To usher in my great return to the book world, I’ve decided to participate in the fairly-new “Diversity Spotlight Thursday” meme. Hosted by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks, Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme used to promote diverse reads that may otherwise go unnoticed. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories: a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR, and one that has not yet been released. Check out this announcement post for more information on how to join in on the fun and spread diverse reads to the world!
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
If ever there comes a day when I’m not trying to shove this book down your throats, assume that my body has been snatched by some otherworldly being. While I haven’t actually reviewed this book on the blog yet (soon, dear children, soon), I have been gushing about it since I read it back in February. It was just what I’d needed to bring me out of my terrible reading slump. It was just so incredibly amazing. Definitely goes down as one of the best books I’ve read this year. Simon is the guy I want to be my best friend. The characters were so honest. I. GUESSED. BLUE. (no big deal) Albertalli just has a way with words, and I cannot wait for her newest book to come my way (in 2017 [/insert the dramatic sound of a heart breaking slowly]).
Fairytales for Lost Children by Diriye Osman
Fairytales For Lost Children is narrated by people constantly on the verge of self-revelation. These characters – young, gay and lesbian Somalis – must navigate the complexities of family, identity and the immigrant experience as they tumble towards freedom. Using a unique idiom rooted in hip-hop, graphic illustrations, Arabic calligraphy and folklore studded with Kiswahili and Somali slang, these stories mark the arrival of a singular new voice in contemporary fiction.
I’m such a cheat because I’m actually kind of reading this right now, but… it counts! I first encountered this book when Darkowaa gave it an amazing review back in January. Describing this collection as “raw, erotic, sassy, vivid, devastating and most importantly, liberating” definitely got me interested. Not to mention, just how often do you find LGBTQIA+ books written by/about POC? … I’ll wait. After yet another raving review of this collection by one of my faves, Naz, I ended up bumping it up even higher in its current TBR pile.
Hopefully, I can get this baby in my life by the end of the year. It’s here, Past Morgan. It’s here.
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.
But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
Alright, I might be cheating (again, Morgan? Ok, but why you buggin’?) a bit with this one because it came out Tuesday, October 4! But I need you to be aware that you need to get this I M M E D I A T E L Y. I’ll admit that I knew absolutely nothing about Anna-Marie McLemore until I went to BEA back in May. I sat in on a panel she was on, and I was blown away by everything she said about needing more queer representations of all types with all races in our mainstream books. Also, she got to talking about this book, and I knew I needed it in my life. We all need more trans lit in our lives, tbh, and I’m looking forward to the honesty this book promises to deliver. (Also McLemore is an influential magical realism bae, if you didn’t know. Receipt: The Weight of Feathers)
If you’re participating in Diversity Spotlight Thursday, feel free to link me to your post in the comments below. I’d love to see what everyone’s getting excited about.