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Diversity Spotlight Thursday | Multiracial Matters

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!

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15749186Title: 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!

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22838927Title: The Steep And Thorny Way

Author: Cat Winters

Diverse Element: Multiracial (Black/White) Main Character

#OwnVoices: No

Goodreads Summary: Scene: Oregon, 1923.

Dramatis personae:

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.

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31450960Title: Song of The Current

Author: Sarah Tolscer

Diverse Element: Multiracial (Black/White) Main Character

#OwnVoices: No

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.

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Tolscer credits multiracial (Black/White) model Sabina Karlsson as physical inspiration for her main character, Caro.

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?

Claire, Uncategorized

Fantasy Series I (Claire) Want to Read in 2017

I just finished reading the first two books of Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archives (review coming sometime relatively soon), and it has filled me with a fervor to read ALL the fantasy books. I have a quite a few fantasy series on my TBR that have been there for a while, and I’m hoping that 2017 is the year I can finally read some of them! One of the good things about putting off reading these for so long is that many of these series have multiple books out already. Perfect for book binging!

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima

Lightbringer by Brent Weeks

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Temeraire by Naomi Novik

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

 

Let me know if you’ve read any of these, and what you thought of them! Also, if anyone has standalone fantasy recommendations (like Uprooted by Naomi Novik), I would LOVE to hear them. 

 

 

 

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My Summer Reading Assignment

“My Summer Reading Assignment.” God, that sounds so…so…schoolish. Ugh. *Shudders.*

So this isn’t really an “assignment,” its more like a TBR, which is more like very loose guidelines.

Anyhoo! Somehow I’ve managed to read ahead of my Goodreads challenge, while simultaneously falling behind with my TBR. I know. How does that even happen? Well, it doesn’t matter how it happened, the point is, it did happened and now I’m here, trying to juggle 528,367,549,000 books! I’ve managed to even fall behind on reading some of the biggest, most hyped books of the Spring 2016 season, such as The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski and The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. Avoiding Tumblr has become my life (and that’s hard since I run a Tumblr based blog!).

Anyhow, I’m putting my foot down. I’m going to catch up to my TBR over the summer and when I do catch up to it, I’m tackling it and holding on for dear life!!!

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I got this and was so excited. I was like, “ohmygodi’mgonnatotallyreadthisASAP!”…And then I promptly set it aside to get to my library checkouts.

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

This is another book that I thought I was gonna read the minute I bought it. I honestly have no idea what’s deterring me, other than I feel like I have to be in the “perfect mood” for it (which, of course, there is no such thing as the “perfect mood”)

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

One of my most anticipated 2016 debuts! I’m itching to get to this one, but I have to finish listening to my library checkouts before I get to it.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Another one of my most anticipated 2016 debuts that I’m dying to get to! And I will–I vow it!

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I feel like I gradually forgot about this one. I don’t know why, it just never seems to be at the top of my bookish priorities.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

I got halfway through this one and got distracted. #ADHDlyfe

Sword And Verse by Kathy MacMillan

Another book that never quite seems to make it to the top of my TBR…

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

I read a bit of this book and the writing style wasn’t jiving with me. That being said, the story looks totally awesome and I really want to read the book for it.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (second half)

Yes. I know. I temporarily DNFed this one. The key word there is temporarily though. I had some real problems with this book the first time around but couldn’t decide if that was because the book was actually bad or because I was just in a reading slump. So I’ll be jumping back in to give this book a second try this summer

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

HOW HAVE I NOT GOTTEN TO THIS ONE?!?! I mean, it was one of my most anticipated releases of last year and now it’s been almost a year since it was released! What is wrong with me??? *smacks self*

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

I’ll admit it. This one intimidates me. But everyone says it’s good and I really, really, really want to try it out. So. We’ll see. *shivers in fear*

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The sad thing about this one is that not only does everyone RAVE about it, but I also have both a signed copy of the book and a digital audiobook copy of it and I STILL haven’t read it! I’ve tried listening to the audiobook, but the narrator is really, really, really dry! But that’s not really an excuse, since I have a physical copy of the book. *hangs head in shame*

The Dark Days Club by Allison Goodman

I kinda bought this on a whim and then lost interest. But it does sound good, so I’m gonna try to listen to it over the summer


Engame: Sky Key by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

Another book that I have no idea why on earth I haven’t listened to it yet! I was so excited for this book and then that excitement just slowly petered away…

Saga Vol.s 2-6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Because I am now an unabashed Saga addict and my digital library has all of them.

Rat Queens Vol. 1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

Everyone really loves this graphic novel series and I really want to finally see what all the commotion is about.


Gotham Academy Vol. 1by Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl

My first adventure into comics! This seemed like a good place to start and from what I’ve already read, it’s not only fun, but the art is great!


Alex And Ada Vol. 1 by Jonathon Luna and Sarah Vaughn

Another well loved graphic novel series, this one looks both cute and a little kooky!


Y: The Last Man Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan Jr.

When I heard that this was another good graphic novel written by Brian K. Vaughan, I knew I had to check it out!


Batgirl Vol. 1 by Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher, Jared K. Fletcher, Maris Wicks, and Babs Tarr

This series looks like it’s totally awesome and full of girl power, so of course I’m up for that!


Giant Days Vol. 1 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Whitney Cogar

I’ve heard good things about this graphic novel series, but I don’t quite know what it’s really about other than 3 girls in college. If any of you know more about it, let me know in the comments!


Lumberjanes Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke A. Allen

Girl power and rockin friendships! I fell in love with the over imaginative lumberjanes crew as soon as I read the first issue and I can’t wait to read more of their adventures!


Fables Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton, and James Jean

I haven’t heard too much about this graphic novel series, but what I’ve heard is good. There’s also the fact that it looks like a dark version of Once Upon A Time, so I’m definitely interested.

Aaaaaand that’s a wrap! That’s all for my summer assignment-TBR-guidelines-thingymajigger! I’m pretty confident I can get to all of these if I set my mind to it because the summer is long. Then again, when ADHD takes over, there’s no telling what will happen (so many shiny new books to love and read!).