Diverse Pride and Prejudice Retellings

diverse pride and prejudice retellings

Hi everyone! As someone who loves Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I’m always looking for retellings and adaptations.  I love to read new takes on this classic story and I love the diverse retellings that have been coming out lately even more. I know Pride and Prejudice is loved by many of you too and I thought it would be a good idea to share some diverse retellings for those of you who enjoy a new twist of this beloved classic!

Without further ado, here are some diverse Pride and Prejudice retellings that I read and loved:

pride Pride by Ibi Zoboi

In this book, the main character Zuri is Haitian-Dominican and the love interest, Darius, is black. I love their dynamic, they are always bantering and bickering, but the main reason this book is amazing is the way it dicusses gentrification and class, including 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.

 

The Story of Lizzie and Darcy

The Story of Lizzy and Darcy by Grace Watson

The main change in this retelling is (obviously) that Darcy is a woman and she is biracial and bisexual, while Lizzy is a lesbian. Also, instead of Mary Bennet, we get Mark, who is aroace and Colonel Fitwilliam is Will, a trans man. There’s a lot of diversity in this book and it’s well integrated to the story. Lizzie and Darcy have so much chemestry and they both work in publishing industry, which gave this book a cool setting.

 

well-played

Well Played by Katrina Ramos Atienza

This is a Filipino retelling, it takes place in a university and it’s very interesting to get to learn a little bit about how things work in the educational system in the Philippines. The main character in this book, Patrice Reyes, is a passionate soccer player, and Paul Damacio, the love interest, is a math nerd and he’s very similar to Darcy from the book. Actually, this is a pretty faithful retelling, at least when it comes to the main romance.

 

the secret diary of lizzie bennet

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick 

This book is a companion for the webseries The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which I LOVE!! You can definitely read this without watching the webseries, but I recommend you watch it since it’s fantastic. This is a pretty close retelling in terms of the main plot points of the story, but it’s set in modern day and Lizzie Bennet is a Youtuber and Darcy runs a media company. Now, the really cool thing is that Bingley is actually Asian and his name is Bing Lee and his sister is, obviously, Caroline Lee. Also, Charlotte is Asian as well!

DIVERSE RETELLINGS I WANT TO READ 

Those were some of the diverse Pride and Prejudice retellings that I have already read, now here are some diverse retellings that I can’t wait to read! Three of them were released recently and one of them is going to be release in 2019.

 

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin 

Two Muslim main characters and an arranged marriage between the wrong people. I think this gonna be a very unique take on the Austen classic and I can’t wait to experience it for myself!

Pride & Prejudice and Passports by Carrie Garrett 

This takes place during the 2016 presidential elections in the United States and the main family, the Benitez, are undocumented immigrants. This retelling seems to give a strong political background to the classic story, which I found fascinating, and I’m excited to have another retelling with Latinx main characters!

Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev (Release date: May 7th 2019) 

For what I have heard, this is a very  loose retelling with a gender flip. In this story, Trisha Raje is a Indian neurosurgeon and Dj Caine is a Indo-African chef, they are from different backgrounds and they don’t like each other at first. I have heard this has interesting discussions about class and cultural difference and I’m excited to give it a chance.

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal 

The Bennets are the Binats in this retelling set in modern-day Pakistan.  Out of these retelling this seems to be the closest to the original, the Binat family has fallen on hard times, the 5 daughters are unmarried, then Jena meets Bingla at a wedding and everyone is waiting for a proposal. Meanwhile, Alys and Darsee don’t seem to like each other that much.  I have heard great things about this one and I can’t wait to read it!

Have you read Pride and Prejudice? Do you like P&P retellings? Have you read any of the retellings that I mentioned? Are you looking forward to reading any of them? 

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Year of the Asian Sign-Up Post & TBR

year of the asian

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing with you my sign up post for the Year of Reading Asian Reading Challenge, as well as some of the books I’m planning to read!

The goal of the challenge is to read as many books written by Asian authors as you can in 2019 and is co-hosted by CW @ The Quiet PondLily @ Sprinkles of DreamsShealea @ Shut Up, Shealea, and Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads.

badge_tapir 

I’m aiming to reach the Malayan tapir level, which means I need to read 21 to 30 books. I already read a book this year that counts towards the challenge and it’s The Astonishing Color of After by X.R. Pan (full review).

MY TBR

I decided to focus on books that are already out and that I own already, as a way to reduce my tbr pile. I’m hoping to read most of these books plus some of the 2019 releases with Asian main character and by Asian authors.

Let’s start with the Fantasy and Sci-Fi books I want to read:

Asian SFF.png

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang | The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana | Want by Cindy Pon | The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty| Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa| Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao | The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi | Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan 

Now, these are the Contemporary books I’m hoping to get to:

Asian contemporary.png

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon | Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed | Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao | Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram | I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo | My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma | P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

And lastly, an assortment of books from different genres that I want to read:

asian lit

Beginners’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six de los Reyes | The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo | Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng | China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan | The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

Are you participating in #yarc2019? if so, which level are you aiming for? What books are you excited to read? have you read any of the books I mentioned?

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Diverse Nonfiction Book Recommendations

diverse nonfiction book recommendations

Hi everyone! Today I have a post that’s a bit different for me. I don’t read that much nonfiction, I mainly read YA fantasy and Sci-fi, YA Contemporary, Romance and Mystery. Nonetheless, from time to time, I’ll pick up a nonfiction book and more times than not, I’ll love it. So, I was thinking the other day that maybe some of you also like to read nonfiction from time to time and if that nonfiction is diverse that’s even better and that’s why I decided to share with you some of my favorite diverse nonfiction books.

Without further ado, here they are:

In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park & Maryanne Vollers

In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Human rights activist Park, who fled North Korea with her mother in 2007 at age 13 and eventually made it to South Korea two years later after a harrowing ordeal, recognized that in order to be “completely free,” she had to confront the truth of her past. It is an ugly, shameful story of being sold with her mother into slave marriages by Chinese brokers, and although she at first tried to hide the painful details when blending into South Korean society, she realized how her survival story could inspire others. Moreover, her sister had also escaped earlier and had vanished into China for years, prompting the author to go public with her story in the hope of finding her sister. 

Why I recommend it?: I think this is a perfect book for YA readers that want to try nonfiction, especially for readers who like hard hitting contemporaries, because it tells the story of a girl that goes through many heartbreaking things and it focuses on a relatevely small period of time, not like other nonfiction books that tell the story of someone’s entire life. This book is hard to read, because the whole time you know this actually happend to a girl, you know it happens to a lot of girls all over the world. This is heartbreaking, horrific and honest. I’ll admit that the writing isn’t the best and that made it a bit harder to connect to the story, but I still found it an impactful and touching book.

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock 

redefining realness

In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

Why I recommend it?: This book is incredibly thought-provoking, because Mock doesn’t hold back, she is achingly honest and that makes her story and what she has to say so compelling.  Mock talks about being biracial, trans and poor, she talks about poverty and prostitution, about her priviliges for “passing” as a cis woman, about what’s consider to be the ‘right’ kind of trans women and why that needs to end.  This book is insighful and moving, as well as beautifully written and I feel like everyone should pick it up. (Full review)

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay 

hunger

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

Why I recommend it?: This book unlike the two that I have already mentioned, it’s made up of essays, so there’s no linear story. There are extremely personal essays, including a incredibly heartbreaking essay about rape (huge trigger warning!), but then there’s also essays about various subjects like how harmful tv shows about losing weight can be. Still, this is mainly a book about Roxane Gay’s relationship with her body, with her weight, with food and it’s personal, raw and honest. This is a very hard book to read, but it is so powerful because it’s talks about her experience as a fat women in a world not built for her in a way that makes you empathize, that makes you see things as common as chairs in a new way because you see them through her eyes.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

“I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people’ also might never understand. And that’s what Furiously Happy is all about.”

Why I recommend it?: Out of all these books, this is the less heartbreaking and the one that has the most humor, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a very important and touching book. This book focuses on living with a mental illness, on how that looks like in the day to day and on the good and bad that comes with it, and it handles those topics in such a brilliant way. At some points while I was reading, I couldn’t believe someone had the words necessary to explain certain feelings and experiences, that’s how good Jenny Lawson is at translating her experience with depression into words. I would recommend this book to anyone, but particulary, to people that struggle with mental illnesses, I found this to be – as strange as that may seem- a very reassuring book.

Do you have any diverse nonfiction books to recommend? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? is any of them on your tbr? 

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Book Review: The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Title: The Astonishing Color of After

Author: Emily X.R. Pan

Published by:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publishing date:  March 20th 2018

Genre: YA, Magical-contemporary

Pages: 462

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Goodreads | Amazon 

Trigger Warnings: suicide, depression, suicidal thoughts

Representation: Taiwanese-American main character, Puerto Rican/Filipino love interest,  lots of  Taiwanese characters and a character with depression.

The Astonishing Color of After is a beautifully written bookthe writing style is lyrical and poetic. I’ll admit that I usually have trouble connecting to characters and situations when books have that writing style, but that was not the case with this book, I wasn’t even 10% into it and it had already made me tear up. Later in the book, I did feel the writing distracted me a little from the story, but it was still beautiful.

This is a story about grief and mental illness, especifically depression, and it addresses both of these things in such an amazing and heartbreaking way. This talks about the stigma surrounding depression and how it makes it hard to discuss it with family and friends; it also deals with the feelings and thought process of the loved ones of someone with depression; it portraits how hard depression is and how there’s no easy fix, and it also explores in depth what grief can do to someone. Honestly, this book deals with so many important subjects and it does it so well.

The story is told from Leigh’s point of view, which is interesting, because she is an unreliable narrator and it’s impossible to know which of the things she is seeing and hearing are real. Another reason why Leigh is a compelling narrator is the fact that she is an artist and because of that, she has a particular way of seeing the world, which is really well described and it works well with Emily X.R Pan’s writing.

The development of the relationship between Leigh and her father is one of the most intricate and interesting parts of the story. I wish we had seen more of him in the present and not only in the past, because I feel like at the end so many things between the two of them were resolved in the blink of an eye, with one short conversation between them.

I loved Leigh and Axel together, the evolution of their relationship is told through flashbacks and  I completely fell in love with their dynamic and how sweet Axel is. Also, I really liked the fact that this book didn’t shy away from addressing Leigh’s thoughts and desires about her sexuality. It’s a very sex positive book.

The story did lose me a bit at some point when Leigh was in Taiwan, I hoped that the relationship between her and her grandparents was explored more. There are a few meaningful and sweet moments, but overall, her time in Taiwan felt like it was her going to places and wandering around without getting much out of it. And there was a point where the book started to drag a little. Nonetheless, I did enjoyed the fact that this is set in Taiwan and we get amazing descriptions of food, places, traditions and beliefs. I also want to add that, the way Leigh’s feelings of being out of place with her mother’s family were explored was really interesting, and the way this book portraited- both in flashbacks when Leigh was in the United States and in the present when she was Taiwan- the perception and reactions of other people over her being half-asian and half-white was fascinating.

Lastly, the part of the story that is told through magical memories was great. Those memories are basically where all the big reveals take place and it is a cool and unique way for Leigh to discover the truth about her family and it avoids making the book boring.

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What other contemporaries with magical elements would you recommend?

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Book Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

What if it's us

Title: What If It’s Us

Author: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Published by:HarperTeen

Publishing date: October 9th 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary

Pages: 437

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

 Goodreads  | Amazon

I took me some time to get into this book and I think it was mainly because of the characters. First we have Arthur, who annoyed me a little at the beginning. He has zero chill, he talks SO MUCH, he’s jealous and immature. But eventually I started to like him more because he’s also smart, kind and earnest. Then we have Ben, he grew on my as a character and by the end I really liked him. He’s an introvert and a writer and a bit of an asshole at times and I could relate.

For the first half of the book, I felt like Ben and Arthur had no chemistry and honestly, I didn’t know why they kept trying to make things work. But then they had some cute moments and I started to like them together more. I will say that they went from no chemestry, awkward moments, jealousy and miscomunicationcute to a couple that seemed to work pretty well together in the blink of an eye, from one chapter to the next. The pacing of the development of the relationship could have been better.

As I was saying the characters and romance in the first part of the book didn’t seem to be working, but then when Ben and Arthur finally find their footing in their relationship, even if it’s abrupt, the book becomes so much more enjoyable. They just became this adorable couple that wanted to spend all their time together being cute and this became the fluffy book that I imagined when I saw the cover.

I need to mention that the parents in this book are amazing, both Ben’s and Arthur’s, they are understanding, caring and involved in their son’s lives. I also really liked Ben’s best friend, Dylan, he was funny and quirky and nice, and I liked the glimpses we got from his relationship with Samantha.

This book handles some sensitive topics very well, it addresses light-skinned latinx and how while they have certain priviliges for it, there’s pain that comes from having your heritage doubted and erased as well. Also, this is a very sex positive, which I feel is something we need more of in YA.

Finally, I’ll just say that I liked the ending, which I know a lot of people may not, but it was one of the most realistic parts of the book. I would give the first part of this books 3 stars and the second part 4 stars, so that’s why the rating is what it is.

 Rating: 3,6 stars 

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What diverse contemporaries would you recommend?

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6 Diverse YA Contemporaries That You Should Read: 2018 Edition

diverse contemporaries you shuld read.png

Hi everyone! Today I’m bringing you a list of diverse YA contemporaries that were releases in 2018 and that I read and loved. While these books touch on some serious issues, they all have in common that they aren’t dark and heartbreaking contemporaries. There’s sad things in them, but for the most part they are sweet and funny.

I mention each of the books, what type of representation they have in them and then I tell you why I think you should read them:

the way you make me feel

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Representation: Korean-american main character, Chinese love interest and a Latinx character.

I always say this, this book is a beautiful love letter to L.A. and to food, and with that as a background, we get an amazing father/daughter relationship, a wonderful female friendship and a cute love story. The love interest was so sweet and respectful and it was lovely! We also get so much character development and a really funny book. (Full review).

 

Analee in Real Life

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Representation: Plus Size Cuban-american main character with social anxiety.  

Analee is dealing with her mother’s death by playing an online game all the time, but then in real life, a popular boy asks her to be his fake girlfriend and he starts to coax her out of her comfort zone and it’s such a sweet and fun dynamic. They had so much chemestry! BUT the real focus of the book is family, Analee’s relationship with her father, stepmother and stepsister develop in such a beautiful way.

 

Americna panda

American Panda by Gloria Chao

Representation: Taiwanese-American main character and Japanese love interest.

This is an amazing story about a Taiwanese-American girl that has to straddle two cultures. Mei is a interesting and relatable main character, the female friendship is lovely, the love interest is really undertanding and caring and there is a really good romance that doesn’t take over the story.  One of the most wonderful things about this is the development of the mother/daughter relationship.

 

the summer of jordi perez

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

Representation:  Plus Size lesbian main character and mexican-american lesbian love interest

This is such a fun book, the main character is a pink-haired girl who loves fashion and blogs about it and wears colorful clothes. While the love interest is a girl who loves photography and dresses all in black. Abby and Jordi are incredibly cute together and there’s so many sweet moments between them. Also, this book has complex family dynamics, a lovely female friendship and cool guy/ girl platonic friendship. (Full review)

 

pride

Pride by Ibi Zoboi 

Representation: Haitian-Dominican main character and black love interest.

A Pride and Prejudice retelling! Zuri and Darius are always bantering and bickering and it is a fun dynamic to read. But the main reason this book is good is the way it dicusses gentrification and class, including these subjects adds to the original story and make 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.

 

The Poet X

 The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Representation: Dominican-american main character

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 attracs attention and because of it, it’s 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)

What are some diverse contemporaries that you would recommend? Have you read any of these books? Are you interested on reading any of them? 

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Mini Review: American Panda by Gloria Chao

Americna panda

Book: American Panda

Author: Gloria Chao

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release date: February 6th 2018

Pages: 311

Genre: YA Contemporary

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels? 

Goodreads | Amazon

American Panda is an amazing story about Mei, a Taiwanese-American girl that has to straddle two cultures. Mei is an interesting and relatable main character and I think this book does a very good job of showing her struggle trying to live up to her parents expectations, but also wanting to follow her own dreams and desires.

The focus of this book is definitely Mei’s relationship with her family.  Mei’s parents are so strict that in order to not dissapoint them or make them angry, Mei stops thinking for herself. So, it was amazing to witness her character devolpment as she finds the strenght to make her own decisions in the course of the book. It was also wonderful to see how that change in Mei impacted her mother and how it affected their mother/daughter relationship. I understand that this is not everyones experience, but I still think that this book manages to address in a very insightful way what it means to be a first generation immigrant for some young people.

Another great things about this, it’s the way in which the siblings relationship is handled and how reconnecting with her borther helps Mei realize that she needs to decide what is valuable and important to her, in terms of relationships and dreams.

This book also has a very cute romance that doesn’t take over the story, but it still a nice addition to it. The love interest, a Japanese-American guy,  is really understanding and caring.  Also, there’s a lovely female friendship, that it’s not exactly a central part of the story, but that adds an amazing elemento to it.

Overall, I found American Panda to be insightful and captivating, and I would recommend it if you like contemporaries focused on family dynamics and relationships.

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What diverse contemporaries would you recommend?

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