11 Own-Voices Young Adult Novels You Have To Read In 2018
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

11 Own-Voices Young Adult Novels You Have To Read In 2018

These 2018 YA novels are bringing diversity to the forefront, letting more young readers see themselves reflected in what they read.

11 Own-Voices Young Adult Novels You Have To Read In 2018

Unless you are a self-professed bookish person or a particularly avid reader, you probably have not heard the term "own-voices" very frequently. It was created in late 2015 by YA author Corinne Duyvis, who started the hashtag #OwnVoices on Twitter in order to raise awareness for Children's and Young Adult novels featuring diverse characters and written by diverse people.

Corinne's idea is that as long as a novel's protagonist or supporting characters share the same marginalized identity (that is, an identity that is not the assumed "norm" of straight, white, cisgender and able-bodied), then that novel is considered to be an own-voices novel.

The non-profit organization, We Need Diverse Books, includes experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community, people of color, those in religious minorities, people with physical and mental disabilities, people suffering with mental illness and those of ethnic or cultural minorities as own-voices.

Own-voices novels are extremely important because they allow the experiences of diverse and marginalized groups to be heard and give the potential for all young people to see themselves reflected and their experiences represented within the novels they read.

And, given the current state of political and social division in our country, diverse voices need to and should be heard now more than ever. Here's a list of highly-anticipated YA own-voices novels coming out in 2018 that you'll want to keep on your radar:

1. "Love, Hate, and Other Filters" by Samira Ahmed

Samira Ahmed's debut centers on Maya Aziz, an Indian-American Muslim teen facing pressure from her parents to create a traditional life for herself. Maya's life is made even more complicated when an unexpected occurrence fills her community with bigotry and intolerance towards her religion.

2. "Let's Talk About Love" by Claire Kann

This novel's main character, Alice, is a biromantic and asexual woman of color. After her girlfriend leaves her, she meets a boy named Takumi at her new summer job and starts falling for him...hard. Alice must decide if she will risk their friendship by explaining her feelings to him or if some things are better left unsaid.

3. "I Am Thunder" by Muhammad Khan

This novel centers on 15-year-old Muzna Saleem, a Muslim British girl who faces extreme prejudice in her London school and grapples with how far is too far when it comes to protecting her beliefs.

4. "The Belles" by Dhonielle Clayton

"The Belles" is the first in a fantasy series set in a world where people are born gray and ordinary and can only be made beautiful with the help of the Belles who control all beauty. Camellia Beauregard, the story's protagonist and a woman of color, strives to be named the most talented Belle and earn a life of royalty.

5. "American Panda" by Gloria Chao

This debut novel is a comedic contemporary about Mei, a Chinese and Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to become a successful doctor married to a successful Taiwanese boy. Mei, on the other hand, wants neither of those things.

6. "Down and Across" by Arvin Ahmadi

This coming-of-age novel focuses on Scott, an Iranian-American teen who has trouble accomplishing anything. Facing pressure from his parents to get serious about college and a future career path, Scott travels to D.C. to uncover what it takes to be successful.

7. "A Girl Like That" by Tanaz Bhathena

This debut novel is told through multiple perspectives and focuses on a teen girl named Zarin Wadia who is found dead in a car wreck on a highway in Saudi Arabia with a teenage boy. As characters piece together what happened to Zarin, they find that she was not what many in their community thought her to be.

8. "Children of Blood and Bone" by Tomi Adeyemi

This book is the first in a series titled "Legacy of Orisha." It is about Zelie Adebola, a Maji girl who loses everything when a merciless king orders all magic peoples to be destroyed, and is bent on returning magic to her people and eradicating the monarchy.

9. "On the Come Up" by Angie Thomas

Don't let its lack of cover and vague description fool you. This novel is one of the most anticipated YA releases of 2018. Written by the incomparable Angie Thomas, whose debut novel "The Hate U Give" is still on the NYT Bestseller list after 47 weeks, this story follows an aspiring teen rapper in Garden Heights.

10. "The Brightsiders" by Jen Wilde

This novel follows a teen drummer who comes out as bisexual in the midst of a Hollywood scandal and grappling with life in the spotlight. Wilde's previous novel, "Queens of Geek," made waves in the YA realm last year due to its wide array of representation.

11. "A Reaper at the Gates" by Sabaa Tahir

The third installment of "The Ember Quartet," this fantasy novel follows Laia and Elias as they struggle against the threat of war under the Martial Empire. Author Sabaa Tahir actually decided on a cover change mid-series in order to accurately represent the characters' diversity.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments