Top 5 YA Series With Diversity
'D' is for "diversity," something we are seeing more of in YA literature. In honor of World Day of Cultural Diversity, let's take a look at my Top Five YA series that feature a diverse cast of characters.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Follow Celaena Sardothien, a teenage assassin, as she fights for her freedom in a corrupt kingdom. This action-packed fantasy series features characters of various races / cultures (inspired by African and Mongolian cultures) as well as social and economic backgrounds. There are also LGBT+ characters, as well as disabled characters. And while it may not count toward diversity per se, multiple characters are survivors of various kinds of trauma and abuse.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White get the Sci-Fi treatment in this adorable series of retellings. In this futuristic version of Earth, each protagonist has a role to play in a war between the Earthen Union and the Lunar colonies. Featuring characters of color, as well as characters with disabilities and mental illness, this series is great for readers of all ages—hell, even the elderly are kicking ass in this series!
House of Night by P.C. Cast + Kristen Cast
Zoey Montgomery’s life is uprooted when she is Marked by a Tracker for the Tulsa House of Night. She has no choice but to leave home and enroll in the boarding school for vampyre fledglings unless she wants to die from her body rejecting the Change from human to vampyre. In this epic, urban fantasy journey, Zoey befriends characters from other races and cultures (Jamaican-American, Cherokee, Celtic); varying ages, economic backgrounds, and sexual orientations; and with special challenges of their own, like blindness. Themes of race are explored even more when different subcategories of vampyre are created and other species are introduced.
The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo
Bardugo’s Grishaverse spans a trilogy and two duologies, and has so many characters worth loving. There are characters from all over the globe, of various sexual orientations, with body types from lean and limber to "sinfully" curvy. There is also an emphasis on faith and religion with a couple of the characters—some devout while others are doubtful to say the least. Over the course of the story, they learn so much from each other and develop beautiful relationships. You can peep some of them in Netflix’s adaptation of Shadow & Bone, released two months ago.
The Riordanverse by Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan’s massive universe, which spans multiple series (including Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, and The Trials of Apollo) might be one of the most diverse ones out there. Aside from most of the protagonists being demigods, they are also diverse in their upbringings, sexual orientations, gender identities (including gender-fluid), dietary lifestyles, and so much more. While these books are marketed toward young readers, their adventure, humor, and loveable characters make them great for readers of all ages.
Thinking of giving one of these series a shot? Look for them at your local bookstore or library! If you want some sweet merch, follow the links to the artists' pages and give them your support!
If you've read any of these, which character / series is your favorite? Got a book or series you'd like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below, or over on bookstagram or Twitter!