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Diversity in Teen Fiction: Exploring Representation

Diversity in Teen Fiction: Exploring Representation

Diversity in fiction has recently become more mainstream, and that’s especially true in books written for teens. This has had the added benefit of more cultures gaining increased representation and those titles are able to reach a wider audience. These titles allow for more varied settings and perspectives for readers to enjoy and can even give teens a chance to walk in the shoes of someone different from themselves.

Some popular titles featuring representation include:

Blood DebtsBIPOC

Blood Debts by Terry J Benton-Walker

After discovering their mothers curse while still mourning the loss of their father, twins Cristina and Clement barely speak to each other. Cristina, once a talented practitioner of magic, has given up on magic entirely while Clement’s life centers around it. These heirs to a fallen magical house must learn to work together if they are to find out who is after their family.


Additional BIPOC titles include:


Song of the Six RealmsEast Asian/East Asian American

Song of the Six Realms by Judy I. Lin

Young nobleman Meng Jinglang promises to pay off Xue’s indentured contract if she agrees to play music at his manor for one year. The offer becomes more enticing when Meng reveals he not only knew her uncle but wishes to complete an unfinished task of his with her help. 


Additional East Asian titles include:


This Book Won't BurnSouth Asian/South Asian American

This Book won’t Burn by Samira Ahmed

After moving to a small Illinois town, Noor wants to lie low and finish off the last of her senior year. But when she hears of the school district’s plan to remove over 500 challenged books, she refuses to be complicit and let biased censorship reign. This leads to a clash with school administrators, students, and the community at large. 


Additional South Asian titles include:


The Last BloodcarverSoutheast Asian/ Southeast Asian American

The Last Bloodcarver by Vanessa Le

Nhika has the rare ability to manipulate a person’s body and blood with a mere touch of the skin. But in the technocratic society of Theumas she is feared as a monster, a Bloodcarver. After being captured and meeting a mysterious boy named Kochi, she must make the difficult choice of helping the family who trusts her or follow Kochi, who knows more about her than he should.


Additional Southeast Asian titles include:


Darius the Great is Not OkayMiddle Eastern/ Middle Eastern American

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

When Darius’s grandfather falls ill, Daruis and his family travel to Iran for the first time. When his family arrives, he is overwhelmed trying to socialize and celebrate Nowruz with a family he’s never met. Darius begins to feel he’ll never belong anywhere until he meets Sohrab, who teaches him what friendship is really about.


Additional Middle Eastern titles include:


Cruzita and the MariacherosHispanic/Latinx

Cruzita and the Mariacheros by Ashley Granillo

Growing up in Los Angeles, Cruzita struggles with her cultural identity. Though Cruzita dreams of stardom, her family is less than enthusiastic. When Cruzita’s grandmother signs her up for mariachi classes, she finally finds friends who help her reconnect with her heritage. 


Additional Hispanic/Latinx titles include:


ElatsoeIndigenous American

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

With her ability to see ghosts, inherited from her Lipan Apache ancestor, Ellie has plans to become a paranormal investigator.When her cousin Trevor dies in what is claimed to be a car accident, she must call on the power of her lineage to protect her friends and family from an ancient curse.


Additional Indigenous titles include:


-Written by Alex B, Teen Central Library Assistant

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