Reading Diverse Books in 2018

So for the past two years I’ve written posts about how diverse my reading was in the past year. As much as it’s great to say that I’m trying to consciously read more diverse books the proof is in the pudding.

So in 2016 22% of the books I read were diverse and in 2017 that number went up to 41%. I’m sad to say that it’s gone down again at 29%. I honestly don’t know what happened and I really want to try to do better in 2019. I think being conscious of the books I read is extremely important. So often when I have a lot of free time on my hand, I’ll read basically whatever I can get my hand on which usually means that I’m reading books about straight, white, neurotypical characters. That’s not to say that those books are bad because I’ve read some true jewels but I just want to be a lot more aware of my reading habits.  Books that feature people of color, LGBTQ people and neurodivergent people are so often my favorite types of books and I know that if I made just a little bit more of an effort I’d be a lot more content with the type of books I read.

So I thought I’d give you my top five favorite diverse books that I’ve read this year because I’ve read so many amazing books this year so the more I get to scream about them the better.

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  1. The Spy With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke Review

I swear Locke writes the historical fiction of my dreams.   You got queer jewish kids punching nazis combined with this amazing speculative fiction to create this spellbounding book that you never want to put down.  I need a million more books like this because no matter how many books Locke writes I’ll never be satisfied.

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2. Far From The Tree by Robin Benway.

This summer I read both  Far From The Tree and Emmy& Oliver and fell head over heels with her writing. Far From The Tree is a a beautiful book about the family we make and the family we are bound to by blood and it’s just amazing. This book hit with me so many feelings, amazing characters and wonderful relationships and it’s just one of those books that I want to cherish forever.

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3. The Summer of Jodi Perez ( And The Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding. Review

This is the ultimate summer contemporary read but can also be read year round just so you can transport yourself to warmer days. The romance is amazing, the characters are the best. Top it off with mouthwatering descriptions of food and you got yourself a stellar read. I seriously need this to be to be a movie.Someone please make it the new summer romcom.

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4. Leah on The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. Review

I feel like no blog post written by me is complete without mentioning my queen at least. I stan basically everything Albertalli creates and Leah on The Offbeat is no exception. The book was everything I wanted in a sequel and more. I laugh, I cried and I’m completely devastated that she’s done writing in the simonverse. It was a great way to end it though and I can’t wait to see what other amazing characters she comes up with..30340865

5.Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solommon

Solomon does it again with her beautifully flawed characters and exquisite prose. I love catching authors at their beginning of their careers because there’s so many more wonderful books in store with me. As long as she keeps writing beautiful books filled with great Jewish characters, I’m going to very very happy.

How Was Your Reading Year When It Comes To Reading Diversely? What Were Your Favorite Diverse Books? Let Me Know In The Comments Down Below!!

 

 

 

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Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi Book Review

Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try–all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:4/5 Stars

When I saw that this book was blurbed by  Adam Silvera I knew that I’d love it. While most of the times, I couldn’t care two shits about what authors have to say about a book when a genius like Silvera blurbs something I know that I’m bound to love the book. And I really did! Adam Silvera’s recommendation does not disappoint.

This book was so much fun to read and was such a wild ride. Sometimes summaries tend to overhype a book but I think that in this case the synopsis accurately reflects just how wild this book is. From the minute I read the first page I was enraptured and that didn’t go away until I finished the book. Arvin Ahmadi is a debut author to look out for and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

I absolutely loved the concept of the book and I especially found the element of crossword puzzles to be such an interesting focus. I love when books have unique plot points and Down and Across has one of the more unique ones I’ve seen in YA contemporary. But other than that all the plot points in this book are so much fun to read and every little side plot was so much fun. Scott, the main character, got into so much trouble and got roped into many shenanigans and it was very enjoyable to read. I loved seeing how these experiences in DC influenced who he was as a person and I really loved his character development.

One small critique that I had was that I found that there was an abuse of convenient coincidences that really seemed implausible. Obviously it needs to work for the story but like some of the events that happened were a little convenient for my taste

This was a great book about perseverance and grit with an amazing set of diverse characters from an Iranian Mc to a gay side character. If you’re looking for an unique and fun book then Down and Across is the book for you,

Emergency Contact by May H.K Choi Book Review

Goodreads Summary:

From debut author Mary H.K. Choi comes a compulsively readable novel that shows young love in all its awkward glory—perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

In the summary Emergency Contact is described as being perfect for fans of Eleanor& Park and To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before and to be completely honest I don’t really see the resemblance expect for the fact that they have all have an Asian Mc And that they’re all contemporaries but maybe that’s just me… I truly think that this is a book stands on its own and that any comparison would not do it justice. Basically if you’re someone who enjoys contemporaries and cute love stories that I highly recommend that you go out and buy this book when it comes out because it’s so adorable!

I feel like I kind of sometimes forget that not all contemporaries are cute or even good because I’ve had a pretty good streak when it comes to reading great contemporaries but this book reminded me how contemporaries like Emergency Contact are actually quite rare. So few books are able perfectly capture the awkwardness of love without making it super duper cringey. I think it reflects immensely on the writer’s skill when they’re able to develop the chemistry in a realistic manner. ( I love how I say this as I’m in any way knowledgeable about love 😂)

I really thought it was cool how the majority of their relationship developed over their text. I can definitely confirm that it’s a lot easier to talk to people and get to know them without the awkwardness that is real life. I also liked how slow the transition from online communications to in real life communication and I though that Choi handled that really well. I absolutely loved the stuff that they talked about via text and they were just the cutest together and the development from friends to more was great.

All of the characters were sooo great, especially our two protagonist, Sam and Penny. I related to Penny on so many levels, especially because she was a writer and also didn’t have many friends and she really resonated with me. Well I found the thing she was writing about to be a tad bit odd, I really identified with that struggle of trying to figure out where her writing was going. I really liked the relationships that she forged with like obviously Sam but also her roommate and her roommate’s best friend. Her roommate was very different from her and that was a problem at first but it was really sweet how they slowly started to become friends though there was quite a lot of bumps along the way. But what’s a YA contemporary without lots of misunderstandings and cringey confrontations. I also loved how complex Penny’s relationship with her mother was and I could really feel her frustration and exasperation and I thought it was really tactfully handled.

Sam was such a great love interest, oh my god. He was incredibly flawed but despite that he was caring, passionate and I just loved him so much and loved seeing his relationship with Penny develop. He also had a very complicated relationship with his mother and it was so heartbreaking to see him have to deal with that. While he definitely made some poor decisions, he also went through so much shit and I just felt so bad for him. I’m glad he found someone kind like Penny to be there for him.

Hannah Recommends:Diverse Books to read for Valentines day

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So Valentine’s  day is right around the corner and while I could give two shits about it, I do want to recommend some awesome diverse books to read because a lot of lists are missing some great books.

1. Aristotle and Dante Discovers the Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Okay if you haven’t read this book, you seriously need to. It’s amazing and beautiful and just so well written and it’s everything you can want in a book. Ari and Dante are the most precious boys on the planet and I can’t wait for the sequel.

2.To All The Boys I’ve Loved  Before by Jenny Han

This book is really cute and the perfect contemporary and I really need to get on to reading the second book. The MC is Korean-American and she is just the purest cinnamon roll ever. Also the covers for this series are gorgeous so there’s no excuse to not read it.

3. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Okay so this book  doesn’t have any romance at all but it’s too good to not be mentioned. It has one of the best platonic friendships that I’ve ever read, and the MC is bi-racial and bi, and there’s a demi-sexual character and it’s just perfection. Alice Oseman writes characters flawlessly and if you haven’t picked up one of her books, I highly recommend that you do.

4.The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

I always forget about this book, I don’t know why because it’s amazing. The writing is lyrical, the setting is wonderful, the characters are perfect. It’s a really great summer read and I highly recommend it.

5.Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour.

The book is amazing. It’s adorable, it’s atmospheric and just really well written. Nina Lacour is an amazing author, and I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a great book  about lesbians, and movies. Plus this book kind of reminds me of the Nancy Drew movie which is great.

6.Ask The Passengers by A.S King

This is one of my favorite books, I just really love it, and I can really relate to it. It’s a great book  about figuring out who you are and trying to find your place in the world, which is combined with some really awesome magical realism. It’s  a book that really resonates me and one that I highly recommend.

So there are six books that I really love and that are great cute books.  I know I haven’t read that many but I hope to change that this year and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get some really  great diverse contemporary that I requested from the publisher.

What are your favorite diverse books perfect for valentines day?