9 Books with Fat Representation

Hi everyone! Today, I bring you a new installment of a series that I write here on my blog. 9 Books Monday is a feature where I talk about 9 books that have positive representation of diverse experiences including the experiences of people of the LGBTQIA community, Native people, people of color, people with physical and cognitive disabilities or mental illnesses, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.

In the past, I have done posts about 9 book with: 

Bisexual female main characters | Latinx main characters | Black main characters | Muslim main characters | Lesbian main characters | Asian main characters | Trans main characters | Anxiety representation | Autism representation | Depression representation

This time I talking about 9 books with Fat Representation:

5 BOOKS I READ AND LOVED

The Summer of Jordi Pérez by Amy Spalding

This book is about Abby, a pink-haired, fat, lesbian girl, who runs a  plus-size style blog. This is a cute story of summer jobs, friendship and first love. An interesting aspect of this book is that, while Abby is confident and comfortable with the way she looks for the most part, she still has her moments of insecurity because she knows how harsh the rest of the world can be. That aspect of the book felt very realistic.

Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes

This is the story of Analee, a fat girl who has self-esteem issues and social anxiety, and who is going through a difficult time dealing with her mother’s death. Throughout the book, Analee learns to appreaciate and love the people she has in her life and she also learns to accept and love herself more. If you like books centered around character development and growth, you will like this one.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

This book is about Chloe, a fat, chronically ill, Black computer geek and this is the story of Chloe being brave, loving herself and falling in love. Chloe’s weight is barely even mentioned, it’s not something she wants to change and it’s never presented as something negative. This book includes important discussions about chronic pain and abusive relationships, but it was also adorable, steamy and fun.

Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed

This book tells the love story between two fat, women of color. One of them is a really anxious makeup artist and the other is a model and actress, who is completely comfortable with the way she looks. This is an adorable and short novella, that doesn’t include homophobia or fatphobia. If you are looking for something low on the angst and high on the fluff, you will enjoy this.

b.b. free by Gabby Rivera

This is an amazing comic about a fat, queer, Latinx girl living in a post-apocalyptic world. While there are no comments about b.b. being fat, it’s amazing just to see a fat girl in a comic being brave and smart and fighting against the beliefs and conventions that other people want to imposse on her.

2 BOOKS ON MY TBR

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

This book is about Mila, a fat, Latinx girl, who practices Wicca and who ends up bringing a bunch of murdered teenagers back to life while trying to discover who killed her best friend. While this book has a strange premise, it also portraits some of the real daily microaggressions that fat people have to deal with.

If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

This book is about Winnie, a fat, queer, Black girl, who’s trying to win a televised cooking competition to save her grandmother’s dinner. In this book, Winnie doesn’t let anyone make her feel ashamed about her weight, even when people feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for “her own good”

2 UPCOMING RELEASES

I’ll be the One by Lyla Lee

This book is about Skye, who wants to become a K-Pop star, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for fat girls. While Skye is comfortable in her body, the fatphobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry still affect her and she has to deal with that. 

Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade

This book is about April, who posts a plus-size cosplay of a character from a beloved tv show that goes viral and after that she has to deal with trolls and supporters alike. Thanks to the attention, she gets to go on an unexpected date with the star of the tv show, who’s secretly posting fanfiction of his own.

What books with Fat rep have you read and loved? Which ones are on your tbr?

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8 Books with Afro-Latinx Characters by Afro-Latinx Authors for Black History Month

Hi everyone! Since Black History Month is just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favorite books with Afro-Latinx characters by Afro-Latinx authors, in case you are looking for some books to add to your tbrs!

Without further ado, here are my recommendations for you:

*Click the title of the book to go to the Goodreads page*

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a story told in verse, it’s touching and powerful, and it explores a Dominican-american girl’s struggle with inhabiting her body, a body that is unwillingly subjected to the male gaze; it also deals with growing up in a conservative latinx family that it’s extremely religious and that imposes faith and leaves no room for questions. It’s a book about trying to figure who you are in an enviroment that doesn’t leave much room to do so and it’s fantastic (full review)

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo expertly executes the recipe of an amazing book mixing loveable characters, complicated family dynamics and mouth watering descriptions of food. This book has a realistic depiction of a teenage mother and there’s also a cute romance that doesn’t take over the story but allows Acevedo to address sex and intimacy in a positive way. Moreover, Acevedo addresses being Afro-latinx and the experience of not being considered black enough or Latinx enough in a thoughtful and engaging way (Full review)

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

This is a Pride and Prejudice retelling and the main characters are Zuri and Darius, who are Afro-Latinx and Black respectavily. Zuri and Darius are always bantering and bickering and it is a fun dynamic to read. But the main reason this book is interesting and powerful is the way it discusses gentrification and class; incoporating these subjects adds to the original story and makes it more relevant to our time. Also, the representation of a Haitian-Dominican family in terms of the religion, the food and the family dynamics is so fascinating to read.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika & Maritza Moulite

This book is told in diary entries, tweets and emails, which makes it a very quick read, and it’s the story of Alaine, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Big part of this book is set in Haiti, which it’s not a common setting in YA books, and I think it’s something that adds to the story inmensely. This book has a lot of different storylines revolving around complicated family relationships and dynamics, but my favorite one is about discovering a family member has early-onset Alzheimer, which is depicted in what I think it’s a very heartbreaking and realistic way.

Acting on Impulse by Mia Sosa

This book has a strong, determined, likable Afro-Latinx heroine, who is a phisical trainer, and this is the story of her falling in love with a Hollywood star, who is really sweet. The main couple has lots of chemistry and the book includes great dialogue, captivating writing, complicated family dynamics and descriptions of delicious Puerto Rican food.

Dreamers Series by Adriana Herrera

These books are about a group of 4 friends that are Afro-Latinx and each book is the story of one of them falling in love. Great writing, fantastic friendships, some of the sweetest romances I have ever read, mentions of amazing Latinx food and music, conversations about important subjects like domestic violence and police brutality are some of the reason why I love this series and why I totally recommend it!

What are you reading for Black History Month? Do you have recs for books by Afro-Latinx or Black authors?

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My 5 Favorite YA Books by Latinx Authors | Latinx Heritage Month 2019

YA books by Latinx authors

Hi everyone! Since it’s Latinx Heritage Month, I thought a great way to celebrate was talking about some of my favorite book by Latinx authors. This is the first post of  the series and since I read so many YA books I decided to start with those.

Don't Date Rosa Santos

Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno (YA CONTEMPORARY)

It’s not often that a book breaks my heart and makes me sob, but this book managed to do just that. This book has beautiful writing, complex but lovable characters, a community that’s like a huge family, but the most special thing about it is the brilliant and bittersweet way it explores the feelings of a granddaughter of immgrants: the feelings of confusion and guilt for belonging to two places at onces, for speaking biligual words, for not knowing exactly where she comes from and what happened to the family that stayed behind.

we set the dark on fire

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (YA FANTASY)

This book captured my heart with two beautifully complex main characters, a forbidden love story, fascinating mythology, an infuriating world and a flawed but commited rebelious group. This bookfeels Latinx, it IS unapologetically Latinx and it has the respectful and wonderful Latinx representation that we need in fantasy. Beyond all those amazing things, the strengh of this book lays in the way it addresses immigration, privilege, poverty and opression, because it manages to evoke so many emotions and be incredibly thought provoking.

juliet-takes-a-breath

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (YA CONTEMPORARY)

This book holds a very special place in my heart, it was one of the first YA books with a Latinx main character that I ever read and I fell completely in love with it.  This book has amazing writing, complex, messy and vulnerable characters, it talks about feminism and about being queer in a thought-provoking way, and it shows the different perspectives that exist in these broader movements and the importance of intersectionality. This book is insighful and provocative and I think it’s incredible important for teens, because it’s a great introduction to femenist and queer ideas.

when-the-moon-was-ours

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (YA MAGICAL REALISM) 

This book is magical, mysterious and captivating and it’s probably my favorite magical realism book of all time and a book I’d recommend to anyone that wants to start reading this genre. This book has beautiful, flowery and poetic writing, an intriguing plot, an alluring atmosphere and complex and fascinating villains. It’s has a dark and dangerous vibe that underlies the story and that makes the reader feel unease and worry and that adds a compelling and engrossing element to the book.

labyrinth-lostLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (YA URBAN FANTASY) 

Witches, fairies, an all latinx cast of characters and great bisexual rep … there was no way I wasn’t gonna love this one. The mythology and magic in this book are rooted in Latinx traditions and beliefs in such big and profund way that it can’t be confused with anything else but a love letter to Latinx magic and that’s the most amazing thing about this book. Another great thing about it is that the unveiling of Los Lagos, the magical world where part of this book takes place, is done in such a slow and delibareted way that you can’t help but be completely captivated by it.

Have you read any of this books? Do you want to read any of them? What YA books by Latinx author do you love? 
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Thoughts & Aesthetics: Nocturna by Maya Montayne

Nocturna.jpg

Title: Nocturna

Author: Maya Motayne

Published by: Balzer +Bray

Publishing date: May 7th 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 480

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks. As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

Goodreads | Amazon

Nocturna is an entertaining book that, while not having the most original plot and characters, feels unique in some ways thanks to the incorporation of Latinx culture and Spanish language in its world and magic system.

The main characters of Nocturna, Alfie and Finn, are both interesting in their own ways and that’s due to how they are impacted by their pasts in different but very powerful ways and how that affects the plot of the story. Alfie is a cinamon roll type of character that, at the same time, it’s a mess and makes a lot of mistakes, and throught his character, Montayne explores the ways in which grief can cause a person to be a mess, make the wrong choices and screw everything up.

On the other hand, Finn’s character is compelling because she uses a facade of being tough and heartless as a way to hold on to some control after having experienced a situation in which she was manipulated and controlled by someone else. Her development, her vulnerability and her contradictions throughout the book are not only escencial to the plot, they also give an emotional backbone to the story.

The dymanic between these characters is really entertaining and the snarky comments and the banter are fun to read, but there are also these tentative moments when they are vulnerable and honest with each other and they are so tender and beautiful. At the end, the development of their relationship is captivating and touching.

In terms of the villain, it’s interesting that this book has two villains in one and seeing the struggle for power and for control within the villain is interesting because the struggles between these two villain are not caused by one trying to stop the other from doing evil things, it’s about setting priorities for what evil things to do first and that adds a compelling element to the story.

The most magical thing about this book is the way it embraces Latinx culture and the way it uses Spanish as the language of magic in this world. Maybe it’s because there’s not that many YA fantasy books that do this, but the fact that those things are incorporated it felt special and meaningful. Another aspect of the book that it’s interesting is the way it addresses colonialism and slavery through the history of its world, and how it’s done in a very organically and subtle way.

Lastly, the main issue of this book is the pacing because it’s really uneven, so there are long bits in the book where characters are talking or thinking or planning and then some action would take place but inmediately after there would be another long strech where not a lot would happen. That constant start and stop of the action didn’t allow the book to flow as well as it could have.

Overall, while not being extremely original and having some issues with pacing, Nocturna does a great job of seamlessly incorporating Latinx culture and spanish to the story in a beautiful and meaningful way, and it does a good job too of including discussions about colonialims and slavery in a interesting, toughtful and organic way.

Have you read this book? Do you have recommendations of fantasy books inspired by different cultures? 

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100 Book Recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo| Latinx Heritage Month 2019

Hi everyone! Today I bring you a post I have been working on for a long time and I’m super excited to finally share it with you. In this post, there are recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo 2019, which I’m hosting again this year.  Before getting into the recs, here are some things you should know about them:

  • In each category, the recommendations are organized depending on age group: First, you’ll find YA books, then Middle Grade books and finally Adult books.
  • Click on the title and it will take you to the Goodreads page for the book.
  • I haven’t read every book on this list, but I read #ownvoices reviews for almost every single one of them to make sure the Latinx rep was good. Nonetheless, if you know the rep in one of the books is not good, please let me know!
  • Next to the title and author, there’s a parentheses (), in which I added information like the genre of the books and the kind of rep they have, so you could know if it works for more than one square.
  • If you can’t find a book that intests you and fits one of the categories on this list and need more options, here’s the list I made for the bingo last year: 90 Book Recommendations for the Latinx Book Bingo. Maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for there!

With that out of the way, here are the recommendations:

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Any book by a Latinx author
Intersectional main character (mc)
Afrolatinx main character
On Cover Representation
Fat Representation 
Backlist Title
Non-Traditional format
Recommended by a Latinx Reader  (My recs for you!)
Non Fiction
Are you participating in the Latinx Book Bingo? Are you reading any of the books on this list? or have you read already any of the books on this list? Let me know!
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Latinx Book Bingo Announcement | Latinx Heritage Month 2019

Hi everyone! I’m so excited to share that the Latinx Book Bingo is officially coming back for a second edition this year! 🎉🎉🎉

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The Latinx book bingo will take place from September 15 to October 15, which is Hispanic Heritage Month 2019 (or how we are choosing to called it: Latinx Heritage Month). The bingo is being hosted by Paola (@Mancerelle), Allie (@Alliewithbooks) and myself (@SofiainBookland) just like last year and the purpose of it is to highlight books about latinx characters and written by latinx authors.

The aim of the bingo is to read as many Latinx books as you can, guided by the prompts on the bingo board.  You can also try to get a bingo (read all prompts on a single line or row — you can read horizontally, vertically, and diagonally), but it’s not necessary, we just hope you read some latinx reads during this month.

I want to quickly explain that we always want to promote intersectional stories, so the square that says intersectional MC prompts you to read a book where the main character is Latinx AND is part of the LGBTQIA community or has a mental illness or is neurodivergent or disabled. Something similar happens with the square that says fat rep, it means read a book with a character that it’s both Latinx and fat.

The Grief KeeperThe main difference between last year and this year is that we have a group book, which is The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante, and the amazing thing is that we are reading this book as part of a month long readalong organized by the hosts of the Latinx Book Club (which I’m part of as well), the Latinxathon and us, the host of the Latinx Book Bingo. For this we are using the hashtag #LatinxLitTakeover.  I couldn’t be more excited that we all decided to read this book together as a way to start or further conversations about immigration (which is one of the main themes of the book) considering everything that’s happening right now and how it’s affecting thousands of immigrants.

We are planning some amazing things through the @LatinxBookBingo Twitter account, so follow us to get recommendations of Latinx reads,  to find some lovely Latinx bookish people since we are doing shout outs throughout the month and to participate in the giveaway we are hosting. You can use the #LatinxBookBingo hashtag for all your related tweets and posts. I will be posting a tbr and a recommendation list in the next couple of weeks in case you need help setting up your tbr.

I hope you can join us! If you have any comments or questions, please let them in the comments! 

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Book Review: Your Heart is the Sea by Nikita Gill

Your Heart is the SeaTitle: Your Heart is the Sea

Author: Nikita Gill

Published by: Thought Catalog Books

Publishing date: November 22nd 2018

Genre: Poetry

Pages: 200

Let poetry help you examine the depths of your wounds. Let it remind you that no matter how deep it goes, you will be able to heal it because you have been able to heal every single wound inflicted on your heart and soul before. Let these words show you that you will be able to find the light at the end of the wound because you have always found your way before.

Goodreads | Amazon

A copy of this book was provided  by Thought Catalog Books  in exchange of an honest review.

Your Heart is the Sea is a poetry collection that touches on sensitive subjects like emotional abuse, sexual assault, feelings of abandonment, mental illness (depression and anxiety) and self- harm, and it deals with them in a thoughtful, insightful and powerful way.

“People aren’t buildings. We aren’t ancient monuments that, once ravaged by some forgotten war, lie in permanent ruins of ourselves” 

Like most poetry collections, not all the poems in Your Heart is the Sea manage to have the same impact, the same resonance, but there’s a consistency in this collection that I appreciated. That probably has to do with the way the collection is organized in different sections that group poems together that address similar themes.

My favorite section was the first one called The Anguish, because  it contains the poems that resonated more strongly with me, especially in terms of mental illness. For me, the most relatable poem in the collection is The War Called Anxiety, in which Nikita Gill defines anxiety saying:

“It is the habit of fashioning bullets within my head. It is the unwanted practice of treating my body like it is a pistol, constatly waiting for someone to pull my trigger” 

That poem had a huge emotional impact on me when I first read it and it has continued to have that impact  all the times that I have re-read it since then. Nikita Gill found a way to perfectly describe my experience with anxiety, while being raw and honest, which means a lot to me.

Every section from this collection has poems that stand out for how relatable and touching they are. Nonetheless, another section that I particulary enjoyed is titled The Worship and it’s dedicated to heroes and gods from greek mythology, and it includes fascinating and captivating poems, including my favorite one, which is called How to Become a Myth.

Lastly, I would like to mention that the design of this poetry collection, which is based on the sea, is beautiful. From the cover to the images that are included to the color of the pages, everything works really well and adds to the experience of reading the poems.

Overall, Your Heart is the Sea is a powerful, touching and heartfelt poetry collection that deals with sensitive topics in a thoughful and insightful way.

Have you read this book or any of Nikita Gill’s books? What poetry collection do you love and would recommend? 

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