Diversity Spotlight Thursday: #8


Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by yours truly. 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! Also, if you link back to this post or the announcement post, and I’ll add a link to your post to mine!


Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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.”

With the recent release of Crooked Kingdom, I thought I’d talk a little about the diversity in this duology. I’ve spoken a little on other social media about how important it is to include diversity, especially in fantasy where it’s completely unrealistic to have a huge world with all cishet white able-bodied characters. I think all fantasy authors should look at Bardugo and use her as inspiration. We have six main characters- all very important people. You can say there’s one character that is held above the others, but the other five are on the same level.

Kaz Brekker is disabled and suffers from severe PTSD. Inej is brown- her culture is inspired by Hindu and South Asian culture. Nina is a larger woman who is bisexual, while Matthias is our brooding straight-white hero (so there’s that too). Jesper is black, and has an addiction to gambling. He’s also bisexual, and Wylan suffers from what I think is dyslexia and is gay. And they are all so beautifully developed and presented. I mean, honestly, this series has little to no flaws.

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the summer of chasing mermaidsThe Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

“The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak. Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life. When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them.

I hadn’t heard much about this book until very recently when a blogger said that the representation in this one was so spot-on that she hadn’t even realized that it wasn’t an #OwnVoices novel. I’ve never read a book set in the Caribbean before, so I’m excited to see how this one fares.

Goodreads | Amazon (only $6 for a paperbacks!) | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

coming soon

beastBeast by Brie Spangler

“Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.

Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?

This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a transgender character! That’s so fucking awesome, don’t you think? I remember thinking that retellings are such an interesting way to include diversity in your stories- it much be fun to play around the tropes and see how gender-swaps and inclusion of different races or removing heterosexuality of the main couple would affect the story- if at all. This one sounds awesome because it’s a contemporary retelling, whereas most of the B&tB retellings I’m familiar with are fantasy. Very excited.

This book releases on October 11th, 2016

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  1. I completely agree on Six of Crows! It would’ve been so easy for Bardugo to just have an all white cast and her choosing to make it a diverse group of people gives the story more depth. Beast sounds like an interesting concept, I’ll try to check it out.

  2. I’ve heard the same thing about The Summer of Chasing Mermaids which makes me interested in it but I feel like I need more people I know to give me their opinion before trying it. I can’t wait to see what you think!

  3. Beast has been on my watch list since I first heard about it. I can’t wait to read it! I have been really into retellings of fairy tales lately, and this is right up my alley.
    Thanks for introducing me to The Summer of Chasing Mermaids– it sounds intriguing…

  4. I finished reading SoC the other day and loved it so much! (My copy of Crooked Kingdom arrives tomorrow; I can’t wait.) And I read The Summer of Chasing Mermaids last year and highly recommend it. Hope you enjoy when you get to it, Aimal! As for Beast, I actually only recently heard of it and hope to read it sometime soon. I’m really excited though since I’ve been on an awesome streak this year with books that have trans character (The Art of being Normal, When the Moon Was Ours, etc).

  5. Great list. I don’t read the fantasy genre so I have never really thought about it in terms of diversity. Your post is really enlightening about that and I am glad to hear about the representation. The other two books sounds really good. Thanks for recommendations:-)

  6. I also love how diverse character in Six of Crows is! Especially Kaz, the fact that he uses cane and yet, he’s still the most dangerous boy in Ketterdam. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids and Beast are also high on my tbr!


  1. […] October 6: ft. fantasy with anti-heroes, a contemporary set in the Caribbean, and a B&tB retelling with a trans girl | October 13: ft. an urban fantasy set in Pakistan, a collection of short stories revolving around the India-Pakistan partition, and a light-hearted contemporary on arranged marriage | October 20: ft. a satirical contemporary-fantasy, a thriller-mystery, and a dystopian (I think) where two guys who’re competing for a girl end up falling for each other | October 27: ft. a heartbreaking contemporary about family and loss, a fantasy about overcoming hardship, and an immigration tale. […]

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