and harmful rep, honestly and that defeats the purpose entirely, you know? That being said, I'm so grateful for the Own Voices and just properly-researched diverse books out there because those are the true winners! And I would LOVE to see more diversity in other genres apart from contemporary as well, and see less represented diverse topics included as well, because they do not get enough spotlight. ❤

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    1. Thanks so much Analee, and that’s great to hear. Yeah there is a lot of diversity out there but there definitely needs to be more. Both more of the kind of diverse books we already have and more of the diverse books we don’t have a lot of, or any of!
      No it definitely shouldn’t. That always feels like it’s been placed in to appeal to a certain audience and cater to the growing trend of diversity which is just wrong. It needs to feel natural, and not just diversity for the sake of diversity you know?
      They really are, and it’s always great to read those books because they can be so powerfully written, like The Hate U Give was. 🙂 ❤

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  2. Great post. Personally, I think diversity is VERY important in terms of sending messages to the younger generations and it should be welcome in other genres as well.
    Here in Japan, ‘diversity’ is still scarce – we Japanese tend to be pretty conservative particularly elderly people don’t favor changes or diversity; they are simply not used to such ideas.
    However, the world is changing at such a rapid pace; we should be more open to diversity and I reckon books make a perfect entry to the idea of diversity. Through reading, we can absorb and relate to the idea of diversity with more open mind and it’s so much fun compared to watching documentary/seminars or something.
    In fact, I’ve learned a lot about mental illness from reading some YA fiction like ‘A World without You,’ and ‘Under Rose-Tainted Skies’ and I really appreciate the reading experience.
    The same can be said about gender issues, too.
    To put in a nutshell, we should have a lot more diversity in all genres. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

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    1. Thanks so much, and yeah it’s quite interesting to think of how much just seeing a diverse character in a book can be a lifeline to someone struggling with the same issues. 🙂
      That’s actually an interesting point, and not one I thought of but seeing and reading diversity in books is a great way to get the message across about all the different subjects diversity covers. It would certainly be a teaching experience for people not used to the ideas of change either.
      It’s great to see mental illness focused on in books, I haven’t read either of the two you mentioned but I’ll certainly be checking them out now. 🙂
      That’s all right. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and I think what we’ve seen so far in books really does go to show how necessary diversity is now! 🙂

  3. I feel like YA is a great way to send messages and I wish there were more diversity. I haven’t read that many YA books but I agree that some subjects have slightly had a surge in interest in stories, like mental health issues, but religions are left behind, and it’s a shame because we learn from books and how do we want our world to be more understanding and diverse if we don’t give readers the cards to understand differences and accept them?

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    1. It’s a great way to influence younger teens in a positive way as well. There are so many diverse books out there I wish had been released when I was younger. There is a lot of diversity in YA, but yeah some topics seem to be left out a little, and ideally I’d love to see more because they’re important topics for sure. There is so much potential in the YA market for diverse books that really do make a different, like you said we learn from books so really we need all the opportunities we can get when it comes to diversity in YA! 🙂

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  4. Excellent post, Beth. You’re nailing that discussion post rhythm! Always have something fantastic to talk about! 😛 This whole diversity talk in books, ESPECIALLY YA is crazyy apparent and strong nowadays. I feel like it’ll always be at the top of the trending list for buzz words in bookworm-central. I feel like authors have done a fantastic job in introducing them, and at a nice rhythm too. However, I also feel that sometimes it feels forced into books; to the point that you have wonder how pertinent is to the story told. Is it a good thing to have diversity for the sake of diversity? I don’t think so. I also don’t want this whole diversity talk to try and COMPENSATE for the lack of it in the past years or anything. All that would do is make it feel like all we will be getting are stories about diversity or authors tagging their books with the diversity label. Anyways, maybe it’s just me, but authors should strive for powerful and fantastic stories first. The political motives or the need to support diversity shouldn’t drown a book. Great post, again Beth!! 😀

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    1. Thanks so much Lashaan, and I’m so glad to hear that. It really means a lot to me! 😀 Diversity does seem to be a hot topic at the moment, it’s great to see it trending at the moment for sure I just hope it doesn’t mean soon there’ll be a slump in terms of the diverse books released.
      Yeah there was something Marie mentioned in an earlier comment about how she wants to see diversity integrated into the stories and the characters, and I completely agree. It needs to feel like a natural part of the characters and their lives rather than something added just for the sake of diversity like you said.
      It kind of reminds me of some comments I got in my previous discussions. Instead of seeing romance in every book because it appealed to the audience it needs to be more selective in a way and where it fits with the story and the characters, it’s the same with diversity.
      Thanks so much Lashaan! 😀

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  5. I am loving all of your discussion posts Beth & this one is no different! LOVE IT! I honestly feel like we’re moving in the right direction with ddiversity in YA, perhaps not as fast as we would like but there has been much progress. I never had any of these books when I was a teen & feel that this is a new age for readers. Very difficult topics are being discussed among youth, authors, and publishers…every one is learning & trying to turn around the very antiquated norms set by our predecessors. It’s def going to take some time & I am one that sometimes asks well am I going to live to see diverse books as the norm? will it be in my lifetime? not sure, but this is why I try to read as much of it as I can, so that my kids may enjoy what I’m currently missing. In regards to diversity being positive or negative, I 100% fall on the side of positive as long as it’s accurate representation. Which is another reason I prefer to read more Own Voices authors. Everyone (almost everyone lol) at the moment is trying to include some diversity in their books but not all will get it right. Quality over quantity is what I’m looking for. I’d love to see more socioeconomic diversity discussed in books as well as the different sexualities you mentioned here in this post. I’d of course recommend The Hate U Give & my most recent read Noteworthy because they also delve into the topics of low income families & the affects on their livelihoods. Wonderful post Beth 😉

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    1. Thanks so much Lilly. Yeah this is one that’s been playing on my mind for a while so I’m glad I finally had the change to actually sit down and write it! 😀
      I agree we’re moving in the right direction, and I guess slow process is better than no process at all. I just think now I’ve gotten a taste of diversity in YA I want more, and I start to notice the holes where there could be representation but isn’t. No I didn’t either, and I really wish there were books like this when I was younger, it would have been a massive help growing up in some ways.
      I’ve learnt a lot from diverse books, and I think everyone can say that no matter how old they are or what books/characters they associate themselves with you know? Ohh, that’s almost a scary thought because I’d love to see more diverse books on the shelves so the fact that it being the norm may not be in my lifetime it a little upsetting you know?
      Own Voices is something I need to look more into. Yeah it can be hard to write diversity well if you don’t have that experience with it, and I guess as well sometimes bad rep can be just as damaging as no rep. I loved The Hate U Give, honestly there are no proper words for how much I adored that book, and I can’t wait to start Noteworthy when I next have a chance either.
      Thanks so much Lilly! 😀 ❤

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      1. Oh wow, I def agree with bad rep possibly being more damaging than no rep as we’ve recently seen a few books get outed for this reason. Own Voices to me is the best way to go & has provided me with an authentic reading experience I can connect with. I too am learning tons from the diversity in YA movement & welcome all the voices that are only now being heard. I def think it’s a scary thought not being around for the change needed in YA books so I understand the desire to have these books now. Change is sooooo slow & along the way there will be plenty of bumps on the road, I’m just hoping it leads to quality diverse books to love & cherish for generations to come 😉

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      2. There are some quite controversial releases I can think of, and yeah it can do more harm than good for people to think they’re the norm you know? I know I’ve read some Own Voices books, I just need to get around to more. It’s great that it feels like an authentic reading experience for you, hopefully it will feel that way for me too! 🙂
        Definitely scary, but here’s hoping we at least see some of the changes, if not all. There is a lot of diversity that still need representation so I can imagine it will take a while for it all to get a voice in the YA genre. 🙂

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  6. This is such a great discussion, Beth! 😊 I completely agree with every single thing you said in this. Especially about showcasing other sexualities on the LGBTQ+ spectrum because more and more and more lately I’m noticing how I’ve rarely come across something that is within that spectrum that isn’t featuring a gay couple but rather another sexuality. The only one with a lesbian couple that I’ve read was Our Chemical Romance, which they were side characters. Although, I do have Everything Leads to You on my TBR and definitely plan on reading it as soon as I get the chance. But yeah, it would be incredible to see more YA literature feature other sexualities. Doesn’t Every Heart A Doorway feature an asexual or aromantic character? I can’t remember which but I remember Lauren talking about it in her review. It’s been way too long since I read her review for it to remember though. I really want to read that one either way. Anyway! I also completely agree about mental health doing well in YA at the moment. Though I have to admit that I’ve come across more that have bad rep in the last year than have good rep. Maybe I’ve just been reading the wrong books? Most likely lol. But overall I think diversity is extremely positive in YA right now! There’s so much open talk about it, pushing for more diverse books, and just so many being released. It’s a great step forward and I’ve even noticed more diversity popping up in fantasy which is incredible because as diverse books go it’s rarer to find a great fantasy with diversity. Also, I saw Marie’s comment above about how books should just be effortlessly diverse, how it should feel natural. I’m completely with her on that because it should. And honestly I don’t think there will ever be enough diversity in YA. We’ll always need more because there’s a limitless amount of things that can be covered. And as for topics I want to see in books. I really want to see more books that showcase social anxiety, learning disabilities, or just disabilities in general. I especially feel like we don’t have a lot of books that have characters with disabilities.

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    1. Thanks so much Melissa, and oh that’s great to hear as well! 😀 When it comes to sexualities it does seem like gay relationships get so much more representation than any other, even lesbian. The only book featuring a lesbian relationship I can think of off the top of my head is Everything Leads To You, (and some secondary characters in ACOWAR) but when it comes to gay relationships I can literally pull ten books off the top of my head, and if I had a chance to think on it more I could probably list another ten on top of that!
      But yeah there’s definitely a need for other sexualities to get some representation. Yeah Every Heart a Doorway has an asexual character, which is great to see, but there are plenty of other sexualities I can’t think of even one book they’re featured in. Also I’d highly recommend Every Heart a Doorway, it’s a great book. 🙂
      Mental health always feels like a hard topic to write about. I’ve seen it done well more often than not but yeah the bad rep can be a minefield to review or talk about sometimes I think.
      I think it’s great to see so much conversation surrounding diverse books on WordPress and just in the YA market, it’s always positive to see diversity taking off the way it has been. I feel like fantasy has a fair way to go to catch up with the contemporary market when it comes to diversity but I know it’ll get there in the end.
      Yeah I completely agree with Marie’s comment, diversity is important but it shouldn’t be all a character is allowed to be either. One day I’d like to see more books featuring diverse characters on the bookshelves than not, something to aim for I guess.
      We definitely need more books where characters have disabilities. I haven’t read any like that before so it could just be I haven’t seen them or there’s a major gap in the market.

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      1. You’re welcome, Beth!! 😁 It definitely does seem like gay relationships get a lot more representation than other sexualities and like you I could pull 10+ books off the top of my head if I really thought about it that feature a gay couple whereas with other sexualities there are some that I’ve never even come across in a book. Which is something I hope is remedied in the future because everyone really does deserve to see themselves in a book. (And speaking of ACOWAR I was so happy about that aspect and hope it’s something SJM explores and expands upon in future books in the series.) And I definitely plan on reading Every Heart a Doorway. It’s on my list for this year and I actually got a free ebook through a promotion last month. 😊
        I agree, mental health always feels like a hard topic to write about. There seems to be this very fine line with it and it’s easy to cross over into being bad rep. Last month I actually read a NA where one of the main characters was bipolar and while the author meant well, I think, the rep ended up being kind of bad. I have a lot on my TBR that everyone has said has positive rep though and definitely need to pick them up and read them already.
        I completely agree! It’s great seeing so much conversation going on about diverse books and just how big the push for more is and how that is such a big reason why we’re seeing more and more diverse books. Fantasy really does have a long way to go though but I agree it’ll get there in the end. Slowly but surely!! 😊
        Same, I hope to see more books on shelves with diverse characters than not too. It shouldn’t be so hard for that to happen, in my opinion. I see it as the fact that we live in a diverse world and our books should naturally reflect that. Even in fantastical book worlds.
        I’ve seen very few books with characters with disabilities myself. I can count on one hand the number I’ve come across and read.

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      2. It does make you wonder what it is about gay characters and relationships that gets so much more representation than any other? I guess with the sexualities like asexual, pansexual, etc. they’re not as well known so maybe authors don’t know how to write them well, but it definitely makes me wonder why there aren’t as many lesbian characters in books. I guess we can only hope that as we see more and more diversity that applies to other sexualities as well.
        Same same same, and oh I know you likely won’t be able to get to it soon but I’m already so excited to see your review for Every Heart a Doorway! 😀
        It’s almost like it’s easier to slide in bad rep with mental health than any other kind of diversity out there. It’s a shame because I think of all the diverse books out there mental health ones are ones we could really do with seeing more of. People seem to love diverse books and I guess as long as that continues more authors will try and cater to that love you know? We’re seeing more diversity in fantasy I think, just not as much as we’ve already seen in contemporary books.
        No, and more diverse diverse books as well. Books that feature topics on diverse aspects that haven’t been written about before. One day I’d love to be able to pick ten books off the top of my head that feature pansexual characters, or characters who are bipolar.
        Would one of them be I’ll Meet You There (by Heather something, can’t remember her last name) I still have that on my to-read list but I remember reading somewhere it featured a disabled character.

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      3. Definitely, it does make you wonder why gay characters are more common than any other sexuality in books. If I’m being honest I think a lot of it has to do with authors not having the knowledge on all of the other sexualities out there. Or possibly because writing gay characters feels safer, you know? Less of a chance to accidently get something wrong. Which, yeah, there’s a world of knowledge on the internet but even with that I think it’s scary to venture into writing something you might feel like you don’t have enough knowledge about. But then that’s where own voices comes in and it’s through that that I feel we’re getting even more diversity in books and a showcasing of more sexualities. Given that own voices has to do with authors writing books featuring characters like them. But same about books featuring lesbian characters, I wonder why there aren’t more too. Either that or I’ve just not come across a lot.
        I agree, it does seem like it’s easier to slide in bad rep where mental health books are concerned. Mostly because of lack of knowledge, I feel. It’s harder to catch at times as well when you don’t know enough about the topic. Definitely a shame because, like you said, we could really do with seeing more diverse books concerning mental health. And yep, as long as there continues to be a love and push for diversity in books I agree that authors will keep trying to cater to that.
        Same! At the moment I can only even think of two books that feature bipolar characters so, yeah, hopefully one day I can think of ten or more. Same goes for ever diverse topic that still isn’t seen a lot in books. YES! I’ll Meet You There is one of the books I know of that features a disabled character. You should so read that one! 😁

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      4. I’m really not sure why but there’s likely a reason. Maybe gay characters are easier to write but again I wonder why that is? Yeah I think other than gay, lesbian and bisexual the other sexualities are kind of all lumped under the LBGT+ banner and there’s not much information on them as there is on other more common sexualities.
        Own Voices is definitely something I need to check out, and it’s great we’re seeing author write about their own experiences in books (or not their own experiences but their own representation you know?). If you haven’t come across them then neither have I, the only author I’m aware of who writes lesbian characters is Nina LaCour, but there are bound to be others out there.
        Mental health is something that affects everyone different, but I feel bad rep when it comes to mental health can be more dangerous than anything (kind of like the whole controversy surrounding 13 Reasons Why at the moment, not sure if you’re aware of that). Well if the rest of the world is like this corner we have on WordPress then there’s definitely a lot of love for diversity in books! 😀
        I can’t even think of two so you have a heads up on me there. One day there’ll be more. I have I’ll Meet You There on my to-read list, it’s one I want to try and get around to soon but when soon is who knows? 🙂

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      5. I just think it’s a combination of being scared to write what you haven’t experienced or don’t know enough about and then lack of knowledge. There definitely seems to be more material out there with gay characters and the commonality of it in books makes it a subject more easily written, possibly. Who knows for sure? But yeah, at lot of sexualities do seem to be lumped under the LGBTQ+ banner and some there are more knowledge about while others do fall to the wayside. Which it completely sucks that it’s that way and hopefully that changes because it would be incredible to one day have books with transgendered characters, for example, be as common as those with gay characters. We need that in YA because it’s so heavily geared towards teens and seeing themselves in a book or even just having a book that gives them knowledge they might not have gotten otherwise is so important.
        I so need to read more Own Voices books myself. There’s so many incredible ones that have been published this year so far too and I’ve only read two. I need more time for all of the books! There definitely have to be others out there. Just a matter of us finding them, I guess. 😁
        I completely agree, mental health is something that affects everyone different but yeah bad rep can be more dangerous than anything. And I’ve heard about the 13 Reasons Why controversy. That one definitely goes either way because some say the book/show helped them a lot while others say it hurt them. I think it’s definitely one of those things that needs a million trigger warnings and shouldn’t be read or watched by everyone. And I’m so disappointed in the amount of people out there using it to make jokes about things that aren’t jokes, it’s disgusting. It has me avoiding anything about it at the moment honestly. 😖 I feel like it was created with good intentions but well you know what they say about good intentions…
        Oh there definitely is! 😊

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      6. Yeah it’s got to be harder to write diversities you don’t know about first hand, but given that every single diverse book isn’t an Own Voices one there are probably plenty of people who are managing it. I guess it’s just about how much research you’re willing to do on the subject. I guess maybe that’s why there’s more books featuring gay relationships than any other, because the research on those sexualities is more easily found than most others you know?
        There are a few books with transgender characters, can’t think of any off the top of my head, but yeah it would be great if eventually all sexualities got the same expose gay characters seem to be at the moment. It’s definitely important that teens have that representation. I remember reading somewhere that asexuals make up 1% of the population, which may not sound like much but it’s almost three times the amount of people who make up Australia. That’s a lot of people.
        I have some Own Voices books on my to-read list likely, just a matter of actually getting around to them. I’m not 100% aware of Own Voices so I’ve probably read more than I think purely by coincidence.
        I’ve spoken about the 13 Reasons Why thing with so many people. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on it but as long as they respect each others (mine is that I’m not going to watch the show or read the book because I think it’s bad rep) then that’s fine with me. Everyone sees the show in their own way. I haven’t seen any of the jokes but yeah, that is kind of disgusting.

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      7. It does but you’re right, given that every diverse book out there isn’t Own Voices there are plenty of people managing it. I think that most of the diverse books I’ve read haven’t been Own Voices so… Though I can’t be sure about that since I didn’t know what Own Voices was until this year. But yeah, that’s what I’m thinking about gay characters being more common than other sexualities in books because of there being more out there in terms of research where that isn’t always the case for others.
        See, the only book I can think of that I’ve read featuring a transgender character is The Song Rising. Which ever since I read that book it’s become more and more obvious how I’ve never seen it in another book before. Makes me want to see if there’s a reading list on GR or something for books that feature transgender characters. And wow I didn’t know that! Just goes to show even more how important representation is in books. To think so many people are asexual yet there are so little books out there that feature characters who are.
        I have a lot on my TBR because of several bloggers I follow posting huge lists at the beginning of the year. Then so many have been released. But yeah, that’s what I’m thinking because I’m not always aware if a book is Own Voices either so there’s a chance that I’ve read more than I think.
        I haven’t had a lot of discussion about 13 Reasons Why online but I completely agree. There are so many differing opinions that I think it’s just a matter of everyone respecting each others. Some are never going to watch it, some hate it, and some love it. And I’m completely okay with that. I do have to say that I don’t agree with them making a second season. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to continue it given everything. I know I won’t be watching it.

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      8. I don’t have a lot of experience with what books are Own Voices and what ones aren’t. Chances are I have read more books that aren’t Own Voices but that doesn’t mean I’ve read none (really hope this is making sense) and given that pretty much all the diverse books I’ve read I’ve loved it just goes to show you don’t need personal experience to write diverse characters well, just a dedication to research. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what Own Voices was until recently wither, and yeah I think that’s got to be why there are more books with gay characters than other sexualities.
        Oh, yes, I completely forgot about The Song Rising but you’re right! The one I was thinking of was If I Was Your Girl but I can’t remember who that was written by. There is a reading list on Goodreads for pretty much everything so year there’s got to be one for transgender characters. Yeah my brain keeps hold of random and facts and that’s one I remember really clearly because I was shocked as well, yet there are more books set in Australia than there are featuring asexual characters!
        I’ve added more diverse books to my to-read list simply because of other’s bloggers reviews and recommendations and LitBingo projects. I’ve honestly found so many books that way and it’s been brilliant!
        I haven’t seen much discourse online about 13 Reasons Why, mostly it’s been articles I’ve read and conversations I’ve had at work and with my friends. I mean we all have different opinions on it and we’re still friends so respecting people’s opinions does work! 😀 Oh I didn’t know they were making a second season. Yeah either way, still not watching it myself either.

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      9. That’s what I’m thinking, that I’ve read more Own Voices books than I’m probably aware of. But yeah, you’re right, given that there are a lot of diverse books out there that aren’t Own Voices it does go to show that you don’t actually need personal experience to write something if you research it really well.
        I think I’ve heard of If I Was Your Girl. I could swear that I’ve seen a review floating around the blogosphere at some point. Either way, I’m going to have to look that one up on GR. Right? I love how there’s so many reading lists on GR. It helps a lot with being a mood reader too because you just have to look up a subject or genre and bam a list! I’m going to check later on to see if there’s one for books with transgender characters. 😁
        I’ve done the same! That’s my favorite part of all the reading challenges, peoples lists. I don’t think I could ever participate in one myself because too much of a mood reader but they always help me find a lot of diverse books I wasn’t aware of.
        I think I’ve seen a lot of the discourse over 13 Reasons Why because of twitter. It was a big subject on there for a while. And it’s the same with me and my friends, we have such different opinions on a lot and yet we’re still great friends. Definitely all about just respecting each other’s opinion. 😊

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      10. Exactly, and if you think about it it’s the same with any book. Not all stories featuring a male protagonist are written by men, and there’s no way to experience some of the situations fantasy book characters find themselves in. It seems to be research that matters more than anything, no matter the book.
        I’ve seen one or two reviews so far, and I think opinions are mixed on it but I haven’t read it yet or anything. God yes, so many of the books I’ve found on my to-read list are thanks to GR lists! 😀
        I don’t think I’ll ever participate in one either for the same reason. It’s hard to stick to a challenge when one day you just know you won’t fancy reading any of the books for the challenge.
        It still seems to be a big subject in some places. I haven’t seen much about it on Twitter but this is just based on conversations I’ve had with my friends about it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      11. That’s true. I hadn’t thought about it that way. It definitely seems to be a matter of research, which with the internet at our finger tips to provide research or social media to talk to people who have experienced what we want to write about plus even libraries for research there can be a lot out there to go on. Just a matter of finding the right and factual information.
        I actually just looked at a few reviews on GR and it does seem to be mixed but overall there are a lot of positive ones. Also, I found a YA transgender book list on GR! Which I discovered that quite a few were already on my TBR. 😊 I also found a list of YA books with asexual characters.
        Exactly! I applaud those that have the ability to stick to reading challenges because I’m such a finicky reader that I would probably start one and drop it the next day lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      12. There’s plenty of resources pretty much at our fingertips now to enable people to write about these kind of thing without experiencing them themselves. Maybe Own Voices books are better because the author has personal experience but at the same time non Own Voices books can be just as good.
        Yeah I remember there being mixed reviews for If I was Your Girl, but at least you’ve found other books from it, ohh, I’ll have to check out some diverse Goodreads lists, see what I can find on it! 😀
        I’m the same, the downfalls of being a mood reader right? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      13. There really is and I agree. Own Voices books are better because it’s the author writing about their experiences but even ones that aren’t can be incredible. I think books that are diverse that aren’t Own Voices that turn out incredible and non-problematic show how much effort the author put into truly understanding what they’re writing about. 😊
        You so should! I never realized how many diverse lists there were until I looked up those few which led to some others.
        Yep! The downfalls of being a mood reader lol. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      14. I may have to sort the diverse books I’ve read into Own Voices and not Own Voices, see if I’ve noticed a difference in the quality of each you know?
        Oh yes, there have probably been some non Own Voices books out there I’ve loved so so much. I think it’s the same with any book though, the ones where you can tell how much effort and research the author put in are always so much better. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think there’s been a definite surge in diverse books in YA fiction in recent years, which is great, but there’s always room for more 🙂 Like you said, there are still so many people who’re not represented at the moment and that’s a real shame.

    The only thing I worry about is that diversity will become a “trend”. I’ve already seen books where diverse characters are clearly thrown in because the author felt like they had to include some kind of diversity. Ergo, it came off forced and just…wrong. The last thing we need is misrepresentation. So, yes, I’m hoping for more diverse YA books but the ones that do it right and integrate diversity into the story rather than force it in.

    Great discussion, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah there really has been a surge, and it’s great to see even that at the moment. My hope is one day there are more diverse books than not on the shelves, even if it’s just stories that feature diverse characters as secondary ones you know?
      There does need to be more representation and I get what you mean because I’ve seen books that do the same thing. It definitely feels forced and as much as I love seeing diverse characters represented they shouldn’t be a placeholder you throw into your story to appeal to that audience.
      Integrating diversity is something mentioned in another comment and I 100% agree with that. There’s diversity all around us in real life and a lot of the time it isn’t the forefront of that persons personality, it should be the same in books I think.
      Thanks so much! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Diversity should be a natural part of the main character’s life or be part of their identity but it shouldn’t be their whole identity if you know what I mean? It shouldn’t be “this book features a POC MC” but rather “this book features an interesting / smart / … character who happens to be a POC”
        I don’t know if that made any sense 😄

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes I definitely get what you mean. There is so much more that makes up a character than simply their sexuality or the colour of their skin. They should have more defining traits that make them unique because it’s what you normally kind for other non-diverse characters.
        Don’t worry it made perfect sense to me! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely discussion, Beth! I do think that Diversity is so important in books, but it should not “make” a book, it should be an effortless part of every single story, I think. We should not have to struggle to see books with characters from different nationalities, background, sexualities, religious beliefs and more and more. I think it should be something that should be integrated as naturally as possible in any story for sure – except if it’s a contemporary that really wants to put an emphasis on a particular diverse struggle or issue, but that’s something else entirely 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie! 🙂 I completely get what you mean. It’s great to see more diversity in books but it shouldn’t be all a story is about or the defining features of the characters themselves either. It would be great if we started seeing these characters and diverse aspects integrated into stories. On real life there’s plenty of diversity all around us so why should books be any different?
      I think contemporary is one genre that does diversity really well, and yeah when there are struggles are issues it can highlight then really well which I feel is also an important aspect of representing diversity, but you’re right that’s something else entirely. 🙂

      Like

  9. Loved this post! I think we are definable positive with the diversity in YA, but as you mentioned, we still have got a lot of work to do! Also compared to adult or children books YA is definitely way more diverse and I am very happy to see more and more diverse books coming out every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Emma, yeah recently it’s been great to see more diversity in books. My hope is to keep seeing more and more until there are more diverse books than not on the shelves! 🙂
      I don’t really read a lot of adult/children books compared to YA but if that’s the case that’s amazing to hear, and it seems like there are plenty of diverse books still to be released too! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. i LOVE!!!! this discussion with all the capitals and exclamation points in the world. Yes the diversity is finally coming to play but I completely agree that it is still lacking. There are books that do include other sexualities and different PoC but we have to search for them. And I feel like that really sucks because some of these books should be mainstream. Which is why I love the #ownvoices movement because it’s easier to search for Diverse Books. I’m happy that more people are advocating for these types of books though. This year a lot of books that include different PoC and sexualities have released. However, I feel like in the religion aspect it does still lack. There are so many religions in the world but I rarely ever see them in books. Which makes me sad for the teens out here who aren’t being represented in the religious aspect.

    Amazing post Beth!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, thanks so so much Gretchen! 😀 I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to see as much diversity in YA as we currently have but I feel like there’s always going to be a demand for more. Exactly, chances are most people can name loads of books that feature gay relationships that you just come across in the bookstores but it’s a different story all together with the other sexualities. I really need to check out #ownvoices more, I feel it would be really helpful when it comes to me finding my diverse books to add to my to-read list.
      There have been some amazing diverse books released this year, but yeah religious diversity does seem to be lagging behind a bit when it comes to representation. Here’s hoping one day that won’t be the case, and there’ll be more diverse books on the shelves than not! 🙂
      Thanks again Gretchen. 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. YES, Beth, YES. This is a WONDERFUL discussion.

    I think that the diversity in YA is positive, right now. BUT, the diversity shouldn’t be forced. It should come naturally — like you can’t imagine this character any other way. If it’s like “oh no this person has to be bisexual and Native American struggling from anxiety”, it seems… “wrong”. I mean, that’s great that a charrie can be that diverse! But you can’t make your characters diverse just to “be diverse”.

    I don’t think that there could EVER be enough diversity in YA. There are sooooo many differences in the world and in people that we couldn’t possibly cover all of it! However, I think YA should definitely work harder to represent the less represented. I also hope that authors will show more diversity in other genres than contemporary. Obviously, it’s easier with contemporary, but you can always work it into fantasy and sci-fi!

    LOVE this post, Beth! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much May, this is a topic that’s been on my mind lately so I’m glad I finally got around to posting it! 🙂
      I completely agree, it’s great to see diversity in YA books but at the same time authors can’t rely on diversity to sell their books. There needs to be a good story and it needs to have realistic and well developed characters. I almost think with diversity it means the characters need to be more developed, simply because their diverse aspect shouldn’t be all their characters is about.
      No neither do I actually. Ideally I think it would be amazing if one day there was more diversity on the shelves than not. Yeah compared to contemporary fantasy does seem to be lagging behind a little when it comes to diverse characters. It’s easier with contemporary I admit but it can be done in fantasy, The Lunar Chronicles series is a great fantasy series with plenty of diversity! 🙂
      Thanks so much May! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “because their diverse aspect shouldn’t be all their characters is about” <– YES. THAT IS LIKE THE PERFCT DESCRIPTION. The characters can't exist JUST to be the diverse part of the book. They need to be developed, fully fleshed-out characters with a role in the story!

        Oh, yes, TLC is a great diverse sci-fi/fantasy series! Although I still imagine Winter with pale skin. XD

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s what I look for when it comes to diverse characters in books, that they’re more than their sexuality/religion/culture/etc. Character development is important in any story but I feel it’s even more important when it comes to diverse characters.
        Definitely sets the bar for diverse characters, and oh I know what you mean. Not with Winter so much but there are plenty of characters I’ve imagine differently to how they’ve been described. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I think diversity is very important, in YA books and all others as well. I’m really happy to see that there are more and more diverse books coming out each year and I hope to see even more in the future! Great discussion Beth! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is definitely true! I can think of books where the MC is bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual (but then again, I just have a TBR with so many books on it, it’s probably why), and I did read a book set in Africa (it was a horror novel, and unfortunately, not very good, but it still counts)!

    I think my main problem is the fact that most diverse books are contemporary, and I’m not a huge fan of contemporary. I like fantasy and thriller and horror and sci-fi, and though diversity is getting better in those genres, there aren’t THAT many. I want to read diversely, but, unfortunately, a large majority of the books that are sound boring and uninteresting to me, which sounds terrible, but I certainly don’t want it to be that way.

    Great discussion, Beth! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t actually come across many books that feature bisexual, transgender, intersex, and asexual characters. I’m not saying they don’t exist, because obviously they do, but they just don’t seem to be as many when compared to other diverse books you know? I can think of loads of books that feature gay characters, so why not all the other sexualities?
      Yeah that’s the other thing, YA contemporary is becoming a very diverse genre but YA fantasy seems to be a bit behind. The Lunar Chronicles is a great series for diversity but it’s only one in a sea of others. I completely get what you mean. Diversity is important and it’s great to read stories that feature diverse characters but at the same time there needs to be a story you’re interested in as well. I feel the same way, especially when it comes to fantasy books.
      Thanks so much Mikaela! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I really think there needs to be more diversity in YA. I went to do the diversity tag not so long ago but I never ended up posting it because I just didn’t have enough books which really shows something about YA. Great post😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There really does, and even in genres inside of YA. There’s a lot more diversity in contemporary books than fantasy so hopefully in a few more years fantasy will have caught up in terms of diverse characters.
      Oh I know what you mean about the diversity tag. It was so hard answering some of the questions because there aren’t enough books out there for some of the more obscure diversities that need representation.
      Thanks so much! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I think diversity in YA, and books in general, cab only be for the best! I do my best to support diverse authors and books, even if they might not be something I’d normally read. I’m trying to do my bit to show publishers that these books are not only wanted, they’re needed!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, it must be great for young teens to find characters they can relate to, especially if they’re questioning their sexuality or religious beliefs. That’s also a great thing to do to show publishers that. I do feel diversity is a hot topic at the moment especially in bookish communities like on WordPress. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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