I’ve been focusing on ordering books with diverse characters, settings, and backgrounds. Diversity in YA fiction has been a struggle for a long time. When you were in school (are in school?) and you read the classics, how many of them had people of color in any other role than servant, slave, or bad guy? Book Riot did a survey of the 3,000+ ya books published in 2019 and broke them down; 41.8% of main characters were white. This number is far better than, say, 5+ years ago, but we still have a long way to go to have a truly balanced selection of books for our very diverse young adults.
Now, if you know me at all, you’ll know that the first of my diversity books was going to be a fantasy. Yes, yes, I’ll get to other genres later but I’m a eat dessert first kind of person (or even east dessert for dinner).
Malik and his sisters are on the run. They escaped their village and assumed new identities since the Eshran people are maligned by nearly everyone. When they reach Ziran, amid a crush of people arriving for the Solstasia festival, a spiteful specter kidnaps young Nadia. In order to free her, Malik makes a bargain that will mean death to the young princess Karina, who has her own deadly intentions to bring her recently murdered mother back to life. Forces are working around them that neither are aware of or understand and each one is determined to see their mission through, no matter the cost. The evil they unleash will take strength, cunning, and magic to overcome.
Roseanne A. Brown is of West Africa decent and Song of Wraiths and Ruin was inspired by the folklore of her ancestors. Her princess is lonely, angry, clever, spoiled and lost. Her hero is timid and uncertain yet he’s also brave and selfless. As they move through the intricately woven tale, they grow and change and they learn that wisdom isn’t always easy to find and betrayal can come from the least likely places.