Reading List: Books with Racially Diverse Main Characters

There are an increasing number of books out there featuring BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour) main characters. The “default” is still white main characters, but the call for more diverse characters is louder and more insistent, and authors are stepping up to fill the gap. BIPOC authors writing characters from their own cultures (#ownvoices) are particularly sought after.

(Just so there is no confusion on the matter or accusations of appropriation, I am not BIPOC. There’s my face over there, so white I practically glow in the dark. But I am doing my best not to people my books with homogenous white characters. Writing with racial, neurological, and LGBTQIA diversity is important to me. There is wonderful variety in the world; let’s write about it.)

The fifth book in my Medical Kidnap Files series, Pain, releases very soon. Readers of the first four books in the series will know that the main characters, Gabriel and Renata, are Black and Hispanic respectively. In this volume, the child/family that they are trying to help are also Black. (If you want to check out the series, you can currently get book #1 in the series, Mito, for free!)

Pain, Medical Kidnap Files #5

When your child is in pain, everything else takes a backseat.

Fae Glover has put everything else on hold while she tries to help her daughter to get a diagnosis and effective treatment. Unfortunately, DFS has other ideas and in short order has apprehended Hannah. And they have no intention of ever giving her back.

Gabriel and Renata are in a race against the clock to keep the family together and reunite Hannah with her mother before the court severs all of Fae’s rights permanently.


I have rounded up some more books with BIPOC characters that you may enjoy. A few more of mine are sprinkled throughout. A special thanks to K.R.S. McEntire, who runs a reader group for Diverse Books with Magic and gave me lots of suggestions! Check out her blog post on #blackstoriesmatter.

Ginger Li has also written a blog post on diverse characters in Sci Fi and Fantasy that you should check out.

The Hate U Give

Black #ownvoices

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger.

Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Saving Eden Saga

Black #ownvoices

Sixteen-year-old Angela thinks she and her father are the last survivors on Earth. She dreams of adventure and romance but only finds it in books. In the confines of her garden paradise, she’s untouched by contaminants that caused the rest of humanity to mutate into murderous beasts or die. But the lure of the outside world is irresistible.

When a seventeen-year-old boy stumbles upon Angela’s home with news about a thriving community, she dares to leave her garden for the first time. The dystopian society that she finds is deadlier than she expected, and the wardens tasked with protecting the settlement have murderous secrets. Does she have what it takes to stay alive and save humanity in the process?

Poisoned in Paradise

Caribbean

Public Health Officer Rynelle MacLeod loves keeping her Caribbean island pristine for visitors. But when a visiting billionaire is struck down with food poisoning, she has to cut her own vacation short to stop a nasty crisis. And she’s sure the skin-and-bones stalker who keeps hitting on her is actually a reporter sniffing out a dirty scoop. 

NASA Astronaut Joe Johnson struggles to blend into the blue-water paradise. Secretly on an underwater mission, the ISS-stationed scientist is focused on avoiding people and pathogens and getting his gravity-laden body back into shape. But it’s the larger-than-life, germ-busting beauty he continually bumps into that’s making his heart work overtime.

In a race to prevent microbial mayhem, Rynelle slowly warms up to the scrawny man interfering with tracking down the toxin-inducing culprit. But when Joe thinks she’s about to expose his hidden research habitat, he’s forced to choose between career contamination and an out-of-this-world romance.

Light and Fire Series

Asian #ownvoices

Seventeen-year-old Lia struggles to keep it together. Her nights are plagued with the same terrifying nightmare. A handsome, silver-eyed warrior transforms into a dragon and then begs for her to kill him. Lia chalks up the nightmares to an overactive imagination. Until the day the guy from her dreams arrives at her Jersey diner, and she’s transported to his cursed world.

On the outside, it looks like Kieren has it all. He’s betrothed to a princess, next in line for the throne, and admired as one of the best dragons hunters in Solair. Everything is finally going well for him. Until the day he’s cursed to become one of the beasts that he hunts.

Together, Lia and Kieren must journey to uncover the long hidden secrets behind unlocking her magic and breaking his curse. Their hunt for answers has far-reaching consequences, both for the fate of their worlds and for their hearts.

Dragonfly Dreams

Asian #ownvoices

It’s 1880 in Fresno, California when 17-year-old Topaz Woo dies after giving birth. She can get an extension in a non-physical body—if she uses The Ten Commandments to influence her newborn. Over the course of ten years, she finds herself stymied in parenting by intergenerational drama and spiritual battle. Will she adjust to an otherworldly existence and give her daughter a solid foundation? Or will she become mired in family disputes and forfeit her soul to evil?

Ruthless Magic

Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages’ Exam.

Disadvantaged by her parents’ low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.

Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.

Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?

Mito

Black and Hispanic

Gabriel has dealt with mysterious medical issues his whole life. Just when he finally thought that they had all of the answers and he was on the road to good health, he is apprehended by DFS on the grounds of medical neglect.

At first, he thought that he would be back home in a few days, once the misunderstanding was cleared up. But when Renata tells Gabriel her crazy conspiracy theories, Gabriel feels the first pangs of doubt. Is there really a conspiracy? Will he ever be able to get well and go back to his mother, or is he doomed to be another guinea pig for Doctor De Klerk?

Mito

Shifters and Secrets

Hispanic #ownvoices

Senior year was supposed to be the best part of high school. I planned to skate by and figure out what I wanted to do with my life— but the universe decided for me.

I was promised to some evil witch coven before I was even born. Thanks, Mom. To make it worse, I develop the ‘sight’, which is the snooty way of saying I can see things normal humans can’t. Like my dad’s ex-employee turning into some freakish jaguar-man. Trust me, you don’t want to see what I’ve seen.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I’m orphaned and forced to live with my only remaining relatives. A filthy rich family of monster hunters a.k.a. GRIMM, determined to add me to their ranks.

Paranormal World Series

Black #ownvoices

Magic was my saving grace, but my power is my damnation.

My transition into a supernatural creature was the only reason I survived the apocalypse. I thought that was the worst I’d ever have to endure, but I was definitely wrong. 

With half the human population wiped out and a majority of the survivors developing a power of their own, the non-gifted humans aren’t happy with their station in life. 

My brother and I have to go on the run from humans who want to steal our magical blood for a power-inducing serum. Our only hope for survival, and the continued existence of the friends we left behind, is to find a hidden paranormal city and the literal man of my dreams.

A handsome and alluring stranger plagues my dreams by night but by day? A not-so friendly–but oh-so sexy–werejackal claims my attention. We journey to the promised land together, but once we find it? It’s definitely not what we expected and we have to face incredible peril that may prevent me from saving my friends.

Order

African American, Mexican American #ownvoices

As leader of the Shadow wolves, Valeria has had more than her share of heartache and burdens. Family taken by a world-shattering curse, a mate who abandoned her, and a pack losing faith in their leader. But when a human boy begs for her help, she can no longer ignore the cruelty of her kind. Even when helping him will put her pack and her own heart at more risk.

McKenzie was supposed to be leaving the coven. But when the worldwide spell went wrong, she was left to take her sister’s place as Witch Queen of Savannah. Now, she must figure out a way to stop the curse from claiming more lives, even if it means making a deal with Prince Ryn, notorious heir to the vampire throne. But when he turns out to be nothing like the rumors say, she can’t deny the pull she feels toward him. Is his care genuine or just an act to destroy her and her witches?

Seraphim Falling

Black #ownvoices

She wanted peace. Her enemies brought her war.

Titaia Angelfyre, the most powerful Seraph of Flames, proved her might and earned herself a crown. She’s a coronation away from sealing her fate to rule and protect all angels and their lands.

But when she’s attacked by darkness only heard of in legends, Titaia will be forced to run and make a life altering decision

Questing for a Dream

Indigenous

A compelling and poignant account of Native teen Nadie Laplante’s quest for meaning and purpose. This thought-provoking and eye-opening story of poverty, prejudice and addiction will inspire readers of all ages and remind them that they are not alone.

Nadie is a bright but rebellious teen growing up Manitoba Cree. Living in abject poverty, she tries to help care for the younger children in the band. Devastated by the drowning death of her little cousin and unable to overcome her grief, Nadie leaves the band.

How can she find her own place in a foreign world where she is abused and discriminated against, and for the first time in her life, completely alone?

Ignite the Shadows

Hispanic #ownvoices

Seventeen-year-old Marci is a hacker. The best in the city. Ever since she can remember, her mind has been under attack, but lately it’s getting worse. A dark force overrides her and makes her do awful things. Her mother and best friend believe that she’s a rebel child and that she meant to race her bike with the cops hot on her tail.

She wasn’t in control. Someone else was.

Time and time again, Marci defeats the invading shadows and remains herself. The ability to prevail doesn’t go unnoticed by James McCray, the leader of a rebellious group known as IgNiTe. He soon recruits her and assures her she’s not crazy.

It turns out it’s far worse.
Marci is infected by a terrible plague, and so is half of Seattle.

Flesh and Metal Series

Black #ownvoices

Is she the killer she’s hunting?

The cybernetic arm was supposed to help Lena—not turn her into a monster. Now, she’s stuck with it, and her friends are terrified of her.

And maybe they should be.

The arm’s artificial intelligence takes Lena’s thoughts to the extreme. It acts when she doesn’t tell it to, even when she’s asleep.

Ever since she got the new limb, she’s been sleepwalking and waking in odd places. To Lena, this is just another example of how CyberCorp—her parents’ company and the manufacturer of the arm—screws up everything.

As the rollout of CyberCorp’s new android approaches, a murderer targets children of the company’s employees. And thanks to her sleepwalking, Lena doesn’t know what she was doing during the murders.

When the evidence points to her, Lena decides to prove her innocence—or her guilt.

Pursued by the Past

Hispanic

Vanna had a good life. She had her challenges—like her mother’s high expectations of her—but all in all, she had a job she enjoyed, a fun hobby and friends. She didn’t need any complications.

But that all changed shortly after trying to break things off with Tino. The phone calls with no one on the other end. Anonymous gifts.

Someone moving things around in her bedroom.
A restraining order changed nothing. If anything, it caused things to escalate. If Vanna wants her life back, she will have to take things into her own hands.

The Salted Series

Black #ownvoices

After a merfolk king offers a royal bounty for the recapture of a dangerous fugitive, a misfit crew of slave catchers are sent ashore to find the elusive runner. Succeed, and they’ll share in the reward to buy freedom for themselves and their families. If any among them doesn’t return or they come back empty-handed, their loved ones will be killed for the crew’s shared failure.

But when the hunt leads to a deeper mystery and the possibility of greater riches for all, the crew faces a moral dilemma that threatens to tear their loyalties apart – what is the cost of one life worth against the needs of the many . . . and are any among them willing to pay the sacrificial price?

Five souls with hard choices to make. Five destinies interlinked.

Endless Change

Black

Parker’s mother always said he jumped into things without thinking first, and that’s exactly what he did when he saw Dakota, cold and hungry, fending for herself on the city streets. How could he ignore the pain and fear in her dark eyes? Dakota was eager to go to school and she made friends quickly, eager to make up for a dismal childhood full of deprivation and abuse by enjoying every moment she could.

But there was something wrong with Dakota. It wasn’t just the hollowness in her eyes or her traumatic past. Others sensed it too and warned Parker not to get too close to Dakota. But despite his questions, he just can’t help falling for her.

Dakota holds her secrets close, and Parker is worried that if he pushes too hard for answers, she’ll just run away.

Forestborn Series

Black #ownvoices

In the only surviving part of the earth sits the post-apocalyptic West-African kingdom of Nayja. In the only place where humans still exist lives four tribes, the Kingfishers, the Ammirians, the Rowans and the Arnazuris but one tribe is dominant and must remain so.

Seventeen-year-old Genesis Romunda is one of the elite hunters of the Arnazuri community where there is no electricity except for solar-powered lamps sent from the capital, King’s Forest. 

Genesis, the only elite hunter not joining the rebellion is distraught that her father believes in the rebellion. She even gets into a fist fight with her friend Remmington over this.  Why join a stupid rebellion when you know you have no chance?  Why believe in prophetic songs of Griots when you know they are merely fairy tales?

The Fenway Stevenson Series

Black

Blood is thicker than oil–until murder is involved.

Fenway Stevenson doesn’t want to return to the coastal town where her estranged father is practically king. But the death of her mother draws her back home–and the murder of the county coroner draws her into a deepening conspiracy. As the body count rises and all signs seem to point toward her father’s oil company, will Fenway uncover the truth before family bonds become deadly?

Dragon Tamers of Pyralis Series

Black #ownvoices

My life is as wild as you would expect for a girl named Kaos. When the dragon I stole bonds with me, I’m forced to enroll in the Dragon Academy to save myself from execution.

Nestled in the heart of a volcano, the Dragon Academy is a brutal training school where the country’s best dragon tamers are forged by fire—aka gruelling combat training and cutthroat competitions. The only things that make this place tolerable are a swoon-worthy lieutenant that’s got a soft spot for me, my mis-matched pair of friends, a sweet old alchemist, and my majestic dragon, Ignimitra.

But chaos follows me to the Academy too. It only takes me a few days to realize the incident that tore my family apart is linked to the ruthless Headmaster. 

Tell me what you think!

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Featured Book(s)

Pain

Pain

When your child is in pain, everything else takes a backseat. Fae Glover has put everything else on hold while she tries to help her daughter to get a diagnosis and effective treatment. Unfortunately, DFS has other ideas and in short order has apprehended Hannah. And they have no intention of ever giving her back.
Find out more
She Wore Mourning

She Wore Mourning

Private Investigator Zachary Goldman’s life isn’t all roses, but he tries to put his own shattered life behind him to investigate the death of five-year-old Declan Bond.

Declan’s death has been ruled an accident, but his grandmother thinks there is more to it. But as Zachary digs into the circumstances surrounding Declan’s death, he finds that all is not as it seems, and somebody doesn’t want him to find the truth.


Find out more

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