Inclusiveness in Young Adult fiction has been a topic of conversation for a long time now and I have always been interested in the topic. I thought I would write a post sharing some of the YA books I feel are inclusive and why it is important to talk about these books and share them with other reader. This is going to be a two part post as there are a lot of books I want to talk about and feel they need to be spread across two posts! Here are some inclusive YA novels that need to be shared!
Inclusiveness in YA has been a topic of conversation for a long time, more so over the last few years.
Inclusivity is the fact or policy of not excluding members or participants on the grounds of gender, race, class, sexuality, disability, etc.
Inclusive is including a great deal or including everything concerned; comprehensive.
I love that inclusive is comprehensive representation of everyone. I feel like this what we need in YA. We are getting there though. Slowly but surely, we are getting more inclusive with YA novels.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
“Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.”
This Beauty and the Beast retelling has not only had incredible reviews, but it is also inclusive. The main character in this book, Harper Lacy, has cerebral palsy. Harper Lacy is described as a “badass” in so many reviews. Her cerebral palsy certainly doesn’t stop her from doing anything. The representation of cerebral palsy in this book is excellent.
Rosie Loves Jack
“Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So, when they’re split up, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head. Even run away from home. Even cross London and travel to Brighton alone, though the trains are cancelled, and the snow is falling. Even though any girl might find that hard, let alone a girl with Down’s syndrome. See the world through new eyes in this one-in-a-million story about fighting for the freedoms that we often take for granted: independence, tolerance and love.”
This is one of my favourite inclusive UKYA books currently out in the world. Rosie who is the main character in this book has down syndrome, but this doesn’t stop her from doing anything. This book is Mel Darbon’s debut novel and it is extraordinary. She tackles something I feel isn’t seen very often in YA. Rosie is a strong, determined young girl who speaks her mind. You can find my review of Rosie Love Jack here. If you want to hear Mel Darbon talk about this book and inclusiveness in YA be sure to check out her panel at NYA Literary Festival.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
“Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.”
I recently finished this book and the representation in it is incredible. This sci-fi book is incredibly inclusive with interspecies romances, gender diversity, characters that use gender neutral pronouns, poly or other canon LGBTQ+ relationships that are not once sidelines. Not only that but this book discusses xenophobia, racism, family and friendship, colonization, prejudice and acceptance. This sci-fi YA book is certainly inclusive in more ways than one.
Proud by Juno Dawson (Editor) and Various Authors
“A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.”
This book is a celebration of not only just LGBTQ+ talent but all things LGBTQ+. Although this book isn’t out until the 7th March in the UK, I have been lucky enough to read an early copy of this book and it is beyond excellent! Full of short stories, poetry and illustrations all celebrating different aspects of LGBTQ+ life this book is as inclusive as books can be!
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
“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.”
This book is excellent. The main characters are Hindu-Americans and their parents are very much culture orientated. Topics such as racism, arranged marriages, stereotypes and culture are discussed in this book. I felt that this book was a look into another culture for me whilst also being a cute romance. This is definitely an inclusive book. You can find my review of When Dimple Met Rishi here.
What books do you think need recognition due to their inclusiveness? Let me know in the comments below. Be sure to look out for part two of this series coming soon!
This post was inspired by the Inclusiveness in YA panel which will be happening at Northern YA Festival on the 16th March this year!
It will be hosted by Aimée Felone who will be discussing inclusiveness in YA and why it is important to see the world through different eyes with Non Pratt, Bali Rai, A.J Hartley and Mel Darbon.
There is even more authors attending the Northern YA Literary Festival this year including, Samantha Shannon, Lisa Williamson, Melinda Salisbury and many more. There is even a creative writing session available with Melvin Burgess. The whole programme for the even can be found here.
If you want to go to the NYA Lit Fest, it is on Saturday 16th of March 2019 and is free to attend and located at UCLan university! Here is the registration and tickets for each panel (you will have to get a ticket for each event during the day).
If you are attending this event, let me know. I would love to know who else is attending this wonderful event!
Until next time,