Now more than ever it is important for our literature to reflect the reality of our diverse culture here in the United States. There has been an uptake in popularity of Young Adult fiction books with diverse main characters and it is awesome. Teens want to feel like they are being represented in pop culture and lately I’ve been reading more and more books that actually reflect the lives of the teens that come into our local libraries.
When Teens see that they’re being seen and represented it makes a huge difference and allows for a conversation to be started. Whether or not race is one of the main topics in the book, the fact that it is mentioned at all is one step towards a discussion about fighting against racism in our history and future.
So check out some of these recent diverse YA books (I already have reviewed some of them and will reviewing the rest soon!)
(3 stars – liked it) As a Jo Jo Moyes fan I was unfortunately a bit disappointed with this novel. It was too predictable. You knew almost from the start as to how it would end. However, it was still worth reading. Ms. Moyes knows how to engage the reader and does her research well. I did not know anything about the “dancing” French horses and how they and their riders were trained to perform. I would rate the book as a good summer read but definitely not the author’s best. – Adult Summer Reading Participant
“Every last Lie” is the latest suspense novel by Mary Kubica. Clare loves her husband, Nick. They have a good marriage and are about to have a second child. Days after the birth of their son, Nick is killed in a car accident. Their four year-old daughter survives. Clare’s life is turned upside down. Grieving her loss, she begins to discover hidden secrets Nick was hiding from her. Although the police rule Nick’s death an accident, Clare is not fully convinced. Told in alternating chapters in the voices of Clare and Nick, Kubica rewinds the events leading up to the time of the car crash. Although I did not like this book as much as Kubica’s first two, I enjoyed the mystery and suspense while not completely liking any of the characters.
(4/5 stars – really liked it) Invisible has four parts. It begins being told in first person with “Spring.” This is where we get to know the main character, Adam, from his own account, in a very personal way. He’s at Columbia University (very knowable area for many of just-outside-of New-York-New-Yorkers) and experiencing life from a young student’s point of view-world is at his fingertips and he is just coming alive to his future possibilities. Something awful happens during this time with a love triangle and a Columbia Professor that he is caught in a terrible situation that he had no control over, and didn’t see coming. This event will affect the rest of his life.
Then comes the next part, “Summer.” Here the story is told in second person, by Adam’s successful writer friend Jim, who has received writings from Adam. Here you learn about the love between Adam and his sister. This is an interesting part and almost feels like an entirely different book has begun.
And then in “Fall” the story is told in third person, after Adam’s death, put together with various bits and pieces of others accounts of Adam’s life, from their views and interviews. The constant thread of Adam’s life pulls you into forward through the book trying to find out what the TRUTH is of what really happened, and who Adam really is/was. I was a little disappointed that the ending left me still wanting answers, but I thoroughly enjoyed the journey of storytellers in all their glorious perspectives. I feel “Invisible” refers maybe to the writer not being a constant, not a tangible, solid, character but rather a conglomerate of what others know of him and what they did to him hence making his story more of a vaporous cloud that forms and reshapes depending on who is doing the speaking. Is one a person in his own right or is one how others perceive him? – Trine G., Adult Summer Reading Participant
School Library Journal has posted their list of the top 100 “must-have” titles for a YA collection. Here are their choices, as well as a list of 42 titles for a collection of novels that best reflect diversity. Check your collection against these titles. The top 5, of course, are the Harry Potter series, the Hunger Games series, Speak (Laurie Anderson), Fault in Our Stars (John Green) and Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell).