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!
Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans
Jalen, lover of B-grade sci-fi movies, meets the far-too-handsome P in a cafe while deciding whether or not to skip uni again. When P invites them along to a double feature of Robot Monster and Cat Women of the Moon, Jalen can hardly believe that hot boys like bad sci-fi, too. But as their relationship progresses, Jalen realizes P leaves them wondering if they’re on the same page about what dating means, and if that’s what they’re doing.
I am ashamed to admit that this might be the only book I’ve read with a transgender main character. (I say might because my memory is the literal worst, but you catch my drift.) Long Macchiatos and Monsters was a refreshing, slice-of-life novella that I’m so glad I stumbled across. It was also nice to see a nonbinary character represented on the page for a change. While it wasn’t my favorite read in the entire world, it is an incredibly important one. This wasn’t a coming out story. It simply allowed its characters to exist in their identities. At just 44 pages, this story is a short and sweet depiction of what it is like to develop a connection with a stranger. So, if you’re looking for a quick diverse read, I definitely recommend this one.
The Unintentional Time Traveler by Everett Maroon
Fifteen-year-old Jack Bishop has mad skills with cars and engines, but knows he’ll never get a driver’s license because of his epilepsy. Agreeing to participate in an experimental clinical trial to find new treatments for his disease, he finds himself in a completely different body—that of a girl his age, Jacqueline, who defies the expectations of her era. Since his seizures usually give him spazzed out visions, Jack presumes this is a hallucination. Feeling fearless, he steals a horse, expecting that at any moment he’ll wake back up in the clinical trial lab. When that doesn’t happen, Jacqueline falls unexpectedly in love, even as the town in the past becomes swallowed in a fight for its survival. Jack/Jacqueline is caught between two lives and epochs, and must find a way to save everyone around him as well as himself. And all the while, he is losing time, even if he is getting out of algebra class.
When Vee gives you a book rec, you add said rec to your TBR pile so fast that your bank account cries a little. I bought this book for my Kindle over the summer, but I haven’t gotten around to it because… well, my Kindle and I had a little falling out. The synopsis alone has me hooked, though. How could it not? Come on… It’s time travel.
Bad Boy by Elliot Wake | December 6, 2016
Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity.
But Ren has been living a double life.
Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence.
But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for.
Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too.
Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.
I have heard nothing but great things about Elliot’s other works– Cam Girl and Black Iris— so I’m excited about adding this to my ever-growing pile. Disclaimer: I haven’t actually finished said books. Not because they aren’t good but because I wasn’t in a stable enough place to handle the weight of those books. Seriously, I didn’t need my heart to be crushed that way.
Side Note: In case you didn’t know, this week is also Trans Awareness Week. If you want to hear #ownvoices experiences of trans representation in YA (and I know that you do), I suggest checking in with the Gay YA. They’re running a Trans Awareness Week series to give voice to the many trans voices in the YA book community that often go unheard. Here is a list of all of the posts that have been published as of right now.
- Center Trans Voices: Introduction to Trans Awareness Week Series — If nothing else, I HIGHLY recommend reading Vee’s lovely introduction to the Trans Awareness Series.
- Trans Stories Are Human Stories
- The Room Where It Happens
- Interview: Alex Gino, author of GEORGE
And as always, if you’re participating in Diversity Spotlight Thursday, feel free to link me to your post in the comments below.