Skip To Content
    This post has not been vetted or endorsed by BuzzFeed's editorial staff. BuzzFeed Community is a place where anyone can create a post or quiz. Try making your own!

    Great YA Books With POC Main Characters

    We need more representation in YA lit and these books are slaying the game!

    In 2016 only 22% of Children's books featured People of Color.

    "More than half of the nation's children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group," by 2020.

    So yeah, 22% isn't gonna cut it. No wayyyy.

    People of Color are more than just side characters in a larger narrative. They have voices and complex stories that deserve to be in the spotlight as well! In this fast paced digital world we live in today, representation in the literary community is more important than ever before. By supporting these AMAZING YA books that feature POC main characters you open the door for more diverse narratives.

    So scroll down. Check out these novels, which range from High fantasy to Sci-Fi and even contemporary!

    With any of these books you'll be in for a literary treat, and by purchasing one of these novels you'll be telling the publishing industry you want more POC representation.

    A win win if there ever was one!

    GIPHY / Via giphy.com

    1. Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan

    amazon / Via amazon, albert / Via albertwhitman.com

    Everyone in the universe knows his name. Everyone in the universe fears him. But no one realizes that notorious outlaw Ia Cocha is a seventeen-year-old girl.

    A criminal mastermind and unrivaled pilot, Ia has spent her life terrorizing the Olympus Commonwealth, the imperialist nation that destroyed her home. When the Commonwealth captures her and her true identity is exposed, they see Ia’s age and talent as an opportunity: by forcing her to serve them, they will prove that no one is beyond their control.

    Soon, Ia is trapped at the Commonwealth’s military academy, desperately plotting her escape. But new acquaintances—including Brinn, a seemingly average student with a closely-held secret, and their charming Flight Master, Knives—cause Ia to question her own alliances. Can she find a way to escape the Commonwealth’s clutches before these bonds deepen?

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy Ignite the Stars

    2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

    Macmillian Publishing / Via bookdepository.com, Shanna Fisher / Via ew.com

    Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

    But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

    Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

    Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy Children of Blood and Bone

    3. Warcross by Marie Lu

    Penguin Random House / Via onetrueportal.com, Via keplers.org

    Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter.

    But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

    Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy Warcross

    4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

    Penguin Random House / Via bookdepository.com, Sabaa Tahir / Via sabaatahir.com

    Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

    Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

    It is in this brutal world, Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother where the family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

    But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

    There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy An Ember in the Ashes

    5. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

    Via amazon.com, Via rivetedlit.com

    Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

    Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

    The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

    Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy When Dimple Met Rishi

    6. Dear Martin by Nic Stone

    Simon & Schuster / Via d28hgpri8am2if.cloudfront.net, Via static1.squarespace.com

    Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League - but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighbourhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

    Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

    Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up - way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty police officer beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy Dear Martin

    7. The City of Brass by S.A Chakraborty

    HarperCollins / Via amazon.com, Melissa C. Beckman / Via sachakraborty.com

    Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing—are all tricks, both the means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive.

    But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. For Dara tells Nahri an extraordinary tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

    In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.

    Spurning Dara’s warning of the treachery surrounding her, she embarks on a hesitant friendship with Alizayd, an idealistic prince who dreams of revolutionizing his father’s corrupt regime. All too soon, Nahri learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

    After all, there is a reason they say to be careful what you wish for . . .

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy The City of Brass

    8. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez

    Via images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com, Via Twitter: @erikalsanchez

    Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

    But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

    Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

    But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

    9. To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han

    Via images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com, Via static1.squarespace.com

    What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

    Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy To All The Boys I Loved Before

    10. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

    Via freeform.azureedge.net, Via wordpress.com

    Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

    But it's not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite, the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land.

    But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie, that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined.

    -------------------------------------

    Click here to buy The Belles

    Oh, hey there! For more bookish content follow @januaryrabbit on instagram!

    Giphy / Via Giphy
    Create your own post!

    This post was created by a member of the BuzzFeed Community.You can join and make your own posts and quizzes.

    Sign up to create your first post!