Best of YA: Representation!

Hey guys! It’s taken an age but we’re finally back with another instalment of the Best of YA! With my work as a Children’s Bookseller, with a focus on YA, I’m always looking at new releases and new trends and what’s currently popular – and I LOVE IT! Having a good knowledge of what books are on offer mean that I can offer the best recommendations possible to any customers who need a hand, so I thought I’d use a little bit of all that learning to make the Best of YA series!

This time I wanted to focus on representation. Literature is, thankfully, becoming more and more diverse and children’s and YA books are no exception. Everyone deserves to see themselves in a story and I’m so glad that that’s beginning to become more of a reality. If you’re in the market for a recommendation, here are a few books to give you a head start! I’ll also try and keep this updated as I find more books that would fit in this list 😊

You’ll probably notice that I didn’t include YA books that offer representation for LGBTQ+ – as I was researching this post, there were so many books in this category that I figured it needed a whole post in itself!

NOTE: blurbs aren’t included as this post would be super long if they were, but there are links to all of the info on Goodreads. Also, I haven’t included every book by these authors but often lots of their work fits somewhere on this list!


The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
* abusive relationships, rape.

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace
* abusive relationships.

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
* abusive relationships.

Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan
* relationships getting in the way of friendships.

Girls in Love by Jacqueline Wilson
* discovering new relationships.

Girls Out Late by Jacqueline Wilson
* teacher crush, first love, on and off relationships.

Teen Pregnancy:

Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan
* accidental pregnancy, abortion.

Trouble by Non Pratt
* teen pregnancy.

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
* teen pregnancy, death of a boyfriend.

A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd
* teen pregnancy, older boyfriend, mentions of alcoholism and death of a parent.

The First Last Part by Angela Johnson
* teen pregnancy, discussion of abortion, from a male perspective.

Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman
* becoming a teen parent.


The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
* police brutality, racism.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
* police brutality, racism.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
* Dominican culture – also, body acceptance, rape culture.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
* police brutality, racism.

American Panda by Gloria Chao
* Taiwanese-American culture.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Moon
* Indian traditional culture, discussion of arranged marriage.

If You Could be Mine by Sara Farizan
* Muslim culture, LGBTQ+

Frankly in Love by David Yoon
* Chinese-American culture.

Chinglish by Sue Cheung
* Chinese-English culture.


Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry
* discussion of all types of religion (including atheism).

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
* questioning of faith.

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu
* questioning of faith.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
* bullying due to religion.

Does My Head Look Big in This by Randa Abdel-Fattah
* bullying due to religion.

Feminism/Social Justice:

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
* politics, campaigning, involvement in local government.

The Diary of a Confused Feminist by Kate Weston
* discussion of what feminism means.

The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid by Kate Hattemer
* discussions of feminism and privilege.

Watch us Rise by Renee Watson
* women’s rights.

Mental Health:

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton
* depression, taking of medication.

Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
* depression and anxiety.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
* anxiety and OCD.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
* depression, mention of suicide.

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
* social anxiety, having a parent with mental illness.

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles
* anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia.

The List by Siobhan Vivian
* discussion of eating disorders, anxiety, issues with body confidence.

Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne
* anxiety and OCD, taking of medication.

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
* depression, loss of a parent.

Girls Under Pressure by Jacqueline Wilson
* discussion of bulimia, weight loss and body image.

Run by Kody Keplinger
* running away, escapism.


A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
* cerebral palsy.

Small Steps by Louis Sachar
* cerebral palsy.

Deenie by Judy Blume
* scoliosis.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
* cancer.

Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
* leukemia.

Body Positivity:

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
* challenging the notion of ‘acceptable beauty’.

Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
* body positivity, self confidence.

Jemima Small vs the Universe by Tamsin Winter
* self confidence.

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill
* body positivity, weight loss, mental health.

No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter
* self confidence.

And there we have it! A good start on a list of some representation to be found in the YA section. I’m sure I haven’t included everything but it’s not bad as a starting point 😂 What do you think? Are there any more that you’d recommend? Have you read any of the books on this list? I’d love to know! ⭐️

You can always find me over on Twitter if you’d like to discuss these books (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail 😌

5 thoughts on “Best of YA: Representation!

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