Sunday, 19 March 2017

When You're Told a Book is Racist, Why Do You Need to Judge it For Yourself?

Warning: I'm kind of angry right now, so this is an anger-filled post. I criticise some readers - though not specific people - for reading certain books after being given certain information about those books. If you are one of the people I am criticising, do please discuss your reasons with me, because I really don't understand your choices. It may turn out this whole post is wrong. I actually hope it is, that I am.

You may have seen over the last few months on bookish Twitter that a number of YA novels have been called out for being racist. Authors and readers have been tweeting about how harmful and upsetting these books are for months now, and rightly so. I'm not going to talk about the books in question, because those who have called out these books as racist have criticised them better than I could. No, what I want to discuss is what some people are deciding to do after hearing that these books are racist: deciding to read them.

Yesterday, YA author Heidi Heilig posted a thread on Twitter that got right to the heart of what was bothering me - people hearing that these books are racist, and then deciding to read them, to judge for themselves. Go read her thread before continuing with this post, I'll wait. What bothers me is that these books are racist, people are calling them out for being so, people are being hurt and upset by the painful comments or references made in these books... and then people are deciding they will read those books to judge for themselves.

Review: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

See You in the Cosmos by Jack ChengNetGalleySee You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (eProof) - A funny, luminous, utterly moving novel about a space-obsessed boy, his dog Carl Sagan, and a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe.

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan - named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he'll uncover - from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
From Goodreads.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Review: Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

Our Own Private Universe by Robin TalleyNetGalleyOur Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (eProof) - Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory.

And it’s mostly about sex.

No, it isn’t that kind of theory. Aki already knows she’s bisexual–-even if, until now, it’s mostly been in the hypothetical sense.

Aki’s theory is that she’s only got one shot at living an interesting life–-and that means she’s got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It’s time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.

So when Aki and her friend Lori set off on a trip to a small Mexican town for the summer, and Aki meets Christa - slightly-older, far-more-experienced - it seems her theory is prime for the testing.

But something tells her its not going to be that easy...
From Goodreads.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Eight Years a Book Blogger: How Blogging Has Changed Me

A Girl stretched out on bed, reading

Thursday marked my blogging anniversary; I've now been book blogging for eight years. I have in the past celebrated my anniversary by talking about blogging milestones, and features and blog events I've held, but this year - inspired by Suzy of From the Fringe and her A Mushy Love Letter About Blogging - I want to talk about what book blogging has meant to me.

When I've thought about it, book blogging - have a little place online where I can rave and gush about books - has always been a hobby, something I do for the simple pleasure of combining two of my passions; writing and reading. But looking back over these past eight years, although book blogging is still a hobby, it's also become a huge part of my life. I've talked before about the opportunities book blogging has led to - being a panelist at The London Book Fair in 2013, how being a book blogger led to me getting a job, how my reviews have been quoted in the praise pages of numerous books - but I want to talk about what blogging has done for me, as a person.

Review: Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff

Naondel by Maria TurtschaninoffNetGalleyNaondel by Maria Turtschaninoff (eProof) - In the opulent palace of Ohaddin, women have one purpose - to obey. Some were brought here as girls, captured and enslaved; some as servants; some as wives. All of them must do what the Master tells them, for he wields a deadly and secret power. But the women have powers too. One is a healer. One can control dreams. One is a warrior. One can see everything that is coming. In their golden prison, the women wait. They plan. They write down their stories. They dream of a refuge, a safe place where girls can be free. And, finally, when the moon glows red, they will have their revenge. From Goodreads.

Trigger Warning: Rape features heavily in this book.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Review: This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie FrankelNetGalleyThis Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel (eProof) - Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time - and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.

As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

Warm, touching and bittersweet, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry - and see the world differently.
From Goodreads.

Trigger Warning: Homophobic and ableist language, and transphobic behaviour feature in this book.

Friday, 3 March 2017

A Diversified Bookcase With Heidi Heilig

A Diversified Bookcase is a feature where authors of diverse YA recommend other diverse YA novels by other authors - sometimes to us, sometimes to their characters. Today the wonderful Heidi Heilig, author of the incredible The Girl From Everywhere and the recently released sequel, The Ship Beyond Time, is stopping by to recommend books the to crew of the time-travelling ship, The Temptation.

Heidi Heilig

As someone who wrote an entire series about traveling the wide world in a time-hopping pirate ship, it should come as no surprise that I adore diverse books-- especially those written by #ownvoices. After all, every seasoned traveler knows that locals make the best guides.

My own characters in The Ship Beyond Time are a diverse bunch, and with all the amazing #ownvoices books coming out this year, I have some great recommendations for those long midnight watches when the sea is quiet and the wind is calm.