We Need Diverse Books

Why We Need Diverse Books: The Push for Diverse Literature Isn’t a Trend. It’s Activism.

As book bloggers, we all have one thing in common: we love to read. Genres, writing styles, trope preferences, book formatting, reading pace, blogging pace – these are all subcategories that vary greatly amongst us, but there’s one thing common for all of us, which is our love for literature. You’re amongst the few people in the world who took their passion for reading, and stemmed another passion (or hobby) from it – blogging. Most of you started blogging because you wanted to share your love for books, because books mean more to you than mindless entertainment. Books hold a value for you. Reading isn’t idle consumption; for many of us, reading is a way of life. And for many of us, we all have that one book that changed our lives, or a book that shaped us into who we are today.


“Fun” is only one of the infinite benefits of literature; cognitive functioning improves, and in many cases, books have deeply impacted society.

Literature has never been passive; it has always served an active purpose in society past “just entertainment.” We read because it’s fun, of course, but we also read to educate ourselves. We read to escape, we read to absorb, form communities within other readers as well as connections with writers. We learn writing techniques, gather a better understanding of other people with potentially opposing viewpoints, different experiences. There is infinite value in reading, and these are not idle ramblings of someone who enjoys reading; the activity has scientifically shown to increase empathy, and brain connectivity. It’s an effective way to combat stress, improve sleep (and sleep improvement further improves basically every facet of your life), can aid in improving relationships, all while making you happier (Source).

But beyond personal improvements, reading has clearly impacted society to the point where books have been burnt, banned and prohibited by people all over the world all throughout history. Whether it’s by uber-conservative parents who believe Harry Potter carries Satanic messages that poison children’s minds, or dictators who want to squash revolutionary ideology, books have always posed some sort of perceived ideological threat. And it’s because of these instances across our history that you come to realize how real of an impact books can have on society. Whether it’s George Orwell’s 1984 forcing us to think about overly controlling governments and unchecked surveillance that brought numerous thinkpieces to the surface when Edward Snowden blew the lid off NSA’s practices, or if it’s Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451’s subtle take on censorship and free speech. Whether it’s Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and its academic value in studying colonialism’s permanent effects on African culture, or Toni Morrison’s Beloved that highlighted the ‘legacy’ of slavery – these are all books that significantly impacted our society, and contributed for an ideological change that caused at least some sort of shift in the population on a large scale.

Even in your personal life, there has to be a book that impacted you so deeply that it changed something. For me, it was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky; I was a young kid living in Pakistan, and I had never been exposed to same-sex relationships before, or the fact of repressed memories and trauma. It was the book that made me decide that I wanted to pursue psychology in university, and here I am, one year from graduating with a degree in my hand. Sometimes I wonder what my life would’ve been like had I never read that book; would I be intolerant towards gay people like many in that society are? Would I have had an understanding or passion for mental health like I do now, since the society I grew up in still has a myriad of taboos against mental illnesses? Somehow, I doubt that I would be here right now had I not read that book. And ever since, I know that books have power beyond our wildest dreams. Most of us don’t even realize this fact.

One of these powers is the ability to increase, not only tolerance, but acceptance. And understanding.

Most of you have probably read and loved Harry Potter as a child, and though it’s definitely not a book without its glaring flaws, and I would never categorize it as a diverse book by any means, it’s still a series that has been studied widely because of its popularity and prevalence. In a study published in the Journal of Social Applied Psychology, three experimenters presented passages on discrimination from the series to subjects in the study, and found that the participants showed changed attitudes towards stigmatized groups, like gay people and immigrants (Source). The researchers write, “extended contact via story reading is a powerful strategy to improve out-group attitudes.” If a story has the power to improve out-group attitudes (meaning attitudes towards people you don’t immediately identify with, or people from outside your immediate community), then… this is a powerful tool.

We live in a world where fear-mongering has increased to the point where presidential candidates in seemingly ‘progressive’ societies are elected based on the promise of keeping people of a certain ethnicity, or religion, out of man-made borders. We live in a world where being gay, lesbian or trans can serve you a death sentence or give you second-class citizenship in your own country, where minorities in societies as advanced as the United States and the United Kingdom undergo systematic oppression, persecution, deep-seated prejudice based on color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity and religion. Police brutality and constant erasure from racial minorities’ own accomplishments in history is a relevant and persistent issue. We live in a society where mental illnesses are still used as plot points in horror movies, where suicides have risen to an unprecedented level, yet the collective population doesn’t want to do anything about it past tweeting hashtags. In a war-ridden world where children flee after losing entire families, as we become spectators in watching them die and drown, as politicians use them in their agendas, closing the gates to them because “refugee” has become a bad word. You may think, sitting in the safety of your home that times are better than they used to be, but they’re bad, and change doesn’t seem likely with how things are deteriorating.

Change begins with ideology; it always has, it always will. Women were largely believed to be inferior to men, which is why they were not allowed to vote and work. The ideology around this is far from perfect now and the fight is far from over, but it evolved, which is why change began. Ideologies do not change if you do not listen. Ideologies cannot evolve if you willfully turn away from the plight of oppressed individuals. And although I’m not naive enough to believe that books can fix all that is wrong with the world, they have proved that they can be used to change ideology, and push towards acceptance.

So, what’s the problem here? The problem is that marginalized peoples’ ideologies aren’t given a platform – change, thus, becomes impossible to achieve. The problem is lack of diversity in media, but for our purposes, more specifically literature. The very problem lies in the fact that marginalized voices and diverse stories can’t reach the audiences that can collectively inspire change. And the problem is also the deep-seated push against diversity – for whatever reason this is.


I hear you talking about “diversity,” but really – what is it?

I’m no expert, but let me try and explain. In the context of literature, diversity means more than just one thing:

  1. It means giving marginalized authors a platform to write their stories. This applies to publishers, bloggers, etcetera, for giving marginalized people’s stories the chance to reach the world.
  2. It means reading books written by marginalized authors, whether they write about their marginalization or not – supporting authors of color, authors on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, disabled authors, neurodivergent authors automatically allows for their experiences to shine through in their stories. And it helps diversify literature by boosting voices that are otherwise repressed in areas of society.
  3. It means reading books with prominent characters with marginalizations. Reading books with casts of color, books with characters with disabilities, with characters on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. The world is not white, cisgender, heterosexual, able-bodied, neurotypical and allosexual/alloromantic. The world is a diverse place, so diversity in literature means supporting the diverse make-up of our society.
23% of the US’s population is formed of people of color and First Nation peoples, and this percentage continues to increase. Only 10% of kidlit contains multicultural content.

A significant portion of our population (and keep in mind, I’m only talking about ethnicity here) is severely underrepresented in literature. Look around you; the push for diversity exists because there is a lack of it. We don’t ask for more white characters to exist in books, because there is a 90% mathematical chance that if you pick up a book in the bookstore, the book will be majority-white, most definitely spear-headed by white characters and authors. We don’t ask for more heterosexual characters because the vast majority of storytelling is heteronormative, meaning that we automatically assume romance is between a man and a woman; many people with different identities are thus pushed aside. And believe it or not, this lack of representation can have significant repercussions.

Representation in the media is significantly linked to self-esteem.

In my previous semester, I conducted some research, and wrote up a review for my Psychology class on how racial representation in literature can impact minority self-esteem and self-worth. The issue with lack of representation transcends beyond literature; a study conducted by USC Annenberg evaluated over 11,000 speaking characters in fictional films, TV shows and series. The study found that female characters only accounted for 28.7% of all speaking roles in film, despite females forming half of the US population. Moreover, of all speaking roles, only 28.3% were given to racial minority groups. Keeping these statistics in mind, consider that further research has shown that women and racial minorities have lower self-esteem the more they consume media. In black children, increased media exposure reduces self-esteem, while in white boys, increased media exposure increases self-esteem (Martins & Harrison, 2012). This is perhaps due to the fact that white male characters on television are given positive roles – the hero, the savior, the good guy, while black characters are far and few in between, and when they do exist, they are often reduced to negative stereotypes. Black children, the more they consume the erasure and/or negative stereotypes, are impacted deeply by them.

What is self-esteem, and what is the point of increased self-esteem?

We often hear words like “self-esteem” in day-to-day life without realizing that they are scientific terms with scientific research and study backing them up. Self-esteem is defined as how a person views themself, and how they perceive their own worthiness. Self-esteem impacts many portions of your life;

  • Having a low feeling of your own value can cause depression, or increased symptoms related to depression.
  • Low self-esteem can have an effect on interpersonal relationships; people with low social self-esteem have more problems in their relationships with family, friends and romantic partners
  • Higher self-esteem has been associated with improved academic achievement
  • Low self-esteem youth are at risk of abusing alcohol and drugs
  • Research further shows that low self-esteem is related to poor heath, delinquency, and limited economic prospects during adulthood
Underrepresentation or negative representation can thus have serious consequences.

People who call for diverse media, and representing marginalized groups in literature aren’t doing it to be petty. They’re not trying to take the fun out of your reading – they’re trying to use books, which we all agree are a powerful tool, to make a significant change in society.

L.A. Spears-Bunton (1990) theorized that racial minority students read at lower levels than their white peers because of a potential cultural disparity between their racial identity and the books they are given to read; if this disparity is decreased or eradicated, it can significantly increase reading (and think about the positive effects of reading outlined above) in marginalized groups. Arlene Barry (1998) asserts that through multicultural literature, minorities’ self-esteem can improve as they learn about the contributions their culture, or people who look like them, have made, and are making, to the U.S. and the world. Multicultural literature can form a much-needed balance between home and the outside world; this balance can prevent serious conflict from occurring, and children are not forced to choose between two environments; rather, they can feel a sense of belonging in both.

Enough of the academic talk; let’s get personal. Seeing yourself represented in a book is a priceless feeling.

Aside from self-esteem affects and the societal social value of diverse media, let’s talk about how seeing yourself represented in a book feels. More often than not, we love things that we relate to. I loved Hermione Granger as a character because I saw myself reflected in her – she’s smart, she’s bossy, she goes by the rules, she loves to read. And I also loved her because she was bad-ass; she could be fierce and heroic with the same qualities that I had, and it gave me the feeling that I could also do what she could. This harkens back to white boys having higher self-esteem than other groups; all the major superheroes, people in power, the “good guys” are mostly white males. It’s not a white male child’s fault that he immediately connects to these guys, which causes him to feel like he can be heroic, he can be powerful, thus boosting self-esteem. But it makes you think, doesn’t it? That we all connect to media we relate to, and if all the positive roles are going to white males, what about the rest of us?

Now imagine you’re me. A brown, Pakistani-Muslim, fat immigrant who has basically never seen herself represented in media. Beauty standards are white-centric and thin. Brown, desi heroines are non-existent. Pakistani-Muslims are typecast as terrorists, and that’s all I see when I turn on the TV, or read a book. It makes me feel alone. It makes me feel like I am not worthy, that my identities aren’t worthy of being shared, or seen in a positive light. It takes you to a dark place without you even knowing it happened. Imagine that you grew up with nothing to relate to. That’s how many people feel, and I still admit that I’m much more privileged than many others out there- people who have never seen themselves reflected at all.


For a marginalized child or teen or young adult- to see your story, your experiences, your life reflected in the books you read, where you feel like you have a voice, where you feel like your life story is important enough to be written, published and read? That’s a priceless feeling. It makes you feel like people want to hear about you. It makes you feel like you’re an active part of this society, that people love and accept you as a part of their world, and that you can do whatever the privileged in the world can because your story is just as important as theirs. You can’t put a price-tag on that, which is why the fight is so important.

Diversity isn’t a trend. Wanting diverse stories shouldn’t be a phase – it’s activism. It’s a movement.

A movement that has infinite value. Reading stories about different experiences will not only help people from that particular experience feel valued and seen, it will also help you learn. It will help society grow collectively towards improved self-esteem in youth, as well as empathy, tolerance and equality. Having increased books by and/or about people of color will not make books with white characters go extinct. Having books by and/or about people on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum will not make books with straight relationships, or allosexual/alloromantic characters, or cisgender characters go extinct. No. The movement only calls for diversity – never erasure. And diversity can never impact anyone negatively.

Once you realize that diversifying literature isn’t just that one trend that people have been talking about recently, that it’s not just about the personal value of marginalized readers seeing themselves represented (even though that’s a massive, important, crucial component), but that it’s also about changing ideologies towards building a truly equal society, you realize the global value of the movement. And like you perform activism for environmental conservation, climate change, animal rights, charity… I hope you see the value in performing activism for this, and bringing about a change that is absolutely crucial on a large scale.

Writers: here’s what you can do to diversify your stories.

🌸 First of all, don’t believe it when people (or that voice in your head) tell you that diverse stories do not have a market. They absolutely do; the success of stories like The Hate U Give (which has spent six months on the top of the bestsellers’ list), When Dimple Met Rishi, and movies like “Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures,” “The Night Of,” “Sense 8,” and “Get Out,” goes to show that the market exists. People are desperate for representation, so your diverse stories will sell.

🌸 Research to the best of your abilities. Read books, hire sensitivity/beta readers, talk to the communities online, read other books by people who share the marginalization that you’re writing about. Nothing is worse for a person who goes into a book expecting to see themselves represented than to come out feeling disrespected, tokenized and stereotyped. Utilize research, and make sure you stay in your respective lane. Make sure your characters aren’t caricatures who serve as plot devices, or who can be replaced by non-marginalized characters without changing anything (that’s tokenism!) Make sure you’re not using language that you’re not supposed to be using (such as slurs). Make sure you’re respectful, always.

🌸 Realize that this isn’t a personal vendetta against you. Nobody’s saying you cannot write white characters, for example. Instead, you should think in terms of world-building. As a writer, your novel should sound realistic, and authentic. Is the world all-white? So how can an all-white novel be realistic/authentic? Realize that you can diversify your world by including peripheral characters, side characters, important conversations, all while having a white main character. You don’t have to make sacrifices. You just need to improve your storytelling, and diversity improves storytelling by making it realistic and reflective of the world we live in.

Readers and bloggers: the brunt of it falls on you. You need to do better.

🌸 Demand diversity. Let publishers know that you support the movement, that you think it is important, and let them know that you will buy diverse stories. There is a clear distinction between attacking and letting your voice be heard – know the difference, stay within your bounds, but be loud, clear, and proud.

🌸 Actively promote diverse books. Buy them, and if you can’t buy them, find them at your library; if it’s not at your library, place in a request. Read them, and promote them on social media – Tweet about diverse books, take photos, promote them on your blogs in lists. Review them on your websites, on retail websites. Spread hype. People buy books that are hyped, and if you hype up diverse books, that ensures that more diverse books are published. Be aware of this.

🌸 Boost bloggers who are from marginalized groups, who are proponents of diversity. Boost them so their voices are amplified, which will cause a ripple effect throughout the community.

We have a long way to go, but improvement is already visible. Join the movement; it’s more important than you think.


If you enjoyed this post, I would greatly appreciate if you would consider sharing and/or buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi.com. Thank you so much.



We Need Diverse Books

The #DiverseBookBloggers tag on social media (Twitter, specifically).

The Brown Bookshelf

American Indians in Children’s Literature

Disability in Kid Lit

SLJ’s Islam in the Classroom

ALA’s Rainbow Booklists

Great Gay Teen Books

Diversity in YA

Rich in Color

Reading in Color

* If you have more resources, or blogs that post about diverse books and diversity in kidlit, please let me know and I’ll try to update the list as soon as possible.

The Ultimate Guide to Diverse YA Books Releasing in 2017: January – June


Hello, everyone! With the start of the new year, I thought I’d get back on track with blogging with a list of diverse books coming out this year. Although we’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to diversity in literature, I’m so proud that we’ve come so far. When I went scouring for diverse YA books releasing this year, I came across so many great-sounding ones that I had to split my list into 2- Part 1 will focus on releases in January to June, and Part 2 will focus on July to December.

One of my resolutions this year is to read as diversely as possible; it’s sad that I didn’t really understand the importance of the movement until late last-year. I want to focus my reading time this year reading as many diverse books as possible. There are many great events hosted by bloggers from all over the world that might help you do the same. Naz @ Read Diverse Books has come up with a brilliant incentive for bloggers to read and review diverse literature; there will be quarterly giveaways and prizes, and it’s an interactive experience where you can blog-hop and discover other bloggers who read diversely.

I, along with other bloggers, am hosting Diversity Bingo 2017, which is a bingo sheet comprising of 36 squares- each pertaining to a different facet of diversity. The goal is to read one book for each square by the end of 2017.

As for this post, this is by no means a definitive list. The “ultimate” in the title is there because it makes for a catchy title, hehe. If there are any books that are diverse releases of 2017 that I missed, please, please let me know in the comments below and I will add them. Help me out here; there is no way I can do this alone. <3







Again, I cannot do this alone. I’d love to spotlight as many diverse reads as possible- if there’s any I missed (that you haven’t heard anything problematic about) let me know and I’ll add it to the list. As I become aware of more diverse books, I’ll add those to the list too. If you have any suggestions, leave those in the comments as well.

Note: diverse literature extends beyond YA, of course. While much of my reading remains focused on YA, I try and make an effort to read diversely in the adult genre too, and I urge you to do the same. It’s virtually impossible for me to compile a list of diverse lit. if I encompass all genres, so this list was clearly YA exclusive. But again- there’s so much to read out there; keep your horizons open. And as always, thanks for stopping by and happy reading. 🙂

#DiversityDecBingo TBR

The Readathon Event

Hey, all. So, if you don’t follow me on Twitter (psst, you should), you might not know that a few friends and I are hosting a diversity readathon event in the month of December. Called the ‘Diversity December Bingo,’ it’s a team-venture that runs from December 1st – December 31st, 2016. It’ll be a month full of diverse reads where you can read books written by marginalized authors, or books about characters belonging to marginalized groups, and maybe win a prize while you do so.

So this is how it works. From the 25 squares below, you choose one line – this line can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. You read one book from each category in the line you’ve chosen, and once you finish your 5-book challenge, you’re entered into a giveaway. More details on the giveaway will be coming up soon (follow Twitter for more updates, or simply track the #DiversityDecBingo hashtag!)


If you decide to join, leave a comment down below with a link to a TBR post, tweet or Instagram post, and I’ll add your name to this post so people can come find you. Also, you can use the #DiversityDecBingo hashtag on social media to keep track of others who are participating, come up with some ideas for your own TBR and keep up with all the awesome diverse books out there.



I chose this particular line because I have not read nearly enough books with any of these aspects; I have yet to read a book with a main character who is a native. I’m ashamed to say that I have had abysmal exposure to f/f relationships in YA. I’ve read only two books in the past with biracial main characters, no books with neurodiversity, and just one book with an asexual character. Because all of the books below are already on my TBR, I thought this would be the perfect line to finally get to these books:

With that, I’ll end this post. I hope you consider joining me in my very first hosting adventure, especially because it’s something I’m super passionate about. The other ladies who are hosting this with me are all inspirational and wonderful, so come say hi on Twitter (or here). If this goes really well, we’re hoping to do a bi-annual or annual event where we can get together and read diversely more and more. <3

Participants’ TBRs

BiblioNyan | 4thHouseontheLeft | What the Log Had to Say | Sprinked Pages

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday: #14


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!

I’m so sorry that I’ve been flakey with this feature for the past couple of weeks- school’s been a little nuts, and so has my job. I only have two more weeks for my internship to end, and three weeks til finals are over and then I’m sure I’ll be more regular. <3 To those celebrating, happy Thanksgiving! As you all sit down for your family dinners, I beseech you to remember all the Native Americans who lost their lives, who face persecution to this very day, and who are being shot at and maced for protesting the violation of their basic human rights at the Dakota Access Pipeline. I do not ask you to stop celebrating Thanksgiving; just that you acknowledge the struggles North America’s indigenous population goes through every day since the Europeans landed. <3


shockThe Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

“‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’

Debut novel about one man’s descent into mental illness, following the death of his brother in childhood. Filer is a mental health nurse with a unique and startling insight into mental illness, and this book highlights a much-neglected subject.”

The Shock of the Fall is one of those books that stays with you for a long time, no matter how much you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy it while in the moment. It’s an incredibly accurate, harrowing portrayal of mental illness, the taboos surrounding it, childhood trauma and neglect. It is heart-breakingly realistic, and you will feel your stomach and heart drop at several instances. Not an easy read, but an important one.

Goodreads | Amazon


everythingEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

“My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”

I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about Nicola Yoon’s book- I was interested in this one before her second book came out, but now that that one’s been getting rave reviews as well, I’m super excited. I’m certain that the main character in this book is biracial- half black and half Korean. I haven’t read nearly enough books with biracial protagonists, and I just ordered this from Book Outlet so hopefully, I’ll be getting to it very soon!

Goodreads | Amazon

coming soon

25014114History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

“When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.”

I read More Happy than Not last month, and I fell in love with Adam Silvera’s writing, his storytelling and his characters. It’s definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. If I like his second book nearly as much as I liked his debut, I’m sure that it’ll make my favorites list as well. If you haven’t already read MHTN, what are you waiting for? 🙂

This book releases on January 17th, 2016

Goodreads | Amazon

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Bloglovin‘ | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook

Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Across the Blogosphere

Avery @ The Book Deviant | Morgan @ The Backlist Babe | Esther @ Chapter Adventures | Arianny @ Behind the Stacks | Birdie Bookworm | Shahirah @ Bookloves_Reviews

Diversity Spotlight Thursday: #13


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!

So, due to all the craziness of the week, I wasn’t really feeling up to posting anything on my blog, which is why I missed this week’s Diversity Spotlight. But since I didn’t have much to post over the weekend, I thought I’d catch up. So, here’s a late #13 Diversity Spotlight Thursday. 🙂


aj fikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

“On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

The main character of this book is an Indian-American widower who is the owner of a bookstore. Zevin does such a brilliant job of interweaving culture while also making sure to humanize the protagonist, so he doesn’t come across as “the Other” as is common in books that rely on misrepresentation. A.J. Fikry is such a lovable, precious main character, and his grumpiness, his relationship with the people around him is moving and entertaining. This was a great book, and it’s one that every book lover should read. 🙂

Goodreads | Amazon


11595276The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

“When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship — one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to ‘fix’ her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self — even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.

Recently, I realized that I haven’t read nearly enough books with f/f relationships. It’s upsetting because it’s not like these books don’t exist- it’s that they are not hyped as much as those with m/m relationships. I really want to start reading more diversely within the diverse books I read as well, and this one sounds like a good place to start- I’ve heard really great things.

Goodreads | Amazon

coming soon

25164304Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

In a similar vein, this is a fantasy novel with a f/f relationship at the forefront, and I’m stoked to get to it. From what I’ve seen of ARC reviews, it’s been getting wonderful reviews. The author seems lovely on Twitter, and it just sounds like a fun ride.

This book releases on November 22nd, 2016

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Across the Blogosphere

Morgan @ The Backlist Babe | Keeana @ Kee the Reader | Shouni @ Through the Book Portal | Codie @ Reader’s Anonymous | Wendy @ Falconer’s Library | 4thhousontheleft | Alexandra @ Salsera Beauty Reads | Birdie Bookworm | Diana @ A Haven for Book Lovers | Nagina @ Ohbookish

Diversity Spotlight Thursday | #7


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!


every last wordEvery Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

“Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

I was looking through all my DST posts, and I realized that I hadn’t yet featured a book with a protagonist who has a mental illness. I’m studying Psychology in school, and I’m very passionate about how mental illness is portrayed in books. I think Stone did a wonderful job of depicting Samantha’s OCD; apart from being a good portrayal, it was a wholesome novel with strong friendships, a cute romance and strong family dynamics.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


more happy than notMore Happy than Not by Adam Silvera

In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Ha, I honestly cannot believe that I still haven’t read this book. I remember I was waiting for the hype to die down when it first came out, but now the hype’s kind of gone and I still haven’t seen anything but glowing reviews. I love Adam Silvera’s personality on social media, and this book sounds profound and heartbreaking, and just something up my ally. Really need to get to it soon!

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

coming soon

always and forever lara jeanAlways and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han

“Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

I really loved the first book in this trilogy- the second one not so much, but I liked it enough to want to continue reading. I love Jenny Han’s portrayal of tight-knit families. The protagonist is biracial, and I enjoy seeing Jenny Han’s depictions of Korean culture. A little nervous about what is in store for Lara Jean and Peter, but excited nonetheless. 🙂

This book releases on April 4th 2017.

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Connect with me elsewhere:
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Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Across the Blogosphere

Nagina @ ohbookish | Kee @ Kee the Reader | Charlotte @ cahwrites | Diana @ A Haven for Book Lovers | Codie @ Reader’s Anonymous | Alexandra @ Salsera Beauty Reads | Esther @ Chapter Adventures | Sarah @ Reviews and Read-a-Thons | M @ A Blog of One’s Own | Meep @ Book 7

Diversity Spotlight Thursday | #6


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!

Hi, everyone! So I know I’ve been super inactive recently- that’s because school has come at me with guns blazing, and I’m trying to be good at my internship too, ha. I haven’t been reading much because of this, and that’s why I missed last week’s DST post too. 🙁 Sorry about that! I’ll try to catch up this weekend, because I don’t have much homework to do.

A few friends and I have also started a monthly bookclub that strives to read at least one diverse book every single month. If you’d like to check it out, here’s the Goodreads group, the Twitter and the Instagram. 🙂


we awaken coverWe Awaken by Calista Lynne

Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price. 

This was my first book revolving around an asexual character, and it was also a lesbian romance! I learned a lot from this book, and despite not enjoying it fully, I appreciate reading it. If you want to learn more about asexuality and are also looking for more lesbian romances, I’d definitely recommend this one!

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


Juliet Takes a BreathJuliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

“Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff. 

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? 

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.”

I can’t say I’ve heard too much about this book, just that I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things. I haven’t read many books with PoC LGBTQ+ characters, so I’m very excited to get my hands on this!

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

coming soon

when the moon was oursWhen the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. 

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.”

I’m so honored to say that I have this book on my Netgalley shelf (I know, it’s not that big of a deal but I still get surprised whenever I’m approved for an ARC, tbh), and I will be reading it very, very soon. I haven’t read a book about a transgender individual before, and this sounds like a beautiful, poignant read. Look out for my review some time before this month ends (hopefully).

This book releases on October 4th.

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Connect with me elsewhere:
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(P.S. This book features all purple books- this was unintentional, but a neat coincidence since it’s Bisexual Awareness Week. XD)

Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Around the Blogosphere:

Monique @ That Wild Soul | Shahirah @ Bookloves_Reviews | Caitlin @ Words and Other Beasts | Alexandra @ Salsera Beauty Reads | Clemence @ Clemi’s Bookish World | Nagina @ Oh Bookish | Vivian @ A Haven for Book Lovers

Diversity Spotlight Thursday | #5


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!


A Little LifeA Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

“When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

I’ve spoken about this novel a few times recently. When I went into this massive brick, I hadn’t expected it to have such a diverse cast of characters; we have several characters of color, several LGBTQ+ characters, and the protagonist is disabled in the way that he has problems with his legs after an accident left them severely impaired, as well as suffering from mental illness. I love this book- the characters are some of the most well-developed characters I’ve ever read, and the writing is just gorgeous.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


7261699Eon by Alison Goodman

“For years, Eon’s life has been focused on magical study and sword-work, with one goal: that he be chosen as a Dragoneye, an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic… and her life.

I’ve heard really wonderful things about this series, and although I haven’t looked into it enough to fully know what it’s about, I’m still extremely excited to give it a go! Also, that cover is one of the coolest fantasy covers I’ve seen around!

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

coming soon

28114515The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

“Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

I have this book on my Netgalley shelf, and the few reviews I’ve read have raved about this book. During the fall, I tend to like darker reads but look for lighter, faster reads in between, so I feel that this will be the perfect book to fulfill those cravings.

This book releases on October 4th.

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Connect with me elsewhere:
Bloglovin‘ | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Facebook

Diversity Spotlight Thursday Posts from Around the Blogosphere:

Monique @ That Wild Soul | Eliana @ The Written Opinion | M @ A Blog of One’s Own | M. L. Ventura @ Unspoken | Salsera @ Salsera Beauty Reads | Eliza @ DuskAngelReads | Nagina @ Oh Bookish | Shouni @ Through the Book Portal

Blog Meme Announcement: Diversity Spotlight Thursday



So, a few days ago, I decided that I didn’t want to participate in both Top Ten Tuesday and Top Five Wednesday. It just seems a little much to me- compiling 15-item lists every single week. I find myself repeating a lot of the answers and I just wasn’t having fun. But I also knew that I wanted to have at least two blog memes in a given week- no more, no less. Top Ten Tuesday is too much fun to give up, so I needed a replacement for T5W. I know there are so many fantastic memes out there, but I decided to create my own: a weekly spotlight that illuminates diverse literature specifically.

If you’re active in the bookish community, you’re probably aware of the “We Need Diverse Books” movement. It’s so incredibly important that stories with diverse characters as leads are emphasized. For young children and young adults to read literature and see their cultures, their values, themselves reflected in what they are reading. We have been programmed to read about a character and automatically assume they are able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual and Caucasian. And the vast majority of literature, specifically YA literature, features these characters. When in truth, people of all colors, faiths, ethnicities, sexualities exist and are just as important and interesting as anyone else. And they are just not represented to their fullest in literature.

But perhaps even more than that, I think it is incredibly important to feature diverse authors. Authors who are not Caucasian and are writing about their cultures: like Junot Díaz writes about his culture, like Jhumpa Lahiri writes about hers. It is important to give these authors a spotlight so that their work can also be brought to the forefront. Their own voices are more accurate and more sensitive- they let us step into their shoes and think about their work from a less objective point of view.

I’ve also noticed that a lot of people have come to expect every single author out there to include diverse characters in their casts, which is wonderful if they do, but these authors are bashed if they do not. The readers who bash them are generally those readers who only pick up the most talked-about books and do not make an effort to read diverse literature. If you are a proponent of diverse literature, you have to go outside your box and read those books that are less popular. It is up to you to read these books and give them the spotlight they deserve. Practice what you preach. 

Just a little note: while I know that many of my readers mostly read young adult literature, I will try my best to give you a more diverse range of genres in these posts. Since this meme is focused on diversity, I will try to include many different genres, including adult fiction. There are so many fantastic, international writers out there who do not write in the YA genre, and their stories are often overlooked by younger readers. These stories are full of multiculturalism, of hard-hitting experiences told with poignance and sensitivity. It’s so important that if you are a proponent of diverse literature, you need to read diversely as well.

What the Meme Will Consist Of

Diversity Spotlight will take place every Thursday, and it will be featuring three books in any given week:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

Talking about a book that you have read and enjoyed may give your readers a push to read it, and you have done something in spreading love for a diverse book. Talking about a book that you want to read may help readers of your blog tell you more about the book if they have read it, thus giving you a push to pick it up sooner than you otherwise would have. And finally, talking about an unreleased diverse book will hopefully help the book get some buzz before it hits the shelves.


I don’t require anything, but if you decide to participate, here are a few things that would be much, much appreciated.

  • In all your posts, if you could give a brief description of what the meme is and who hosts it (linking it to this post so new bloggers can get all the background and the intention behind the meme), that would be MUCH appreciated. But again, not required.
  • Feel free to use the banner above. No need to credit!
  • Please also feel free to leave your links in the comment section of my posts. That way, I can keep up with everyone participating while also adding more and more diverse literature to my TBR. 🙂
  • You can use the hashtag #DiversityThursday to feature your posts on other social media platforms
  • Have fun!

I don’t expect anything great from this meme or anything. It’s more for me than anything else, to talk about something that I’m passionate about. My first post will be up tomorrow. Until then, thank you for stopping by and happy reading! <3

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