Hello everyone! I recently came across the ‘Diversity Spotlight Thursday’ meme, which is hosted by Aimal! Every week, you have to come up with one book in each of the following three categories:
- a diverse book you have read and enjoyed;
- a diverse book that has already been released but you have not read;
- a diverse book that has not yet been released.
I don’t know whether I will be able to do this every week, but I still wanted to join nonetheless! Diversity is important to me. I definitely choose to read books which feature diversity and it bothers me when authors don’t do the effort to include any. I’m a part of the LGBTQ community, so I obviously like to read about people like me. But I also like to read about people of all colors, faiths… since I think literature should represent our world (and yes, even fantasies – there is no excuse for no representation there either).
Because I am so passionate about this, I chose to discuss diversity (and serious topics such as trauma) in Young Adult literature and how I can incorporate them in my classroom for my thesis.
I know ‘own voices’ are very important, and I will try to read more of those. Unfortunately, I think most of the books featuring diversity that I have read so far, were written by ‘privileged’ people (white and straight authors). Enjoying their stories is completely okay and I do too, but we must not forget the importance of ‘own voices’. I’m afraid I won’t be able to include them each week, but I do plan on changing that.
Anyway, let’s get started! This is my very first ‘Diversity Spotlight Thursday’ list:
1. a diverse book you have read and enjoyed
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.
I have read Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda twice now and I enjoyed it both times! It’s such a fun and quick read. Simon, the main character, is gay. There is another character who is black and gay (and celebrates the Jewish holidays), there is a bisexual boy, Simon’s best friend is black… None of these people are portrayed in a stereotypical way. Neither does their storyline revolve around their sexualities, ethnicities…
2. a diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.
Since I haven’t read this book yet, I can’t go into detail about the diversity. I don’t think I have ever read a book with a lesbian romance. And that’s certainly not because I don’t want to read about it (because I do!), but if books contain LGBTQ representation, it is often M/M relationships. This one is definitely on my TBR (even though I haven’t bought it yet) and I hope I will be able to incorporate it in my thesis!
3. a diverse book that has not yet been released
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
[summary of Six of Crows]
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
So I chose to include the summary of Six of Crows because I didn’t want to spoil those who haven’t read it yet. Six of Crows was one of the best books I read in 2015 and I am very much looking forward to its sequel Crooked Kingdom. I think it is going to include even more diversity than Six of Crows, because I have high hopes that Jesper and Wylan are going to become a couple. Leigh Bardugo has already confirmed they are queer (this isn’t a spoiler, she said so on her social media) and I really hope they get together.
But because this is the final instalment in this duology, I’m afraid Bardugo is going to kill one (or more!) of the characters. If Wylan and Jesper do get together, I’d be very angry if one of them died. Too many LGBTQ characters have died for shock value; just ask fans of The Walking Dead and The 100.
Besides LGBTQ representation, there are also POC. I wish I could go into detail more, but I really need to re-read Six of Crows in order to be accurate when talking about all the diversity.
In the acknowledgements of Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo mentions she has to walk with a cane. She said it was no coincidence Kaz also has a disability. I think it’s beautiful that she chose to include that in her novel. Most of the disabled characters we come across in literature, get cured. But that’s not always the way it goes in real life.
So, this was my very first Diversity Spotlight! I hope you enjoyed it 🙂 You are always free to recommend me books which feature any kind of diversity! If you do this meme as well, feel free to leave a link to your post below!