POC Representation in Popular YA Books

Have you ever considered how much people of color (POC) representation there is in your favorite books? Spoiler alert: there is not as much diversity as there should be. Even when there is, most of the time the characters are 2D with minimal page-time. 

Below is a list of every POC character in 5 fandom faves. Although some characters may have been cast differently in the movie adaptions, this list will only recognize ones that have been specifically identified as a POC. 


  1. The ‘Harry Potter’ Series by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter is known for a lot of things, but diversity is not one of them. There are only 6 POC in the entire series (which has 160+ characters).

They are: Cho Chang, Dean Thomas, Lee Jordan, Padma Patil, Parvati Patil, and Kingsley Shacklebolt.



2. The ‘Mortal Instruments’ Series by Cassandra Clare

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It should be noted that what Clare lacks in race diversity, she fills with queer representation. Out of 22 characters, there are 3 POC (and one blue-skinned character, Catrina Loss).

They are: Magnus Bane, Maia Roberts, and Raphael Santiago.


3. ‘The Fault in our Stars’ by John Green

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While there is no diversity in TFIOS, there is some in other John Green books. He has Tiny (Will Grayson, Will Grayson), Hasan (An Abundance of Katherines), Radar (Paper Towns), Takumi Hikohito (Looking for Alaska), which are all side characters. In his newest novel, Turtles All The Way Down there are two POC (Daisy and Mychel) and Green has pledged to add more diversity to his work as he goes.



4. The ‘Hunger Games’ Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

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While there was a lot more diversity in the movies, the book did not match up. Fans were evens surprised when they found out that some of the characters had been cast as POC. However, there are 4 out of 80+ characters that are diverse in the trilogy. The only one up for question is Cinna but it is generally accepted that he is a POC.

The other three are: Rue, Thresh, and Seeder.

5. The ‘Twilight’ Saga by Stephenie Meyer

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For all the crap that Twilight gets, it had a lot of diversity. There is debate over whether Meyer should be using the Quileute tribe for profit in her books and the lack of diversity in the movie casting. But, in a series with 60+ characters, there are 29 characters of color which are more than any of the ones above (many of them were played by white actors in the movie though).

They are: Jacob Black, Ephraim Black, Billy Black, Harry Clearwater, Laurent, Leah Clearwater, Sam Uley, Quil Ateara V, Quil Ateara III, Brady Fuller, Sue Clearwater, Rachel Black, Rebecca Black, Seth Clearwater, Colin Littlesea, Jared Cameron, Paul Lahote, Embry Call, Huilen, Nahuel, Tia, Amun, Benjamin, Kebi, Zafrina, Senna, Kashiri, and Maria.



Feature image via Every Single Word Spoken by a Person of Color in the Entire ‘Harry Potter’ Film Series by Dylan marron