Diverse Reads: African-American Main Characters

Check out one of these great books the next time you’re at the library, all of which feature African-American main characters.

The Summer Prince

by Alaya Dawn Johnson
In the lush Brazilian city of Palmares Tres, June is a vibrant up-and-coming artist. When the new Summer King is crowned, June, like the rest of the city, falls in love with him. But he also falls in love with her. As fate would have it in the realm, the Summer King is destined to die.

Tiny Pretty Things

by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton
Welcome to the world of ballet dancers. With controlling mothers, debilitating diseases, and terrifying doses of perfectionism, three girls will manipulate, work and battle their way to the top spot at their academy.

See No Color

by Shannon Gibney
Alex always thought she would be a pro baseball player like her adoptive father. But when she discovers secrets about him, her adoptive parents, and her past, she questions her existence and fears that the one thing she’s always loved will be taken away from her.

Dear Martin

by Nic Stone
Justyce is a top student and captain of the debate team, but he’s had one too many run-ins with white cops. In the midst of his frustration, he dedicates himself to studying the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., writing a daily journal to the late MLK. He sets out to see if the lessons of the past hold up to the challenges of today.

All American Boys

by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
Two American boys. Two different lives. Rashad is violently arrested and classmate Quinn is a witness. The story of the incident consumes their lives in various ways. This is the story of two perspectives of the same racial incident, and whether these two young, all-American boys have more in common than they think.

The Sun Is Also a Star

by Nicola Yoon
Natasha is about to be deported. Daniel is about to disappoint his father. The two meet in New York City on the brink of the biggest changes in their lives. They debate whether it’s fate, love or something simpler. But the universe is rarely simple and it seems to want to complicate their young lives.

American Street

by Ibi Aanu Zoboi
Fabiola is moving to America from Haiti, but her mother is detained by U.S. immigration. She is left to navigate America with her loud cousins, learning a language and experiencing an unexpected romance. But Fabiola doesn’t know what she will sacrifice for this American dream.

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas
Starr is the only witness to her friend Khalil’s death. Her life is caught in a whirlwind, full of family drama and media pressure. She battles with herself, society, and her friends over the right thing to do. She wants to stand up for Khalil, but how much of her life will be disrupted in the process?

This Side of Home

by Renee Watson
Maya and Nikki have done everything together. It’s not a stretch, since they’re identical twins. But when the home around them starts to change, they start to change too. For the first time in their lives, they will have to decide whether to be together or be themselves.


by Lamar Giles
Lauren is an anonymous photo-blogger, and the only thing that keeps her safe is the fact that no one knows her identity. She busts teachers and classmates alike, and has a secret admirer who sends her challenges. But when the challenges turn deadly, Lauren has to decide how far she’ll go to protect herself and her stories.
Share some of your recommendations with us in the comments below!


Diverse Reads: Differently Abled Diversity

Expand your reading horizons with these fantastic books that center around characters with disabilities.

Love and First Sight

by Josh Sundquist

Will starts his first day at a public high school, coming from a school for the blind. The adjustment isn’t easy, but when he meets some friends, including Cecily, things start to get better. As Will adjusts to his new life, he learns he qualifies for an experimental treatment that would return his eyesight. Will must decide between the life he has always known or the life he’s always wanted.

Differently Abled: Blindness

The Beginning of Everything

by Robyn Schneider

Ezra believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them. His is the result of a drunk, reckless driver who shattered his knee, his athletic careers, and his social life. But when new-girl Cassidy comes to town, his life becomes reminiscent of his old one, full of adventures and fun. But if everyone has a tragedy, what’s Cassidy’s?

Differently Abled: Physical Injury, Chronic Pain

Because You’ll Never Meet Me

by Leah Thomas

Ollie is allergic to electricity; any contact causes seizures. Moritz has a weak heart that only pumps thanks to an electric pacemaker. They can never meet, so they send letters instead, helping each other get through the ups and downs of high school.

Differently Abled: Epilepsy, Heart Defect


by Kody Keplinger

Bo is wild and Agnes is cautious; these friends couldn’t be more different. They discover their friendship might be something more, so when Bo needs to skip town, Agnes doesn’t hesitate to go with her. But a runaway road trip is more difficult than they thought when they must confront Agnes’s blindness, Bo’s past, and some deep secrets.

Differently Abled: Blindness


by Chris Crutcher

Diagnosed with a deadly disease, high school senior Ben is told he only has one year to live. He decides to tell no one: not his brother, his parents, or his friends. He is determined to do something significant with his short life, but how can he do anything important in his small town? Enter Dallas, with secrets of her own, who is going to turn Ben’s life upside down.

Differently Abled: Cancer

Push Girl

by Chelsie Hill and Jessica Love

Kara thought she had it all — kind parents, a hot boyfriend, and popularity — until it all unravels in one night. Her parents get into a marriage-ending fight, her boyfriend cheats on her, and she gets rejected at a party. In a fit of anger, Kara drives away and gets into a car accident, which leaves her paralyzed. Kara must adjust to her new life and discover who she is in the face of adversity.

Differently Abled: Physical Injury

Six of Crows

by Leigh Bardugo

Kaz is given the chance to be rich beyond his wildest dreams if he can pull off the heist of his life, but he needs a crew to help him out. So he recruits the six biggest misfits in the court. However, these dangerous thieves, liars and murderers have to work together, and try not to kill each other before the job is done.

Differently Abled: Physical Injury, Chronic Pain

The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

Hazel has had cancer for most of her life. She’s been going to a support group, which is never exciting until Augustus shows up. As fellow cancer survivors, the two develop a friendship and a relationship that spans their potentially short lives.

Differently Abled: Cancer, Chronic Pain, Blindness, Amputee

Reign of Shadows

by Sophie Jordan

Luna has been locked in a tower since her family was murdered by rebels on the night of the eclipse. She is drawn to a mysterious archer, Fowler, who offers her something more than the town and her past. Together, they must survive the world of darkness even though falling in love may be the most dangerous trial yet.

Differently Abled: Blindness

Hold Me Like a Breath

by Tiffany Schmidt

As the daughter of one of three top crime families, Penelope knows the world is a dangerous place. But it’s even more dangerous for her because of her own autoimmune disorder, or so her parents say. Penelope craves independence and freedom and to prove she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks she is.

Differently Abled: Autoimmune Disorder


Have you read any great books with differently abled characters? Tell us what we missed in the comments below.



Diverse Reads: Mental Diversity

Step into another person’s shoes, or mind, through these amazing reads that center around neurodiverse characters and mental disorders.




by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia and Cassie are best friends in a competition to see who can be the skinniest. But when Cassie succumbs to her demons, Lia feels haunted by her friend and must confront her own demons.


Mental Illness: Anorexia








by Francesca Zappia

Alex struggles daily with reality and her mind. She wants to “be better” before college and when she meets Miles, she feels he is helping her. Her life gets brighter, but Alex can’t figure out if Miles is real or if she’s unraveling again.


Mental Illness: Schizophrenia








by Jennifer Niven

Finch and Violet meet on the school’s roof and discover they need each other more than they want to admit. Finch is able to tackle his obsession with death, and Violet can confront her grief from her mom’s death. But when Violet starts to improve, Finch feels his world is shrinking, making him wonder whether their friendship is mutually beneficial.


Mental Illnesses: Depression, Suicidal Thoughts, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)







by David Arnold

Mim’s life is falling apart when she is shipped to Mississippi with her dad and stepmom. When she learns her mom is sick in Ohio, she starts a cross-country road trip with a cast of characters that will change her life forever.


Mental Illnesses: Psychosis, Depression

Neurodiversity: Down Syndrome







by Patrick Ness

What happens to the kids who aren’t “the chosen ones”? Mikey and his friends just want to graduate without the school blowing up. Again. They try to navigate “normal” life and find that ordinary can be quite extraordinary.


Mental Illness: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)








by Donna Gephart

Lily is a girl with a boy’s body. Norbert, aka Dunkin, is dealing with his father’s death and his recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder. These two form an unlikely friendship over their differences and the common goal to save a neighborhood tree.


Mental Illness: Bipolar Disorder








by Sophie Kinsella

Audrey wears large sunglasses to protect herself from the light. She stays inside and doesn’t like talking to people. But when her brother’s friend Linus starts hanging around the house, Audrey is invigorated and energized to start her life again. But dealing with anxiety is a daily struggle, so Audrey must overcome her own fears to move forward in her life.


Mental Illnesses: PTSD, General Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder







by Tamara Ireland Stone

Sam tries her best to hide the awful thoughts in her head, the ones that consume her until she can’t breathe. Then Caroline introduces her to Poet’s Corner and Sam is able to find an outlet, friends, and a possible romantic interest.


Mental Illness: Pure Obsessional OCD







by John Corey Whaley

Solomon hasn’t left the house in three years. When Lisa discovers this, she makes it her mission to “fix” Solomon. With her boyfriend, Clark, the three of them form a friendship that helps Solomon with his struggles. But the brewing chemistry between Solomon and Clark seems to help the most.


Mental Illness: Agoraphobia








by Jen Wilde

Charlie, Taylor and Jamie get to go to their favorite convention, SupaCon. They know it’s going to be amazing, but none of them are prepared for how life-changing a weekend can be. Charlie meets someone who could be the love of her life, while Taylor starts to be honest about her feelings for Jamie and learning to step out of her shell.


Mental Illness: Social Anxiety Disorder

Neurodiversity: Autism Spectrum Disorder




Do you have any recommendations for books with mental diversity? Let us know in the comments below!








Pick Two: Geek Meets Geek

Girl meets boy. Boy meets girl. They fall in love and it all ends “happily ever after” … after enough misunderstandings and miscommunications to make things interesting, that is. It’s the basic formula, right? But what about when our hero is a total cape-wearing geek, or our heroine is a total fangirl? And the setting? Comic Con. Then things get interesting.


by Ashley Poston

Elle Wittimer has a plan: Win the cosplay contest, meet the Federation Prince Carmindor (OK, the actor playing him in the reboot of Starfield, but still), and leave her life of slaving away for her stepmother in the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind. Darien Freeman is thrilled to be playing Federation Prince Carmindor in the Starfield reboot. But he’s less than thrilled about ExcelsiCon, where he’ll be fawned over at meet and greets by rabid Starfield fans, especially the girls, who have already decided he’s just the new heartthrob. But, as a closet nerd, Darien can’t help but hold out hope that he may meet someone who will share his love of Starfield and see him as more than just a handsome face.

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love

by Sarvenaz Tash
Eight years ago, Harry Potter brought Graham and Roxy together, and they’ve been best friends ever since, though Graham has secretly been in love with Roxy the whole time. Now, eight years later, they aren’t little kids anymore. Instead of sharing a love for Harry, they love The Chronicles of Althena comics. When the creator of Althena is set to make an appearance at the New York Comic Con, Graham hatches an elaborate plan to finally tell Roxy how he feels. Nothing can go wrong when you’re wearing a cape, right?

New Books Released in August

Here are a few new books out this month!

The Special Ones

by Em Bailey

Esther is one of the Special Ones — four teens who live under his protection in a remote farmhouse. The Special Ones are not allowed to leave, but why would they want to? Here, they are safe from toxic modern life, safe from a meaningless existence, safe in their endless work. He watches them every moment of every day, ready to punish them if they forget who they are — all while broadcasting their lives to eager followers on the outside.

Esther knows he will renew her if she stops being Special. And yet she also knows she’s a fake. She has no ancient wisdom, no genuine advice to offer her followers. But like an actor caught up in an endless play, she must keep up the performance if she wants to survive long enough to escape.

The Way It Hurts

by Patty Blount

Music is Elijah’s life. His band plays loud and hard, and he’ll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he’d rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town … until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother’s. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program — and being the star in her high school musical isn’t going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can’t take his eyes off Kristen’s performance, and he snaps a photo of her in costume that he posts online with a comment that everybody misunderstands. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don’t stay online — they follow them into real life.

The Wood

by Chelsea Bobulski

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister — torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.



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