If your goal is to read more diverse books in 2018, you’re in luck, because Penguin Teen has a great offering of stories penned by a diverse range of authors who identify as Muslim and/or Middle Eastern. Whether you’re looking to see yourself in a new story or want to read outside your own experience, this list is a good place to start.
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi
Atia Abawi was born to Afghan parents in West Germany and was raised in the United States. She currently lives in Jerusalem where she works as a foreign news correspondent. A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is the timely story of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria, written from Atia’s firsthand experience in the region.
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
Arvin Ahmadi is an Iranian-American who grew up outside of Washington D.C. His debut novel, Down and Across, is about a teenage boy who can’t quite figure out what he wants to do with his life and who runs away from home while his parents are on a summer trip to Iran. He also may or may not encounter (and complete) a few crossword puzzles along the way!
The Lost Kids by Sara Saedi
Sara Saedi was born in Tehran, Iran smack-dab in the middle of a war and an Islamic Revolution. As the story goes, she entered the world to the sounds of bombs exploding near the hospital. Though her memory of the day is a little fuzzy, the life and death stakes surrounding her birth helped prepare her for a writing career. The Lost Kids, the sequel to Never Ever is packed with more of everything you loved in Book 1: twists, action, revenge, and romance!
Amal, Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Aisha Saeed is a Pakistani-American writer, teacher, and attorney. Her middle grade debut, Amal Unbound, is the compelling story of a Pakistani girl’s fight to regain her life and dreams after being forced into indentured servitude. You may also know her from her YA novel, Witten in the Stars!
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
Sabaa Tahir is a Muslim-American writer who grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. Out this summer, A Reaper at the Gates is the highly anticipated third installment in the Ember in the Ashes quartet, an action-packed fantasy series that’s perfect for binge-reading.
Looking for more books by culturally diverse authors? Check out this list of books by women of color that you need to read this year!