Book Recommendations: If You Liked This Popular YA Book, Try this Diverse One

Most people know by now that I am a big fan of lists. I am also a big fan of diverse books. So, I am combining the two today to write a ‘If you liked this popular YA book, try this diverse one!’ post. I hope this helps you add a lot of already-released, wonderful diverse books to your TBR.

The books are not in any order, so just scroll through and look for ones that catch your eyes!

(Many, many thanks to my lovely friends and followers on Twitter for helping me create this list! I could never have gotten this many books without you.)

If you liked Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, try Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Both are large-scale fantasies with many characters, but Six of Crows features an incredible cast of diverse protagonists.

If you liked The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, try I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Both are sad, beautiful contemporary stories.

If you liked Looking For Alaska by John Green, try History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

These are also both sad contemporaries with a focus on the death of someone close to you and how to deal with that.

If you liked any John Green book, try Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Both have a story you’ll remember for years and characters that touch your heart.

If you liked any Sarah Dessen book, try To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Both are cute contemporary stories, but TATBILB features a protagonist of color.

If you liked Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, try A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

These are two adult fantasy books that are often recommended by YA readers, and they’re both wonderful. However, ADSOM also features main characters of color and a bisexual main character.

If you liked Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, try Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Both of these are adorable, fluffy contemporaries with romances you’ll ship with all your heart, but Simon is about a m/m romance.

If you liked Just One Day by Gayle Forman, try The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Two contemporary romances that take place over the span of a day, but TSIAAS’s protagonists are people of color, and deal with issues such as deportation.

If you liked The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, try Of Fire And Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Both are fantasy books involving a sneaky spying element and forbidden love, but OFAS is an f/f romance and doesn’t make slavery a plot device- two big pluses.

If you liked A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, try Huntress by Malinda Lo

As I have not read Huntress (yet! I’m getting to it soon), I can’t really describe the comparisons between these, but someone recommended it to me like that, so I had to include it in here. Huntress is an f/f romance involving characters of color, while ACOTAR is…very, very not.

If you liked The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, try Ash by Malinda Lo

Both are Cinderella retellings, and Ash is about a queer protagonist of color that is done incredibly respectfully, as far as I’ve heard, while the Chinese representation in TLC is not so great.

If you liked A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, try The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Two lush fantasy books, but The Wrath and the Dawn is a Persian-inspired fantasy retelling of The Arabian Nights, and ACOMAF is very, very white.

If you liked City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, try Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Shadowshaper is basically the diverse (and better) version of City of Bones, featuring a main character of color and diverse side characters. It’s incredible.

If you liked Uprooted by Naomi Novik, try The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

These are both fantasies involving magic, but The Bone Witch features a main character of color (I’m almost positive). While I haven’t read it yet, I’m so, so excited to.

If you liked: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, try The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

These are two beautiful magical realism books with incredible writing, but TWOF features a Latina main character and draws heavily on her culture for the story of the book.

If you liked Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia, try Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

I have not read BC, but I’ve heard that LL is the better version of it, so I had to include it here. LL features a Latina bisexual protagonist, and it’s wonderful.

If you liked Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, try The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Both are diverse in different ways, but TGFE is less popular and just as good, with a main character of color and diverse side characters, and both books include time travel and ships!

If you liked Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson, try Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Both of these books take place during Gold Rush and the plot revolves around the main character: a girl disguised as a boy. However, UAPS features a Chinese protagonist!

If you liked Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, try Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

I admittedly have never read PLL, but I have read TPT, and I’ve heard that both these books feature characters not always doing the right thing, along with mysteries and friendships and romances. TPT features two protagonists of color, one with an eating disorder and the other with a heart condition, and a third white protagonist with a drug addiction.

If you liked The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, try The Blazing Star by Imani Josey

Both of these books take place in Egypt, and I’ve heard wonderful things about the representation in TBS, while I’m not sure about in TKC. TBS is by an author of color featuring a main character of color, though, so I will obviously be recommending that one first.

Are you going to check any of these books out? Do you spot any favorites, either on the diverse or popular side? What are your ‘If you liked this, try this’ recs for me? Should I do another post like this in the future?

Thanks for reading!



24 thoughts on “Book Recommendations: If You Liked This Popular YA Book, Try this Diverse One

    1. I am SO sorry for the late reply (five months later, there really is no excuse) but I haven’t read THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE yet – but I own it! I’ve heard good things about it, but I don’t want to be disappointed just because I loved I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN so so much.


  1. I love this post and I totally agree that Labyrinth Lost is like a better version of Beautiful Creatures. And there’s a few books on this list I’ve been meaning to try – I’ve had Ash on my TBR for ages.


  2. Great recommendations. You’ve convinced me to put The Wrath and The Dawn on my TBR, I love retellings!

    I loved Ash, I didn’t even realise that The Lunar Chronicles took place in China until I looked at review – I thought New Beijing was a similar concept to New York (a new city in a predominantly white country).

    I actually read Shadowshaper and Huntress for DiverseAThon and found Huntress very slow and Shadowshaper good.


  3. OH MY GOSH AVA THIS IS SUCH A LOVELY POST! I loved how informative it was and I’m pretty pleased to say that I have read some of the books you mentioned and for those I haven’t I’ve added them to my TBR and will keep an eye out for them whenever I go to the library or bookstore!


  4. Great post! I’m ashamed to admit that I have read none of the diverse books on the list, but I’m planning on 2017 being my year of diverse reading. I already have Six of Crows and Tiny Pretty Things on my TBR list! You mentioned that you haven’t read Pretty Little Liars, and quite honestly I think you’re better off that way. It’ll probably only confuse you with too many plot twists and make you very, very, VERY angry over some of the things the girls get into! Or maybe I’m just not over how horrible the blind character was portrayed in PLL… 🙂 Also the MC of The Kane Chronicles is African American, but I don’t remember that being a ig part of the story.


  5. This post is amazing. I LOVE the idea of using the “Librarian Rec” model to get more folks to read books by diverse authors with diverse MCs. Fantastic resource, I will be sharing this. Thank you for putting in all this work.


  6. I’ve wanted to read so many of these forever! Also I had never heard of Tiny Pretty Things, it sounds really interesting!


  7. This is FANTASTIC and I wholeheartedly agree with so many of these comparisons. Labyrinth Lost is the better version of Beautiful Creatures, no question. I’ve seen a ton of comparisons between PLL and TPT, so the fact that TPT is more diverse and not as jaw-clenchingly terrible (I hope!) is good to hear. I’m totally going to check out Under a Painted Sky soon – I just finished Outrun the Moon and loved it, but I also recently read Walk on Earth a Stranger and would love to read a diverse book on a similar vein to that trilogy. The only one I disagree with is comparing ACOMAF to TWATD; I’d probably go with The Star-touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi instead, which also has a Middle East-esque setting (and is Own Voices!) but, like ACOMAF, is a Hades & Persephone retelling.

    Overall, amazing list! I hope you do more of these in the future!


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