Whew! I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a busy two weeks! Between deadlines and outings and events and classes/lessons, I’ve been running around. Hence, why I missed a week of Obsession Confession (but…let’s just not mention that…). Anyhoo, somehow, between all of the insanity, I managed to discover new obsessions to share with you! So, let’s not delay any longer!
Was there any doubt in your mind that I’d choose A Court of Wings And Ruin by Sarah J. Maas this week? If there was then let me officially put those doubts to rest! I have been waiting for this book since I finished ACOMAF and oh my god I am loving it!!!! I haven’t finished it yet because I want to savor it, but everything about it so far is everything I could’ve ever wanted and more! I adore this series and I’m so happy to finally have ACOWAR in my hands!!!
I’ve been listening to and loving “Ultralife” by Oh Wonder lately. The song is just so happy and catchy and it makes me feel like speeding through the countryside with my friends on a sunny day! I also love the vocals on the track, which manage to be ethereal, yet still have this sense of gravity.
I started watching National Georgaphic’s new biographical Albert Einstein mini-series, Genius, and I am loving it! Fun fact about me: Albert Einstein is my favorite scientist! Not because I’m a physics/biology major and I’m being basic and cliché, but because I relate to Einstein so much that it’s actually scary. So when I heard about Genius, I just knew I had to watch it! And, what’d’ya know?! I adore the series! (Surprise!)
The second season of Sense8 was released this past Thursday and I am super excited for it! I can’t believe that the moment I’ve been waiting for for two years (oh, the agony! the pain!) is finally here! I haven’t had time to watch it yet, but rest assured, that will be rectified ASAP!
It was quite the busy week in TV-land because in addition to releasing the new season of Sense8, Netflix also dropped the official trailer for The Defenders! This show looks amazing and I can’t wait for our four heroes to finally come together!
It probably sounds silly, but I bought new clothes for the summer and I’m in love with them! They’re so lovely and soft! I know I’m being quite stereotypically “girly” (although, who cares because eff gender norms!), but I adore fashion. As a low income person, I’ve experienced the difference that good, clean, pretty clothes can make, both in how people see you and in how you feel about yourself. Besides that, I’ve always loved expressing my personality via my clothes! And these clothes make me feel really good!
It’s FINALLY official! The Chaos Walking movie starring Daisy Ridley & Tom Holland, directed by Doug Liman will shoot this summer. We’re on!
Big news came for Patrick Ness fans this week and that is that the first Chaos Walking trilogy film (which stars Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland) begins filming this summer! I’ve never read the Chaos Walking trilogy, but I know that it’s very beloved in the YA literary community and I’m sure many of y’all are excited by this news. I am interested in the movie, though, so hopefully I’ll give the book a try before the film is released.
Hey, y’all! Lila reporting for duty! I’ back at it again with the wrap ups! This timme, I’m calling my wrap up segment “Spilling The Secrets” because within this segment, I’ll be spilling the beans on all of my favorite things from the past month!
This first segment of Spilling The Secrets is kind of a special one, as in the “Life Events” section, I’m going to be sharing with you my life events which have occurred since the beginning of 2017! Other than that, every other section covers only April! So let’s jump right in!
I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been doing a different format of review lately called “Five Reasons To Read…[Book Title]”. Have no fear, hough, the old style of reviewing will still be here! The “Five Reasons To Read” format is actually how I’ve decided to format my “mini reviews.” I say “mini reviews” in quotations because I know mine tend to be longer than most reviewers’, but, what can I say–I never said I wasn’t opinionated and long-winded!
Sadly, I only finished one book in April and that was…
The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
I really liked this book despite the fact that, because of my reading slump, it took me about five months to finish it! The Diabolic is fast paced and action packed and full of romance and political intrigue. The one thing I wish it had done better was the diversity. There were no people of color and only one LGBT+ character, whose sexuality was used as a plot device and who was killed off in the end. Aside from that, it was an entertaining read and I cant wait for the next book. You can check out my “mini review” here.
My musical favorites this month is an eclectic collection of pop. From slower melodies to fast paced ditties, traditional American tunes to songs inspired by music from around the world, and modern pop to older beats and sounds, this playlist has it all!
I’ve been watching Netflix’s Iron Fist and I must say that I’m really enjoying it! It can be a bit cheesy and cliche–but in my opinion, most superhero stories are! It drags in a few places, but once you get going, the pace starts to pick up. I like thee layers of mysteries, the appearances of other characters from the Defenders universe, and, of course, the action! I’m not too happy about the whitewashing, though, and I can understand why people would choose to pass on Iron Fist because of it. I’m not gonna go saying it’s my all-time favorite show that takes place in the Marvel/Defenders universe, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.
I really fell in love with the wax tarts sold by Wick And Fable in April! They smell absolutely delightful! For Easter, my mom bought three sets of them for me: Liesl (inspired by Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones), Der Erlkonig (also inspired by Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones), and To Whatever End (inspired by the Throne of Glass series by Sarah. J. Maas) and I highly recommend those three because they make my room smell incredible!!!
I Participated in An International Women’s Day March And in A Day Without A Woman
Since I live literally 10 minutes fro Washington, D.C., it’s pretty much impossible not to be involved in liberal, Democratic politics. It’s also pretty impossible to not participate in at least one of the recent anti Trump protests.
Despite my proximity to the capitol, I’ve never actually participated in a protest. Until International Women’s Day, that is! On that day, which also was the day of the A Day Without A Woman strike, I decided to not only wear red in solidarity with the cause, but also to take to the streets to protest the infantile Cheeto currently occupying my home city. I had a great time and there were some really great speakers who spoke on intersectional women’s rights and why they are so important.
I Visited A Korean Spa with My Bestie
Fun fact about me: before this year, I’d never been to a spa. But I corrected that earlier this year! My best friend got two free tickets to a Korean spa and decided to treat me and herself. I only visited the saunas and the cold room (which I fondly dubbed “the freezer”), but it was so nice! It was very relaxing and I can now say that I highly recommend going to a spa!
I Planted A Garden…And Haven’t Killed It Yet!
Planting a garden and not killing it is quite the accomplishment for me as I usually am quite the plant killer! My mom wanted a garden for when she returns home, so my best friend, my godmother, and I went out, bought some plants, and got to planting! Ad,, what do ya know?! Three weeks later, plants are springing up everywhere!
I Started Volunteering At Koru Magazine And Stay BookisheZine
This is an important life event/semi-announcement that’s happened and that is that I’m now a graphic designer and copy editor at Koru Magazine and a writer at Stay Bookish eZine! I’m immensely proud to have scored these positions and I’ve been having so much fun working for both!
I Marched for Science
The March for Science recently occurred, so I headed into the city and took to the streets once again, this time with my best friend and another once of our friends! It was such a fun day (despite the rainy weather in D.C. on that day) and the march was HUGE! It was so great to see so many people come out in support of science! Before the march, my friends and I went to the National Gallery of Art and then in the evening, we went to a seminar on science and art which took place in a renovated underground trolley station! I had an AMAZING time!
The only major thing that is coming up on the blog, on my end, is that I’m taking part in blog tour! The book is a diverse, #ownvoices one that seems to be highly anticipated by the community, so I think y’all will enjoy my tour stop! Otherwise, things will be running normally around here on my end!
So that’s all! How was your month? Anything fun or exciting happen? Tell me all in the comments!
Hey, y’all! It’s Lila! Today I’m so happy to welcome Ashley Herring Blake to the blog to have a conversation with me on diversity and her sophomore novel, How To Make A Wish! Ms. Blake is also the author of Suffer Love, which was released in 2016! Stick around to read our conversation and you’ll also find a giveaway at the end! So let’s dive in…
Ashley Herring Blake Interview
Hello, Ms. Blake! I’m so happy to welcome you here today on The Bookkeepers’ Secrets and to have a chance to speak with you! Your much anticipated second novel, How To Make A Wish, is released on May 2, 2017 and I’ve seen so much praise for it already! I, myself, along with many of my readers are really anticipating the book! So let’s dive right in!
1. To start off, can you give us the simple elevator pitch for How To Make A Wish?
Oh, I am so awful at these, but I’ll try! A girl must decide if she can break free from her toxic relationship with her mother while navigating friendship and falling in love with another girl. Eh? I don’t know, I told you I was awful at these. ☺
2. Diversity is a big issue in the community at the moment and How To Make A Wish is an incredibly diverse story, as well an #ownvoices book. Why do you write diverse books and why do you think they’re important?
Well, I’m not even sure I’d say I write diverse books—I just try to write books that reflect our world. Diversity is our reality. It’s not a trend or a marketing ploy—it is our world. I want to write inclusively because I want to provide readers with opportunities to find themselves. That being said, some stories are not mine to tell. I very much believe in #ownvoices stories and, as a bi woman, those stories will always be the ones I gravitate toward to tell for my main characters. I often write in first person, and I don’t think that being in the head of a person with whose experience I could not even beging to communicate well is my story to tell. However, I do believe in writing characters that reflect our world, which why, I try very hard to include characters who are not only cishet-white-abeled-neurotypical. And, in doing so, I see that as a vast responsibilty to do no harm and to do the work to create a relatable, multi-layered character.
3. One of the things that has me, a multiracial reader, excited for the book is some snippets I’ve seen concerning a biracial character that I really identified with. I’ve also seen other bi/multiracial readers who received ARCs say that the rep was incredible. In writing a biracial character, you were writing “out of your lane” (writing characters whose identity and/or heritage you don’t share) yet you’ve managed to write the rep so well and in such a way that many of us (bi/multiracial people, that is) can agree and identify with the character. Given this, what is what do you think it is that allowed you to write something that rings true for so many of us that are bi/multiracial, even though that was/is not your experience?
Ha, well, I answered a bit of this in the question above, but honesty, in writing Eva, I had a LOT of help. I had several biracial readers check her, I listened when biracial people talked on social media, and I strived to give her a backstory and a current struggle that felt real and multi-layered. I’m so glad that she resonates for biracial readers—I can’t even express how glad—but I absolutely have to send myriad shout-outs to my first readers, as well as those who are generous enough to share their experiences on social media and blogs.
4. There’s obviously a diversity of experiences within a marginalized group of people. How do you make the story you’re telling such that if people can’t relate to every aspect of it, they can at least empathize with and respect the story you’re telling?
Well, it’s true that one story cannot be all things to all people. However, I think that, as human beings, if I’ve done my job correctly, people should be able to find something, some nugget of truth or detail, to which they can relate, as you said. Specifically writing a bisexual character, I know that Grace’s experiences is not going to be all experiences. Her experience wasn’t even my experience. She knew she was bi at 14! Oh, the envy! It took me almost twenty more years to figure that out for myself. However, the ways in which I did figure it out are very similar to how Grace did. And, again, a lot of that comes from listening to other bisexuals talk about their experience. As you said, no identity is a monolith, and there are problematic views and opinions even among marginalized communities. I had to be on the lookout, personally for internalized biphobia! I had five bisexual readers on this book to double check Grace. But, when it comes down to it, I think writing a character to whom people can relate comes down to two main things: 1) Listen to other people of that identity, even if it’s your own identity. Just shhhhh, and listen. 2) Write a damn good character. By that, I mean, I have to do my job as a writer which means creating multi-faceted characters who feel real. If I do that, I think reader will be able to find something to relate to.
5. Let’s take a break from heavy questions and have a bit of fun! If your characters were transformed into animals reflective of their personalities, what would they be and why?
Great question! Grace would definitely be a cat. She’s a bit prickly at times, but also cuddly when she wants to be. Luca would absolutely be a puppy. Eva, I picture as a cheetah—graceful and lithe.
6. What do you hope readers take away from How To Make A Wish?
That sometimes, being selfish is the only way to survive. By that I mean, sometimes you have to choose yourself before you choose anyone else and, by doing so, tha is loving someone.
Synopsis: All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
Ashley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and watching Buffy over and over again on Netflix with her friends. She’s the author of the young adult novels SUFFER LOVE and HOW TO MAKE A WISH.
Heya, folks! Lila here! Welcome back to Obsession Confession, your weekly spot to learn about all of my latest bookish and non-bookish obsessions! This week’s segment is pretty tiny, I must admit, but what’s there is good stuff (in my humble opinion). So let’s jump right in!
I began Lain Taylor’s latest book, Strange The Dreamer, and, though I’m still at the beginning, I’m already melting with feels! Taylor’s writing is pure perfection. Lazlo Strange is pure perfection. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK IS PURE PERFECTION AND ASDFGHJKLKJHGFGHJKL!!! JUST READ IT OKAY?!!!
I discovered “Paris” by The Chainsmokers this past week and I am absolutely in love! Thhe song has a slight 80s sparkle pop vibe to it, mixed with kinda 90s grunge and with a pinch of modern pop and that sounds like a really weird combo, I’ll admit it, but when you actually hear the song, it’s actually really good? I love the singers’ voices; they harmonize perfectly, in my opinion! I feel like this song is definitely one that would fit on a playlist for when you’re roadtripping with your besties, ya dig?
Freeform released a trailer for a new mermaid show called Siren and it looks…interesting? I’m not sure how I feel about it. It looks very dark and it also has Alex Roe (who played Evan in The 5th Wave movie) in it so that’s a bonus, but…I’m still not fully on board yet. I don’t know. What do y’all think of the trailer? Yay or nay?
Tahereh Mafi announced that there will be three new books in the Shatter Me series and I just…I just…I just…
If y’all have read and finished the Shatter Me trilogy, then you’ll know that, while we get closure on some storylines, a lot is also left open ended. It sounds like Tahereh is ready to revisit the world and finish what she started and I am so on board with this!!!
I’ve had “Easier” by Mansionair playing on repeat for the past few days. I discovered it because it was in the background of Freeform’s Cloak And Dagger trailer and I looked it up. It’s a little moodier than what I normally listen to, but I kinda like it for that reason.
Freeform’s upcoming adaptation of Marvel’s Cloak And Dagger got a trailer and I’m surprised at how good it looks for a Freeform adaptation. I’m wary of the network after their Shadowhunters adaptation, but this actually looks like it could turn out well. Of course, I have yet to read the source material, but still! I like the dark, gritty direction they seem to be taking the show–less fluffy-fluff, more real life monsters, ya know?
Around The Blogosphere/Vlogosphere
Beth at Reading Every Night wrote a great post on if romance is overshadowing character development in YA books. I definitely hadn’t thought about that topic before and I loved the points Beth made! On the one hand, romance is a must for my enjoyment, but on the other hand, I think Beth has a great point. Definitely check Beth’s post out and see what you think!
Hey, y’all! I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone had been curious about whether Lila was once again the sole bookkeeper! But I’m back, maybe with a vengeance – I really just wanted to say ‘with a vengeance’. Anyway, I’m making my way back to The Bookkeepers’ Secrets – note the plural 😀 – and decided I’d return with a serious update. And I mean serious as in LONG – I’ve been away longer than I had thought!
Mainly, I’ve been really busy over at my solo blog, The Caramel Files, working on completing April’s A to Z Blogging Challenge. The annual challenge entails posting based on each letter every day throughout April, save for Sundays. This is my third year to participate and I adore the challenge – I think it’s my favorite because I always really look forward to it.
I’ve also been dead – as in sick – seemingly all month. I let a sinus infection go too long before I finally went to the doctor and it’s taking me a bit to get well. I certainly won’t wait so long to head to the doctor’s office next time I don’t feel good – I’m so sick of being sick!
Partly due to being sick and partly because of writer’s block, I’ve missed posting for the A to Z challenge a few days in a row now. I am the type of person who is ‘all or none’ – meaning a lot of the time I either totally throw myself into something or ignore it altogether. Anyway, since I’ve missed some posting dates, I’d kind of like to give up on the challenge, but I don’t want to. Plus, I’m sort of OCD about having the posts go live on the dates for which they’re scheduled, but I’m going to persevere. I like my random essay theme too much.
We had a wonderful Easter Sunday visiting and eating with family. Even though most of us live in the same small town, we don’t often have the chance to all get together, so it was really nice to see my people. I love my family so much, both immediate and extended. My cousins, aunts, and I are all so similar – it’s almost scary. I appreciate the chance to reconnect with the people who understand me most.
All of our babies played outside together – we were too lazy to set up an egg hunt! And we grown-ups sat around in the nice weather and laughed and talked loud. It’s wild to think that a bunch of my cousins and I have children of our own all of a sudden.
It seems like yesterday that my cousin Cam and I sabotaged an Easter egg hunt. We were charged with filling plastic eggs with sweets and change for the younger kids. No one expected us to eat all of the candy, pocket the change, and cram one of the eggs with an empty chocolates sack! I’ll never forget the look on my cousin’s face when she opened the trashy egg! We were rotten, but we all had so much fun!
On the right are pictures of my boys, Jack and Hank, on Easter. In the first picture, the boys’ third cousin, 16-month-old Clara Mai, is holding Hank. The way she got so excited to hold a baby was beyond adorable! The second picture is my two-year-old, Jack, just looking precious, as always!
I’ve gotten really into graphic novels and read the first three volumes of Ms. Marvel (No Normal, Generation Why, and Crushed) by G. Willow Wilson in an evening. While I expected to dislike reading comics on my computer screen, Comixology is freaking awesome! I love the guided reading experience, it makes me feel like I’m almost inside the comics or like I’m watching a movie. Anyhow, Comixology is where I read volumes two and three of Ms. Marvel.
Bingeing on Ms. Marvel has been a lot of fun. It’s new to me not only because I’ve never really dabbled in superhero stuff, but also because the main character, Kamala, is Pakistani-American and Muslim. I’ve enjoyed seeing life through the eyes of a girl with a totally different perspective from mine. I love to read and learn and I’ve gotten both out of Ms. Marvel, which was unexpected.
I love Brian K. Vaughan’s work, especially the Saga series! While I went on a buying binge and got all seven volumes of Vaughan’s graphic novel, I’m just now starting Vol. 2. I’m so excited – I’d really like to read two through seven in one sitting – we’ll see how that works out.
Also since I’ve last been spotted here, I did my first ever reread via audiobook! I listened to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I adored the audio version – the narrator gets two thumbs up! I had forgotten just how much happens in Harry Potter’s debut; I’m so glad I chose to listen as opposed to actually rereading it. I’m excited to listen to the rest of the series! Thank goodness for Audible credits – the Harry Potter books sell for nearly $45.00 a pop! P.S. The covers are amazing!
Lemony Snicket’s The Miserable Mill and Erin Morgenstern’s gorgeous The Night Circus round out the books I’ve read recently. At the moment, I’m reading Saga, Vol. 2 and listening to New Jersey Real Housewife Teresa Giudice’s memoir, Turning the Tables. The entire Real Housewives franchise is a not so guilty pleasure of mine and I’m loving that Teresa, one of my longtime favorite housewives, narrates her own story.
I’m having a lot of fun with celebrity memoirs this year, although I’ve only read Leah Remini’s Troublemaker thus far in 2017. I’ve been eyeing a bunch of other memoirs I’d love to read. I’ve never been a huge Tina Fey fan – it’s not that I don’t like her, I’m just not very familiar with her – but Bossypants has been calling my name forever! I did love Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, in which Poehler talks a lot about Fey, so I think I should like Fey’s book as well.
I’ve had (hopefully) my last hurrah with my credit cards! We’re planning to pay them off with our tax refund, so I had one last bit of fun. I bought a bunch of books and Funkos this month! I got books in every format imaginable – hardcover, softcover, audio, ebook…Let me tell you, my little spree was so much fun while it lasted. Too bad I’m not independently wealthy…
First of all, I’m so excited about the Pops I’ve added to my Funko collection that I’m going to talk about them first! I think my favorite of the new additions is the Hermione Granger: Yule Ball figurine! She is just beautiful – I adore her hairdo – it’s always fun seeing Hermione all prettied up anyway!
The majority of the other Funkos I got are also from among my favorite fandoms: Cher and Dionne from Clueless, Dorothy from Golden Girls, Cinderella, and Olivia Moore from iZombie. The remaining Pops I ordered I’ve had my eye on for a while – Arrow’s Felicity Smoak and a flocked Chloe from The Secret Life of Pets. I’ve never seen Arrow or The Secret Life of Pets, but the adorable Pops give me inspiration to watch both!
P.S. I remember when the Amazon exclusive flocked Chloe first appeared on the site, it cost a whopping $14.00! I was lucky to get it as an add-on item for under $5.00! 😀
I have definitely not been on a book-buying ban! I’ve also had a big time buying and borrowing books since I’ve been away. I’ve gotten my hands on a few graphic novels, some Stephen King – I’ve shockingly never read his stuff – a cool cookbook, two preorders, an annual Audible membership – that came with 12(!) credits all at once – and some books for my Kindle. I also got approved for some amazing eARCs via NetGalley.
I’m really proud that I’ve been stingy with my Audible credits. Normally, I would have spent them all at once and then lamented doing so later. *pats self on back* I mentioned earlier that the Harry Potter Audible editions sell for almost $45.00; thankfully, with my credits, I’ve been able to get the first three – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, my personal favorite.
Also on Audible, I got some classics – Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery and narrated by Rachel McAdams, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, narrated by Claire Danes, and William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which is performed by a full cast. The Shakespearean audio productions come highly recommended and Macbeth is among my favorite – and I don’t like many – plays, so I’m excited to listen.
As for Claire Danes and Rachel McAdams – I love them both! When I listen to Danes read The Handmaid’s Tale, it will be a reread, while it’ll be my first time to read or hear Anne of Green Gables, a book I’ve been wanting to read for quite a while. It’s one of those books that slipped away from me during my childhood, but that I definitely want to get to regardless.
For my beloved Kindle, I got Robert Bloch’s Psycho, The Gunslinger by Stephen King, and Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho adaptation is one of my most favorite movies ever and I’m obsessed with Bates Motel on A&E. Like I said, I’ve never read Stephen King’s books, but I have seen many of the movie versions. I’m looking forward to finally reading his work – I think I’ll be a different kind of scared by reading his stories as opposed to watching them. Carve the Mark is one of those controversial hyped books that I’m dying to read.
My physical bookshelf – a fancy word for the floor in my closet- has also been treated to some new wares. As I recently fell in love with Kasie West’s work in February via The Fill-In Boyfriend, I got the paperback of By Your Side. I didn’t realize how much I like fluff until reading West! Since I had a tough time getting into Stephanie Garber’s Caraval on audio, I ended up purchasing the hardcover. I’m determined to find out if I buy the hype!
Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m hosting a month-long mental health series at The Caramel Files. (that was a bunch of M’s) I feel kind of weird – it’s like I’m seriously plugging my personal blog – but I just want to be able to reach out to as many of you as possible and The Bookkeepers’ Secrets is admittedly a great platform.
What my in-the-very-early-planning-stages series will entail is of course promotion of mental health awareness. I’m really hoping to have as many bloggers and non-bloggers who have stories, etc. regarding mental illness join in and share their experiences throughout May.
So, I’m shouting it out here as well as on Twitter – if you’d like to contribute in any way to the mental health series in May, please let me know! Feel free to DM me on Twitter (@thenovelorange) or send me an email (email@example.com) if you’re interested in learning more details!
Finally, I’m glad to be making a return to The Bookkeepers’ Secrets and I look forward to churning out some (amazing) posts with Lila and Claire! I’m also glad to be back here with y’all – our lovely readers! 😀
Hey, y’all! It’s Lila and this week I decided to join in Diversity Spotlight Thursday! Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by a Aimal at Bookshelves And Paperbacks.The meme’s rules are simple; each week, you choose three diverse books that fall under a certain category of marginalization and you fit the books into three categories: 1) a diverse book you’ve read, 2) a diverse book which has already been released and which is on your TBR, and 3) a diverse book which has yet to be released and which is on your TBR. So let’s get to it!
This week, I chose a diversity category which is very close to my heart: multiracial main characters! This category means so much to me because I, myself, am multiracial and I love to see good portrayals of multiracial people in media. And let me tell ya: there ain’t many. While I have seen more books featuring multiracial protagonists lately, I’ve rarely seen #ownvoices stories written by actual multiracial people. I’ve also seen a lot of the “tragic mulatto” trope, a harmful trope which, in the words of Wikipedia, depicts ” an archetypical mixed-race person (a ‘mulatto’), who is assumed to be sad, or even suicidal, because they fail to completely fit in the ‘white world’ or the ‘black world’. As such, the ‘tragic mulatto’ is depicted as the victim of the society in society divided by race, where there is no place for one who is neither completely ‘black’ nor ‘white’.” For me, I view this trope as very harmful because instead of empowering multiracial people to accept all parts of who they are, it implies that we are simply fragments and percentages who will never fit in with anyone.
So this week, I wanted to focus on books that I a) know have gotten multiracial rep right or b) hope that they will get the multiracial rep right, based on what I know about the book and/or the author. So let’s jump right in!
Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Diverse Element: Multiracial (Korean/White) Main Character
#OwnVoices: Yes…And No. While Han is Korean herself, I do not believe that she is multiracial.
Goodreads Summary: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
Why I Loved It: Aside from possibly being the most adorable YA contemporary series to exist, the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy is also one that I think really gets multiracial life right. First off, the series doesn’t use the “tragic mulatto” trope. Lara-Jean, the main character, and her sisters never question who they are or where they belong, not once. Second off, Han never makes Lara-Jean and her sisters “choose a side.” Instead, Lara-Jean and her sister seamlessly integrates their Korean heritage and their White-American culture together, creating a unique blend tailored to them, accepting and nurturing all parts of their heritage. And finally, the series also perfectly exhibits how multiracial families integrate and honor the different parts of their heritage. The Song-Covey girls’ Korean mother died when Lara-Jean and her sisters were just children, so they now live with their White-American single father. Throughout the book, the girls’ father seamlessly integrates and honors the girls’ Korean heritage, without ever acting like it’s a big deal–because it’s not a big deal for them, it’s just normal. The girls’ father frequently takes them to visit their Korean side of the family, celebrates Korean holidays with the girls and their Korean side of the family, honors Korean traditions, and even makes (admittedly much too salty!) Korean food for the girls.
All of these things are normal, everyday aspects of being multiracial and living in a mixed race family. It’s the little details Han placed in the series with such care and respect that make the difference, taking the representation from average too superbly stellar, out-of-this-world amazing! If you want to learn what it’s like to be multiracial and to live in a mixed race household, then definitely add this series to your TBR!
Title: The Steep And Thorny Way
Author: Cat Winters
Diverse Element: Multiracial (Black/White) Main Character
Goodreads Summary: Scene: Oregon, 1923.
Hanalee Denney, daughter of a white woman and an African American man
Hank Denney, her father—a ghost
Greta Koning, Hanalee’s mother
Clyde Koning, doctor who treated Hank Denney the night he died, now Hanalee’s stepfather
Joe Adder, teenage boy convicted of accidentally killing Hank Denney
Members of the Ku Klux Klan
Townspeople of Elston, Oregon
Question: Was Hank Denney’s death an accident…or was it murder most foul?
Why This Book Has Me Excited: A historical novel that’s a Hamlet retelling and which features a multiracial protagonist? Hi, there! Sign me up, like, immediately, please and thank you! I don’t think I’ve seen/read many historical fiction novels that have a multiracial main character. I don’t usually go for historical fiction but I like the mystery/thriller and potential paranormal aspects that it sounds like this one has. I don’t have much to say on this one as I haven’t read it (yet) and haven’t heard much about it, but I’m eager to read it and to see how the representation pans out.
Title: Song of The Current
Author: Sarah Tolscer
Diverse Element: Multiracial (Black/White) Main Character
Goodreads Summary: Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.
Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.
From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.
Why This Book Has Me Excited: I was interested in this pirate fantasy before I knew it had a diverse element, but learning that the main character is multiracial (like me) has added a whole new layer of excitement. I’d made it five pages into the ARC and was already imagining the edits/graphics/aesthetics I could create, so I decided to check Tolscer’s Pinterest board for inspiration. I was giddy to find a ton of pictures of multiracial (Black/White) model Sabina Karlsson pinned and labeled “Caro” (which is the main character’s name in Song of the Current)! Just to check I decided to tweet Tolscer to confirm that Caro is mixed race and Tolscer confirmed it and added that she sincerely hoped she got the representation right.
I’m so, so, so excited to see a Black/White multiracial character and in a fantasy novel to boot! We have so little representation in fantasy unless it’s like “oh she’s half European-inspired elf and half European-inspired human–so fantasy multiracial, so diverse [despite the fact that the elves and the humans are both European inspired]!” *eye roll* But I digress. The point is that there’s a multiracial character (who looks like me! with the Black facial features, lighter skin tone, and big, curly hair!) and she’s in a fantasy novel written by an author who seems sincerely interested in getting the multiracial representation right! I have high hopes for this one!
So that’s all for this week’s segment of Diversity Spotlight Thursday! If you want to add some books with multiracial main characters to your TBR, check out my Goodreads shelf dedicated to the topic! And tell me in the comments–have you read any books with good multiracial representation?