YA Authors of Colour Recommendations

A few weeks ago I got a suggestion from Ribbonash to do this post. Essentially, I’ll be recommending you books from authors of colours. Though veterans of the diverse reading crowd may have heard of/read most of these, this post is mainly aimed at people who are just getting into non-white authors.

Also, as a small disclaimer, I’m only recommending books I have read myself (because I like to know what I’m recommending), but that doesn’t mean I liked all of these books, or that they were free from content which might be upsetting, triggering or offensive to some of my readers. If you want to know a bit more about these books, just ask me in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out. 🙂

All right, let’s get going!

Children of Blood and Bone and Children of Virtue and Vengeance//Author: Tomi Adeyemi, Nigerian-American//a riveting fantasy set in a world inspired by ancient Nigerian mythology//fascinating storyline, great worldbuilding and a chance to lose yourself in a world not based on generic European history.

Spin the Dawn and Unravel The Dusk//Author: Elizabeth Lim, Asian-American//a beautiful, atmospheric fantasy set in a world inspired by Chinese mythology and culture//I loved the way the culture of both real-world China, and the culture of Lim’s fantasy world weave so seamlessly together and create a really fascinating story.

The Magnolia Sword// Author: Sherry Thomas, Chinese-American//inspired by Chinese wuxia martial arts dramas and the legend of Mulan, this historical fiction novel is gripping and really holds you in suspense//great use of Chinese legends, stories and culture and an interesting author’s note at the end explaining much of the influences.

Warcross//Author: Marie Lu, Chinese-American//dystopian novel with an Asian-American protagonist and set mainly in Japan//since it’s a dystopian action novel, there’s less focus on culture and worldbuilding.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu//Author: Marie Lu, Chinese-American//historical fantasy set in 1700s Austria, featuring Nannerl Mozart as the protagonist. Since the characters are all white and it isn’t set in an Asian inspired universe, there isn’t much in the way of culture, but reading this book is still a great way to support an author of colour.

Flame in the Mist//Author: Renee Ahdieh, Korean-American//Another East Asian inspired fantasy, influenced greatly by the legend of Mulan//action packed, romantic, rich world and a lot of talk of tea, which I always appreciate.

Summer Bird Blue// Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman, Asian-American//a contemporary! About a half-Japanese, half Native-Hawaiian girl struggling with the unexpected death of her sister//absolutely riveting writing, beautiful story, and set in Hawaii with lots of Hawaiian and Japanese culture woven throughout.

Pride//Author: Ibi Zoboi, Haitian-American//another contemporary. This one is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, set in Bushwick, Brooklyn//the author also grew up in this suburb and there’s a genuine love of the place to be felt in the writing//explored Black culture, racism and prejudice in all its forms.

Slay//Author: Brittany Morris, Black American//a contemporary about a young Black girl who runs a game solely for other Black people//of course, stuff goes down, people get murdered, and suddenly Kiera’s whole lifestyle is in the balance//really pulled apart racism and explored Black pride and culture.

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling//Author: Wai Chim, Asian-American/Australian//a sweet, fluffy contemporary that deals with some heavy topics, such as depression, bipolar and anxiety//set in Australia//really cute romance.

Enchantee//Author: Gita Trelease, Swedish-Indian//historical-fantasy following two sisters during the French Revolution//The main love interest is a half-Indian balloonist which makes for some exciting diversity.

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera, Maori//a contemporary fantasy/mythology story, focusing on a young Maori girl who is known as “a whale rider”//lot’s of Maori mythology and culture packed into this small book//the narrator (whose name escapes me) is also funny and the family dynamic is wonderful.

Love, Hate and Other Filters//Author: Samira Ahmed, Indian-American//contemporary dealing with Islamophobia in the wake of a (white) suicide bomber//also deals with expectations vs dreams and cultural pressure.

Let’s Talk About Love//Author: Claire Kann, Black American//contemporary about an asexual girl facing pressure from society to conform to expectations regarding dating and sex//the main character is also black and the love interest is (I’m pretty sure) Asian and they both stand up to microaggressions and other forms of racism.

The Rage of Dragons//Author: Evan Winter, Black Canadian/British//epic fantasy with African influences//(also, I think this is adult rather than YA, so bear that in mind if you’re on the younger side)//I haven’t finished reading, but epic so far. Lot’s of fighting.

What about you guys? Have you read many books by authors of colour? If so, which ones would you recommend ? If you’re looking for some to pick up, which ones do you want to try first?

5 thoughts on “YA Authors of Colour Recommendations

  1. I’ll definitely have to check some of these out! I’ve heard of a few of these authors and books but haven’t gotten around to reading ’em! I’ll have to add them to my list!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, most of them contain some level of language or another. The contemporaries in particular have a lot of swearing and some inappropriate/suggestive content. Several of them (Warcross, Flame in the Mist, Let’s Talk About Love) have some detailed makeout scene and I wasn’t a fan of any of those books. The Rage of Dragons has a lot of graphic violence. A couple of the books also have gay side characters.
    I actually still haven’t read it (the library hasn’t got it yet!) I just like the cover and felt comfortable recommending it based on the first book.

    Liked by 1 person

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