Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

This is a feature on The Broke and the Bookish, and this topic is books with diverse characters.  I really like this topic since I personally try to read books with more diversity.  I'll try to include several that have intersectional diversity.

1. What We Left Behind by Robin Talley - This was the first book that I thought of for this list, since there is a lot of diversity in it.  Basically the entire cast of main characters is somewhere on the LGBTQIA spectrum, and not only that, but there are also secondary characters of diverse races (one is African American and one is Korean).  Within the LGBTQIA spectrum, this book explores some of the areas under that that are often underrepresented.  For example, one of the narrators is genderqueer, and this is the first book that I have ever read with a genderqueer character.  There are also several trans characters.  I have a lot of thoughts on this book, and it isn't out until October, which is when my review goes up, so read my review when that goes up to get more of my thoughts.

2.  More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera - This book has so much diversity, with its gay main character who is Latino and of the lower socioeconomic bracket.  I haven't read very many books with people from a lower SES, but the ones that I have read have been good, including this one.  Aaron lives in a small apartment with his mom and brother in the Bronx, in a rougher neighborhood that is riddled with street fights and violence.  The book doesn't gloss over how difficult it is to be gay in this neighborhood, and how Aaron has to deal with these challenges.

3.  Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler - One of the two narrators of this book is Korean American, and, as she discovers a bit later in the story, lesbian.  Her name is Van and she is an actress in Hollywood.  This book really shows how it is already difficult for her to get roles as a Korean American, and she worries that it will be even more difficult if she comes out as a lesbian.  There are a lot of things in Hollywood that are working against her.  Also, the girl that she likes, Bri, is bisexual, and she shows the difficulties of bi-erasure through one of her past experiences that she tells Van about.

4.  Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz - The narrator of this book is bisexual, black, and has an eating disorder.  This book deals heavily with issues of biphobia and bierasure through Etta's narration.  Etta used to be friends with a group of lesbians at her school, but she is basically kicked out of their group after she has a relationship with a boy.  It shows how people who are bi can have trouble feeling accepted by both the straight community and the LGBTQIA community. 

5.  Far From You by Tess Sharpe - This book has a narrator who is both bisexual and disabled.  She was injured in an accident freshmen year, and she still has difficulties walking because of it, and her back often hurts her.  Sophie's perspective also shows a good example of being bisexual.  One of the characters thinks that she is lesbian because they know that she liked a girl, but she explains that she is actually bisexual instead.

6.  Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley - This book has a very unique story since it is about two girls falling in love during integration, and one is black and one is white.  Obviously, these two have enough difficulties stacked against them as a couple just based on their races alone, and then add in the fact that they are two girls, and clearly, you know as a reader that it won't be easy for them.  This book shows the difficulties of integration, and how awful people were treated during it.

7.  My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter - While the narrator of this book is straight and white, there are diverse secondary characters, and there are LGBTQIA themes central to the story.  The main character, Colette, starts the book as someone who has been shaped by the beliefs of her family and her mom, who is very homophobic.  When she finds out that her former best friend is a lesbian, she has to deal with this, and come to terms with the fact that it really might not be wrong.  And her former best friend has two brothers who are adopted from Haiti, so there is racial diversity as well.

8.  One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva - The narrator of this book is gay and Armenian.  I have never read a book with an Armenian main character, and it was really interesting to read about his family, and especially to read the opening scene with his family in a restaurant.  This book is a light and fun LGBTQIA romance as well as opening my eyes to another culture.

9.  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - This book is a very light and sweet LGBTQIA romance.  There are also racially diverse characters in it.  Simon has a friend named Abby who is black, and there are also some other black secondary characters in this book.

10.  The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi - This book has a main cast that is almost all comprised of LGBTQIA characters, since it takes place at a conversion camp.  This conversion camp was absolutely awful to read about, and they did horrible things to the people there.


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