bookish list · Diverse Books

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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#ownvoices · 9 Books Monday · bookish list · Diverse Books

9 Books with Anxiety Representation

9 books with anxiety representation.png

9 Books Monday is a feature here on Bookish Wanderess, 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 mcLatinx mcBlack mcMuslim mc, Lesbian mcAsian mc and  Trans mc. (mc=main characters).

This time I’m doing 9 books with Anxiety Representation:

3 Books I Read and Loved

queens of geeks

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

I loved this book; this not only has a ton of references to books, tv shows and movies, it also has so much diversity. One of the main characters, Taylor, is on the autism spectrum and has severe anxiety,  and the other, Charlie, is bisexual and chinese. This  has some amazing quotes about anxiety that literally describe things that I feel on a daily basis and I felt so understood while reading this. 

 

under rose-tainted skies

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

This is an #ownvoices book about a girl that has agoraphobia, anxiety and OCD. Some of the quotes about anxiety on this book resonated with me so deeply, it was like it was talking about me. Also, this book doesn’t treats love as a cure for a mental illness and it has a positive view of therapy and meds and that’s amazing and so needed!

 

TTurtles_All_the_Way_Down_-_John_Greenurtles All the Way Down by John Green

This books means so much to me, it has #ownvoices OCD and anxiety rep and while I only struggle with anxiety and not with OCD, the depictions of intrusive thoughts were SO RELATABLE.  I loved that this book addresses the fact that mental illnesses are a life long struggle and that sometimes even the people that try to understand what someone with a mental illness is going through, they have moments were they just don’t. Also, this books hasa positive view of therapy and shows that love is not a cure for mental illness.

4 Books on my TBR 

10 Things I Can See from Here10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac

This books is a bit scary for me because I have read some review by other people with anxiety that mention that this was very hard to read for them because the depiction of anxiety is very accurate and detailed. BUT I still want to read it, because I’m always looking for the books that make me feel less alone in terms of my anxiety.  Beside the anxiety rep, this has an f/f romance and it’s #ownvoices queer rep.

 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard 

I have heard this books is really, really cute and that it will put a smile on my face, so I want to read it and see, because that’s not usually what people say about books that have a character with anxiety.  I know this is heavy on the romance, but it’s not one of those stories where romance cures mental illness, so YAY! 🎉 This has selective mutism, deafness, poc and social anxiety rep.

 

Learning Curves

 

Learning Curves by Ceille Simkiss

This is a romance novella and I have heard it does a very good job of exploring the experience of having anxiety and being in a relationship. There’s fat, Puerto Rican, panromantic, lesbian and asexual rep. f/f romance.

 

Beneath the Citadel 

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

I don’t know of that many fantasy books with anxiety rep, so as soon as found out one of the main characters in this book has severe anxiety I knew I had to get my hands on it. This book not only has anxiety rep, it has fat, poc and queer rep as well. It keeps getting better and better! Also, all my friends on Goodreads that have read this have giving it 5 stars, which is really impresive!

2 Books Releasing Soon  

I Wish You All the Best

 

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

For what I have heard this book will break our hearts but it will be lovely while doing it, so…that sounds fun! Right? This not only has anxiety rep, but also #ownvoices non-binary rep.

 

You Asked for Perfect

 

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman 

This book touches on anxiety and panic attacks and it’s all about how sometimes people put too much pressure on themeselves. It has an m/m romance, but I have heard that it’s not the main focus of the story.

 

What books with anxiety rep have you read and loves? Which ones are on your tbr? DO you know of any fantasy or scifi books with anxiety rep? 

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bookish list · Diverse Books

6 Diverse Fantasy Books I Want to Read

diverse fantasy books.png

Hi everyone! I’m writing this post because after a long time of being in a fantasy slump, I finally feel like I’m in the mood to go back to reading fantasy again. I mean I never completely stop reading fantasy, but I went from reading 3 or 4 fantasy books a month a few years ago to reading 1 fantasy book a month or maybe 1 fantasy book every 2 months. Since fantasy has always being my favorite genre, I’m very happy to be feeling up to reading fantasy again and today I want to talk about some diverse fantasy books that I can’t wait to read.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I am so late to this party, but I still want to join in. This is a West African inspired fantasy, about a girl that it’s trying to bring magic back and fight against the monarchy. It seems like everyone has read and loved this book and I want to see if I’ll love it as much as other people.  Also, I have heard there is an amazing female friendship in this book and I’m always up for that!

The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera

This book is about an Empire under attack from demons and the two girls that are destined to save it. I have heard a lot of amazing things about this book and I was tentatibly thinking about reading it, until recently when I found out that this has an f/f romance in it and then it jumped to my ‘I NEED TO READ IT RIGHT NOW’ tbr.

Ash by Malinda Lo

This is a Cinderella retelling but with an f/f romance. I have had this book on my tbr for years and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet, but I really want to change that. Also, I’m very intrigued because I have heard that this has a very unique and different ending and I want to know how it ends.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao 

This is an East Asian inspired fantasy that tells the origin story of the Evil Queen from Snow White. I really love morally gray, unlikable female characters in fantasy, so from the moment I heard about this book I knew I wanted to read it. I don’t know why I never got to this, but now that the second book came out and everyone is talking about it again, I need to finally read it.

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

This is a story about a Princess on the run and a previously enslaved Seer who are looking for the Library of All Things, where it’s possible to change their fates.  As soon as I read the summary and it said that there was something called the Library of All Things, I knew I need it to give it a chance. Also, it’s inspired by indian folklore, which makes me even more excited.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan 

I have mention this book in several posts this year, because that’s how excited I am to read this. This is an Asian-inspired fantasy where a Demon King takes human girls for concubines, and it’s the story of two of the girls that fall in love and fight for their freedom and each other. Every person that I know and has read this book has loved it, so I’m hoping  I’m gonna feel the same way about it.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? Do you have  recommendations for diverse fantasy books? 

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#ownvoices · 9 Books Monday · bookish list · Diverse Books

9 Books with Trans Main Characters

9 books with trans main characters

9 Books Monday is a feature here on the blog, where I talk about 9 books that have positive representation for a minority/marginalized group. In the past, I have done posts about 9 book with: bisexual female main characterslatinx mcblack mcmuslim mc, lesbian mc and asian mc.

This time I’m doing 9 books with Trans Main Characters:

4 Books I Read and Loved

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore : This is a beautifully written magical realism book, where one of the main charcters of the story, Samir, is a bacha posh: a child assigned female at birth selected to live as a boy until puberty. But it turns out Sam is not “living as a boy,” he is a boy. Beside the trans rep, there’s also pakistani rep and latinx rep (#ownvoices).

Coffee Boy by Austin ChantThis is an #ownvoices novella about a trans boy who has a crush on a campaign strategist, who happens to be a bisexual man, and who he meets while working in an internship for a politician. The story is cute and fun and it has steamy and explicit content.    

Redefining Realness by Janet MockThis is a non fiction book about the life of Janet Mock, a biracial trans woman that has worked as a writer, jornalist and TV host. The book starts when Mock is a child living in poverty and continues through her adolescence including a very detailed account of her transition and all the heartbreaking obstacules she faced, and ends when she is a successful writer. This books tells the honest and captivating story of an incredible woman.

Not your Villain by C.B. Lee This is the second book in a series but I’m pretty sure you could read it without reading the first one, since a lot of what happens in the first book is included in the beginning of this book. In Not Your Villain, the main character is Bells, a superhero that can shapeshift which helps him in his life as a trans guy. But then he became the country’s most-wanted villain after discovering a cover-up by the League of Heroes. This book is full of adventure and  fun and it has a diverse cast of characters.

5 Books on my TBR 

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo:  This book is about Amanda, a trans girl that just moved to a new town, starting at a new high school after a bad experience at her last one because of bullying and transphobia. In the new school everything is great, she is dating an amazing guy and has a ton of friends, but she isn’t sure if she should tell people about being trans or not. This books has a trans main character, a trans writer and a trans model on the cover.  Recently I read a short story by this author and loved it, so I ‘m hoping to read this book soon.

Dreadnought by April Daniels: This book is about Danny, she is trans, lesbian girl, who suddenly gets powers when Dreadnought (a superhero) dies in front of her. She immerses into this superhero world where she finds allies and enemies. This makes me think about Not Your Sidelick & Not Your Villain, which I love, and that makes me excited to read it. Also, I have heard nothing but great things about this one.

I Was Born for This by Alice Osmand: This has a main character that is a biracial (Indian and Italian) gay trans guy and he’s part of a famous boy band. The story unfolds when he unexpectedly mets a fangirl and they both end up having to face things in their lives. The other main character  is a Persian Muslim Hijabi who’s questioning her sexuality and I have heard there’s also really diverse side characters. I’m really excited to read this one, especially since I haven’t read any of Osmand’s books.

trans 2

Peter Darling by Austin Chant: This is a Peter Pan retelling. In this book, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up and he had to resign himself to life as Wendy Darling. 10 years have passed and now Peter’s back in Neverland, everyone is grown up and he’s falling in love with Captain Hook.  It’s a short story, #ownvoices in terms of trans rep, and since reading Coffee Boy I have been meaning to read another book by this author.

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein: I discovered this book recently, the author describes it as a biography of sorts and it’s about a trans woman that has suffered multiple traumas and that has a job helping others by cleaning up the fetid houses of the mentally ill, the hopeless and the murdered. That sounds so cool that I can’t wait to read it.

Books Releasing Soon  

I think it’s important to mention that I usually have a thrid category in my 9 Books Monday, where I pick books that are being realesed soon. Nonetheless, I couldn’t find books with trans main characters releasing in what’s left of 2018. I found out about Undertow, the second book to Darkling by Brooklyn Ray, which has a trans character as the love interest, and someone also told me that Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare has a trans character that has some chapters told from his point of view, but that’s it. It’s such a shame that there’s still so few realeses with trans main characters and I hope that by reading and promoting the ones that are already out, we get to have many more books with trans rep in the future. 

Have you read any of these books? did you enjoy them? Are you planning on reading any of them? Do you have recommendations for books with trans main characters? 

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#ownvoices · Diverse Books · Review

Book Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X

Title: The Poet X

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Publishing Date: March 6th 2018

Published by: HarperTeen

Genres: Comtemporary, YA

Pages: 368

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Goodreads | Amazon 

The Poet X is an #ownvoices story about a dominican american girl called Xiomara. It’s a story that explores Xiomara’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.

This book is written in verse, which allows the reader to connect with the main character, Xiomara, and her struggles so much more and it makes the story more compelling than it would have been if it was written like a normal novel. We get a direct line to the powerful emotions that she is experiencing and trying to express, which allows an intimacy that it wouldn’t have been possible any other way. Despise being written in verse, the narration is still easy to follow because all the different parts are connected and one flows into the other with ease.

One of  the strongest aspects of the book is the exploration of faith and religion; reading from Xiomara’s pespective, the reader gets to understand all her doubts around her own faith, but also her questioning of the rol that women have been assigned in catholisms as the sinners, the temptation and a lot of times the inferior gender. It also explores the tension that exists in a lot of latinx families when it comes to religion and how even when certain ceremonies like the Confirmation are meant to be a voluntary acceptance of the faith, they become this mandatory step to be a part of the family. Also, the way this books draws a parallel between prayer and poetry is absolutely sublime and it’s done in a very powerful way.

This book also explores complicated family dynamics and it’s particulary interesting to see the mother/daughter relationship; the misunderstanding, the judgement, the contrary beliefs, but also the way it develops when both mother and daughter try to understand each others truths. They don’t arrive to that point until a huge confrontation that it’s intense, raw and heartbreaking, but seeing the ups and downs of their relationships is compelling and engaging.

Throughout the story, Xiomara discovers slam poetry and it’s amazing to experience, through her perspective, the freedom and the happiness of finding a way to express all her thoughts and emotions in a time of her life when she really needs that outlet.

Rating: 4.7 stars 

Have you read this book? Did you like it? Do you have it on your tbr?

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#ownvoices · bookish list · Diverse Books

Most Anticipated Book Releases – June 2018

Most anticipated book releases 2018

Hi guys! So, I have written one of these posts ever month this year,  I have been consisten in that sense at least, but I have done a very poor job of actually reading the books I’m anticipating. I’m hoping to make a post in June to check my progress, because reading my anticipated books was a goal of mine for 2018, so I hope that’s gonna motivate me to actually read some of the books I have put in these posts before the month ends. Let’s hope that actually happens!

Anyway, here are some of my most anticipated books that are being release in June 2018:

 

Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Road trip + frienships + New Orleans + Muslim rep + South Asian rep + fun banter + Queer rep + self discovery = what else could I ask for?! This sounds like a book I would really enjoy and I was really excited to read it, until I look it up on Goodreads to write this post and saw that it doesn’t have the best reviews. I have been anticipating it for a while and that’s why I still included it, but I’m a bit nervious about it.

Release date: June 5th 2018

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

The main character in this book is a muslim woman, who is an aspiring poet struggling with money issues, that sounds really interesting to me. Plus, this is an #ownvoices story. Also, it’s a Pride and Prejudice retelling and I love those!

Release date: June 12th 2018

Not the Girls You’re Looking For  by Aminah Mae Safi

Female friendship takes a central place in this story and I’m here for it! If we add the fact that this is a very diverse book in terms of culture and sexual orientation, I’m even more excited. Also, it’s #ownvoices!

 Release date: June 19th 2018

Final Draft by Riley Redgate

This book has a pansexual, biracial,  plus-size main character, who is an aspiring writer, and I can’t wait to read her story. Plus, I heard that her group of friends is adorable and it’s a big part of the story and I’m excited to read about them.  Also, I have heard a lot of great things about Riley Redgate’s writing and her other books, so I want to read something by her.

 Release date: June 12th 2018

What June book releases are you anticipating? Do you want to read any of these books? Have you read any of these books and what did you think about them?

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#ownvoices · Diverse Books · Review

Book Review: Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth (Blog Tour)

Superhero Origins tour banner (large)

Hi guys! I’m lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book called Secondhand Origin Stories, which is a diverse book that involves sensitive issues, such as systemic racism and ableism.  I loved the book, here’s my review:

Secondhand Origin Stories cover.png

Title: Secondhand Origin Stories

Author: Lee Blauersouth

Publishing Date: 15 March 2018

Genres: Science Fiction, YA

Pages: 364

Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

Goodreads | Amazon 

This book drops you right in the middle of a world where superheroes, villains and people with habilities exist, there’s especial goverment agencies and police units that regulate them and there’s corruption and injustice surrounding them. You have to learn about this world as you read, you see how everything works through the chracters’ perspectives and that’s how you learn about it. For me this worked really well, it didn’t take me too long to feel like I understood at least the basics of how the world worked and, after a little bit, I was able to keep up with the story without problem.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was that it was intriguing from the start, there were secrets and mysteries around the four main characters and they didn’t know the answers either and they were trying to figure things out and that sucked me into the story inmediately, because I wanted to know what was going on.

As I said before, there’s four main characters, which were my favorite aspect of this book. I fell in love very quickly with three of those characters: Isaac, Yael and Jamie. They were the children of the superheroes and they were really complex characters,  a genius scientist, an non-binary aspiring superhero and a character that is both vulnerable and so strong. From the pov of these three characters, the reader gets to see the dynamics of the superhero team and how it is not only a team but a family. That element is crucial to the story, because the complicated family dynamics, which I found fascinating to read about, promt a lot of the events that move the plot along.

Then there’s the fourth main character, Opal, which took me a little longer to love. Opal is an outsider to the team, to the family and she very much felt like an outsider to the story for at least the first half of the book. During that first half, I prefered to read from the other 3 perspectives, because from them I could learn more about all the secrets that were being kept. Later on, when the circumstances made it so that all four characters have to be together in a more full time basis, that’s when I fell in love with Opal as well. She is a nice, smart, compasionate, down to earth character with a strong moral sense.

Secondhand Origin Stories is definitely a character driven book much more than a plot driven one. The main problems that the characters are trying to solve are corruption and injustice in such a large scale that one book is not enough to confront all the different characters that  play a part in that. This book, as the first in the series, manages to: make the characters aware of the problems, makes them decide to do something about it and makes sure that the team is as strong as it can be. It’s defintely a book that’s setting things up, but it’s not boring or slow, there’s so many things happening all the time. There’s one main storyline, that’s really interesting,  about technology and the ethical use of it, that’s one of the first issues that the characters have to confront and it has a direct relation to the corruption and injustice that they are trying to change.

I think it’s important to mention that this is a really diverse book. The main characters are all queer, including a non binary main character.  Also, one of the main characters is a black girl and there’s conversations throughout the book about systematic racism and especially about racial profiling and incarceration of black people. Additionally, there are deaf characters and there are characters that use ASL to communicate, and while there’s ableism portrait in this book, it’s called out and talked about on page.

Rating: 4,5 stars 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lee Blauersouth

After about a decade of drawing comics independently or with small presses, Lee started writing prose out of a combination of peer pressure and spite, then continued out of attachment to their favorite made-up people. They live in Minnesota even though it is clearly not a habitat humans were ever meant to endure, with their lovely wife/editor, the world’s most perfect baby, and books in every room of the house.

If you like categories, they’re an ENFJ Slytherin Leo. If you’re looking for demographics they’re an agender bisexual with a couple of disabilities. If you’re into lists of likes: Lee loves comics, classical art, round animals, tattoos, opera, ogling the shiner sciences, and queer stuff.

Author website | Goodreads | Pinterest  | Twitter

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

23 April (Monday)

24 April (Tuesday)

25 April (Wednesday)

26 April (Thursday)

27 April (Friday)