5 Novels With Protagonists Of Color To Read About Race And Romance
Start writing a post

5 Page-Turning Novels With Protagonists Of Color To Read About Race And Romance

You'll want to read them ALL.

5 Page-Turning Novels With Protagonists Of Color To Read About Race And Romance
Fox 2000 Pictures

When I was in my teens, every popular book starred a young white female protagonist. I could never find a book that starred a BIPOC, but luckily, in 2020 there are more and more books featuring protagonists of color. It's slowly getting easier to find inclusivity in writing, publishing, and selling.

Now, young adults have many more options to read about the struggles of Black people and police brutality, fantasy stories with a superhuman protagonist who isn't white, and romance novels with diversity. By reading and hearing the stories and voices of Black authors and other authors of color, we learn about the struggles and lives of BIPOC, opening up the world of books to a new era of education.

If you're anything like me though, I've always had a fondness for romance novels. In all of my recommendations below, there are stellar protagonists of color with action-packed stories, tough lessons to teach us, and even lighthearted love stories. Here are five novels with protagonists of color, by authors of color to read about race and romance.

1. "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas

Now a hit movie based off of the 2018 bestseller, "The Hate U Give" is one of the first books I encountered that articulated what police brutality was like for my Black peers. I was in high school at the time this book came out and immediately picked it up as soon as I saw it in the library. As a young Asian woman, I had never encountered the struggles that Black men, women, and children go through, and I find that this book is suited to introducing this topic to non-Black people. While it's commonly categorized as a young adult fiction novel, I find that it's a good read even for adults to understand the perspective of a young Black teen and her struggles. It's only the start of the pile of books necessary for us to read and learn about racial issues in the US, but I think it's a great one.

2. "The Astonishing Color Of After" By Emily X. R. Pan

Another book on my "want to read" list, "The Astonishing Color Of After" is a book that follows our protagonist, Leigh Chen Sanders. Leigh is a young girl who is only sure of one thing after her mother's suicide, she turned into a bird afterward. Going between reality and fantasy, the past and present, Leigh must find a way to deal with her mother's death. Especially after finding out that while her mother died, she was having her first kiss with her longtime crush, Axel. Traveling to Taiwan, she meets her maternal grandparents for the first time and chases the bird through adventures with ghosts, uncovering family skeletons and forging a new relationship with Axel and her grandparents.

3. "The Star Touched Queen" by Roshani Chokshi

Another amazing book on my "to read" list, "The Star-Touched Queen" follows our cursed protagonist Maya. Born with a horoscope that has marriage and destruction, she is feared by her father's kingdom. When her father arranges a wedding for her purely based on political reasons, her entire life changes as she has to give up her schooling in order to rule a kingdom at only seventeen years old. Unexpectedly, she finds that her roles as Queen of Akaran and Amar's wife are completely different from what she expected, yet secrets lurk in her new husband and their kingdom that threaten their lives.

4. "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" By Jenny Han

A classic YA novel when I was a teen, this hit book was also adapted by Netflix into a record-breaking movie. One of the most-watched movies on Netflix, "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" was originally a book about a young Asian American woman named Lara Jean who had a habit of handwriting letters to her crushes. When her younger sister accidentally sends out all of these letters, she has to deal with the embarrassing aftermath, she gets wrapped up in a plot against Peter's ex-girlfriend when he confronts her on her letter. As much as Lara Jean would like this to be clean, their plans have some unexpected twists and turns...

Watch the movie on Netflix.

5. "Now That I've Found You" by Kristina Forest

The third book on my "to read list," and the fifth book on this list is "Now That I've Found You," starring Evie Jones, Hollywood's next superstar who's following in her grandma's footsteps. Until a betrayal causes her to be blacklisted by everyone in Hollywood. In order to get her career back on track, she has to do an appearance with America's most beloved actress, Gigi aka Evelyn Conway or... her grandma! Days before Evie and Gigi's appearance before the masses, Gigi completely disappears. Now, she and the last person to see her grandma, a cute musician named Milo Williams, have to run all over New York to find her missing grandma.

As an Amazon Affiliate partner, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Follow Swoon on Instagram.

Report this Content
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.


The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments