weneeddiversebooks-logoUPDATED JUNE 2016!

Clearly #WeNeedDiverseBooks because #YASaves. I really believe that. I write diverse characters for three principal reasons:

1. So no young person goes into a bookshop or library unable to find themselves in the realm of fiction.

2. To reduce feelings of isolation. When I was growing up LGBT I couldn’t find role models or beacons of hope, now I’m in a position to do something about that.

3. To raise awareness of minority or marginalised characters in the wider community.

Overhearing Twitter chats like #UKYAChat you’d think that books with diverse characters didn’t exist. All I see are readers asking for more of this or more of that. I read THIS last week – a very well-meaning post by a talented young writer calling for more feminist YA. But here’s the thing, THERE’S LOADS OF IT. If readers are going to stick to the same three or four massive franchises, they shouldn’t be too surprised when they keep reading about the same characters, right? Said with love, obv.

This is clearly an industry issue. As wildly diverse titles already exist, how can we get them into the hands of readers who are crying out for more diversity? Suggestions on a postcard.

In the meantime, I thought I’d do my bit. Here, I’m going to start a MONSTER list of novels with prominent minority characters (so not just the token sassy black/gay sidekick). I’m not the oracle. Hit me up with suggestions and I’ll add them as we go. The only rule is each title must be available in the UK, and for now I’ll go with traditionally published YA novels.

I’ve said this before, but unless readers actually spend money on diverse titles, publishers will think they’re commercial poison, so do your bit!


The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

Alex As Well – Alyssa Brugman

Every Day – David Levithan

Luna – Julie Anne Peters

George – Alex Gino

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children – Kirstin Cronn-Mills

What I Was – Meg Rosoff

Golden Boy – Abigail Tarttelin

What We Left Behind – Robin Talley

When I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

The Other Boy – MG Hennessey



When Everything Feels Like the Movies – Raziel Reid

More Than This – Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness

Cruel Summer – (Published as) James Dawson

All of the Above – Juno Dawson

Read Me Like A Book – Liz Kessler

Unspeakable – Abbie Rushton

Far From You – Tess Sharpe

Boy Meets Boy – David Levithan

Two Boys Kissing – David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green and David Levithan

This Is Not A Love Story – Keren David

Starring Kitty – Keris Stainton

A Kiss In The Dark – Cat Clarke

Undone – Cat Clarke

Clariel – Garth Nix

Simon Vs The Homosapiens Agenda – Becky Albertelli

I’ll Give You The Sun – Jandy Nelson

Ash – Malinda Lo

Huntress – Malinda Lo

Adaptation / Inheritance – Malinda Lo

Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Miseducation of Cameron Post – Emily M Danforth

Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley

The Skyscraper Throne trilogy – Tom Pollock

The Accident Season – Moira Fowley-Doyle

The Big Lie – Julie Mayhew

What’s Up With Jody Barton – Hayley Long

Grasshopper Jungle – Andrew Smith

Pantomine / Shadowplay – Laura Lam

Half Wild – Sally Green

The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black

Afterworlds – Scott Westerfield

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story – David Levithan

We All Looked Up – Tommy Wallach

Keeping You a Secret – Julie Anne Peters

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me – Julie Anne Peters

Shell House – Linda Newberry

Postcards From No-Man’s Land – Linda Newberry

Maggot Moon – Sally Gardner

Wildthorn – Jane Eagland

Because You’ll Never Meet Me – Leah Thomas

You Know Me Well – David Levithan and Nina Lacour


POC characters

Noughts and Crosses (series) – Malorie Blackman

Noble Conflict – Malorie Blackman

Boys Don’t Cry – Malorie Blackman

The Name of the Blade (series) – Zoë Marriot

Remix – Non Pratt

Cruel Summer – James Dawson

All of the Above – James Dawson

Heart-Shaped Bruise – Tanya Byrne

Follow Me Down – Tanya Byrne

For Holly – Tanya Byrne

Web of Darkness – Bali Rai

Way Down Dark – JP Smythe

Long Dark Dusk – JP Smythe

Huntress – Malindo Lo

PS I Still Love You – Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

Fire And Thorns (series) – Rae Carson

Last Leaves Falling – Sarah Benwell

Secrets of the Henna Girl – Sufiya Ahmed

Artichoke Hearts – Sita Brahmachari

Sawbones – Catherine Johnson

The Curious Tale of the Lady Cariboo – Catherine Johnson

The Oathbreaker’s Shadow – Amy McCulloch

Liccle Bit – Alex Wheatle

Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley

The Skyscraper Throne trilogy – Tom Pollock

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

Spotlight on Sunny – Keris Stainton

Unspoken – Sarah Rees Brenna

Afterworlds – Scott Westerfield

Chains – Laurie Halse Anderson

Running Girl – Simon Mason

Gone (series) – Michael Grant

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian – Sherman Alexie

Cleo – Lucy Coats

Play With Fire (series) – Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

In Darkness – Nick Lake

Breaking Dawn (!) – Stefenie Meyer

Buffalo Soldier – Tanya Landman

Apache – Tanya Landman

Mars Evacuees (series) – Sophia McDougall

The Other Side of Truth – Beverley Naidoo

Winter – Marissa Meyer

Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton


YA Books which discuss feminism

Only Ever Yours – Louise O Neill

All The Rage – Courtney Summers

Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

How Hard Can Love Be? – Holly Bourne

What’s A Girl Gotta Do? – Holly Bourne

Code Name Verity – E Wein

Under My Skin – James Dawson

Beauty Queens – Libba Bray

Uglies (series) – Scott Westerfield

The Sally Lockhart Mysteries (series) – Philip Pullman

How to Build A Girl – Caitlin Moran

Some Girls Are – Courtney Summers

Frankie Landau-Banks – E Lockhart

About A Girl – Sara Zarr

The Lie Tree – Francis Hardinge

The Chemical Garden trilogy (series) – Lauren De Stefano

Liberty’s Fire – Lydia Syson

A World Between Us (Jewish character) – Lydia Syson

Asking For It – Louise O Neill



Last Leaves Falling – Sarah Benwell

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

Dead Ends – Erin J Lange

Bodyguard – Chris Bradford

Deenie – Judy Blume

Wonder – RJ Palacio

She Is Not Invisible – Marcus Sedgwick

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

Finding A Voice – Kim Hood

Black Heart Blue – Louisa Read

Skin Deep – Laura Jarratt

Rose Under Fire – E Wein

Half A King – Joe Abercrombie

Far From You – Tess Sharpe

Me, Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

The Young Elites – Marie Lu

Winter – Marissa Meyer

Because You’ll Never Meet Me – Leah Thomas

Not If I See You First – Eric Lindstrom

Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

One – Sarah Crossan


Mental Illness

The Perks of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

It’s A Funny Kind of Story – Ned Vizzini

How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff

Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson

All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

We Were Liars – E Lockhart

I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson

The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness

All of the Above – Juno Dawson

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting – Holly Bourne

I Was Here – Gayle Forman

Panther – David Owen

My Heart and Other Black Holes – Jasmine Warga

Finding Audrey – Sophie Kinsella

Girl Online – Zoe Sugg

Hurt – Tabitha Suzuma

A Note of Madness – Tabitha Suzuma

Lies Like Love – Louisa Read

Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

Mind Your Head – Juno Dawson

Nothing Tastes As Good – Claire Hennessey


Is that enough to be going on with for now? The list will be constantly updated – do share and hit me up with further suggestions.