Note: This is a list of all novels which fit the criteria listed below. It does not express opinions on the quality, authenticity, or positivity of the portrayals of the characters in the books. Please use your own judgment in deciding which books you wish to read or buy.

I have not read all these books! My commentary on the ones I have read reflects my opinions on the books as literature. Title links go to Amazon, and some descriptions were taken from Amazon.

These were the criteria used to compile the list: 1) The book must be science fiction or fantasy or otherwise not realism, and must have been published, either originally or in reprint, as YA in the USA, 2) The character of color/non-white character must either be the protagonist, if it’s a book with a solo protagonist, or one of an ensemble, if it’s a book with multiple protagonists.

This is not an exhaustive list! It is still being added to, and will continue to be as new books come out. Please let me know if I missed something. Also see Stacy Whitman's list, which includes more middle-grade books (for younger children) than I did. (I’ve included a few MG books I thought were edging into YA territory – subjective, I know!)

I have not always specified the protagonist's race. In some cases, the book was suggested by someone else and I don't know; in others, the characters are described in ways which would be considered non-white on our world, but come from a world in which our racial categories don't apply. I have generally not specified the race of the authors, because this list focuses on characters. Also, in many cases, I don't know how the authors identify. This list is intended merely as a starting point. If you wish to have more information before reading a book, further research should turn it up.

Flight: A Novel, by Sherman Alexie. Teenage half-Indian, half-Irish "Zits" time-travels through American history, confronting various iterations of violence, betrayal, and loss. A compelling, thought-provoking, page-turning novel by a Spokane Indian writer. My full review.

The Invasion (Animorphs Book 1), by Katherine Applegate. Hugely popular series about shapeshifting kids battling aliens; it's middle-grade, but gets quite dark. Of the five heroes, Marco is Hispanic and Cassie is black. (Jake and Rachel are white and Jewish.)

Manifest series, by Artist Arthur. Krystal's ghost-whispering talents soon lead other "freaks" to her door—Sasha, a rich girl who can literally disappear, Jake, who moves objects with his mind, and telepathic Lindsey. Three of the four heroes are people of color.

Ship Breaker series, by Paolo Bacigalupi. A post-apocalyptic adventure. The hero and other major characters are people of color.

Fox and Phoenix, by Beth Bernobich. Fantasy set in an alternate China.

Black & White (aka Noughts & Crosses) series, by Malorie Blackman. A Romeo and Juliet-like story of a teenage interracial couple in an alternate England that's divided between the oppressed white Noughts and the privileged black Crosses. This series is hugely popular in the UK. My full review here.

Above, by Leah Bobet. A fantasy set in an underground hideaway for mutants and disabled people, whose protagonist is half-Indian. My full review.

The Demon's Surrender (Demon's Lexicon), by Sarah Rees Brennan. The final volume of the urban fantasy trilogy is narrated by Sin, a biracial dancer.

Wolf Mark, by Joseph Bruchac, an Abenaki author. Lucas King, an Abenaki teenager, is a bad-ass literature geek whose black ops father taught him the tricks of the trade. When his father is kidnapped, Lucas can only save him by connecting with his heritage… as a werewolf! This energetic, playful, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink novel is great fun, riffing on everything from Indian legends to Twilight. It would probably appeal to Percy Jackson fans. My full review.

Bruchac is a very prolific author, and has written many books with Native American protagonists which are not on this list as they’re intended for younger children, or are not fantasy. I also enjoyed his middle-grade Skeleton Man, a very spooky story of a brave young girl and a Skeleton Man.

Diverse Energies, edited by Tobias Buckell and Joe Monti. An anthology of dystopian YA stories with protagonists of color, the majority written by authors of color. High quality in general, including an excellent lesbian coming of age/romance by Malinda Lo, but the cumulative effect of all that doom is a bit depressing. Don't read in a single sitting. My full review here.

Devil's Kiss series, by Sarwat Chadda. Billi SanGreal, daughter of a white Christian father and a Pakistani Muslim mother, is now the only girl in the modern version of the Knights Templar, who protect the world from supernatural evil. An energetic horror-fantasy. My full review.

A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales, by Ying Chang Compestine. It is believed that those who die without a decent last meal or were wronged in death come back to seek revenge. Organized like a traditional Chinese banquet, with each story as a dish, the tales revolve around the spirits of those who died unfairly and prematurely.

Note: Compestine is very prolific, and has written many books for younger children and non-fantasy books.

Little Sister, by Kara Dalkey. Evocative fantasy set in Heian Japan. There’s a sequel, but the first book stands on its own.

The Painted Boy, by Charles de Lint. Part-dragon Chinese-American teenager Jay Li goes on a coming-of-age quest, and falls in love with the lead guitarist of a barrio rock band.

The Conch Bearer (Brotherhood of the Conch) trilogy, by acclaimed adult magic realist Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Atmospheric middle-grade quest fantasy set in India, with an all-Indian cast. My full reviews.

The Storyteller's Daughter: A Retelling of "The Arabian Nights" , by Cameron Dokey. Shahrazad retelling.

Magic Under Glass series, by Jaclyn Dolamore. When a wealthy sorcerer hires Nimira to sing with a mysterious piano-playing automaton, she learns that the soul of a fairy prince is trapped within the automaton. Nimira is a person of color.

So You Want to Be a Wizard series, by Diane Duane. Inventive and charming series about two kid wizards, one of whom is Hispanic. The first two books are especially good, and stand on their own.

A Wish After Midnight, by Zetta Elliott. Genna wants out of her tough Brooklyn neighborhood. But she gets more than she bargained for when a wish gone awry transports her back in time. Facing the perilous realities of Civil War–era Brooklyn, Genna must use all her wits to survive. Heroine is African-American.

Ship of Souls, by Zetta Elliott. A contemporary fantasy.

Daughters of the Moon series, by Lynne Ewing. They seem like ordinary girls living in Los Angeles. But Vanessa can become invisible, Catty can travel through time, Serena reads minds, and Jimena (who is Latina) has premonitions.

The House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer. Science fiction set in a brutally dystopian future Mexico.

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, by Nancy Farmer. Playful science fiction set in a future Africa, featuring a team of mutant detectives and an all-African cast.

Black Hole Sun, by David Macinnis Gill. Dystopian action-adventure sf set on Mars.

Soul Enchilada, by David Macinnis Gill. Teenage Bug Smoot’s grandfather sold his soul for a classic Cadillac and he used her soul as collateral, too. Which the devil has come to collect, along with the car. Now she has to fight for both. Good thing she knows how to fight dirty. Bug is black and Latina.

Eon, by Alison Goodman. In a China-esque world, a girl disguises herself as a boy to learn dragon magic.

Half World, by Hiromi Goto. Melanie Tamaki is human - but her parents aren't. They are from Half World, a Limbo between our world and the afterlife. When her mother disappears, Melanie must follow her to Half World. A spooky, surrealist fantasy. My full review.

Gone series, by Michael Grant (co-author of the Animorphs series. Everyone over the age of 13 mysteriously vanishes... and the remaining kids get psychic powers. Several POV characters are people of color, including Dekka, a black lesbian girl who can control gravity.

Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale. A re-told fairytale set in a fantasy Mongolia.

Justice and Her Brothers trilogy, by Virginia Hamilton. All the children in an African-American family have psychic powers.

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush, by Virginia Hamilton. Intense, sophisticated novel about the metaphoric and literal ghosts haunting an African-American family.

Note: Hamilton has written other fantasies for younger children, not to mention lots of realistic novels.

The Shattering, by Karen Healey. An intense fantasy thriller set in New Zealand. Great characterization. Of three POV characters, one is Samoan and one is half Maori. My full review.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin. Mara Dyer doesn't believe life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. The heroine is half Indian.

The Chaos, by Nalo Hopkinson. Fantasy with a surreal tinge, about a biracial girl whose world is slowly becoming supernatural.

Racing the Dark (Spirit Binders) series by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Fantasy set in a Polynesian-esque world.

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden) series, by Julie Kagawa. Post-apocalyptic vampires with a sword-wielding Japanese-American heroine. (And, alas, yet another whitewashed cover.)

Wildefire, by Karsten Knight. Ashline Wilde is struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, when she discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them.

Blood Ninja series by Nick Lake. Two words: vampire ninja. Or should I say, ninpire? Set in Tokugawa Japan, with an all-Japanese cast.

How to Ditch Your Fairy, by Justine Larbalestier. Everyone in this alternate Australia has a fairy, which endows them with some kind of magic gift… like always being able to find a parking space. The heroine is a person of color.

Liar, by Justine Larbalestier. One of the few things which is certainly true of the compulsively lying heroine of this intense, twisty novel is that she’s biracial (white and African-American.)

Magic or Madness series, by Justine Larbalestier. Teenage Reason Cansino learns that the magic-users in her family face a terrifying choice: use it and die young, or turn away from magic and go mad. A well-characterized fantasy with a great sense of place. Three POV characters, only one white.

Team Human, by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. Contemporary comedy-fantasy in which Chinese-American Mel attempts to save her best friend from falling in love with a vampire.

A Wizard of Earthsea series, by Ursula K. LeGuin. One of the most beautifully written, vivid, and memorable fantasies I’ve ever read; a classic for a reason. Most of the major characters of the series are people of color.

Voices (Annals of the Western Shore) and Powers (Annals of the Western Shore), by Ursula K. LeGuin. Thoughtful imaginary world fantasy series; these two books and are set in the same world, but are independent of each other. The protagonists are people of color. My full review of Voices. My full review of Powers.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin. A Newbery Honor book, gorgeously designed. A quest fantasy based on Chinese folklore.

Huntress, by Malinda Lo. A quest fantasy set in a China-inspired fantasy world, with a sweet lesbian romance and some quite beautiful passages. My full review.

Legend, by Marie Lu. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. Clearly, they are destined for each other. Day is Mongolian/Russian.

The Changeover, by Margaret Mahy. To save her little brother, part-Maori heroine Laura Chant must embrace her magical powers. This Carnegie medal-winning supernatural romance is notable for excellent writing and characterization, and a romance with actual chemistry.

Daughter of the Flames, by Zoe Marriott. Epic fantasy with a female protagonist of color.

Shadows on the Moon, by Zoe Marriott. Historical fantasy set in Japan. Winner of the Sasakawa prize, an award gifted by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation for outstanding contributions to the promotion of understanding and cooperation between people of Japan and the UK.

Moon-Flash, by Patricia McKillip. Dreamy, poetic science fiction. The heroine and hero are described as people of color, though current racial categories don’t apply.

The Clone Codes, by Patricia and Frederick McKissack. In the year 2170 an underground abolitionist movement fights for the freedom of cyborgs and clones, who are treated no better than slaves.

Possess, by Gretchen McNeil. Bridget Liu possesses the rare ability to banish demons back to whatever hell they came from. Literally.

Into The Wise Dark, by Neesha Meminger. Pammi has a secret – she is an Able. At night, she travels through time to an ancient city called Zanum.

Luminous, by Dawn Metcalf. Consuela has the power to step out of her earthly skin and cloak herself in new ones - skins made from the world around her, crafted from water, fire, air. Check out the gorgeous cover.

Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer. Cinderella retold as a YA dystopia. Cinder is a cyborg and, like most of the characters, Chinese.

Un Lun Dun, by China Mieville. Quirky, playful fantasy subverting the “destined hero” trope. The heroine is a person of color.

ICO: Castle in the Mist; Brave Story; The Book of Heroes, by Miyuki Miyabe. Not a series, these unrelated novels by acclaimed adult mystery author Miyabe all feature Japanese heroes and heroines having epic adventures in fantasy worlds. Translated from Japanese.

47, by Walter Mosley. Number 47, a fourteen-year-old slave boy growing up under the watchful eye of a brutal master in 1832, meets the mysterious TallJohn.

The Legend of Tarik, by Walter Dean Myers. Excellent, sadly neglected historical fantasy about an African boy taken as a slave to medieval Spain; adventure ensues. My full review.

A Confusion of Princes, by Garth Nix. Epic, somewhat tongue-in-cheek space opera about Khemri, a nearly immortal and extremely arrogant prince who might inherit a galactic empire... if he's the one out of a million princes to survive the selection process. You wouldn't know it from the cover, but he's described as non-white. My full review is here.

Fated (Soul Seekers), by Alyson Noel. Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Set in Enchantment, New Mexico.

Rocket Girls series, by Housuke Nojiri. Yukari Morita is a high school girl on a quest to find her missing father. She receives the offer of a lifetime—she'll get the help she needs to find her father, and all she need do in return is become the world's youngest astronaut. Translated from Japanese.

The Beast Master series, by Andre Norton. Left homeless by the war that reduced Terra to a radioactive cinder, Hosteen Storm – Navajo commando and master of beasts – is drawn to the planet Arzor, to kill a man he has never met.

Dragon Magic, by Andre Norton. Four boys are individually drawn into an adventure – each involving a dragon – from the past or legends of their own ethnic heritage. One boy is Chinese and one is African-American. The contemporary sections are dated, but the dragon adventures are strong and the story as a whole is moving.

Lavender-Green Magic, by Andre Norton. African-American siblings are transported into the past for a magical adventure.

Dragon Sword and Wind Child (Tales of the Magatama) series, by Noriko Ogiwara. Saya, a 15-year-old whose adoptive parents have raised her to worship the Light, discovers that she is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden and therefore a leader of the Children of Darkness. An award-winning fantasy adventure series set in a magical Japan. Translated from Japanese.

Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor. Nigerian-American, albino Sunny becomes one of a quartet of magic students in Nigeria, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. Fun story with a vivid setting and likable characters. My full review.

The Shadow Speaker, by Nnedi Okorafor. Magic, mysticism, and mind-blowing technology now rule the world. In West Africa, fourteen-year old Ejii struggles to master her own magical powers. Fantastic worldbuilding and a gripping story make this a must-read. Set in the same fantasy Africa as Zahrah the Windseeker. My full review.

Zahrah the Windseeker, by Nnedi Okorafor. A charming, inventive adventure set in a fantasy Africa in which biotech has advanced until you can grow a computer from a seed. My full review.

The Twelve Kingdoms, Volume 1: Sea of Shadow series, by Fuyumi Ono. Epic fantasy set in a China-esque fantasy world, with incredibly intricate and fascinating worldbuilding. The first three volumes can all be read independently of each other. All characters are Asian. Translated from the Japanese. My full reviews.

Invisible Touch, by Kelly Parra. The Mexican-American heroine has visions in this supernatural fantasy.

The Dead and the Gone, by Susan Beth Pfeffer. An asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, and every conceivable natural disaster occurs. Seventeen-year-old Alex Morales's parents are missing and presumed drowned by tsunamis. Left alone, he struggles to care for his sisters. A well-written and disturbing apocalypse novel which stands on its own. The sequel focuses more on Miranda, a white girl from another book in the series.

Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic) series, by Tamora Pierce. An excellent, well-characterized imaginary-world fantasy series with four main characters, two of whom are people of color. The series starts out when they’re kids, and matures as they do. There are also major lesbian characters, including the black metal mage, Daja.

Melting Stones, by Tamora Pierce. A fantasy novel set in the same world as “Circle of Magic,” starring an Asian-analogue girl.

Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia series, by Cindy Pon. An exuberantly inventive YA fantasy novel set in a China more mythic than historical, full of cool Chinese mythology and delectably described Chinese cooking. Advisory: contains attempted rape. My full review.

Nation, by Terry Pratchett. When a giant wave destroys his village, Mau is the only one left. Daphne—a traveler from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Separated by language and customs, the two are united by catastrophe. A Printz Honor Book by the internationally acclaimed Pratchett. Mau is a person of color.

Living Violet (The Cambion Chronicles), by Jaime Reed. A paranormal romance about a biracial (white and African-American) girl who falls for a mysterious, purple-eyed white guy.

Bleeding Violet, by Dia Reeves. Biracial (African-American and Finnish), mentally ill teenager Hanna moves to a little Texas town overrun by disgusting monsters and their psychopathic slayers. Inventive, surreal, and extremely violent. My full review.

Slice of Cherry, by Dia Reeves. Set in the same town as Bleeding Violet, and starring African-American teenage sisters… who are serial killers!

Larklight series, by Philip Reeves. Steampunk fantasy adventure. One of the three main characters is a biracial (white and black) space pirate.

The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex. A wonderful science fiction comedy, complete with hilarious comic strip inserts, in which biracial eleven-year-old Gratuity "Tip" Tucci tells the story of how Earth was colonized by aliens, and she ended up traveling cross-country in search of her mother in a flying car called Slushious, in the company of a conflicted alien named J. Lo. My full review.

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story, by Adam Rex. This satire about a nerdy white vampire and an internet-addicted Indian exchange student starts strong but falls apart halfway through due to inconsistent characterization and preachiness. My full review.

Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes. Magic realism about an African-American girl who can talk to ghosts, set during Hurricane Katrina.

The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, Book 1), by Rick Riordan. Sequel to the bestselling Percy Jackson series, about a summer camp for the children of Greek Gods, but can be read independently. Four of the six POV-protagonists are characters of color: Leo has a Hispanic mother, Piper has a Cherokee father, Frank has a Chinese-American mother, and Hazel has a black mother, although all also have a parent who is a Greek God. Enormous fun, with interesting developments in the world of the story. The new characters are quite likable and interesting.

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) series, about a biracial (white and black) brother and sister who get entangled with the Gods of ancient Egypt. Action-packed, funny, and inventive.

The Girl With Borrowed Wings, by Rinsai Rossetti. Controlled by her father and bound by desert, Frenenqer Paje's life is tediously the same, until a small act of rebellion explodes her world and she meets a boy, but not just a boy--a Free person, a winged person, a shape-shifter. The heroine is Arabic. Rossetti wrote this book when she was 18.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories, by Salman Rushdie. A complex children’s fantasy with crossover appeal to adults. The hero is Indian, and the story involves Indian folklore.

Tankborn, by Karen Sandler. Dystopian science fiction set on another planet. The heroine and majority of the characters are people of color.

Gateway, by Sharon Shinn. Chinese adoptee Daiyu magically travels to a version of St. Louis much like 19th century China, where she is trained as a spy.

Misfit, by Jon Skovron. Contemporary fantasy. Jael Thompson has never really fit in. Possibly because her mother was a five thousand-year-old demon. The heroine is of Middle Eastern descent.

Eternal, by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Vampires, angels, and a Chinese-Scottish heroine.

Diabolical, by Cynthia Leitich Smith. The protagonist of this contemporary fantasy novel is Mexican-American.

A Posse of Princesses, by Sherwood Smith. Rhis, princess of a small kingdom, is invited along with all the other princesses in her part of the world to the coming of age party of the Crown Prince of Vesarja. When Iardith, the prettiest and most perfect of all the princesses, is abducted, Rhis and her friends go to the rescue. A charming and funny fantasy adventure. The protagonist and the majority of the characters are people of color.

So This is How it Ends (Avatars, Book 1) series, by Tui T. Sutherland. Five teenagers from across the world emerge into a changed landscape, one filled with cultists, mutant animals, and crystal robot monsters. Several POV characters are people of color.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya series, by Nagaru Tanigawa. Haruhi is a cute, determined girl, starting high school in a city where nothing exciting happens. But though she doesn't know it, Haruhi has the power to destroy the universe. Translated from Japanese.

The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel, by Drew Hayden Taylor. ”A Native vampire! That is so cool!” An enjoyably quirky novel in which the teenage heroine and the ancient vampire renting the basement in her home are both First Nations. My full review.

The Comet's Curse: A Galahad Book series, by Dom Testa. Science fiction series set on a spaceship. Ensemble cast including characters of color.

Toads and Diamonds, by Heather Tomlinson. A retold fairytale set in a fantasy Mughal India.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit series, by Nahoko Uehashi. A fantasy adventure starring a badass swordswoman, set in a fantastical Japan. Translated from Japanese.

The Shadow Thieves (Cronus Chronicles) series, by Anne Ursu. Greek mythology in modern America. Zed, a black British boy, is one of two POV protagonists

The Boy at the End of the World, by Greg van Eekhout. Fisher is the last boy on earth. But he’s not totally alone. He meets a broken robot he names Click, whose programmed purpose-to help Fisher "continue existing"-makes it act an awful lot like an overprotective parent. Fisher is a person of color.

The Lion Hunter (The Mark of Solomon) duology, by Elizabeth Wein. Fantastic, very intense and angsty quasi-historical novels set in an alternate sixth century Aksum (Ethiopia), about Telemakos, the son of Mordred (yes, that Mordred) and an Aksumite princess. It's part of a series, but this is a reasonable starting point, and the first book is about Mordred. This link goes to non-spoilery reviews of the entire series, and also explains how they relate to each other. Click the author's name tag to see individual reviews of each book.

The Secret Hour (Midnighters trilogy), by Scott Westerfeld. A tremendously entertaining series about the secret hour when time stops, monsters emerge, and only five teenagers can battle them with their individual powers. One of the five is Mexican-American. My full review.

Extras, by Scott Westerfeld. The last book in his Uglies series, but stands on its own. An action-packed adventure set in a future Japan, starring a girl who will do anything to become famous.

Rogelia's House of Magic, by Jamie Martinez Wood. Three teenage girls find friendship and special powers as they are trained in the ways of the curandera by a wise old woman.

City of Fire, by Laurence Yep. When her older sister dies trying to prevent the theft of one of her people’s great treasures, Scirye sets out to avenge her and recover the precious item. Helping her are Bayang, a dragon disguised as a Pinkerton agent; Leech, a boy with powers he has not yet discovered; and Leech’s loyal companion Koko, who has a secret of his own.

Dragon of the Lost Sea (Dragon Series), by Laurence Yep. The outlawed princess of the Dragon Clan and her young human companion undergo fearsome trials in their quest for an evil enchantress in this classic fantasy series based on Chinese legend.

Note: Yep is very prolific, and has written other fantasies for younger children.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)

From: [personal profile] twistedchick

Beastmaster, by Andre Norton. The protagonist is Navajo.
twisted_times: Animated icon saying "Sing like nobody's listening, live like you'll die tomorrow, dance like nobody's watching..." etc (dance)

From: [personal profile] twisted_times

Is that same Beastmaster as the film of the same title, or a completely different story entirely?

Oh yes, before I forget - must bookmark this post for future reference!

twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)

From: [personal profile] twistedchick

About the only thing the film kept was the title and the Southwestern location -- conveniently moved to another planet or something. The original is the Norton book.
twisted_times: Black on white image of a tiger seen from head on, walking directly towards the viewer. (Tiger)

From: [personal profile] twisted_times

So many films end up bearing little or not resemblance to originating books which is such a shame, as Ursula LeGuin will attest to, having had some awful experiences with film and TV adaptations of her work.

Apparently, it got mistitled at one cinema whhen it first came out as Breastmaster... I'm sure some teen boys were disappointed that it didn't live up to that title. ;p

twisted_times: I'm streaking through your dreamwidth & you can't stop me!  Plus pic of naked person streaking. (streaking)

From: [personal profile] twisted_times

*splorfles muchly*

Huzzah for boobies! How about a streaking icon instead? ;p

sparkymonster: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sparkymonster

Living Violet by Jamie Reed (book #1 of Cambion Chronicles)
A mixed race (african american & white) human protagonist who is romantically involved with a white guy with violet eyes. Paranormal YA.

"Daughters of the Moon" series by Lynne Ewing. Four teens discover they have supernatural powers and together fight ancient evil. One of the teens is a latina.
sparkymonster: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sparkymonster

"Living Violet" was good. There was strong female friendship, and I enjoyed that Samara being mixed race was not used as a metaphor (for good or bad). Her parents are fairly amicably divorced and race isn't presented as divisive or the rainbow love connection. There is also some interesting stuff with the white part of Samara's family being complicated jerks about race.

My biggest complaints were that the male lead has PURPLE EYES (srsly omgwtf) and a dash of deus ex machina at the end.

"The Daughters of the Moon" series is....well. It's not terrible but it's not particularly good. Jimena, who is a latina, is presented in fairly heavy handed fashion. She was in a teen gang, went to juvie, but then some random judge gave her a second chance and she's no longer "in the life." She has tattoos! She's "scary"! But also full of power! She hot wires a car for justice! Also there is apparently only one latina in an entire L.A. high school? (also what her ethnic background is besides "hispanic" wasn't really made clear).

I wouldn't hand this to someone who wanted a paranormal YA book. However, I wouldn't knock it out of their hands either. It's a solid "meh"
sparkymonster: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sparkymonster

Sadly the violet in the title is a reference to the purple eyes of the male lead. He has a paranormal aspect and his eyes glow when he is using his powers. To clarify, his eyes are always purple but when he powers up they are glowing and purple.

Honestly, the purple eyes is my only real complaint about this book. This is the first paranormal/fantasy book the author has written. I think a better book editor would have guided her away from the eye color thing.
sparkymonster: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sparkymonster


There is a romance novel series for adults (not "adults") in which there are vampires whose eyes glow different colors when they are using different powers. Also they live off the power of women's orgasms not blood. Good times.
sparkymonster: (pic#445674)

From: [personal profile] sparkymonster

I love the Psy series SO MUCH. Especially how she gave us a really detailed accounting of the condo complex they were building in book one. Way too much detail.

I forgot to mention the orgasm vampire is a cowboy who is seeking revenge on the people who killed HIS WHOLE FAMILY and made him sad. This of course turns into one of those series where there is one book per sibling and then the author drags in some cousins & long lost relations. *cough*
sparkymonster: (Default)

From: [personal profile] sparkymonster

*cough* that convo may be partially my fault. One Wiscon I had a long giggly convo with Oyce about Nalini Singh's obsession with shapeshifter condos in that first book. You know, being sure to have prey animal shifters physically distant from pedator animal shifters. Giving cat shifters high spaces, etc. Also how this project would be funded, bonuses for meeting goals, etc.

Usually in romance novels the mechanics of the condo project would be hand waved in favor of sexual tension. But not in this one!

From: (Anonymous)

thanks for this list!

I recommended a bunch of them to my biracial, sci-fi/spec fiction reading tween daughter and put several on hold for myself. I was surprised to see China Mieville's "Un Lun Dun" on the list since I hadn't read the protagonist as a girl of color. Will have to go back and reread those first chapters again.

Thanks again for posting this list.

From: (Anonymous)

ya list

Fabulous list! I would add Clone Codes and Cyborg by the McKissacks. Science Fiction that employs themes from African American history.

From: (Anonymous)

Cassandra Clare's books, more Infernal Devices than the Mortal Instruments, but she didn't go to bat to keep the POC nonwhite in the movie version.

The Girl With Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti - Arabic heroine

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson - marketed as an adult book, but the hero is ambiguously in his late teens or early twenties and there's lots of crossover potential

Runaways - YA comic series from Marvel, several characters of color on the team

Traitor's Boy by Hilari Bell - this is the second in a two book series - borderline for this list - hero is 3/16 Native American, which is very important to the story since that makes him ineligible to inherit tribal property

Legend by Marie Lu - biracial hero

Fated by Alyson Noel - heroine is half-Hispanic

Earthseed by Pamela Sargent - mostly multiracial characters

Losers in Space by John Barnes - some of the main characters are POC

From: (Anonymous)

Sorry, even though it's irrelevant, that was a typo. Supposed to be she did go to bat. As for Infernal Devices, I would say no. The hero is Chinese, but the heroine is the protagonist. (I was remembering the heroine as Asian too, but nothing I can find on the net backs this up. My mistake.)

The hero in Legend (Day) is half-Mongolian, half-Russian. (Or more generally, half-white, half-Asian.)

From: (Anonymous)

I would put The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare on the list. The Infernal Devices is a series with multiple protagonists, with different books concentrating on them to different extents. The second book focuses heavily on Jem, who is Chinese. Though I know this isn't about covers Clockwork Prince was I believe the only YA novel published in 2011 with an Asian male front and center on the cover.

From: [identity profile]

Okay, fair warning, I mention this one ONLY because I find it hilariously appalling that PIERS EFFIN' ANTHONY can sell a book with a black heroine and other, infinitely better folks can't. Zombie Lover, from the Xanth series. If Xanth counts as adult, well, whatever, I do not care, it is a terrible, terrible book anyway. See THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.

From: [identity profile]

Thanks so much for the comprehensive list! I'm going to link to it on my site.

I've just started a new project, The Next Frontier (, which aims at discussion & promotion of minorities (ethnic and otherwise) in YA sci-fi & fantasy. I would love it if you would promote it -- if not, that's totally fine.

Thanks again for the post!


From: (Anonymous)

New black girl in fantasy

Landwhig's Pride-5th token of life. It's an ebook. The lead character is a black girl. And she "is" a black girl!

From: [identity profile]

Wow. :) Thank you for this list! *jumps off to check out the books* I really enjoyed The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. I liked her portrayal of Sin, a biracial dancer.

From: [identity profile]

I am not sure if this counts as fantasy or it's more ethnography but it sounds nifty: Coyote Still Going. Memoir with a bunch of Coyote tales included.

From: [identity profile]

That sounds like a great rec, thanks! I'll check it out.

PS. Can you please email me? I just tried to email you about something, but I don't seem to have your current email, and it bounced.

From: [identity profile]

I just emailed the most recent email I have for you, so let me know if you don't get it. :D

From: (Anonymous)

I'm incredibly happy to see the Twelve Kingdoms on the list! It's an amazing series with some great world-building, and Youko is extremely admirable.

From: (Anonymous)

Books to Add?

I would also include The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima (Starts with The Demon King). It's a high fantasy series about how Raisa, the bi-racial Princess of the Fells, attempts to learn about her future queendom and herself. Other main character (they primarily alternate POV) is a 'white' reformed theif. Many of the main supporting characters are also people of color.

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