We Need Diverse Books: A Guide to Spotting and Growing Past Stereotypes



Throughout October, we’ll be partnering with We Need Diverse Books to bring you a series of blog posts full of helpful advice, tips, and suggestions for writing diversity convincingly and respectfully in your fiction—from people who know what they’re talking about. Today, Ellen Oh shares how to identify, then expand beyond stereotypes:

One of the most common mistakes I see when people try to write diversely is that they fall into the practice of writing a positive stereotype. After all, if it’s positive, it can’t be a stereotype, right?


A stereotype is a positive or negative set of beliefs about the characteristics of a group of people. Just because it is positive, doesn’t make it any less problematic.


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Book Review: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Kurtis Clause


★★★★★: What tastes sweeter, blood or chocolate?

Vivian Gandillon is still reeling from the loss of her father and the pangs of loneliness in her new hometown are not damped by the locals who view her as an outsider, and a bit weird to boot. Vivian doesn’t shy away from this, as she believes her differences are wonderful; who would want to be a mere human, when they could be werewolf anyway? But when a boy catches Vivian’s eye at school, she throws caution to the wind and decides to find out what it’s like to be a normal high school girl. Dates, concerts, movies with friends, Vivian thinks she’s doing well. But in the end, can she separate the animal from the girl? And what does she truly crave: blood, or chocolate?

This is a wonderful coming of age story. Vivian, our gutsy protagonist, decides to test whether her fate is predestined, or if she has a hand in choosing who she must be. The details are gritty, the passion is raw and the characters are so well fleshed out I half expected them to jump from the page. Vivian’s not perfect (none of the characters are), and she definitely has her moments of weakness, but even as she shrinks away from the idea that she is a wolf, Vivian never forgets to be herself, never hides her weird quirks and qualities and large personality from the humans at her school. I find that admirable in a heroine, especially one as loyal and loving as this one.

Perfect for fans of fantasy, werewolves and young adult with a bite!

Book Review: A Cry in the Night by Mary H. Clark

★☆☆☆☆: Can’t trust the ones you love…

The first installment from a serial mystery writer, A Cry in the Night is the story of Jenny MacPartland, an over-worked and over-wrought mother who falls quickly into a relationship with a mysterious artist who can promise her protection and safety for her two young girls.

But what started as protective becomes possessive, and the safety he promises soon becomes a choke-hold as Jenny becomes more and more dependent on a man she barely knows. When the bodies start dropping, the drama and desperation reach a breaking point. But who will break first?

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Book Review: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

★★★☆☆: Not your average Southern Belle

Gin Blanco is a barbeque chef, a perpetual student at the local college, and a devoted adoptive daughter. She’s also the best assassin alive, and one who has an affinity for elemental stone magic. When her handler asks her to do one last job before she takes a well-deserved vacation, Gin can’t refuse the paycheck for such a simple hit.

But what should have been an easy mark becomes one of the most difficult assassination jobs Gin’s ever pulled, and as the threads begin to unravel she doesn’t know who to trust or who will be left standing when the dust settles.

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Book Review: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


★★★☆☆: A daring tale of time travel, kilts and courtly intrigue

Given to me by a friend, I had actually never heard of this intimidatingly thick novel until it was gifted to me. 800 plus pages long, this is a heavily debated novel and it was an interesting read.

Claire Randall is having a second honeymoon with her husband Frank in the Scottish Highlands after the close of WWII. Separated for years, they hope that they can regain some of time (and affection) that the war stole, and also allow Frank to learn more about his ancestors who live in Scotland centuries again. The pair visit a mythical ring of stones that is seeped in folklore…and so much more. Pulled back in time to 1743, Claire emerges from the ring of stones two hundred years in the past and is immediately thrown into danger and intrigues of a battle between England and Scotland.

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These traits (both good and bad) are common enough in male characters but just don’t show up enough with the ladies!

  • Big eater (why do all the women in fiction either have really tiny appetites or the type of personality where strong emotions take away their hunger?)






Hey, you.

Yeah, you.

You should totally reblog this post and add a book recommendation.

Just add any book you think someone should read, it doesn’t matter the genre or anything.

Do it.
Just do it.

Rivers by Michael Farris Smith

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Pivot Point by Kasie West!

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

East by Edith Pattou