WORD WONDERS’ TBR EXPANSION : Books with Bisexual Main Characters

Bi MCs.png

Hello guys !

Weird post title, huh? Well, today I’m here with a new feature that I clearly failed at naming but we’ll role with it. As the name “Word Wonders’ TBR Expansion” says, I’m bringing this new feature to expand your TBRs, you’ll hopefully love me for it, but your wallets and bank accounts might hate me afterwards. Once a month, I will be recommending diverse books that fall under the same theme or type of representation, and since I know that if I rely on the books I’ve read only the list wouldn’t be that long so I decided I’ll ask Twitter friends for help and they delivered.

I wanted to start with books with Muslim representation (for obvious reasons) but since I already have a couple of posts where I recommend books with Muslim main characters (see here and here) I thought that if would be repetitive so I decided to skip that one for the time being. For this month, I chose books with Bisexual Main Characters and I have quite the few.

I will try to include content warnings for as many of them. The ones that I couldn’t find content warnings for will have a (*) in front of their titles.

Title = Goodreads page

1

Contemporary

How to Make a Wish – Ashley Herring Blake

Ashley Herring Blake - How to Make a Wish

CW: Parental Emotional Abuse – Death of Parent (off page)

Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde

Jen Wilde - Queens of Geek

CW: Anxiety, panic attacks, bimisia (challenged)

Far from You – Tess Sharpe

Tess Sharpe - Far from you.jpg

CW: Violence, suicidal thoughts, depression, chronic illness, car accidents (and injuries from them), PTSD, death of a lesbian, gun violence, drug abuse.

Noteworthy – Riley Redgate

riley-redgate-noteworthy

CW: Outting, homomisia, lack of cross-dressing discourse (trans/nb)

Not Otherwise Specified – Hannah Moskowitz

Hannah Moskowitz - Not Otherwise Specified

CW: Eating disorders, bimisia (challenged), bullying, lesbomisia

Ramona Blue – Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy - Ramona Blue

Note that some bi people have been hurt by it because of lack of a label.

CW: Amisia, natural disaster, difficult pregnancy, parental queer erasure, lesbian dating a guy.

We are Okay – Nina Lacour

Nina Lacour - We Are Okay

CW: Grief, depression, drowning, death, suicide.

Wild – Hannah Moskowitz

Hannah Moskowitz - Wild

Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

Alice Oseman - Radio Silence

CW: Parental Abuse, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts,  

Like Water* – Rebecca Podos

Rebecca Podos - Like Water.jpg

Little & Lion* – Brandy Colbert

Brandy Colbert - Little & Lion

Historical Fiction

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee

Mackenzi Lee - #1 The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

CW: Child abuse, homomisic parents, racism (all of it challenged), suicidal ideations.

SFF

Labyrinth Lost – Zoraida Cordova

Zoraida Cordova - Labyrinth Lost

CW: Blood

Otherbound* – Corinne Duvyis

Corinne Duyvis - Otherbound

The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin - The Fifth Season

CW: Death of a queer character

The Seafarer’s Kiss – Julia Ember

Julia Ember - The Seafarer(s Kiss

CW: Fertility Issues, could be hurtful to non-binary folks because the villain is nb.

Not Your Sidekick – C. B. Lee

C. B. Lee - #1 Not your Sidekick

CW: Aromisia

Of Fire and Stars – Audrey Coulthurst

Audrey Coulthurst - Of Fire and Stars.jpg

CW: Death

Island of Exiles* – Erica Cameron

Erica Cameron - #1 Island of Exiles

The Impostor Queen – Sarah Fine

Sarah Fine - The Impostor Queen

CW: Gore, torture

Ash – Malinda Lo

Malinda Lo - Ash

CW: Abuse (mental, emotional, one instance of physical)

Adaptation – Malinda Lo

Malinda Lo - #1 Adaptation

CW: Blood, car accident, hospitalization, kidnapping, non-consensual kiss.

27 Hours – Tristina Wright

Tristina Wright - #1 27 hours

CW: blood, war, PTSD, loss of a parent.

2

Contemporary

Dark Horse* – A.L Brooks

A. L. Brooks - Dark Horse

Tricky Wisdom* – Camryn Eyde

Camryn Eyde - #1 Tricky Wisdom

Hold Me – Courtney Milan

Courtney Milan - Cyclone #2 Hold Me

CW: Mentions of past suicide and past transmisia

The King of Bourbon Street – Thea De Salle

Thea De Salle - #1 The King of Bourbon Street

CW: Mentions of drug addiction, BDSM, age gap.

The Paths we Choose – M. Hollis

Maria Hollis - The Paths we Choose

CW: Queermisic parents.

Fast Connection – Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Santino Hassel - #2 Fast Connection

CW: Physical Abuse, childhood abuse, past trauma,

So Sweet – Rebekah Weatherspoon

Rebekah Weatherspoon - So sweet #1

CW: Sexual Abuse, age gap.

Strays – Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh - #1 Strays

CW: Stalking, anxiety.

The Art of Three – Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese

Erin McRae - The Art of Three

Fantasy/Science Fiction

Ariah* – A.R. Sanders CW: Age gap,

B. R. Sanders - Ariah

The Alchemists of Loom – Elise Kova

Elise Kova - The Alchemists of Loom

CW: Offhanded mentions of ongoing slavery, panick attacks, anxiety, PTSD, death

Bearly a Lady – Cassandra Khaw

Cassandra Khaw - Bearly a Lady

CW: Ableism, rape culture, fatmisia, bimisia, mind control

Ho boy, it’s 3am. This post took a lot more time and work than I expected, so I hope you find new books for sink your teeth into ❤

If you found this post helpful in any way, please consider supporting me
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That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Reviewing Books Outside your Lane

Reviewing outside your lane.png

Hello guys !

As more and more people pick up diverse books, more of us are reviewing them. And besides the obvious characters, plot, writing, pacing, worldbulding (when it’s SFF), there’s the added element of representation, because when we say diverse books, we say diverse characters, which means minorities are represented, and well… we want those to be good and accurate. But “reviewing” representation can be complicated, especially when the book is ownvoices (a book representing a marginalization the author is part of, which you can learn more about here, on the creator’s page) and even more when we as reviewers are not part of the minority.

What I’ve noticed (and also have been guilty of before) is that we sometimes get carried away and nitpick representation that actually is accurate and personal to the author and people who live the same circumstances, and some reviews can fall right into offensive territory because of the lack of sensitivity. This is not me saying that we shouldn’t be critical of ownvoices books, I just think that the marginalizations should be left to ownvoices reviewers to dissect, which I’ll explain the why and how of a little further down the post.

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The Queen of Dauphine Street – Steaminess, cuteness and corny Dad Jokes

The Queen of Dauphine Street.png

Series : NOLA Nights #2

Publication date : May 15th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Pocket Star

Genre : Adult | Erotic Romance

Page Count: 236

Synopsis : When one of the world’s wildest socialites is paired with a handsome Texan, neither has any idea that their lives are about to change forever in this sexy, sultry romance in the NOLA Night series from New York Times bestselling author Thea de Salle.
Madeline Roussoux has it all: money, a dozen houses, a private jet, a cruise ship, even a tiger. Everyone knows her name. Her every move is watched, absorbed, adored, and abhorred by the public. She’s a dazzling spectacle on the society scene—a beautiful, flamboyant poster child for American privilege and Hollywood celebrity.
And she’s broken.

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Content Warnings are Necessary

Trigger Warnings.png

Hello guys !

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ve probably noticed that the past few of months I started adding content warnings (or trigger warnings) to my reviews and that for many reasons, which I will discuss later but the point is, as the discussion around the importance of these warnings grows and I become more aware and educated when it comes to mental health issues (a mix of school + my mutuals on twitter) I started realising how necessary they are not only for others but for me as well because I figured out that I have been triggered by books before and that wasn’t fun which means that I could have used them a few years back and still appreciate the heads up a lot right now. Continue reading

The King of Bourbon Street – The Book that will ruin you for Erotic Romance

The King of Bourbon Street.png

Series : NOLA Nights #1

Publication date : February 13th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Pocket Star

Genre : Adult | Erotic Romance

Page Count: 304

Synopsis : Hotel chain mogul Sol DuMont is about to learn that some of life’s biggest surprises come in deceptively small packages—namely a petite heiress named Rain who’s hell-bent on upsetting her family’s expectations—in this first book in the all new series by Thea de Salle, set against the sultry backdrop of New Orleans.
Thirty-seven-year-old Sol DuMont is a divorcee and the owner of a mid-sized hotel chain in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina, his father’s death, and the decision that he and his ex-wife Maddy are far better off friends than lovers, he’s lost interest in almost everything he held dear—parties, people, and pushing limits.
All his limits.
Then Arianna Barrington checks into his hotel.

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TAG #36: Mid-year Book Freak-out tag

Midyear book freakout

Hello guys !

Please give me a second to register that half of 2017 has already flown by !!! It can’t be, can it? But yes, it’s already summer, it’s already July and I’ve already read 45 books this year, two of which aren’t on goodreads and one I read twice. I’m actually really proud of how good I’m doing reading wise, reading more books AND better books. Most of the books I read this year are 3.5 stars and up.

Anyway, enough ramblings, I don’t think I was tagged to do this one (if you tagged me, please let me know so that I can mention you in the post) but I did it last year and it was a lot of fun to do so I decided I’d do it again. This tag was created by Chami @ ReadLikeWildFire and Ely @ Ely Jayne.

Title = Goodreads page.

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017

YOU CANNOT ASK ME TO CHOOSE JUST ONE. I’ve read so many amazing books this year and narrowing it down to just 3 was actually pretty hard BUT the books that stuck with me the most because they mean something to me on a personal level are:

  • The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury. This is such a breathtakingly beautiful fantasy book. The prose is magical, the world-building fantastic and the romance is the most swoon-worthy. It’s an Aladdin retelling and I highly recommend it. (Review)
  • How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake. Ho boy did I cry when I read this one, it’s so real and raw and heartbreaking but also hopeful. It deals with important issues like parental emotional abuse, grief and family. I adore it. (Review)
  • When Michael met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah. I reviewed this one just last week and I read it pretty recently as well so everything it made me feel is still pretty vivid. It deals with racism, islamophobia as well as unpacking privilege and reading that saddened me angered me but also gave me hope. (Review)

YOUR FAVORITE SEQUEL OF 2017

V. E. Schwab - (#3) A Conjuring of Light

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab obviously. Even though I didn’t give it the full 5 star rating because of reasons you can check out in my review, it was still an epic ending to one of my favorite series ever. The author knows how to write her characters, plot and world-building. They are FANTASTIC.

A NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ BUT WANT TO

A LOT? There are so many I still need to get to, it’s truly ridiculous. I just get distracted with other books and books keep coming out quicker than I can read them and I just need a remote that can pause time until I catch up. Does anyone have one of those for sale? Just to mention a few

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF

Again… A LOT? Pals, these questions are hard but let’s see if I can give you a short list because believe me there are AT LEAST 30 books I’m anticipating, some of which I was lucky to get Arcs of and I will be reading this month and that makes me incredibly happy.

YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Adam Silvera - History is All you left me

Please don’t get mad at me for this but… History is All You Left me by Adam Silvera. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I actually enjoyed it and gave it 3.5 stars I believe but I had such high hopes for it (with More Happy than Not being one of my favorite reads last year) that I couldn’t help but feel a bit let down by it. I was bored and a little detached. It’s totally a me problem here, not a book problem. (Review)

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE YEAR

Becky Albertalli - Simon vs The homo sapiens Agenda

Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli which I’ve been actually stalling since it first came out. For some reason unknown to me I thought I wouldn’t like it but it became an instant favorite of mine. It is such a cute, heartwarming read that’s super fast to read and a perfect pick-me-up or to get out of a slump. (Review)

FAVE NEW TO YOU OR DEBUT AUTHOR

Again, I have a few here. DON’T JUDGE ME! I just discovered so many fantastic authors this year and it’s impossible to pick just one. Here are a few:

  • Becky Albertalli
  • Laura Silverman
  • Thea De Salle
  • Stacey Lee
  • Ashley Herring Blake
  • Charlotte Anne Hamilton

YOUR NEW FICTIONAL CRUSH

I don’t really have one? It’s weird but I kind of don’t crush on characters anymore, I’m always like “These are my kids and I must protect them at all costs” even when the characters are older than I am. BUT one that I would die for is Zahra from the Forbidden Wish She’s the Jinni in the story and such a beautiful, brave and flawed character. I couldn’t help but adore her throughout the whole story.

NEW FAVORITE CHARACTER

Molly from the Upside of Unrequited, she’s just such a kind, genuine, relatable character who fucks up because it’s normal and I just UGH, I loved reading about her, her wins and struggles so much. I also loved Grace from How to Make a Wish because of her strength, resilience, empathy and capability to love. I love her a lot.

A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

Aisha Saeed - Written in the Stars

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed. This is I think the book that made me really cry. A couple others made me tear up a bit but this one, wow, I was a full on fountain because of the topics, the events, all the trauma the MC goes through, it’s just awful. I also cried at the ending and how hopeful and “light at the end of the tunnel” it was. (Review)

A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

I have two that really stand out. I read Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde a while back and it was the first book this year that made me genuinely happy, I felt like the happiness would burst out of my chest. It just has so much positive representation and both romances are fluffy that you just can’t help but be happy, it’s science, really (Review). The second is The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, to no one’s surprise really, I love that book beyond what words can express, Molly is just relatable to me and that alone made me happy, add to that how the story unfolds and I am won over (Review).

FAVE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION YOU’VE SEEN THIS YEAR

hehe. hehe. hehehehe. I’ve watched exactly 0 adaptations this year but I WILL… Eventually.

FAVE BOOK POST PUBLISHED THIS YEAR

I’m actually really proud of some of my posts from this year, I’m satisfied with the direction I’ve taken with my blog and how well that translated into these posts. Here are my 3 favorite bookish posts:

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT/RECEIVED

Adam Silvera - History is All you left me 2.jpg

Well I almost exclusively read ebooks so I actually got only 4 physical books this year. The prettiest one was by far History is All you Left Me. It’s just so shiny and aesthetically pleasing. I’m talking about the UK paperback, I actually do not like the US cover that much. I’d take a picture of my copy to show how shiny it is but… it’s 1am.

WHAT ARE THE BOOKS YOU NEED TO READ BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR? 

ALL THE BOOKS? I have so many I want to read before the year ends that just thinking about them stresses me out haha. But here are a few:


That’s it until next time.

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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The Dreaded Blogging Burn-out

Blogging burn out.png

Hello guys !

Back in April & May, I had taken a step away from my blog, not posting anything but reviews, not blog-hopping, not answering comments, no nothing. I was never really present on here because all the posts that went up were pre-schedule. And I had said that it was because my exams are coming up and I needed to study and although that was true and this semester was hell, it wasn’t *just* that. It was a bit of everything. Stress, bad mental place, personal things, AND blogging burn-out. Yes I said it, I went more than a year of blogging consistently without it happening but it finally did, and it hit me hard *sobs*.

This introduction to say that those two months are what inspired this post because I know that most, if not all of us, are bound to go by a phase where blogging sounds like the least appealing thing in the world. No matter how much we love it. I love it a lot, it’s been one of my proudest decisions ever, but that doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes it’s so damn hard. Which we don’t expect when starting. I never thought it would be as big of a committment, but this blog is my pride and joy, so I’m happy to commit.

Anyway, ramblings aside. What I want to talk about today are the signs that a it’s maybe time to taking a step back from blogging as well as how to do that.

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When Michael Met Mina – A Necessary Discussion on Islamophobia and Racism

When Michael Met Mina .png

Publication date : July 28th, 2016goodreads

Publisher : Pan Macmillan Australia

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 354

Synopsis : Before Mina, my life was like a completed jigsaw puzzle but Mina has pushed the puzzle onto the floor. I have to start all over again, figuring out where the pieces go.
When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides.
Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre.
Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values.
They want to stop the boats.
Mina wants to stop the hate.
When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.
A novel for anyone who wants to fight for love, and against injustice.
  
(From Goodreads)

Rating: 5 stars

When Michael Met Mina

Content Warning: Islamophobia, racism.

(No Spoilers)

This was hands down the most difficult book I’ve had to read in my life. It’s just too personal and real to be an easy read, it hit too close to home, add that to the fact that I read it during a very difficult week for the muslim community… let’s just say that I was in a rough state. But I loved it, every page of it was amazing and brilliant and so spot on that I couldn’t help nod my head with every relevant phrase, sentence or comment.

The writing is straight to the point, no flowery prose of any sort but at the same time it is very emotionally loaded, it made me feel every struggle the main characters felt, every battle they were fighting, it helped a lot with getting me invested in the story very fast (not like I needed much convincing to begin with). Randa Abdel-Fattah does an amazing job in integrating political discourse into these people’s lives, deconstructing and giving counter-arguments for every islamophobic, racist, anti-refugee argument. And this is very proeminent through the whole book.

To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting When Michael met Mina to be as confronting as it was, I knew it would be to some extent, because you can’t bring up the refugee crisis without it being that way but this was a lot. It never sugar coated any of the issues, any of the conversations, all of it was blunt and layed for the reader to experience, and to make them think. Which was hard for me to read, and I had to take multiple breaks while reading because I’d be either angry, shaking or crying.

I loved how brilliantly the author tackled Islamophobia as well as racism, not only through lived experiences (re: showing rather than telling) but also through discourse and thoughtful commentary. And she does so with so much care and empathy, I’ve never felt like it was harsher than necessary (because some things are bound to be harsh) or like it was some kind of political agenda, it was just refugees’ lives, things they have to deal with on a daily. It’s nauseating, it’s heartbreaking but I loved how in the middle of it all there’s was hope for better as well as a sense of community and family that is heartwarming.

Some of things that happened in the story (and happen in real life as well as even worse) were gutting, it wasn’t just the loud racist acts, it was also the micro-agressions, the jokes, the pokes and jabs. They really hurt. Some quotes from the book:

Was part of our contract here in this country that we should be walking around depressed and broken? Wearing our trauma on this outside? And what about everybody we’d left dead or living in fear back home? Didn’t we owe them? How could I just lead this ordinary life?

Here’s one from an anti-refugee that made me sick to my stomach, because it’s something I’ve heard many MANY times before, everytime before someone starts nitpicking from my culture and appropriating it:

I celebrate our diversity – so long as people assimilate to our values. I don’t have a problem with different foods and festivals. That enriches our country. But people need to fit in with the majority instead of trying to mark themselves as different.

And this last one is one of the many that made me cheer and clap as well as fall in love with the book even more:

“You want me to make it easier for you to confront privilege because God knows even anti-racism has to be done in a way that makes the majority comfortable?”

I love how through two POVs on opposite side, the author took appart every argument and misconception people have. Some of which are:

  • •”They can’t be racist, they are nice people” because if you’re not on their islamophobic, racist visor, Michael’s parents and entourage could be the sweetest. I loved how that was showcased through their nice interactions with family/friends vs. their borderline vicious (and sometimes straight up vicious) behavior when it came to refugees.
  • Racism comes in different forms. There are the big loud, disgusting acts as well as the casual racism that can seem harmless unless you’re on the receiving end of them.
  • You can’t expect marginalized people to craddle you while you face your privilege. And this is something I see so often that I yelled yes when I read it in the book, because it’s true, refugees (in this case) are going through enough for you to add the weight of your own discomfort to it.

There are so many other issues discussed in this book that this is just a small sampler of what awaits you if you decide to pick it up.

 Mina is such a strong, determined and caring character, she’s the kind of muslim rep (among others) I want more of. An independant, opinionated, brave girl who stands up for what she believes in, for her people and what’s right. I honestly loved seeing her become that girl because at the start of the book, living with *her* people, she was relatively shielded from the racism but onces that shield was off, seeing her bloom into the activist the becomes at the end was beautiful.

But Michael‘s transformation was better to watch because it was different from where I stand (where I stand being next to Mina probably hugging or high-fiving her). A lot of us believe what our parents tell us at that age, and even later in life, not questioning anything unless someone shakes those beliefs to the core (been there, done that) so witnessing his internal debates as well as him uncovering layers upon layers of privilege and using them for good was fantastic albeit not always pleasant to read. He was an example of what lack of education and one sided “opinions” (re: bigotry) can do to a person and how they can be overcome when the person is willing to listen and learn.

I loved how complex the characters were, staying as far away from stereotypes as possible not only with the refugees but with people on the other side of the debate as well. The cast only made the book more powerful. I particularly loved Mina’s family dynamic, with how close and supportive of one another they were. Speaking of characters, I am pretty sure Michael’s brother is written as autistic (even though the word is never used) and I cannot speak for that rep, so if any reviewers with autism have read this book I’d love to hear their thoughts on it.

All in all this was such a brilliant, thought provoking read that I would recommend to anyone, especially if you’re interested in knowing about Islamophobia, racism and microagressions as well as unpacking privilege. Highly highly recommend this one.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read When Michael Met Mina? If so, what did you think?

How did the discourse affect you?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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The Upside of Unrequited – Cutest, most heartfelt story with most relatable MC

The Upside of Unrequited.pngPublication date : April 11th, 2017goodreads

Publisher : Balzer+Bray – Harpercollins

Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary

Page Count: 336

Synopsis : Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
 
(From Goodreads)

Rating: 5 stars

The Upside of Unrequited.png

(No Spoilers)

*awkward silence* I love this book so freaking much that I’m really trying to figure out how to review it without screaming “DROP EVERYTHING AND GO READ IT” until my laptop screen shatters. I’ve been procrastinating this review for a solid month, hoping for my feelings to settle so that I can review it properly, but who am I kidding? I will never get over how incredibly good and validating this book was. Between this one and Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli has become one of my favorite authors, an auto-buy, auto-read and auto-scream about. So without further ado, let’s try and review The Upside of Unrequited.

As in good Becky fashion, the writing is simple and easy to follow while being gorgeous and making me want to quote every single line (I’m not kidding, I have so many quotes highlighted in my ecopy). She has a way of dealing with not so happy topics while still keeping things light and funny. This book made me laugh so much, I honestly started cracking up from the first sentence. I love that first sentence.

The story is so well constructed, not only following Molly’s story and growth but having many side storylines, for her twin sister, her friends, and even her moms which made the story feel more wholesome and realistic than most. I think I’ve said this in my review of Simon vs. but I think that the author writes the best relationships and more particularly, the best family bonds. They’re so genuine and heartwarming and just REAL, so incredibly real, the conversations, the love, the honesty, I just. I love everything about them so much.

So, Molly is my baby that I will protect at all costs, I will fight anyone who means her harm because she’s so precious and close to my heart. I think that if 16 years old me had Molly, she would’ve known that she will be alright and that she is not alone in what she’s feeling. Molly is fat (and no that’s not a bad word, get over it) and just such a funny, caring, and all around awesome character and she’s probably the character I saw most of my teenage self in. She’s such an overthinker (which hi, hello, it’s me!) and that makes her a walking ball of anxiety. Oh speaking of anxiety, I loved how medications was talked about and normalized. I wanted to scream ME with ever one of her struggles, thoughts and victories.

Also, I want to address the fact that Molly WASN’T fixed by the fact that she got a boyfriend, she just found someone who made her happy so it’s only normal for her to be more rainbows and sunshine. Underneath all of that she is still the same Molly, with a lot of character growth, sure, but still Molly. I may or may not have burst into tears at some point while reading the book.

Reid is the goofiest, softest boy. He cares so much about Molly and he just *gets* her. I love how good and comfortable with each other they were while stilll having their adorably awkward moments. I couldn’t help but root for them and swoon over them because THEY ARE ADORABLE. Cassie, Molly’s twin sister is a character I started off liking because their relationship is very realistic but then as she started drifting away from Molly I got annoyed at her BUT THEN I remembered that sisters work like that sometimes and that the blame wasn’t entirely on her so I went back to loving her.

I want to mention the friendships in this as well because they are goals, the girls are there for each other at any time, no matter what. The moms as well, because that couple is so cute and strong and comforting.

I think I will stop here because I’m pretty sure this review doesn’t make sense but if you have to take one message away from this, it’s “READ THE FREAKING BOOK” It’s brilliant, has positive fat and anxiety rep, as well as pansexual rep and a two moms’ wedding. READ IT.


That’s it until next time.

Did you read The Upside of Unrequited? If so, what did you think?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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Why is Diversity Important ?

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Hello guys !

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how drastically my reading habits have changed over this last year and it hit me that around this time last year is when I decided I had to make a conscious effort to read more diverse books, and I wrote a post about My Diverse Reading – Or Lack There Of (please don’t read it, it’s awful haha) and I was impressed with myself and really proud of the changes I have made to my reading and how that changed me as a person and made me see things about myself I was subconsciously ignoring.

I actually wrote that post exactly a year ago -and I swear it is purely coincidental that I’m writing this now- and had even set a little TBR for myself to start off of. I only read 3/10 from that TBR –More Happy than Not, When Michael Met Mina and Written in the Stars– all of which I adored (all 5 stars I believe). I know that might seem like a small number but since then the number of diverse books I read in a month has been increasing until I started reading them exclusively in January 2017. Now every book I read has some kind of marginalisation in it and I find that my enjoyment of the books I read has increased a lot.

In the last year, I went from being intimidated by these books (because I knew I wasn’t doing right by them) to reading them, to screaming at the top of my lungs about them and it’s been quite the journey. One I loved being on even if some of it was hard, which I didn’t expect. Anyway, enough ramblings ! All of this to say that that’s what inspired this post, my journey from reading no diverse books at all a year ago, to reading them exclusively right now. This will be a basics as well as appreciation post for Diverse Books because they are important to me and to thousands of other people.

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I remember I had included some kind of definition in that post from a year ago but you know, I was a noob and even though it was pretty good, it was lacking in some ways. So here’s the updated and somehow more condensed version:

Diverse books are books of which the MAIN CHARACTER (yes not side characters, spare me with that nonesense) is part of one marginalized group or more. May it be race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, physical disability, learning disability, mental illness… If the main character is part of a minority group then the book is diverse.

The definition is a bit more complicated than this when you start taking into account the author’s marginalizations (or lack thereof) but for the sake of simplicity, this is it.

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That’s how the world is

The world is such a rich place, in cultures, in religions, in genders and sexualities, in experiences that are specific to those marginalizations. And we cannot forget about intersectionalities, I’m one example of them. I am part of more than one group and those shape my life significantly and make my experiences different from those of people who are part of other groups, only share one group with me, or are part of no group at all.

Once you actually broaden your vision of the world and try to look at things beyond what’s seen as the norm, you see that there’s a lot more to the world than the able-bodied allocishet white person with no mental illnesses, the rest of us exist too, a non negligible number of us, and we deserve to be seen as well. The sad thing is, I never knew I had a choice in reading beyond that until I was shown otherwise and even that I had a lot of internalized bigotry to work through and deconstruct to actually be able to see that it is okay to feel represented by a book, that it is more than okay, it is great and I as well as many others need more of it.

Just to give you an example of how that impacted me growing up, I was a Young brown Muslim kid who wrote exclusively in the “norm” because she didn’t think she had a right to write outside of that, a right to see herself in books, a right to be happy about that. It is actually sad that I only realized all of that at 19 years old, but it’s better late than never.

Erasure is real

If we are to compare the numbers of books written by/about white people to the ones written by/about people of color (ALL POCS combined) the number for the latter is ridiculously small. Same goes for allosexual/alloromantic vs. asexual/aromantic, straight vs non-straight (gay, bi, pan…), cisgender vs. transgender, able bodied vs. disabled, and the list goes on. Every minority is crushed under the weight of what’s seen as normal and that goes beyond books as well. People from all minorities are erased, overlooked, oppressed and pressured to assimilate, and what happens when you think you’re alone in this situation (re: when you lack representation) ?

  1. You think there’s something wrong with you and keep trying to fix it (which was the case for me).
  2. You never stand up for yourself because you don’t think you have a right to/ because you’re abnormal. (Guess what? me.)
  3. You fold in on yourself and try to hide all parts of you that are different from what makes other people comfortable, and pretend those parts of you don’t exist (also me)

This is what I meant by internalized bigotry, when you keep being erased and told that there’s something wrong with you, you end up believing it, and unbelieving it is hard. Incredibly hard. And THIS is why we need more diversity, we need to not have to justify our existences, we need them to be normalized, and books play a big role in doing that.

Diverse stories/authors are as good as the rest

Better in my opinion. Hear me out. There’s just so much you can do with a trope when the main characters are pretty much the same, as I said, marginalizations and intersections play a big role in shaping one’s world so that would make any given book trope different. ANY one of them. I double dare you to prove me wrong *grins*. They just offer new perspectives, perspectives that can be unknown to a lot if not brought to light by media, and in our case, books.

There’s also the issue of creating spaces for marginalized authors because we cannot deny that publishining is dominated by non-marginalized writers and no this is not a case of “taking away from them” just making MORE space, so that marginalized authors can get their stories out there. The more stories are put out there, the more they are read and the more spaces are created because publishers realize that there IS a market for our stories (yes, hi, hello, we’re here!).

I also want to put out there that they do not have to write ownvoices stories for their stories to matter, and even their ownvoices stories can’t cater to everyone. I think that as long as they proceed with care and with extensive research (yes, even when the story is ownvoices). And that for various reasons among which is the fact that some people aren’t ready to share about themselves as well as when the author isn’t out/ doesn’t want to be outed when it comes to gender and/or sexuality so they don’t feel comfortable labelling their work as ownvoices and that’s fine too. As I said, as long as it is done with care and doesn’t butcher any marginalization, there’s not problem to it.

We deserve representation

Do you know how many books I read that represent all of me, not parts of me, not me having to pick and choose which part I want to see but ALL of me, all my intersections? NONE. Zero. Not one book. Hopefully, one is coming my way soon but even one is not enough. ONE. OOOONE. I shouldn’t have to choose what part of me I want to read about because when I do that, the representation isn’t as close to me as it could be. As an example, a queer muslim’s experiences will not be the same as an allocishet muslim’s or as a queer non-muslim’s, they’re entertwined. So what we need more of are:

  • Characters of all skin colors
  • Native characters, indigenous characters, latinx, asians (East, South East, West…), africans, middle easterns… as well as multiracial characters.
  • Trans characters, bi characters, pan characters, aro/ace characters, non-binary characters, etc…
  • Muslim characters, jewish characters, hindu characters, etc…
  • Characters with mental and physical disabilities
  • Fat characters

But most of all, intersectionality. Characters with multiple marginalizations are close to my heart because more often than not, that’s how we are, multiple pieces of our identities come together to make us who we are.

So pals, this is why diversity is important. This is why I’ll forever be grateful to this community for helping me discover I would’ve never picked up otherwise, books that today, mean the world to me.


That’s it until next time.

Share your story, why do diverse books matter to YOU? What books you feel represent you?

What are your favorite diverse books?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.

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