Some Thoughts on Diversity in Literature
Over the last month I have been doing a lot of thinking and reading around the edges of diversity in fiction.
There have always been books that deal with the issues faced by minority groups and people. A recent popular example was the book Wonder by RJ Palacio, which looked at the issue of someone who did not look like everyone else from the point of view of both the boy in questions and his friends and family.
This month I have some books that look at diversity in a number of different ways, and are a great read. Most of these books are for the older teenage range, the content of most of them is at least 12+. If you are looking buy, most are available on amazon (please not I am not affiliated with Amazon).
What has stuck with me though from my month of contemplation on diversity was the comments of a gay man, and I am sorry but I cannot find it again to attribute it to him, but he said when minorities are included in fiction at the same level as they occur in everyday life then we can stop talking about diversity.
Minority Group Main Characters
My first two offerings deal with diversity simply because the main characters are from minority groups and, while they give the books an interesting twist, they are simply very good reads.
That Feeling When by S.M. James
That Feeling When is a teen romance pure and simple. Hollywood heartthrob, London Summers, meets misunderstood teen, Archie Corrigan at summer camp. They may fight it, but their mutual attraction is clear.
In this book S.M. James has developed two likeable characters who we watch slowly fall in love. The tension is provided by the fact their growing romance needs to remain a secret but someone is intent on breaking them up.
That Feeling When takes me back to my teen romance reading phase, and had me hooked right from the start. Readers of teen romances will enjoy this book.
A Wish After Midnight by Zeta Elliot
Growing up in Brooklyn is not easy for teenager Gena Colon, but it is not as hard as the Pre-Civil war Brooklyn she finds herself thrown back into.
This book is a fast paced portal fantasy that allows the reader a glimpse of life in for a free black person before the American Civil war, while also looking at how life is different, but in some ways still the same for a black girl growing up in America today.
Zeta Elliot has created a likeable character in Gena, who is in many way a typical teenager wanting to break away from her mother, looking for love, but also trying to decide who she will be in the future.
Readers of historical fiction, fantasy books and coming of age books will love this story.
Diversity from a Different Angle
The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Melanie is a special girl, in a special school, and she may just me the saviour of the human race. However, when the school is raided she must journey with others to find the rest of humanity and save the future. In this post-apocalyptic novel, M.R. Carey questions what it means to be human.
I could not put this book down, even though the genre is zombie apocalypse, the characters were so human, and full of hope and the normal human failings. The world of the book was both frightening and intriguing, and I loved the way way the world ended very inventive. Although I do not want to spoil the ending, I have included The Girl With All the Gifts in today’s review simply because not only does the book question what it is to be human, it also forced us to look at individuals and not just types.
This is such a great book, but difficult to pick an audience. I am just going to say I think everyone should give it a go, you might just be surprised by how much you enjoy it. Word of warning though, your heart will not be the same when you have finished it.
Surprises in Diversity – The Dark Souls by Bryan Cohen and Casey Lane
In The Dark Souls, Bryan Cohen and Casey Lane have produced a great central character, nerdy Ted Finley. Going through school under the radar, Ted’s life changes when he finds he is being followed, then abducted because he has developed some strange new powers.
Locked away with others who have all developed powers, Ted not only has to come to terms with his new found abilities, but also the fact others are chasing him. It is difficult to know who to trust in this new, strange world, but in all the mayhem maybe it is possible to find love.
This book is a great read. Lovers of Percy Jackson style adventures will be drawn to this book, but it is also very much a teenage coming of age adventure story as well. And why was it included in today’s reviews. Well you will just have to read it and find out.