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2017 Young Adult POC Books


POC books or People of Color books are things that I've found lacking in my reading. I'm Hispanic, my family is from Cuba and before that from Spain. I recently just found out there are members of my family still in Spain. And as I've gotten older it's now that I feel like I care more about whether a book has POC characters in the books I read. It's a little ridiculous how small the amount is. And I don't mean the bad boy the MC is into that has "olive" skin tone. I mean ACTUAL characters that are identified as a different race or ethnicity other than white. It's not like there is anything wrong with having white characters - I'm white. It's just that there are so many more people out there. Not everyone looks the same...

So I've been on a hunt to find POC characters in YA books published this year. I thought I could at least recommend one and find some more that I would like to read. And here are the results of my search:

Desi Lee knows how carburetors work. She learned CPR at the age of five. As a high school senior, she has never missed a day of school and has never had a B in her entire life. She's for sure going to Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation-magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds her answer in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It's a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Rules for True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and fake car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love is a book I've read this past month. It's a really cute romance that has Desi Lee who is Korean and obsessed with fixing everything/being perfect using K Dramas to find love with Luca Drakos.

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A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. 

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.

I feel like everyone and their mother knows about this book but it's probably me just obsessing over it when I see it added or being read on Goodreads. This is another romance that looks ridiculously cute and full of humor with two Indian Americans in the center.

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Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?


I honestly cant't believe there is another one of these books in Lara Jean's series. I like how the summary admits that it's a surprise follow-up. They are all surprises! I'm a bit apprehensive about this one just because I feel like I always end up really down while reading about Lara Jean. Still this story is sure to amazing and it so happens to be another book featuring a Korean family.

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His whole life has been mapped out for him… 

Carlos Portillo has always led a privileged and sheltered life. A dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, he lives in Mexico City with his wealthy family, where he attends an elite international school. Always a rule follower and a parent pleaser, Carlos is more than happy to tread the well-worn path in front of him. He has always loved food and cooking, but his parents see it as just a hobby.

When his older brother, Felix—who has dropped out of college to live a life of travel—is tragically killed, Carlos begins hearing his brother's voice, giving him advice and pushing him to rebel against his father's plan for him. Worrying about his mental health but knowing the voice is right, Carlos runs away to the United States and manages to secure a job with his favorite celebrity chef. As he works to improve his skills in the kitchen and pursue his dream, he begins to fall for his boss's daughter—a fact that could end his career before it begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos must decide what's most important to him and where his true path really lies.

You know I can only recall one book that had a Hispanic/Latino(a) character in it that I've read before? I don't count the "olive" skinned bad boy characters. That's pretty pathetic. I already like Carlos' bravery as well as what seems like would be a book with a lot of food descriptions in it. Maybe I'll finally be able to know some actual authentic Mexican food with Carlos' skills in the kitchen.

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June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one—and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net. 

But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognizes the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom... But at what price?

June is mixed race - black and white - living with her white side of the family and dealing with a predominately white school. She doesn't have anyone except Blister, a boy she finds in the woods. I'm sure this one will get people angry and want to hug June because it's already doing that for me.

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Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.
                                                                       After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse. 

Now someone made a comment on this book basically being frustrated that this book has a black woman as the MC but that it's written by a white woman. I honestly don't know how I feel about this because I don't know how I would feel if it was a Hispanic woman on the cover. I don't look Hispanic and I'm very American so I'm probably missing something. All I can think of is that the author might not get certain things right if they were from a different race/ethnicity. Does anyone else see it as a problem and can you explain why? Other than that I love the premise and the cover.

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Some other POC books:

Antisocial by Jillian Blake - I recently reviewed this book. A lot of diverse characters but not the MC who has Social Anxiety Disorder. 
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - A timely story featuring discussion that has to do with #BlackLivesMatter. I've seen that everyone loves it when they've read it.
She, Myself, and I by Emma Young - This may or may not have a POC main character. Her name is Rosa so I assume she's Hispanic. If she's not let me know. The story sounds pretty amazing with her going through a brain transplant after she's been quadriplegic. 

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh - This is by a pretty famous youtuber and it promises tons of laughs.

There are still a bunch out there but I'll stop here. I've noticed that there are a lot of Asian and Black POC characters out there being MC's. NetGalley is a good place to look for a lot more. If you know of more Hispanic MC books out there coming out in 2017 please let me know because I need to get my hands on them.


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Have you read or want to read any of the books I've mentioned?
Do you have any POC book recommendations to give out? 
Let me know in the comment section!

Comments

  1. I have a copy of When Dimple Met Rishi that I really hope to read soon! I can't believe it comes out in a week.

    So, I'm white but in my opinion, I think it's fine to write outside your race or your sexuality or whatever. Yes, you will need to be more careful and do more research, etc. but writers shouldn't be limited by what they know and who they are, otherwise so many books would feature the same white, straight characters.

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  2. Thanks for sharing these Adriana. I find more diversity in New Adult and Adult with series like the Shattered Past by Cecy Robson.

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  3. I have not read any of these. Sounds like an interesting lineup.

    Gaby, Lost and Found is a MG book about a girls whose mom is deported and the struggles she goes through in America after her mom is sent away. I thought it was an interesting perspective for sure. :)
    ~Jess

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  4. When Dimple Met Rishi just has the cutest cover. It's hard not to smile when you see it :)

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  5. This is such a great post. I can't wait to get Always and Forever from the library! These all sound super interesting. I've heard of When Dimple Met Rashmi, but not the others. The Hate U Give is definitely on my list though. Excited to check these out. :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  6. When Dimple Met Rishi is my must-read book for this summer. I have heard so many great things about it. Monster by Walter Dean Myers is a great older POC book that I just finished reading and Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy as well (though that one isn't YA). Excellent list of recommendations, thank you!

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