Publisher Announces Young-Adult Romance Imprint for People of Color

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Oct 05, 2020

Publisher Random House will launch Joy Revolution, a new publishing imprint dedicated to young adult romance novels for, by and about people of color, Penguin Random House recently announced.

Husband and wife authors David Yoon (“Frankly in Love”) and Nicola Yoon (“The Sun Is Also a Star" and "Everything, Everything”) will lead the imprint, which was inspired by Nicola’s love of romance novels and her desire to see more of them centering Black women like her. While Nicola grew up watching romantic comedies such as “When Harry Met Sally” and “The Princess Bride,” she also noted something else:

As much as I loved those titles, they always left me with nagging questions: Where were the girls who looked like me? Didn’t Black girls ever fall in love? Joy Revolution is not focused on stories of Black pain or immigrant struggle. Our books won’t be issue-oriented or polemical. The Joy Revolution imprint is all about telling stories of big love. The characters in them have big ideas about the world and their place in it. I believe love stories are truly revolutionary. Because love has the power to unmake and remake the world.

The Yoons’ fans shouldn’t worry about them being too busy to write, as they will continue to publish their own individual novels while running Joy Revolution. The way David saw it, this project was a necessary labor of love.

"Nicki and I created Joy Revolution as an antidote for a media landscape where people of color have relentlessly been erased, except for those rare occasions when their pain can teach white people about racism," he said in the release. "Joy Revolution is a safe haven for readers like me and Nicki to see themselves as the romantic hero, free to pursue their bliss however they want, unrestrained and unencumbered. After a literal lifetime of waiting for more romantic literary heroes who look like us—largely to no avail—we’re thrilled to help take the lead in making sure those heroes’ stories are told to a wide and beautifully diverse audience."

The Yoons will likely find an eager audience. According to Nielsen BookScan statistics from 2014-2015, people of color make up about a fifth of romance readers. And beginning in December 2019, Romance Writers of America—the leading group of authors in the genre and an organization founded by a Black woman—was roiled by conflict when a board member publicly accused several white authors and editors of racial stereotyping or gatekeeping. 

Joy Revolution will publish its first books in 2022.