TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten books that celebrate diversity

(Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish!)

Hello there! Crazy to think it’s already been a week since my first installment of Top Ten Tuesday; time just goes so fast these days.
This week, in a topic very close to my heart, we’re talking about the top ten books that celebrate diversity, or diverse characters. These aren’t necessarily all books that I’ve read, but they’re books that I’m looking forward to reading.

10) ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky

When it comes to celebrating diversity, I always have to throw out a mention to ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’. Charlie, our protagonist, is suffering with a form of PTSD due to repressed childhood memories, meaning that he is a diverse character in himself, but his gay best friend, Patrick, is a brilliant portrayal of an LGBT character in YA. ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is the first book I can remember reading that had a confident and strong-minded gay character, and that’s always stuck with me. 

9) ‘Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline

I only started reading ‘Ready Player One’ a couple of days ago, but I’ve already been impressed by how unusual this novel is. Our main character, Wade, lives in “the stacks” – tower blocks made up of mobile homes stacked one on top of the other, resembling a metal shanty town. I’ve never read a book that managed to portray poverty in such a graphic way (within the first chapter Wade states that his “trailer reeked of cat piss and abject poverty”) and it’s definitely opened my eyes to a socioeconomic status that I haven’t seen properly explored in YA before. 

8) ‘Trash’ by Andy Mulligan

Taking ‘Ready Player One’ as a springboard, ‘Trash’ is similar in that it’s set in an actual shanty town, but in an unnamed third world country. As well as focusing on a different country and a culture that must be unimaginable to most of us, the status differences between the well-off and the poor set up a very interesting dynamic. ‘Trash’ is marketed as a children’s novel rather than a YA novel, but this one really had an effect on me. 

7) ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by Becky Albertalli

‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ is quite a recent release, focusing on the coming-out story of a teenage boy. I haven’t managed to read ‘Simon…’ just yet, but I’ve gotten it out of my local library so should be reading and reviewing it quite soon.

6) ‘A Kiss In The Dark’ by Cat Clarke

Similarly to ‘Simon…’, I haven’t had a chance to read ‘A Kiss In The Dark’ yet, but I love Cat Clarke’s writing so I know for a fact I’m going to love this one when I get around to reading it. I don’t know much about ‘A Kiss In The Dark’, but I know for a fact that it focuses on a lesbian love story, and that’s enough to have me on board. 

5) ‘Amy and Matthew’/’Say What You Will’ by Cammie McGovern

I read ‘Amy and Matthew’ back in January. I didn’t exactly fall in love with this book, but I definitely appreciated what Cammie McGovern was doing in terms of diversity – this is a love story between a cerebral palsy sufferer and a boy with debilitating OCD. 

4) ‘Every Day’ by David Levithan

Every day A wakes up in someone else’s body and lives a day in their life, so in this novel we get chapters from different religions, people with different sexualities and people suffering with different mental illnesses (ranging from addiction to depression). While the book doesn’t go too in-depth with any of the other characters, it’s definitely one of the most widely diverse books I’ve ever read. 
3) ‘The ReArranged Life’ by Annika Sharma
Until I read ‘The ReArranged Life’ I hardly knew anything about Indian culture, but this book is utterly informative and teaches you so much about the differences between our cultures.

2) ‘Noughts and Crosses’ by Malorie Blackman

One of my favourite book series of all time, Malorie Blackman’s ‘Noughts and Crosses’ series is an emotional, soul-crushing look into racism and segregation, and is one of the best YA novels featuring people of colour. 

1) ‘The Last Leaves Falling’ by Sarah Benwell

When I think of diversity, the first book that pops into my head is ‘The Last Leaves Falling’, because it was such a gut-wrenching and emotionally involving book that I still feel as though I’ve got a part of myself invested in the story. It’s been over six months since I read it and I still feel sad about it – that’s how brilliant this novel is. This is the story of Sora, a seventeen year old Japanese boy suffering from ALS, and as well as being the first YA book I’ve ever read set in Japan, it’s also the first novel I’ve read that has included ALS.
Looking back at this list I can see that I read much too much heart-breaking diverse YA; I need to find some more fun and quirky contemporaries featuring characters from different ethnicities and cultures! If you have any recommendations please leave them down below; if not then I’ll see you for another top ten Tuesday next week.