Monday, July 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters (2015 Releases)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's Top Ten Topic is "Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters (example: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC,  neurotypical character, LGBTQ etc etc.)" I decided to narrow it down to books released this year (2015).

Let's face it, not everyone is a Bella Swan (but I do want to note that there is still quite a bit of diversity in the Twilight Saga - Native American culture and at the end when vampires from all over the world come to join the Cullin family in their fight against the Volturi). So, I put together a list of ten books released this year that feature diverse casts of characters. This week, I'll put up the Goodreads description with each book.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex... and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

**This is so far my favorite book of 2015**

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Honey Girl by Lisa Freeman

How to survive California's hottest surf spot: Never go anywhere without a bathing suit. Never cut your hair. Never let them see you panic.

The year is 1972. Fifteen-year-old Haunani “Nani” Grace Nuuhiwa is transplanted from her home in Hawaii to Santa Monica, California after her father’s fatal heart attack. Now the proverbial fish-out-of-water, Nani struggles to adjust to her new life with her alcoholic white (haole) mother and the lineup of mean girls who rule State Beach.

Following “The Rules”—an unspoken list of dos and don’ts—Nani makes contact with Rox, the leader of the lineup. Through a harrowing series of initiations, Nani not only gets accepted into the lineup, she gains the attention of surf god, Nigel McBride. But maintaining stardom is harder than achieving it. Nani is keeping several secrets that, if revealed, could ruin everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. Secret #1: She’s stolen her dad’s ashes and hidden them from her mom. Secret #2: In order to get in with Rox and her crew, she spied on them and now knows far more than they could ever let her get away with. And most deadly of all, Secret #3: She likes girls, and may very well be in love with Rox.

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (9/8/15)

This is the story of a girl, her gay best friend, and the boy in love with both of them.

Ten months after her recurring depression landed her in the hospital, Mira is starting over as a new student at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to act like a normal, functioning human this time around, not a girl who sometimes can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby. 

Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with a mischievous glint in his eye. 

Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him like a backlit halo. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and secret road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives. 

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.

A captivating and profound debut novel, "Fans of the Impossible Life" is a story about complicated love and the friendships that change you forever.

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

A voice-driven mystery perfect for fans of Veronica Mars.

Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks -- and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.

Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani

Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.

Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father . . . until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed.

So begins the race to outrun his legacy as the secrets of her father’s past threaten Claire’s friends and family, newfound love, and ultimately her life. Ink and Ashes, winner of Tu Books’ New Visions Award, is a heart-stopping debut mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.

Shadowshaper by 

Cassandra Clare meets Caribbean legend in SHADOWSHAPER, an action-packed urban fantasy from a bold new talent.

Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra's near-comatose abuelo begins to say "No importa" over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep.... Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.

Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order's secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick's supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family's past, present, and future.

Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt (9/1/15)

A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.

Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much -- except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There's too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she’s an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives.

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy (9/15/15)

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

There are tons more diverse book out this year, more than ever, which is awesome!

What books made your list this week?

Are there any that you recommend?

<3 Michelle


  1. Interesting topic. Sadly, I haven't read any of theses books.

  2. Ah, there are so many books on this list that I want to read, Michelle! I have a copy of None of The Above, so I'm happy to see that you rate it so highly! :-) Great list!
    My TTT!

  3. I just got Shadowshaper today and I currently have Simon V Homo Sapiens on my iPad, but I haven't started it.

    Anne's Top Ten

  4. I just added Dream Things True to my TBR list! It sounds awesome!

    Cheryl @ I ♥ Fictional People

  5. Fantastic List!
    I have half of the books already on my TBR list, and i will check out the others to see if i want to read them all well.
    Did you read any of those books? If you would you mind telling me which ones and what you thought of them? Or are those all books that you want to read? I am sorry if you said that i and i just over-read it.
    Once again, great list

  6. I haven't read any of these books yet... in fact I hadn't heard of some of them! Thanks for a great list! my TTT

  7. Nice list! I have so many of these on my TBR.

    Christina @ Books & Prejudice

  8. Shadowshaper sounds really intriguing - I'll have to check that one out, I've never read anything like it before!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  9. So many here I would love to read! Great list!

    Check out my TTT and my leg of the Forsworn Blog Tour.

  10. Great List, Michelle! I do want to read None of the Above sometime soon. And Simon. And More Happy Than Not! I'll be putting some of these on my TBR list as well! Thanks for the recs!

    Here's my Top Ten Tuesday
    xo Stephanie

  11. Great list. I have Simon and More Happy Than Not sitting on my TBR shelf, but I haven’t gotten to them yet.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  12. Never heard of Shadowshaper and Fans of the Impossible Story, but definitely will be checking them out now. Awesome PostCheck out my Top Ten Tuesday

  13. Great list!!! I haven't read any of them, but some of them look great! My number one pick would be Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell. It's diverse, funny, with a side of awesomeness! <3

  14. I love the sound of Fans of the Impossible Life and Dumplin'. Really looking forward tot hem now they are on my TBR list :) My TTT

  15. I SO can't wait to read More Happy Than Not!!! And Dumplin looks fab too!! Love your list... so many great books came/are coming out this year! Thanks for stopping by my list :)

  16. I haven't read any of them yet, but I've heard a lot of great things about Dumplin' Definitely looking forwards to reading that one!

  17. All of these are on my wishlist/to-read! Well, except Simon since I already read it and thought it was really cute. :D

    Here's my top ten!

  18. I love your choices - so many awesome diverse books are hitting our shelves now. I've added quite a few of these to my to read pile, thank you!

  19. I can't wait to read dumplin. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. I don't read a lot of contemporary YA so that probably explains why I haven't encountered any of these! I have seen and am intrigued by Scarlett Underground mostly because of the Veronica Mars comparison:). Good to know it also has diverse characters. I also ran across Dumplin' on NetGalley and it looks intriguing! Thanks for the list!

  21. None of the Above sounds really interesting. I've heard a lot of good things about it. Great list and thanks for sharing!

    My TTT

    Obsessive Compulsive Reader

  22. This is an amazing collection of books! I have most of these on my TBR & I LOOOOVED Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda! It's definitely one of my all time favorite books :)♥

    Jumana @ Books by Jay

  23. Interesting choice of books! I know most of it and have heard great things about them.

    Jane @ the bookdragon

  24. I'm looking forward to Dumplin' - I've heard great things about it!

  25. I really want to read All of The Above and Dumplin! I love the amount of diverse book we have in YA now! Awesome post :)

  26. I loved Simon! Dumplin', More Happy Than Not, and None of the Above are all books I want to get to really soon. :)

  27. SUCH a great list! There are a few here that I cannot wait to read- especially Simon Vs, and Fans of the Impossible Life, and Dumplin! I loved None of the Above and More Happy Than Not too. OH and I want to read Dream Things True too! I had almost forgotten about that one! Love these!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight