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21 YA Queens Of Color Who, If You Don't Know, You Should

I like my YA leading ladies like I like my bagels – colorful and full of substance.

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1. Natasha Kingsley, The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Delacorte Press, @nicolayoon / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: Natasha is headstrong, determined, and is the glue that holds her family together even with all the forces trying to pull them apart. She's real as shit and keeps everyone around her in check, but she does it cuz she loves so fiercely and wants the best for those around her.

Wanna get to know Natasha better? Get her book from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes and Noble for $15.33 or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

2. Zarin Wadia, A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, @bhathenatanaz / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: Zarin is that beautiful troublemaker who draws you in like a moth to a flame. She knows who she is and doesn't care what people think. But it's hard to be yourself in a culture that says she's not good enough simply because of her gender. Zarin's tragic story with leave you both fascinated, devastated and shooketh.

Wanna get to know Zarin better? Get her book from Amazon for $9.99+, Barnes and Noble for $14.39, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

Warning: this book contains sensitive topics regarding sexual assault and physical assault.

3. Bronwyn Rojas, One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Delacorte Press, @writerkmc / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: Hermione Granger meets Sherlock Holmes. Bronwyn #GETSSHITDONE. She might seem like a goody two-shoes, but if she has to get her hands dirty in the name of justice, then bring on the dirt.

Wanna get to know Bronwyn better? Get her book from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes and Noble for $18.99, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

4. Shahrzad al-Khayzuran, The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Crystal Stokes / Via reneeahdieh.com

Why she's a queen: Shahrzad is loyal AF and will cut a bitch who hurts anyone she loves. You don't want to be on the wrong side of her bow and arrow. She cracks skulls, takes names, and can finesse her way into or out of any situation, all to protect those closest to her heart.

Wanna get to know Shahrzad better? Get her book from Amazon for $4.02+, Barnes and Noble for $7.69, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

5. Starr Carter, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Balzer + Bray, Annissa Hidouk / Via angiethomas.com

Why she's a queen: #BLM is Starr's middle name, and to see her find her voice and speak her truth amongst all the ugliness that surrounds her is truly inspiring and beautiful. It took her a minute to find the light, but once she did, she shined bright like the star she is.

Wanna get to know Starr better? Get her book from Amazon for $12.19, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

6. Lara Jean Covey, To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, @jennyhan / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: At first glance, Lara Jean is pretty quiet and docile, but she's actually a firecracker who doesn't let people boss her around or walk all over her. When she sees a problem, she fixes it, whether it be her own or someone else's. She's a badass in a bubble skirt.

Wanna get to know Lara Jean better? Get her book from Amazon for $7.53+, Barnes and Nobles for $7.68, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

7. Juliet Palante, Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera

Riverdale Avenue Books, @quirkyrican / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: Juliet-from-the-block (from the Bronx!) is the intersectional feminist icon we both deserve and need. She's a spitfire who tells it like it is and constantly has us checking our privilege. Not in that superior way, but in a way that just makes us wanna be the best version of ourselves, ya know?

Wanna get to know Juliet better? Get her book from Amazon for $9.99+, Barnes and Noble for $19.99, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

8. Amani Al’Hiza, Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Viking Books for Young Readers, @alwynhamilton / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: Annie Oakley? I don't know her. Amani is the badass gunslinger who uses her skills for good, not evil, even though she could own anyone who gets in her way.

Wanna get to know Amani better? Get her book from Amazon for $8.79+, Barnes and Noble for $9.67, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

9. Zélie Adebola, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Henry Holt and Co., Amazon / Via amazon.com

Why she's a queen: Zélie may be hot-headed, but she wins every argument – whether it be with her mouth or with her fist. Basically, you want her around for a fight. Plus, she's on a mission to save the kingdom AND she's got magical powers. She's the HBIC in a world surrounded by men trying to ~tame her flame~.

Wanna get to know Zélie better? Get her book from Amazon for $9.89+, Barnes and Noble for $12.19, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

10. Twinkle Merha, From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Simon Pulse, @sandhyamenonbooks / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: Twinkle is strong AF, but sometimes needs help realizing how dope she is. She's a content creator actually making stuff people want to and should see. She gives a voice to those who otherwise wouldn't be heard.

Wanna get to know Twinkle better? Get her book from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes and Noble for $16.25, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

11. Xiomara Batista, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevdeo

HarperTeen, Via acevedowrites.com

Why she's a queen: Xiomara is more than just curves, curse words, and the rumors that follow her wherever she goes. She's a warrior kween who walks with the world on her shoulders, but gives it 110% day after day. She's a tough nut to crack but, she's an OG homie who will always have the backs of those closest to her.

Wanna get to know Xiomara better? Get her book from Amazon for $9.99+, Barnes and Noble for $15.53, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

12. Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson

Marvel, @GWillowWilson / Via Twitter: @GWillowWilson

Why she's a queen: It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Kamala, superhero extraordinaire. Like, what more is there to say? She's fighting crime and saving her town from villains, all while juggling school dances and SAT prep classes.

Wanna get to know Kamala AKA Ms. Marvel better? Get her book from Amazon for $2.99+, Barnes and Noble for $11.19, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

13. Claudia Coleman, Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

Katherine Tegen Books, Amazon / Via amazon.com

Why she's a queen: Claudia that ride-or-die homie that will go to the ends of the earth for her best friend. Nothing will keep her from having her friend's back, even when everyone else tells her it's a loss cause. She's determined and loyal AF and you'd want someone like her in your corner.

Wanna get to know Claudia better? Get her book from Amazon for $9.99+, Barnes and Noble for $15.40, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

14. Mei Lu, American Panda by Gloria Chao

Simon Pulse, @gloriachao / Via Twitter: @gloriacchao

Why she's a queen: Think Lane Kim from Gilmore Girls, except somehow with an even stricter mom. Yet, somehow, even with all the pressures coming from her parents and school, she's able to find her voice and live the life that she wants to live and not the one her parents have chosen for her.

Wanna get to know Mei better? Get her book from Amazon for $9.89+, Barnes and Noble for $14.39, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

15. Sylvia, This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Sourcebooks Fire, @mariekeyn / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: Holy smokes. Sylv had been through a lot. A. Lot. Pretty much to hell and back, and then some. But she transcends tragedy and somehow has found the strength to not only get up, but to stay up.

Wanna get to know Sylv better? Get her book from Amazon for $7.99+, Barnes and Noble for $11.56, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

Warning: this book contains sensitive topics regarding schools shootings and sexual assault.

16. Naila Rehman, Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Nancy Paulsen Books, Via aishasaeed.com

Why she's a queen: Naila is resilient and strong-willed, yet is somehow able to balance her sense of self with the importance of respecting her cultural traditions. Juggling staying true to who you are while trying not to disrespect your traditional-ass parents is something we can all relate to. Honestly, kudos to anyone who can stand up to their parents when it comes to what they know is right.

Wanna get to know Naila better? Get her book from Amazon for $8.79+, Barnes and Noble for $10.55, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

17. Alice Johnson, Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Swoon Reads, Amazon / Via amazon.com

Why she's a queen: Alice is that girl in your women's studies class who knows more than the professor. She's a pioneer in the queer community and low-key has all of us checkin ourselves on everything we thought we knew about love and relationships.

Wanna get to know Alice better? Get her book from Amazon for $9.99+, Barnes and Noble for $14.95, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

18. Lihn Cinder, Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Feiwel & Friends, Amazon / Via amazon.com

Why she's a queen: Half cyborg, half human, 100% badass. Cinder can win all the fights, but she uses her powers for good, not evil. She'll make you want to be a better person cuz if you had her skills anyone who even looks at you funny would be #CatchingTheseHands. Instead of smacking people, she's off saving her sister/kingdom/universe. NBD.

Wanna get to know Cinder better? Get her book from Amazon for $7.09+, Barnes and Noble for $8.19, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

19. Margot Sanchez, The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, @lilliamr / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: Margot possesses that level of self awareness that we all aspire to have. She's been through a lot and has seen even more, but she was able to check herself before she wrecked herself and walks with the confidence of someone who knows ~EXACTLY~ who she is.

Wanna get to know Margot better? Get her book from Amazon for $7.55+, Barnes and Noble for $10.99, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

20. Maya Aziz, Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Soho Teen, @sam_aye_ahm / Via instagram.com

Why she's a queen: Can you imagine being hated for something that's one, out of your control, yet two, something you love about yourself? That's Maya. In a world where some people are so quick so turn to hate, Maya instead spreads love and patience and is honestly quite inspiring, especially in these trying times.

Wanna get to know Maya better? Get her book from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes and Noble for $13.97, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

21. Julia Reyes, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Knopf Books for Young Readers, Robyn Lindemann / Via erikalsanchez.com

Why she's a queen: Julia has experienced what most people don't ever experience in their lifetimes. She's a pioneer for mental health and shows us that asking for help is ~OK~ and nothing to be ashamed of. There's nothing wrong with needing a helping hand on your journey to becoming your #BestSelf.

Wanna get to know Julia better? Get her book from Amazon for $10.99+, Barnes and Noble for $13.47, or a local bookseller through Indie Bound.

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