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Main Characters of Color in YA Science Fiction

Sci-Fi November 2016

One of my most anticipated releases of 2016 is Beyond the Red by Ava Jae. When I first saw the synopsis and read that the MC is AN ALIEN QUEEN AND THE FIRST FEMALE RULER I was over the moon excited about this book. I was definitely going to pre-order it. Then, while I was thinking about ideas for my Sci-Fi November posts, I saw Ava mentioning in a tweet that “all major characters are mixed race/dark-skinned” (as if I wasn’t excited enough about this book already) and this gave me the idea to search for other YA Sci-Fi books with main characters of color.



If you want to dive into stories about a diverse group of teenagers and discover a bunch of new authors you should check out DIVERSE ENERGIES. This book is a collection of Sci-Fi/Dystopian short stories by 11 different authors, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, and Daniel H. Wilson being some of them.

The title pretty much says is all: this anthology is about diversity and the stories are anything but your typical YA dystopia.


Dystopia, (Post-)Apocalypse

Cyborgs, Clones


In space, other planets

Time Travel



Note: I haven’t read a lot of these books yet myself so there is no guarantee that every single book on this list actually has a MC of color. I collected most of these titles from different lists, like GR’s listopia, and sadly those aren’t always right. So please correct me if any title doesn’t belong! And if you know of more titles, I would be happy to add them.

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  • I’ve always loved Noughts and Crosses. I think I first read it when I was 11, and me and my younger sister re-read it so many times. When I met Malorie Blackman last year, she signed my copy and commented on how well read it was :P

    Also, totally adding Beyond the Red to my TBR list, it sounds amazing!

    • I still need to read that one!
      Haha, I love books that look well loved!

  • So many great books on this list and so many on my TBR! The Gone series is one of my favorite series ever and I adored Legend. I need to read Rot and Ruin. I need more zombie books in my life.

    • I love the Gone series too! Did you hear he is writing a sequel, set about 10 years later?
      Rot and Ruin is great! I haven’t read that many zombie books, but it’s my favorite.

      • OMG! I had no idea!!! I just looked it up on Goodreads and it’s coming out in 2017! I am so torn on this one. On one hand, I HATED to leave those characters so I am intrigued by a sequel set in the future. On the other hand, the finale was kind of perfect, you know? But I will be reading it for sure!!

        I am reading a zombie book right now. It’s Warm Bodies and it is from the POV of a zombie who falls in love with a human girl, It’s very original and creative and very, very good.

  • Wow, it’s terrible that I don’t even recognize many of these titles and have read even less. I have to admit, a lot of them don’t have amazing reviews from my Goodreads friends, haha. It’s not just diverse fantasies/sci-fis we need, but GOOD ones. Beyond the Red is already on my to-read shelf, though, and I’m definitely excited for it.

    • There are good ones on the list though! Partials, Gone, Across the Universe, Rot and Ruin and of course Lunar Chronicles. Loved them all!

      • Haha, of course Lunar Chronicles. (I just saw a picture of the paperback yesterday. It’s gigantic!) I’m not always into post-apocalyptic stories, that’s the problem. :) I don’t know why I haven’t read Across the Universe, though, because everyone seems to love it.

Nov 06, 2015