Elevate Your TBR With Diverse Recommendations Based on Popular Books

Want to diversify your TBR but don’t know where to start? Try these recommendations based on popular BookTok reads.

Author's Corner Diverse Voices Diversity Recommendations
A computer windows-inspired banner with the book covers for "Throne of Glass" by Sarah J. Maas and "Sing Me To Sleep" by Gabi Burton in tabs.

In the past decade, people have called on several industries to improve their diversity and inclusion, and publishing is no exception. Despite the progress publishing has made in recent years, the publishing industry is still an overwhelmingly white field. As a result, white authors get more resources to promote their books than authors of color. As a queer Black woman, I always make an effort to read books from authors with identities similar to mine, but many people aren’t sure how to start reading diversely.

Luckily, you have me as your fearless guide! To help you get started on diversifying your bookshelf, I compiled a list of books by POC authors based on popular books written by white authors.

If You Like:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book cover for "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
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Try:

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

Book cover for "Siren Queen" by Nghi Vo.
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Siren Queen’s leading lady, Luli Wei, has Evelyn Hugo’s ambition for fame. Just like Evelyn, Luli works her way into the industry from modest beginnings and has to navigate Hollywood’s terrain as a woman of color who is constantly barraged by stereotypes. And just like Evelyn, Luli has to navigate the volatile homophobia that puts her partners and relationships in jeopardy. For all these similarities, Siren Queen has a (literal) magic that makes the story its own, and Luli is a ruthless protagonist who will not bow to the pressure of Hollywood. Instead, she uses the industry’s weaknesses to her advantage in her quest for fame and success. 

If You Like:

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Book cover for "Book Lovers" by Emily Henry.
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Zora Books Her Happy Ever After by Taj McCoy

Book cover for "Zora Books Her Happy Ever After" by Taj McCoy.
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A bookish, work-centered female protagonist? Check. Continuous run-ins with a grumpy love interest? Check. Learning more about each other after getting past less-than-ideal first impressions? Check. Unlike Nora in Book Lovers, Zora is a little more open to being the leading lady of a romance. But even if you fell for Nora’s icy exterior and soft insides, you’ll find yourself rooting for Zora, who wears her heart on her sleeve. Set in a bookstore, Zora’s love story involves a swoony author, his prickly best friend, and their mysterious pasts. Full of heart, humor, and a bit of spice, let Zora’s story be the next bookish rom-com you pick up.

If You Like:

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Book cover for "A Good Girl's Guide to Murder" by Holly Jackson.
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Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Book cover for "Tender Beasts" by Liselle Sambury.
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Finished A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and need another case to solve? Try untangling the web at Behre Academy. When her private school is rocked by a student’s gruesome murder, Sunny Behre is determined to find the killer. Just like Pippa, Sunny doesn’t believe the murder case is as simple as the police make it out to be. But unlike Pippa, Sunny has a much more personal stake in solving this murder: clearing her younger brother’s name. Tender Beasts is a fast-paced psychological thriller that also examines the intersectionalities of race, wealth, and status. If you like thrillers that keep you guessing, Tender Beasts is for you.

If You Like:

Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Book cover for "Divine Rivals" by Rebecca Ross.
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The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon

Book cover for "The Hurricane Wars" by Thea Guanzon.
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If you were drawn to Divine Rivals’s enemies-to-lovers romance set in an immersive fantasy world, you’ll love the characters and magic in The Hurricane Wars. Set in a Filipino-inspired fantasy world, Talasyn and Alaric are on opposite sides of a raging war. While Talasyn is a freedom fighter with light magic coursing in her veins, Alaric uses his Shadow magic to maintain the Night Empire’s rule. There’s a slow-burn romance, snarky dialogue, and a marriage of convenience — what’s not to love?

If You Like:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Book cover for "The Cruel Prince" by Holly Jackson.
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Lore of the Wilds by Analeigh Sbrana

Book cover for "Lore of the Wilds" by Analeigh Sbrana.
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Lore of the Wilds is a new fae romance perfect for the people who loved the morally corrupt cast of The Cruel Prince. In a desperate bid to save her village, Lore strikes a deal with a Fae lord: she will work in the enchanted library where Fae aren’t permitted to go in exchange for wealth. But really, Lore is searching for magic of her own that may help her free her village from its prison. Although Lore doesn’t want a place among the fae like Jude from The Cruel Prince does, Lore is just as headstrong and motivated to get her way, just like Jude. And Lore of the Wilds also features a tantalizing romance between a human and fae that Cruel Prince fans will enjoy.

If You Like:

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros.
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The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi

Book cover for "The Final Strife" by Saara El-Arifi.
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Fans who were drawn to Fourth Wing because of the cut-throat, high-stakes competition will drink up The Final Strife. Tensions are high in The Final Strife’s empire, which has a caste system based on blood color that keeps the ones with magic in control. Those who sympathize with Violet’s complicated relationship with her sergeant mother will be drawn to Anoor, who is seen as nothing by her empire-ruling mother. The Final Strife may lack dragons, but there is a huge competition based on combat and skill meant to choose the empire’s next leaders, similar to the winner-take-all atmosphere of Fourth Wing’s war college.

If You Like:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Book cover for "Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugo.
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A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal

Book cover for "A Tempest of Tea" by Hafsah Faizal.
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Kaz Brekker simps, rise up! A new criminal mastermind has entered the scene. By day, Arthie Casimir runs a teahouse in the city of White Roaring, but by night, the tearoom transforms into an illegal bloodhouse for vampires. Arthie will do anything to protect her business, including a heist in the elite vampire society known as the Athereum. A dangerous heist, a team made of a city’s outcasts, a conspiracy that could bring down all of White Roaring — people who have been chasing the high they got while reading Six of Crows may have just found their next fix in A Tempest of Tea.

If You Like:

The Women by Kristin Hannah

Book cover for "The Women" by Kristin Hannah.
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The American Daughters by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Book cover for "The American Daughters" by Maurice Carlos Ruffin.
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The American Daughters is another novel that sheds light on the unheard voices of well-known wartimes. As Hannah does in The Women, Ruffin centers women in a male-dominated narrative, illuminating how women contributed to the victory. Instead of Vietnam, however, Ruffin’s story takes place during the Civil War, focusing on how one young Black girl finds community and liberation when she joins a network of spies called The Daughters. This is an ideal read for fans of historical fiction that provides a new perspective on an often-discussed period and readers who seek a balance of despair and hope in their stories.

If You Like:

Circe by Madeline Miller

Book cover for "Circe" by Madeline Miller.
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Every Rising Sun by Jamila Ahmed

Book cover for "Every Rising Sun" by Jamila Ahmed.
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Staple stories in classic literature normally focus on legendary men, treating the women in those stories as plot devices. Retellings have breathed new life into these underrated Greek female characters, appreciating the complexity of mythological figures like Circe. Every Rising Sun does the same for One Thousand and One Nights, focusing on Sheherazade as tells a never-ending tale to stay alive. Sheherazade is more than a virgin outwitting a murderous king. She’s just as invested in the survival of her country as she is in her own survival. Classic stories frequently position men as saviors, but these women-led retellings show that women are equally capable and complex heroes.

If You Like:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Book cover for "Throne of Glass" by Sarah J. Maas.
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Try:

Sing Me To Sleep by Gabi Burton

Book cover for "Sing Me To Sleep" by Gabi Burton.
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Who doesn’t love an assassin MC? Unlike Celaena, Saorise is not open about her deadly duties. By day, she trains as a soldier in the kingdom’s most prestigious barracks, but at night, Saorise works as an assassin with a group of mercenaries. And that’s not her only secret: Saorise is also pretending to have a grip on her siren powers, which she does not. When her sister is threatened, Saorise takes a job as the crown prince’s bodyguard to gather more information. Saorise is soon entangled with the same royalty she promised herself she was using for information, but getting closer to him may be the answer to saving the empire.

From one bookworm to another, it can be hard to branch out once you’ve got your established bookish tastes. And there are so many books (with more and more coming out every day) that you may be stuck on where to start expanding your horizons. So here’s a good rule of thumb: start with what you know and love. As proven by this list, for every popular book written by a white author, there are probably two or three similar ones written by a person of color just waiting for you to find it. So take the leap and pick up the book!


Find more diverse reads to add to your TBR here.

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