Accurate Young Adult Books

One thing I tend to see in books and movies especially is the apparent lack of representation. It’s really obvious once you look for it! I think that the public realized it a little bit more when the movie Selma didn’t get any real Oscar nominations, even though it was arguably the most important movie. That then got people to actually discover what the people making these decisions were like– and over half of them turned out to be Caucasian men over 40 years old.

The truth is, though, that people aren’t always white, skinny, and straight, and we deserve (and need) to see people who look and are like people! We here at Hugs and Hot Chocolate have made a list of some of our favorite books containing diverse characters. Oh, and they’re more interesting than you’d think.


In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

In this book, newbie Anda becomes a kick-butt gamer and discovers the corruption behind the game, where Chinese kids have to illegally collect valuable, virtual objects just to make a living. While the story may be a bit serious, the art and characters in this graphic novel are wonderful and keep this from being a sob story.

What makes it diverse: Anda is beautiful, but doesn’t necessarily meet today’s standards. Raymond is Chinese and going through a difficult time– and Anda doesn’t make it her mission to “fix” him. It’s also an awesome book solely because the main character is female and plays video games. hghhhhhhhhhhhhjhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller

Inside the Shadow City (Kiki Strike,#1)

A group of teenage girls, lead by bookworm Ananka and vigilante Kiki, discover the “shadow city” beneath New York City, get rich, and use their skills for good. This is one of my favorite series of all time. Sounds lame but is the most amazing thing ever.

What makes it diverse: Kiki has horrible allergies and is shorter than everyone her age; Ananka is a bookworm and a genius because of it; Betty has costume designers for parents and is always in disguise; Luz is Hispanic, and an amazing inventor; Oona is an orphan, Asian, and an entrepreneur; DeeDee is an African-American chemist and genius. The girls are special and accurately represent the many types of people in New York City.


Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

Mena has been kicked out of her old life by everyone she loved, all because she wrote an apology letter to a boy her friends bullied. Through a gifted teacher, debates about evolution, and a new group of friends, Mena finds herself and starts over.

What makes it diverse: Mena learns not to make assumptions, forgets about the negative people in her life, and fully accepts all different kinds of lives. It’s a great book that makes you think about your own life.


Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

Set in the Eighties, two different high schoolers fall in love: Eleanor, who lives in an abusive household and weighs a bit too much, and Park, who lives in a happy Asian household. The storyline is beautiful, and it’s the kind of book you remember forever.

What makes it diverse: It says it all in the summary; subtle but still great.


All books by Rick Riordan, specifically The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)

Rick works his classic Greek and Roman magic, weaving a hilarious, interesting, romantic, and adventurous story. Annabeth, who is pretty much the best character, kicks butt per usual and puts us all to shame. All of the characters from the first two books in the series are in this book– it’s really the best one in the series. A must-read for any fantasy lover. Omigosh, guys, these are the books of my childhood.

What makes it diverse: Featuring characters of pretty much every race and personality, Rick Riordan does a great job of forming his characters and making them unique.


One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

One Man Guy

One of the best books I’ve read! Goodreads says it well:

“…Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a  girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.”

What makes it diverse: It actually has a gay and Armenian protagonist: I know very few books with either of these things. All-around winner, this book debunks stereotypes, discusses the Armenian Genocide without overloading, and is filled with lots of feel-good scenes. It also deals with real problems that real teenagers go through!

Happy reading, y’all, and more to come! Be sure to visit Mary Claire’s book blog, It’s a personal fave.  🙂


(All book cover pictures and the One Man Guy summary excerpt are from Goodreads. Target Lady Gif from Giphy.)


5 Places to Go When You’re Feeling SSS (stressed, scared, or sad) + GIFS

We all have those days. The days where we feel like crap, when we want to escape, when we just want to lie on our couches and maybe binge on some reality TV and be a grouch to everyone. But, what’s really important is not that we’re feeling that way, but what we’re doing about it. 

I invite you to check out this list of places to go when you’re SSS (stressed, scared, or sad). Some of these places are easy-you might just have to move a few steps and you’re there, while other places aren’t so simple, but just as effective. Enjoy the list and be sure to tell me in the comments what your favorite place was, and share any tips you have about how to pick yourself up when you’re down.

1. The World of Harry Potter (or the worlds of your favorite books)

harry potter gif


Harry Potter is flippin’ fantastic. If you haven’t read it or seen the movies (at least), I encourage you to get yourself to the nearest bookstore and binge read the series, or, if you must, start with the movies. In my opinion, Harry Potter has something for everyone: magic, humor, friendship, adventures, love. I know that reading something like Harry Potter always makes me feel better, and if you’re not interested or have already read the series millions of times, I essentially am just encouraging you to go pick up your favorite book or a book that you’ve been interested in reading for quite awhile.

2. Running

running gif


One time, my best friend and I were taking a walk around my neighborhood. We had just reached my block, and decided to have a race back to my house. We’d always done these when we were younger, and, while racing her, I got addicted to the feeling of the wind in my hair and the beautiful, captivating feeling of being alive that running gives you. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed that feeling. So, drop everything and run!

3. Your Creative Mind


creative gif

As Kanye brags, be your own creative genius! Use what inspires you-words, dreams, experiences, anything-to cultivate or create something that makes you feel better. For me, I created a huge quote wall across two walls of my bedroom and even parts of the ceiling (I’m still working on it), full of quotes, phrases, sayings, and images that inspire me daily. Putting the quotes on the wall is fun, finding them is fun, reading and remembering is fun, and putting their inspiring words into my daily life is amazing and so comforting. Be creative and find something you love that comforts you.

4. On the other end of your best friend’s phone

phone gif

Call him or her up! Sometimes all you have to do is talk to someone you care about, and boom! Your bad mood totally goes away. People and friendships truly do bring the positives back out, and sometimes all it takes to feel better is to talk to someone who will make you smile when you hear their voice.

5. Your headphones-and the dance floor that can be your bedroom

taylor swift dancing

Dance it out! Crank up your favorite tunes, and have  dance party by yourself or with friends. Get those feelings out, and get moving! I guarantee you-for at least one part of your favorite song, you’ll forget about whatever’s bringing you down.

Thanks for checking out this post! And remember, if none of this advice helped ya, go get yourself some hugs and hot chocolate!


GIF Sources:

Priceless Pieces of Pinterest Advice

Hi everyone! Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite pins on pinterest, pins that are filled with advice, quotes, and priceless words that will help you as both a person and a teenager. It’s random pins, most of them don’t have a theme, but all of them should (hopefully) inspire you.

by the way miracle quotes

Yes, miracles do happen. Maybe the miracle today is that you’re alive and well, and maybe tomorrow’s miracle might be that a cure for cancer has been found. Either way, take and count every miracle that comes your way. (I am being a complete poet right now. And I didn’t even know it)

courage quotes

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? If you knew that no one would judge you, no one would laugh? If you had twenty seconds of insane courage, what would you do or say? Ask yourself these questions every day and find your courage.

positive quotes


It’s easy to say, “I’m going to think positive today.” But actually doing it? That can be hard, and it might take a lot of effort on your part. Honestly, all you have to do is break the negativity that’s become your habit to drop back on whenever it feels like something’s not going your way. Make it your goal to wake up and say, “I’m going to love this day!”

ancient chinese proverb quote


I ADORE this one. Remind yourself constantly that, in the end, you will end up being with the right people. You may not have met them yet, or you might have known them for many years by now. It takes time, but you do have people out there that have and will love you in your past, present, and future.

nutella quote


Okay, there is so much TRUTH in this one. (I apologize if you are allergic to nutella.) You cannot make everyone happy. This is a hard lesson for me, even today. My first impulse is to avoid conflict and create peace, but sometimes that means compromising my values or opinions, and I want to stand by those. Eat some nutella, and stop trying to please everyone, people!

oceans quote


Everyone you meet is fighting a battle. Respect that, and respect them.

body quote


Find someone who loves all of you. Not just your body, but your soul. Someone who treats you well, spends quality time with you, and doesn’t try to change you one bit.

beauty quote


This one goes hand-in-hand with the one above. Beauty is not everything. Rather, I encourage you to focus on all of your great qualities.


I hope you enjoyed this post, and be sure to give H&H a follow! And if none of these quotes inspired you, just go get yourself a hug ands some hot chocolate!

~Mary Claire



Welcome to Hugs and Hot Chocolate!

Welcome to Hugs & Hot Chocolate!

taylor hi gif


H&HC is a blog dedicated to teenagers and anyone looking for inspiration. New posts full of ideas, inspiration, quotes, heart-felt advice, and general musings are just waiting to be read. This blog is based off of a crazy idea that I discovered in the bits and pieces of my brain while I was in the shower (true story), and the rest is going to be history. If you have a post request, a story to share, or any questions or need any advice, feel free to comment! I can’t wait to get to know you. And remember-if any of the things on here don’t inspire you or make you feel good, hugs and hot chocolate will.

grool gif

Yep, Lindsey. Grool.

See you soon, and I hope you enjoy some hugs and hot chocolate today!