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Six Novels From Different Genres with Black Protagonists

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- Written by By Ava, Amanda, and Alannah


So often we see authors place their black characters in minor roles with a white savior as the protagonist. So here we present to you a list of six popular fiction genres with corresponding YA novels featuring black protagonists!


1. Romance with Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything has been mentioned countless times from both the book and the movie. Maddy is allergic to everything, and can’t leave her house because of the risks, not leaving for seventeen years. Olly moves in and they make eye-contact, and Maddy knows she’s going to fall in love. A sweet, beautiful story about overcoming odds and risking it all for love is a definite, swoon-worthy must-read.


2. Action-Adventure with A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney

 A Blade so Black by L. L. McKinney

Alice, trained in magic weaponry and battling Nightmares, is struggling to keep up with school and her mother. But when Alice’s mentor is mysteriously poisoned, she must travel to Wonderland, home of the Nightmares that nearly ended her before. The task is seemingly simple: find the antidote and make it back home with her head still attached to her neck. But she soon discovers it’s easier said than done!


3. Biographical Account with Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Space travel is easily one of America's greatest accomplishments, with its crowning glory arguably being the spectacular moon landing. Yet contrary to what was for so long believed, this wasn't achieved solely by white men, nor white women either... Meet the HIDDEN FIGURES who helped to make this amazing feat possible - several incredibly devoted and talented black women who fought to assert their rights in a world that was prejudiced against them. Beautifully written by Margot Lee Shetterly, this will be a read that you won't want to put down!


4. Fantasy withThe Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

In Orléans, every person is born ugly and gray without the help of a Belle, who controls beauty and has the power to make people beautiful. Camellia Beauregard, a Belle, wants to be chosen as the royal favorite by the Queen of Orléans and able to be acknowledged as the most talented Belle, serving the royal family. Competing with five other Belles for the position, Camellia navigates through dangerous waters to make a choice for something she truly believes in. Not only is this book a fantastic fantasy book, but it also deals with many issues prevalent in the world today.


5. Speculative Fiction with Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation by Justine Ireland

After the Civil War was brought to a sudden halt when the dead began walking the battlefields, the Native and Negro Reeducation Act was enacted, requiring colored children to train in combat schools with the sole purpose of defending the privileged white people from the dead. Jane McKeene is about to graduate as an Attendant—women who are trained in combat and etiquette, though she wants nothing more than to head back to her home in Kentucky. But when she finds out about a dastardly plot that threatens everyone in Baltimore County, she discovers maybe the dead aren’t the ones to fear after all.


6. Thriller with Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Kindred by Octavia Butler

While technically more historical fiction with a fantastical twist, KINDRED features many thriller-y elements. And it was just so good that we had to put it on this list! While celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her husband, Dana, a modern black woman, time travels to the antebellum South to save a drowning young boy. But as Dana is continuously called back to the past to save the boy from life-threatening situations, the time she needs to stay in the past grows longer and longer until she is unsure whether it’s possible to go back to the present in one piece.

Perfect for the Holidays: Signed Ada Lace Books + Swag!

Emily Calandrelli

aka @TheSpaceGirl

"Emily is an Emmy-nominated science TV host. She's featured as a correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World and a producer and the host of FOX's Xploration Outer Space. She is also a guest science writer and host for Discovery News and covers the space industry as a writer for TechCrunch."

Ada Lace is the perfect series for growing scientists. 

 Ada Lace Adventure series is available in stores now, including the newest in the series Ada Lace and the Impossible Mission.

Books Inc. is happy to announce that not only do we have Ada Lace on our shelves, but we have


*To order your signed copies, just click on the edition you want, then write "SIGNED COPY PLEASE" in the comments.*

***If you'd like it personalized for the mini-scientist in your life, just include the name in the comments as well! We'll ship them out as soon as Emily signs them. ***

Orders placed by January 1, 2019 will include special surprise swag!
Book orders with swag will ship out mid-November and begin to arrive the week of Thanksgiving.

Happy Reading! We hope you enjoy your adventure with Ada Lace!

Ada Lace and the Impossible Mission

Due to astronomical popular demand, the Ada Lace Adventures Collection has SOLD OUT. 

Ada Lace and the Impossible Mission

"Ada Lace has a new social studies teacher—who loves group projects. While most of the class has constructed regular dioramas with clay and construction paper, Ada, her best friend Nina, and sometimes nemesis Milton have built a complex scale model of an historic silver mine. But when Milton reveals that he added his “old Milton touch” on their project right before turning it in, Ada worries that he has sabotaged their work.

In a desperate attempt to save their project, Ada and Nina use their combined creative and technical prowess to perform a heist and break into their teacher’s supply closet after school.

Do the two friends have what it takes to deceive the school’s security system? Or will they get caught trying to pull off this seemingly impossible mission."

Orders placed before January 1 will include a Signed Picture + other small goodies and will ship out the week of November 20.

Paperback Edition

Hardback Edition

"Third grader and inventor extraordinaire Ada Lace likes nothing more than to tinker with mechanics like her robot, George. Her latest project is to fix up a ham radio, something that she could use to contact people on this planet...and beyond. The only problem is that she just can't get it to work properly.

During a sleepover, Ada's best friend Nina hears something strange coming from the radio in the middle of the night. A distant voice says, "Release the swarm " convincing Nina that aliens are about to invade planet Earth.

Could Ada and Nina have stumbled upon something...extraterrestrial?"

Orders placed before January 1 will include a Signed Picture + other small goodies and will ship out the week of November 20.

Paperback Edition

Hardcover Edition

Ada Lace on the Case by Emily Calandrelli

"Ada Lace--third-grade scientist and inventor extraordinaire--has discovered something awful: her neighbor's beloved Yorkie has been dognapped!

With the assistance of a quirky neighbor named Nina (who is convinced an alien took the doggie) and her ever-growing collection of gadgets, Ada sets out to find the wrongdoer. As their investigation becomes more and more mysterious, Ada and Nina grow closer, proving that opposites do, in fact, attract."

Orders placed before January 1 will include a Signed Picture + other small goodies and will ship out the week of November 20.

Paperback Edition

Hardcover Edition 

Ada Lace Sees Red by Emily Calandrelli

"Ada Lace is building a new robot She's determined to beat Milton in the upcoming robotics competition. But she's distracted--Ada finds her dad's art class impossible, while Nina is the star of the class, basking in the glory of being Mr. Lace's star pupil.

When Mr. Lace suggests that Nina put on an art show, Ada becomes jealous and loses her temper. Now Ada isn't speaking to her dad, she's falling behind in art class, and she still doesn't know how to fix her robot. As the competition looms closer, Ada starts to wonder if there might be a way to use both science and art to solve her problems.

Will Ada make up with her father in time to test her hypothesis? Or will her hurt feelings leave her seeing red and without a medal at the end of the day?"

Orders placed before January 1 will include a Signed Picture + other small goodies and will ship out the week of November 20.

Paperback Edition


Ada Lace and the Suspicious Artist by Emily Calandrelli

Coming February 12, 2019!

Third grader and inventor extraordinaire Ada Lace is on spring break. But it's just a little less relaxing than she'd imagined. Nina is beside herself with excitement about meeting her favorite artist and enlists Ada and Mr. Peebles's coding-whiz nephew to help revamp her online portfolio.

When Nina finally meets Miroir, he snubs her, and her confidence is shaken--but not enough to miss the art show opening. While there, Ada spots a suspiciously familiar painting that may mean Miroir isn't the original he claims to be.

Will the friends be able to reveal the artist's true nature, before he fools someone else?

Paperback Edition


Signed copies are only available while supplies last so don't wait! 



Hamilton Characters as Protagonists in YA Novels

Written by Ava Lee and Amanda Kay

Love Hamilton, aka the most brilliant Broadway show in history? Read these eight novels with protagonist similar to Hamilton characters like Lafayette, Angelica, AND PEGGY!!!

*MSL stands for the Most Suitable Lyric from Hamilton that suits the characters.


1. Alexander Hamilton in THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hamilton and Hazel’s similarities lie not in their life stories, but in their cynical view of the world. Hazel’s (Hamilton in disguise) terminal cancer is set to ruin her life, but when she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow member of the Cancer Support Group, she realizes her limited days are about to be changed forever.

MSL: And there’s a million things I haven’t done/But just you wait - Alexander Hamilton

Author: John Greene

Hamilton Gif


2. Aaron Burr in ONE OF US IS LYING

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Simon is the creator of Bayview High’s gossip app and has the dirt on everybody, no matter their social standing. However someone - or not - has it out for Simon, and that person (Aaron Burr in disguise) thinks he should have talked less, and smiled more.

MSL: Fools who run their mouths off wind up dead - Aaron Burr, Sir

Author: Karen M. McManus



The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

A gentleman may seem well-versed in society’s norms, but all have shameless vices whether it’s a need to duel or fill their flasks every hour. Henry “Monty” Montague (John Laurens in disguise) embarks on his last Grand Tour of Europe to enjoy roguish pleasures before he is forced to commit to his family’s estate—that is until he discovers a plot that threatens the ones he loves.

MSL: Two pints o’ Sam Adams but I’m working on three! - Aaron Burr, Sir

Author: Mackenzie Lee



Across the Universe by Beth Revis

In ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, Godspeed is the ship which brings the people of Earth to a new planet, where Amy wakes up fifty years too early. Elder (Lafayette in disguise) fights against the controlling government while realizing that there are more secrets than he had ever thought possible.

MSL:  I dream of life without a monarchy/The unrest in France will lead to ‘onarchy? - My Shot

Author: Beth Revis

Freedom for America! Freedom for France! Gif from Hamilton Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda


5. Hercules Mulligan in AND I DARKEN

And I Darken by Kiersten White

Hercules Mulligan is strong, brave, and risks his life as a tailor to get information, like how Lada risks everything to prove that she’s more to what comes to eye. AND I DARKEN is the story of the princess of Wallachia, Lada Dragwlya (Hercules in disguise) and how she fights for vengeance on the Ottoman empire.

MSL: Hercules Mulligan, I need no introduction/When you knock me down I get the f*** back up again!

Author: Kiersten White

Hercules Mulligan from Hamilton Musical


6. Angelica in MOXIE

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Just like Angelica, Vivian Carter in MOXIE stands for what she believes in and does not back down, no matter what the cynics say. Vivian’s plan to stop gender discrimination (Angelica in disguise) in her small Texas town by her comics makes MOXIE a definite must read.

MSL: I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel! - The Schuyler Sisters

Author: Jennifer Mathieu

Angelica Schuyler from Hamilton Musical by Lin Manuel Miranda



Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

UNDER A PAINTED SKY features a rebellious yet sweet heroine, unafraid to do what is necessary for their best of companions. Join Samantha Young (Eliza in disguise) and Annamae, a runaway slave, as they head down the 1849 Oregan Trail, on the run from the discriminatory law and heading towards a new life in California. (Psst! They both speak French!)

MSL: Run away with us for the summer - Take a Break

Author: Stacey Lee

Eliza Schuyler from Hamilton Musical by Lin Manuel Miranda


8. And Peggy! in GEMINI

Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee

Hailey (Peggy in disguise) and Clara, two conjoined sisters, have lived in the same old town all their lives, but their relationship fissures as they grow older. Hailey wants to be the center of the party, but Clara is fine being a wallflower. As graduation approaches, they must learn how to be their own person while stuck to each other’s hip.

MSL: And Peggy! - The Schuyler Sisters

Author: Sonya Mukherjee

Peggy Schuyler from Hamilton the Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda


HAMILTON, Broadway's hit musical, was written by the talented Lin-Manuel Miranda. If you haven't already, we highly recommend you give it a listen! 

New Review! - Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix


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Teen Advisory Board Member Ava Reviews Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix 

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

The sequel to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns switches to Jade’s perspective. The wicked but stunning Empress Xifeng is slowly poisoning the Emperor, seeking to control the Great Forest. But the rightful heir to the throne, Jade, is determined to put an end to her reign, especially after Xifeng tries killing Jade, the one prophesied to bring her downfall. Using the stories her nursemaid taught her, Jade must collect five relics to raise the Dragon Guard, the only way to dethrone the Empress.


Though YA fairytale-retellings were my go-to for quite some time, I eventually lost interest. Well, at least until I read and reread Julie C. Dao’s Snow White spinoffs. Not to mention, it’s about time we have an all-Asian cast in an Asian-based fantasy world! While it’s fantastic that the number of Asian in entertainment is rising, most of the time those sources (E.g. novels, movies, etc) feature the struggle in being an outcast in society as a result of not being white. But this novel takes a whole new turn, casting the characters in a fun plot where they don’t have to struggle with their heritage, as being Asian is the norm.


Also, I love how the love interest defies stereotypes. Almost 100% of the time, the male love interest is this dark, brooding, handsome figure. But there are two stereotypes Dao defeats:

  1. The love interest is Asian. Asian men have a history of been viewed as unmasculine, just as Asian women have a history of being overly-sexualized. Although this factor is sort of a given, as Dao’s cast is entirely Asian anyway.

  2. He has the height of a dwarf. Many men struggle with the idea of dating a woman who’s taller than them, but this defies that expectation.


Love this fresh, diverse retelling of Snow White! It’s filled with more plot twists than I can count on both hands. Recommended to fans of the Lunar Chronicles, Caraval, and people who want more diversity in literature.

-Review written by Ava, Age 14

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix hit stores November 6th. Haven't read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns yet? Find it here!