Diversity Spotlight Thursday: #1


Hello, everyone! Welcome to the first ever Diversity Spotlight post!
Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly, and its aim is to shed light on diverse literature. 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. You can check out the announcement post for more information.
P.S. if you decide to participate (yay!), please feel free to use the graphics in this post. No credit is required!


220px-aristotle_and_dante_discover_the_secrets_of_the_universe_coverAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz | PoC Protagonists, M/M pairing

“Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.”

Ari & Dante is a wonderful tale of two friends. Our protagonists are both Mexican-Americans whose relationships with each other bloom from friendship into something much stronger. I am not going to sit here and exclaim that I know much about Latinx culture, but from what I have observed from experience and, let’s say TV, I have a strong feeling that family is prioritized a lot in Latinx culture. And that becomes obvious in this novel as adults and family play a huge role in our characters’ lives. It was a wonderful look into a culture I was not familiar with at the time, yet something I felt a part of. In my culture, family is considered the most important thing: South Asian families are very close-knit. I always feel a disconnect in books where parents are absent or simply indifferent; seeing reflections of my own culture in Ari & Dante was wonderful.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


Written in the StarsWritten in the Stars by Aisha Saeed | PoC protagonist, set in a foreign country

“Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.”

As a Pakistani myself, I can relate to cultural constraints – but not from my parents. Arranged marriage is a common practice in Pakistan, and I know it’s often looked down upon in Western societies, but I have always held the belief that if both the boy and the girl are willing to have an arranged marriage, there is no harm. My parents did not engage in an arranged marriage, and they do not expect me to do so, but I have friends and family who feel pressured by their families and societal structure to have an arranged marriage, even though they do not want to. I have never read a YA book that has a Pakistani protagonist, so I’m very excited to read this. I am sure Aisha Saeed did the complicated themes and the complex state of the country justice.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

coming soon

into whiteInto White by Randi Pink | PoC Protagonist

“When a black teenager prays to be white and her wish comes true, her journey of self-discovery takes shocking–and often hilarious–twists and turns in this debut that people are sure to talk about. LaToya Williams lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and attends a mostly white high school. She’s so low on the social ladder that even the other black kids disrespect her. Only her older brother, Alex, believes in her. At least, until a higher power answers her only prayer–to be “anything but black.” And voila! She wakes up with blond hair, blue eyes, and lily white skin. And then the real fun begins…”

When I first heard about this book, I was a little apprehensive. This could go so wrong or so right- I don’t think there can be an in-between. But with recent emphasis being put on exploring the meaning, responsibilities and consequences of privilege, I definitely think this story will be one worth reading. I’m sure Randi Pink will explore the topic with honesty; and in this moment where we are having important conversations, it is crucial that we listen to people writing with honesty. Into White has great reviews from people who have obtained ARCs, and it’s definitely a book I am on the lookout for.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Alright, that’s it for my first ever Diversity Spotlight post. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them. If you decide to participate, please feel free to leave a link to your post below so I can check it out and maybe give it a share! As always, thank you for stopping by, and happy reading!

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This Week’s #DiversityThursday Posts from around the Blogosphere

Eliana @ The Written Opinion | Estefani @ Fiction Jungle | Megan @ bookslayerReads

Join the List

  • I see the words ‘swimming pool’! Now I have to read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. The characters sound really interesting too. 🙂

  • This is the most amazing idea! I’ll definitely be participating sometime ❤️

    Both Aristole and Dante and Written in the Stars have been on my TBR for way too long, and I really need to get around to reading them.

  • I loved Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe. And it’s sequel is going to be coming out soon too! I’m so excited for that. (I say soon because I don’t know the exact date 😂😂)

    • I was so disappointed with the cover of the sequel, haha. Mainly because the first cover is very hard to beat! But yesss, I’m excited for the book!

      • I haven’t seen the cover yet. Didn’t even know it was out yet

  • Cait @ Paper Fury

    Ohh I loved Ari & Dante so so much too!! <3 I was only looking at the book today, actually, and thinking about how much I need to reread it. SO BEAUTIFUL. And I read Written in the Stars and quite liked it!! I totally love reading and learning about other cultures. It's so amazing and informative and ahh!!😍

  • I want to read Written in the Stars so badly! It’s on my TBR list for this month, but I’ve been so overwhelmed by other books on my shelf. Aristotle and Date sound very intersting as well..
    Also, since I’m new to your blog, nice to meet you 🙂 I can’t wait to see all that you post here.
    Grace @ kimmiegg.wordpress.com

  • I loved Aristotle and Dante! I think it was probably the first book that I’ve read where the main characters were both racial minorities and LGBTQ

    • It was definitely my first book too- if not the only one I’ve ever read. I definitely need to find more books that feature PoC LGBTQ+ characters. 🙂

  • Great post! Love your new weekly meme. I’ll definitely have to give it a try sometime! It’s always awesome discovering new diverse books and sharing favorites. I really loved Ari & Dante so much and I loved that their parents were so involved in their lives. So many YA books are missing that. Into White sounds interesting; adding to my TBR!

  • All of those look amazing! I love your diversity spotlight! 👏👏

  • As always your post is amazing Aimal! I created my #DiversityThursdays post if you want to check it out! https://thewrittenopinion.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/diversity-thursdays/

  • What a great idea for a weekly meme and lovely book choices too!
    Lynn 😀

  • Love this meme! I would have never known about these books (apart from Ari & Dante) if it wasn’t for your posts 😀

  • Yay!!!! Love this post so much!

  • This is an awesome idea! Aristotle and Dante is one of my favorite contemporaries. And Written in the Stars is probably my favorite South Asian book. It’s very realistic and I can picture it happening to some of my friends (I’m from Bangladesh). Aisha Saeed did a great job portraying how parents don’t always know best even though they always want the best for their child. I will definitely try out your meme!

  • I loved Ari&Dante! It was one of my favorite books of 2014 and as a Latina, I can tell you that the representation is really well done.
    I’ve had my eye on Written in the Stars but haven’t had a chance to read it and I haven’t heard much about it either. I hope it’s good!

  • I love this meme! I’ll definitely participate some time – it’s awesome that you’re spreading the word about more diverse books!
    I know I really loved reading Ari and Dante because yeah, it’s great how family is such an integral part of the book, when in most other books, family is usually absent. Although I don’t think I fully understood all parts of the book because the culture was just unfamiliar to me – I really enjoyed getting a taste of Latinx culture! 😀

  • I love this meme! Great idea, Aimal! 🙂
    Here’s the link to my Diversity Thursday post (although I was a bit late, I couldn’t miss out!)

  • Ooooohh I love this meme it’s so creative and brave for you to start! 😀 I’m thinking about participating but maybe later since I’m currently not well read enough in diverse books. I’ve heard so much about Aristotle and Dante but I assumed it’s a hit or miss book for some people and I’m afraid it’s gonna be a miss for me, so I’ve been putting it off like forever! But I’ll definitely get around to it soon. I’m also super curious for Written in the Stars!! Arranged marriage isn’t that uncommon in my culture and I think it’s gonna be a really interesting story to tell. Great post and once again, congratulation on coming up with this brilliant idea 😀

  • I have read Aristotle and Dante and I really enjoyed it. I also have Written in the Stars on my tbr for so long and it just sounds really amazing 🙂

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