I wish these young adult novels were available when I was a teen. Honestly, there are so many diverse YA novels available now, I’m extremely jealous. While there is still room for improvement, finding diverse characters in young adult novels isn’t as hard as it was 20 years ago.
Here are a few books I’m loving on! Check out the audiobook versions too, they are equally amazing.
I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!
Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not change for you.
I’m also a Bookshop Affiliate. Bookshop works with local independent bookstores to deliver books to your door. You can shop this entire list on Bookshop here.
Just months prior, Bree’s mother dies. She jumps at an opportunity to attend the University of North Carolina-Capel Hill’s summer program for high schoolers. But instantly, it isn’t what she thought it would be. Magic is the last thing Bree expects to encounter.
Bree finds herself in the middle of a secret society of demon hunters. Yup, demon hunters.
Legenborn is set to be a series, and I definitely see why. It is a page-turner full of action and teenage drama!
Kids these days are so lucky to see so many diverse characters in their books. I know there’s still room to grow, but I’m so jealous of all the options they have!
When I was a teen, I gave up on YA novels because of the lack of diversity and jumped straight into adult novels.
Felix Ever After is about a transgender teen questioning his identity and dealing with being harassed online.
This book made me so happy that social media was not a thing when I was in high school. Whew…the drama!
Slay is a YA novel about a Black game developer (Kiera) who wants to create a safe space for Black gamers from around the world. So she develops a virtual reality game called SLAY.
Kiera is a senior in high school who is struggling to manage her duties as a developer, her complicated relationship with her boyfriend Malcolm, and the big decision of college.
Yall know I love it when I can make connections to a book, and I made so many in just the first few chapters.
Just like Kiera, I got accepted to the HBCU Spelman. I decided not to attend because of financial reasons. But, this book brought back memories I haven’t thought about in years. And a lot of what-ifs and wondering.
This book took me back…but in a good way.
Have you heard of a parachute? Parachutes are Asian teenagers who are sent to live in homes in the U.S. while their parents (wealthy, of course) stay in Asia. Claire Wang’s parents decide to pull her out of her school in Shanghai and ship her off to California.
Dani De La Cruz and her mother are Claire’s Californian host family. Dani and Claire’s differences make it hard to live with each other under the same roof. Until forced, they struggle to find common ground.
Claudia has been gone all summer. On her first day of school, she expects to see her best friend Monday. When she arrives at school, Monday is a no-show, and nobody but Claudia seems to notice. Claudia instantly knows something is wrong and begins looking into her disappearance immediately. And she doesn’t stop until she finds Monday.
I checked the book out at least three times but never had time to read it.
Omg! Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.
Emoni is a teen mom who got pregnant her freshman year of high school. But, this doesn’t stop her from continuing school or finding her passion, cooking. Her talents in the kitchen provide her with an opportunity to go on a culinary trip to Spain.
With Fire on High made me smile, cry, and laugh!
It had it all!
If you’re looking for a murder mystery, then this is the book for you.
Everyone thinks that high school senior Andie Bell was killed by her boyfriend, Sal. But Pip, a student from the same high school, doesn’t believe that’s true. So, for a school project, she decides to dig up the truth.
I couldn’t put this book down! And, there’s a sequel, Good Girl, Bad Blood, that I can’t wait to read! Do yourself a favor and grab the audiobook; the narrators are so good!
Alaine is a Haitian American from Miami. When she gets suspended from school, her parents ship her off to her family in Haiti.
As part of her suspension, Alaine has to work at her aunt’s nonprofit to complete a school project,
While in Haiti, Alaine learns a lot about herself and family secrets that were never meant to be uncovered.
Alaine quickly learns that her time in Haiti will not be a vacation.
I judge books by their covers.
And The Black Kids didn’t disappoint.
When The Black Kids begins, we are taken back to 1992 in LA. Tensions are high after the murder of Latasha Harlins and the beating of Rodney King.
Ashley Bennett is in the middle of two worlds, never fully belonging to either side.
This book weaves history into the imperfect life of Ashley. Who sometimes is hard to like. But all teenagers are hard to like sometimes🤣. And really, she is just a kid trying to figure it all out.
Some of the decisions she makes get herself and others in trouble.
I found myself saying girllll,a few times while reading. Ashley raised my pressure just a bit.🤦🏾♀️
I loved the big and tiny references. Flo-Jo and her nails were my favorite.
The best part about references is that they pull you deeper into books.
The author, Christina Hammons Reed, surely had no idea how 2020ish this book would be.
Sadly, The Black Kids could be the same story if it took place in 2020.
Just replace Latasha Harlins with Breonna Taylor and Rodney King with George Floyd.
Add these young adult novels to your to-read list! I’m reliving my teenage years through these amazing YA novels that take me back to those crazy teenage years. I promise you won’t be disappointed!