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!
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
“Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.
Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.“
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is one of those books that’s so incredibly moving that you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. From the get-go, the characters and their struggles draw you in. And I think it’s an incredibly difficult thing to do- pairing a topic as serious as depression with such light-hearted humor, but Ned Vizzini pulled it off. Of course, this is an Own Voices book. Ned Vizzini suffered from depression and spent some time in a hospital. Only after reading this book and Googling Ned’s name did I find out that he had tragically committed suicide, which gives this book so much more weight in my memory. I think Ned’s work needs to be immortalized- there’s nothing quite like it.
Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
“Temur, grandson of the Great Khan, is walking away from a battlefield where he was left for dead. All around lie the fallen armies of his cousin and his brother, who made war to rule the Khaganate. Temur is now the legitimate heir by blood to his grandfather’s throne, but he is not the strongest. Going into exile is the only way to survive his ruthless cousin.
Once-Princess Samarkar is climbing the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth. She was heir to the Rasan Empire until her father got a son on a new wife. Then she was sent to be the wife of a Prince in Song, but that marriage ended in battle and blood. Now she has renounced her worldly power to seek the magical power of the wizards. These two will come together to stand against the hidden cult that has so carefully brought all the empires of the Celadon Highway to strife and civil war through guile and deceit and sorcerous power.“
High fantasy set in non-Western settings is my weakness- and considering how much I’m into it, I haven’t read nearly enough. Books inspired by the Middle East especially are super intriguing to me, probably because the Middle East is so stigmatized and very rarely do we get non-agenda-pushing narratives that it’s nice to get away from the stigmas by delving into fantasy. Not going to lie- the cover drew me in more than anything. This HAS to be one of the greatest covers I’ve EVER laid my eyes on. But the book sounds bad-ass.
The Blazing Star by Imani Josey
“Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius. But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again? She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.
Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.
As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.“
I was recently approved on Netgalley for this, and I’m so psyched! I’m honestly trying to go into this book without knowing much – I haven’t even read the premise, so I can’t talk about it much. But YA fantasy set in Egypt? I’m so down.
This book releases on December 6th, 2016