The phrase “summer reading” tends to conjure thoughts that fall solidly into one of two categories: the boring-read-for-school books or the fluffy-beach-read books. As part of our Pesky Diversity Reading Challenge we asked that your summer books contain a main character who is a person of color, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be on the lighter side. Here are a few books that fit both categories:
Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Maya is a “good” Indian girl trying to finish high school and convince her over protective parents to allow her to attend film school in New York next year. Although Ahmed introduces serious topics about race and Islamophobia this is still a classic YA romantic coming of age story with good writing and a sense of humor.
Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan
The trilogy begins when Chinese American Rachel agrees to travel to Singapore with her boyfriend, Nick, for a family wedding. She soon finds out he belongs to a “crazy rich” group of expats who scheme and connive and cause all sorts of problems for Rachel. The series continues Rachel and Nick’s story but also branches out into a number of other characters. Kwan’s humorous writing and attention to detail make these books interesting and funny while touching on many topics of social and economic diversity.
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
Whitehead wrote a number of books before The Underground Railroad and some of them are pretty good. Sag Harbor follows 15 year old Benji through the summer of 1985 in the African American enclave on Long Island where his family has a beach house. Not a lot happens, but the character driven story feels beachy and delves into being a black teenager in the 80’s without getting too heavy. Definite nostalgic bonus for anyone who spent summers at a beach house.
There are so many books that meet the POC main character criteria for the Pesky Challenge we hope that you will try at least one. If you need some help getting started check out our list of books here, or the whole guide for more information on the challenge. Happy reading!