Five Webtoons To Read This Valentine’s Day

While I didn’t set any official goals for myself this year since I didn’t want to pressure myself, especially with my burn-out, I did decide that this year I want to blog more about Webtoons, because I really want to share them with you since they’re amazing and have become such a big part of my life these past few years. I have at least one Webtoon to read each day of the week, which on my not so great days have been such a help. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I figured: why not talk about some more romance heavy Webtoons? Some of these are more romance focused than others, but there is a romance that’s central to the plot.

IMPORTANT: Please read Webtoons on either the website or the app. This is entirely free for you, but supports the artists as Webtoon pays them per view etc.

Related: Six of My All Time Favourite YA Couples Ft. Aesthetics!!

Always Human

Set in a future with very advanced technology, Always Human follows Sunati and Austen as they fall in love. Always Human covers important topics like beauty standards and academic pressure, but mostly it’s about Sunati and Austen’s relationship, which is beautifully written. I loved seeing how both of them grew, both outside and inside the relationship, and how they slowly became more and more comfortable with each other.

ALSO! Always Human is completed, so you can binge it!

Read Always Human on Webtoon

#Blessed

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Disaster Bi™ swipes right on a bunch of Gods and Goddesses and now finds herself bound to a contract and a prophecy. Which God or Goddess will win her heart?

When #Blessed was first added to Webtoon it sounded like a fun read, but I had NO IDEA Joanna was bi so imagine how much my heart fluttered when there were flashbacks to her previous disastrous dates and!! She had dates with girls too!! Joanna is the ultimate Disaster Bi™ and I love her so much. At first she’s not happy at all to have all these Gods and Goddesses show up and make a mess of her life, but she soon comes to love all of them and honestly I really hope there’ll be a polyamorous ending because I love all of them?

Read #Blessed on Webtoon

My Giant Nerd Boyfriend

My Giant Nerd Boyfriend is a slice of life comic, following tiny Fishball and – as the title suggests – her Giant Nerd Boyfriend. I’m not that big on slice of life comics* but gosh My Giant Nerd Boyfriend is just so cute and funny and absolute relationship goals?? Fishball also shows the downs of the relationship, but they always work through their problems.

* I say while I read three

Read My Giant Nerd Boyfriend on Webtoon

Super Secret

Super Secret more like super cute. Super Secret follows Emma and Ryan, neighbours and best friends since they were little, although Emma has no idea that Ryan and his family are actually supernatural beings. While I called it ‘super cute’, that’s mostly in the beginning. There’s more angst later on in the comic but it’s still funny and adorable. Emma is so clueless whereas Ryan is the Mom Friend™ we all need. There are also many loveable and unique side characters.

Read Super Secret on Webtoon

Big Jo

Big Jo is still on hiatus as I’m typing it and I really hope it will come back soon as it was supposed to come back in January please I miss my kids

God I love Big Jo so much. Jo is such an icon, not caring what people think of her. She does have some problems with how she sees her body at the start of the comic, but she has this beautiful realisation that she is beautiful and becomes 1000000x more confident and it’s awesome. I also love how the comic showed that fat =/= unhealthy. Honestly Big Jo is the body positivity comic we deserve. Big Jo will leave you with warm feelings and laughing out loud.

Also: more Bi Disasters™!! Jo herself is one (a possible female love interest popped up at the end of season 1 and?? I’m screaming?? THEY’RE GOING ON A DATE??) and so is the male lead, though he’s more of a Disaster™ than Jo is ksdgjgh legit he pretty much kisses EVERYONE* in a panic like??

Also there’s a butch janitor who’s dating a femme teacher who are legit goals and an English teacher who is 100% based on Tom Hiddleston which is super funny and he’s engaged to the cutest cinnamon and so many more amazing characters

* Just to clarify this is an exaggeration you’ll see what I mean when you read the scene

Read Big Jo on Webtoon

I have some more Webtoons to recommend, so hopefully I’ll do a part two soon? If I don’t get to it before Valentine’s Day I’ll just do it after

Do you read any Webtoons? Maybe one of these? Which ones are your favourites? If you don’t read any Webtoons: do you have a favourite comic or graphic novel? Let me know in the comments!

Mini Reviews // My Whole Truth and Hearts Unbroken

Hey look I’m alive barely I didn’t mean to disappear like that, but I’ve been really busy with doing both an internship and working at Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. I barely have any free time because of this, and during my free time I mostly,,, watch netflix and play video games I guess? I’ve been too exhausted to blog, that’s for sure. One day I’ll write a more detailed post about how I’ve been and what I’ve been up to, but I still don’t have the energy for that. The only reason I’m here now is because these books should’ve been reviewed at the start of the month woops

Author: Mischa Thrace
Genre: Contemporary // LGBTQIAP+ // YA
Rep: Fat sapphic MC, Japanese female love interest with two dads, f/f romance, black female lawyer
Goodreads rating: 4.03
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Seelie Stanton never wanted to kill someone. She never wanted to be invisible in her own family, never wanted to crush on her best friend Alyssa, and she definitely never wanted to know how effectively a mallet could destroy someone’s head.

But the universe doesn’t care what she wants. Shane Mayfield doesn’t care what Seelie wants either. When the former high school basketball star attacks her, she has no choice but to defend herself. She saved her own life, but she can’t bring herself to talk about what happened that night. Not all of it. Not even when she’s arrested for murder.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Trigger warning: rape mentions

Oh where do I even start? My Whole Truth is heartbreaking, captivating and so so important. It perfectly captures sexism, rape culture and the corruption of the justice system. But despite the heavy topics, it wasn’t an entirely heavy read, mainly because Seelie has an amazing friend group. They aren’t perfect, neither is Seelie, but they’d go to hell and back for each other. They’re always there for her, no matter what. Even when some disagreements arise, they would never give up on each other.

My Whole Truth is definitely not for everyone, even though I didn’t find it very graphic, it’s still heavy. Knowing our society, it’s hard to stay positive while reading a story like Seelie’s. Just like her, I felt myself giving up hope so many times. But then there was Seelie’s lawyer, Cara, who’s smart, kickass and never wavers. She keeps believing in Sadie and never forces her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. She doesn’t know Seelie at the start of the book, but she’s ready to fight, just like her friends. In the end, she’s more like a friend or family than just a lawyer. Despite not having a great relationship with her mother, Seelie has found her family in her friends and Cara, which was beautiful to see.

Also the romance is adorable and I love it so much.

I honestly can’t say much more about My Whole Truth, except read it if you can handle it. I couldn’t possible do the book justice with a review, but I hope this mini review was enough to convince you.

Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Genre: Contemporary // YA
Rep: Own voices Native American (MC and family), Libanese male love interest, two minor sapphic characters who are in a relationship with each other (lesbian and bisexual)
Goodreads rating: 3.74
My rating: ⭐⭐

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

This one had so much potential. I definitely do encourage everyone to try this one for yourself, as my biggest issue was the writing, which is something that is very subjective. The writing was very passive and just really missed emotion and tension. Some terrible stuff happens to the characters but I didn’t really feel anything while reading the book. Because of the writing it was really hard to connect to the characters and the story.

I also felt like this story still needed a lot of editing. Like Louise and Joey are making their way to the lockers and we get a description of their entire route which was very unnecessary. Or random notes like in this scene:

”Daniel can’t cover his own meets.” [about Daniel becoming the school paper’s sports reporter]
Alexis, the news reporter, had just returned from the restroom. ”I’ll take it. I have an older brother who wrestled. The coach loved him.”
(The first meet isn’t until December anyway.)

I mean??? It completely took me out of the story. It felt so unnatural and it’s not relevant at all?

Chapters often ended in a way that didn’t really make me want to keep reading, nor did they start that way. I mean this is literally how one of the chapters start: ”A freshly microwaved pillow radiated heat into my neck and shoulders as my feet soaked in a copper basin of warm, seasalted water and Legally blonde played on the overhead screens.’ Or another great start: ‘Joey ran with a story tip from Alexis on injuries at the skate park’.

The romance was incredibly forced. We’re literally told that Louise likes Joey, but?? The characters talk as if it’s so obvious but it really wasn’t. There wasn’t really any build up nor chemistry. Also I uhhh kept forgetting they were dating every time I picked the book up. And I read each day until I had finished it, so it wasn’t like that much time had passed.

The book does cover a lot about what it means to be Native American and racism. The plot itself is good, just the execution not so much. Again, I definitely encourage you to try this one for yourself.

How are all of you doing?? Have you read these books or are you planning to? Let me know in the comments!

Bonjour Girl // This Review is a Mess But It’s Okay Because So Is This Book

Author: Isabelle Laflèche
Genre: Contemporary // YA
Goodreads rating: 2.82
My rating: ⭐

 

 

 

When Clementine Liu arrives in New York City to study at the Parsons School of Design, she knows that she’s found her place. It isn’t long before she meets her fashionista soulmate, the loud and charismatic Jake, and Jonathan, a dreamy fashion photographer who turns her world upside down.

Between schoolwork and glitzy fashion shows, Clementine launches a blog, Bonjour Girl, and her wit, originality, and flair quickly catapult the site to cult status. Unfortunately, this comes with a price: Clementine is faced with online abuse and public humiliation. In the midst of all the drama, she finds out that a classmate is not what she seems, and Clementine has to find a way to save both her reputation and Jake’s fashion collection.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Welp, this one was a disappointment. I was SO excited to see I got approved for Bonjour Girl because:

💛 LOOK AT THAT COVER! Cute AND rep? Yes please
💛 A biracial (half-Chinese!) protagonist??
💛 It’s all about diversity in fashion and making a change??
💛 It just sounded like a cute contemporary on top of all of that and I LOVE CUTE CONTEMPORARIES THAT ALSO DEAL WITH IMPORTANT TOPICS YES PLS THANK YOU

So yes excitement all around. My first red flag was this quote:

Fashion is my religion, fashion is my salvation, and fashion is the way I roll. I don’t do conventional fashion; I’m quirky and different, I have a funny-looking button nose and lots of freckles, and I go my own way.

seriously why does this have the same energy as ‘my name is ebony dark’ness dementia raven way and I have long ebony black hair (that’s how I got my name) with purple streaks and red tips that reaches my mid-back and icy blue eyes like limpid tears and a lot of people tell me I look like Amy Lee (AN: if u don’t know who she is get da hell out of here!). I’m not related to Gerard Way but I wish I was because he’s a major fucking hottie.’

I wish I could say that things went better from here on, but… Yeah.

First of, for a book about characters wishing to promote diversity in fashion it’s… not that diverse. While Clementine is half-Chinese and half-French, her Chinese heritage is barely brought up, whereas we’re constantly reminded that she’s half-French. Other than that there’s a supporting character who’s both fat and gay (and of course stereotypically flamboyant) and a disabled girl in a wheelchair. Maybe I’ve forgotten another minor supporting character, but that’s really it. Clementine is constantly preaching to the reader about diversity and why it matters, but yet the book itself doesn’t really live up to that?

Then there’s the writing itself. There’s so much telling instead of showing, that it got really annoying. There were also so many unrealistic plot elements. Like how most students solely wear black except for Clementine like?? Yes, at a fashion school everyone dresses the same. There’s also the fact that the ‘bully’ throws a gum wrapper at Clementine. WHAT COLLEGE-KID WOULD DO THIS. know people in college can be mean, I’ve seen it myself, but this? And there isn’t even a reason for her to do this? She’s just a ‘mean girl’.

What also really bothered me is the random uses of French, especially when talking to other people, who don’t speak French. At some point she even says an entire phrase in French, and then repeats it in English. It would’ve been realistic if she had started in French, but then switched to English because she realised she was speaking the wrong language. Of course, I’m not French so I can’t say much about this, but like Clementine I studied abroad in a country where pretty much everyone spoke English, so this felt very unnatural to me. I’ve screwed up, trust me, but not like this!* Also while some of the French you can understand by context, not all of it? Like at some point someone texts her ‘bien joué’ (this person isn’t even French by the way) and like,,, I literally only know what this means because of Miraculous Ladybug.

* Once I was saying goodbye to my American friend and I wanted to say both ‘bye’ and ‘doei’ (Dutch for bye, you pronounce it kinda like do-wee) but said boei instead. This still haunts me. At some point she also thinks (and her mom later on says it to her) ‘kick some derrière’ can some French person pls tell me if this is truly something they would say (I may or may not be looking at you Marie) because all I could think of was me saying ‘kick some kont/billen’ and sdjsbhd no

There are plenty of small things I could point out that were just ridiculous* but there are A LOT. So let’s continue on to my biggest gripe after the lack of diversity: everything goes so smoothly for Clementine. Like apart from the bullying (which I can’t say much about because my ARC had a problem with showing the tweets? Some were cut in the middle and some didn’t show up at all? So I had to figure out from context what was being said) which was like one girl tweeting some kinda mean stuff about her, everything went right. She got into a prestigious school, gets to live in a great appartment with her aunt (which she doesn’t have to pay anything for), gets a scholarship to launch her blog, meets a ‘great guy’ (at least we’re told he is he barely has a personality and the romance is so forced), immediately gets a new bff, her first blog post immediately does well and so do all the others that follow, by her second post she gets an offer from a fashion brand to send her samples and by the end she even gets acknowledges by frickin’ Anna Wintour?? Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, reads her blog?? Not only is all of this super unrealistic, she doesn’t even really work that hard for it? And NOTHING goes wrong? Not for her anyway. The worst thing that happens in the book actually happens to Jake. Oh! I forgot! She even gets picked to study abroad in China (when suddenly the author remembers that her protagonist is supposed to be half-Chinese) like,,, why though.

* At some point Jake takes her to an ‘ice cream parlour for grown-ups’?? what is this. Is this a real thing. I am confusion America explain. Why can’t adults go to regular ice cream parlours what is going on at that ice cream parlour for grown-ups what do they do there that makes it ‘for grown-ups’ I have questions

So in conclusion: not that well-written, too much telling instead of showing, incredibly unrealistic to the point that it got ridiculous, for a book that supposed to be about promoting diversity it’s not that diverse and it’s just funny how it’s IMPOSSIBLE to forget that Clementine is half-French (like at some point towards the end she even SAYS ‘I’m half-French’ like yes honey we know couldn’t have missed it!!) but quite a few times I forgot she was supposed to be half-Chinese, and uhhh.. I don’t remember where I was going with this. This review is a mess.

Bonjour Girl is out now so uhhh, give it a try I guess*

* That sounds sarcastic but seriously if you wanted to read this, don’t let my review stop you! You might have a very different experience than I did

Have you read Bonjour Girl? What do you think? Any books similar to this you’d recommend? ALSO WHAT IS AN ICE CREAM PARLOUR FOR GROWN-UPS IS IT REAL WHAT DOES IT MEAN

The Pride Tag! // In Which I Shower Becky Albertali With Love

Mel @ A Word and a Whisper created the Pride Tag, a super fun cute tag based on the colours of the rainbow flag. Since it’s Pride, what better time than to do this tag? Thank you again Mel for tagging me in the comments! And don’t forget to check out her blog if you haven’t yet

Red – Life – name an author who gives you life

Lately it’s definitely been Becky Albertali, which of course has to do with Love, Simon and Leah on the Offbeat coming out, but I’ve just been filled with so much love for this woman??

Orange – Healing – pick a book that helped you through a rough time

The first time I read Simon vs I didn’t know I was bi yet (had been repressing the hell out of it! Fun!) so the second time I read it when I had come out? SUCH a different experience and it helped me so much?? I could definitely use this one for yellow as well (then again I can use all of the books in this post for yellow except Anger is a Gift) but it’s healed me so much?? I can’t even describe it to be honest, but Love, Simon has had the same effect on me.

Yellow – Sunlight – pick a book that makes you happy

I could go with so many books for this question – most of the books I’ve chosen for this tag would fit this question, but I’ve decided to go with The Upside of Unrequited. While the protagonist herself isn’t queer, she has two moms who are planning their wedding (same sex marriage has just been legalised and everyone is just celebrating and it’s so wonderful?) and her twin sister is a lesbian who ends up dating a pansexual Korean girl. The book ends with a big gay wedding – what better way to end a book?

Green – Nature – what tropes, buzzwords, etc., are you naturally drawn to when choosing a book?

💛 If it’s queer you most likely got me
💛 Though I’m drawn to any kind of diversity tbh
💛 Writers and bookworms as characters!
💛 Boarding schools
💛 Friendship!!!
💛 Magic
💛 Road trips
💛 This is really hard because there’s so much??
💛 Enemies to lovers!
💛 Banter
💛 Cute animals that don’t die!! *looking at a certain author who traumatised me which I’ll never get over* I mean I literally bought The Unexpected Everything on a whim because there was a pug on the cover dskgj*
💛 There are so many more but I can’t think of any others?? Oh well this is too long anyway

* Don’t be fooled the pug is barely there :( There are lots of cute dogs in general though and I loved the book so it was worth it but the pug

Blue – Peace/Harmony – what is your ultimate OTP?

I wouldn’t call Leah and Abby my ‘ultimate’* OTP, but I do love them and shipped them a lot during Leah on the Offbeat – definitely an OTP!

* What even IS an ultimate OTP like I can’t have only one I love so many ships and it really depends on whether I’ve just (re)read a book because at some point I’ll slowly start to forget about it and obsess over the next ship?? Like half the time I even forget pretty much all of my ships because I’m a goldfish and if I don’t see them?? I forget they exist

Violet – Spirit – pick a book that speaks to you on a personal level

Definitely Queens of Geek! This was one of the first books I truly felt represented in multiple ways: both the bi rep and the anxiety rep was so so on point. Like Charlie never realising that she had crushes on female celebrities, just thinking she admired them a lot?? SAME.

Brown – POC LGBT Pride – pick a book featuring queer characters of color

Are you all getting tired of me yelling about Anger is a Gift yet because listen I still barely see it around so SOMEONE has to yell about it all the time and that someone is me because I love this book to pieces and it’s so important yet also so underrated *sobs* Please read Anger is a Gift all of the main characters are either brown or black and Moss’ friend group is very queer (even a trans friend and a nonbinary friend!!)

I tag whoever wants to do this!

Have you read any of these? Which books would you use for your answers? Let me know in the comments!

LGBTQIAP+ Comics You Should Read Part II

I’m back with more comic recommendations! With this being the last week of Pride it doesn’t mean that I won’t ever do a part III of course, I’ll definitely share more at some point in the future! Anyway, let’s dive in

Giant Days

I discovered Giant Days when I caught up on all the Lumberjanes issues that were out back then and was looking for a replacement. According to some forum (I think?) Giant Days was similar to Lumberjanes and as it sounded interesting I went to check it out. And lo and behold, I was hooked. Giant Days is very much its own story of course, but it is a little bit like a more mature Lumberjanes.Giant Days is about three best friends trying to get through college together and while it’s pretty realistic, it also has some more fantasy-like elements, thus why I see the similarities with Lumberjanes. While dealing with some serious topics, it’s fun, silly and absolutely hilarious. I don’t laugh out loud quickly when reading comics, but Giant Days? I’ve laughed out loud multiple times. Daisy is biracial (her grandmother is black) and throughout the comics she realises she likes girls (I don’t remember her labeling herself?) and eventually she gets into a relationship with a girl. It’s… not the best relationship, but the comic never pretends it is. It’s just a very realistic take on a bad relationship. If you like Lumberjanes, I definitely recommend Giant Days.

The Backstagers

*chants* Queer theater boys queer theater boys queer theater boys! Another one that really reminds me of Lumberjanes, although this is about the backstage crew of a school theater club. Like the Lumberjanes’ camp, backstage isn’t a regular one as it’s a magical place with lots of secrets to uncover. I love how The Backstagers not only showcases great friendships between boys, but also breaks down stereotypes and toxic masculinity. Plus a cute slow burn between two of the boys and Beckett (on the left) is trans. There are only two volumes so it’s a very short read (though a Valentine’s Day special came out so maybe there’s more coming?) but so so worth it. Again, if you love Lumberjanes, definitely recommend this one.

Patsy Walker

I’ve only read the first volume of this but I’m already in love?? It’s just very queer without making a big deal about it and I love it. Also the story itself is just fun and cute? Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat starts a temp agency for people with superpowers which in itself is already a unique and fun concept, but the entire vibe of the comic is just?? So fun?? The art work is cute and colourful and while there are villains to fight there isn’t really any angst. Also the humour really reminds me of Squirrel Girl, which is a plus. There are multiple queer characters (my fave being Ian Soo, who’s bisexual) who just get to exist, be happy, have fun adventures and friends* and ahhh I’m so sad this got cancelled even though I haven’t finished it yet.

* I don’t know about any romantic relationships as I’m not that far yet but I think they do also get into healthy relationships?

Zodiac Starforce

I’ve actually talked about this one before!  Zodiac Starforce is a magical girls comic, in which the girls powers are based on the zodiac signs. Apart from multiple POC the main cast also consists of two queer girls who fall in love with each other. Apart from that once again a great friendship is at the center of this one. These girls are not just fighting to save the world, but also to protect each other. It’s a fun read, though it also explores the darker side of being a magical girl.

Hi-Fi Fight Club

Okay so there aren’t that many issues out for this one yet so I can’t really say that much about plot and characters, but the main character has a crush on a really pretty girl and it’s super relatable because SAME. She’s such a mess around her ajbshg The main character works at a record store, but it turns out that her co-workers are sort of superheroes, minus the super powers and have started a fight club. Oh and it takes place in the 90s! So far it’s really fun and cute and I can’t wait to see where this goes

That’s it for now, but as I said Pride being almost over doesn’t mean the end for this series.

Have you read any of these? Any LGBTQIAP+ comics you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Cinderella Boy // Genderfluid Cinderella and Queer Kids Fighting Back

Author: Kristina Meister
Genre: Contemporary // Fairytale Retelling // LGBTQIAP+ // YA
Goodreads rating: 4.59
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Declan is the perfect son . . . except for one tiny issue. When his sister Delia comes home to find him trying on her clothes, he fears her judgment, but she only fears his fashion choices. One quick makeover later, Declan is transformed into Delia’s mysterious cousin Layla and dragged to the party of the year, hosted by Carter, the most popular boy in school.

When Carter meets Layla, he fumbles to charm her. He adores her sense of humor and her poise. But when she vanishes in the middle of the night, he’s left confused and determined to solve the mystery of who she is.

As their school year begins, their high school embraces a policy of intolerance, and both Declan and Carter know they must stand up. Carter is tired of being a coward and wants to prove he can be a knight in shining armor. Declan is sick of being bullied and wants desperately to be himself. If they team up, it could be a fairy-tale ending, or a very unhappy ever after.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review

Note: Declan uses he/him pronouns

Well this was definitely a fun read! A genderfluid Cinderella, a queer Prince Charming, a cute romance and queer kids fighting for their rights? Yes please!

I definitely would’ve given this four stars if the first half hadn’t been so slow. The first half mostly consists of Declan/Layla going on dates with Carter and while they were cute I also didn’t really care? There just wasn’t much going on and the main plot was nowhere in sight yet. The first half was just really too long as it really felt like a build up to the second half. I would’ve preferred if it had been shorter and if some of the things that happened in the second half were build up more. Like I would’ve loved to have seen more of Declan’s friendship with Yuki who’s supposed to be his best friend, his relationship with his sister (which was great and adorable and I loved how supportive she was) and Carter’s relationship with his father, as that relationship was very important to him as a person and for his growth, and it kind of felt like it was just squeezed in there. Once we get to the second half though, that’s where the book got really good and I had to continue reading it to see what happens next.

One of Declan’s new friends at his new high school wants to start an LGBTQIAP+ club called The Rainbow Corps (A+ name obviously) but the homophobic principal forbids the club and starts to pull a lot of other homophobic crap after that, but the queer kids at the school don’t back down. Seeing them fight back was empowering and inspiring, and I love the way they went about it (really don’t want to spoil it because it’s so much fun reading it for yourself). While it deals with some harder topics, this book was fun, cute and empowering. The romance has some of my favourite tropes, like one of the characters talking about their crush to their crush without saying that they’re their crush. Did that sentence make sense. Also lots of banter and that epilogue was ADORABLE. Very fanfiction-y but hey it’s a fairytale retelling that’s allowed. 

”It’s not a costume for me. It’s not dress-up. It’s not pretend. It’s me, or part of me, an aspect of me that gets to be in that moment.”

I do however unfortunately need to point out that two characters make comments that erase multiple gender attraction. Like when Declan describes his crush to Carter he says ‘he’s just not gay’. Declan knows Carter had a girlfriend, but that doesn’t make him straight? If that comment had been addressed I would’ve been fine with it, but it wasn’t.

If you’re looking for a queer, fun and cute story where a genderfluid MC gets his fairytale ending I’d definitely recommend Cinderella Boy. Please keep going through if like me you have a bit trouble with the first half, because Cinderella Boy is so so worth it and an absolute gem.

Have you read Cinderella Boy, or are you planning on it? Any recs for YA books (fairytale retellings or not) with genderfluid MCs? Let me know in the comments!

LGBTQIAP+ Comics You Should Read Part I

HAPPY PRIDE

Am I going to start all my Pride posts like this? Probably. ANYWAY. You may know I love comics. One of the reasons I love comics so much is because they’re so diverse?? Including LGBTQIAP+ rep?? Obviously it hasn’t always been that way so I can’t be all mad and go ‘why did no one tell me before I got into them in 2016!!’* I’ve been meaning to scream about my favourite comics, so what better time than Pride?

* Obviously not counting the Donald Duck and other Disney comics I used to read as a child. Oh and the Winx Club comics! Anyone remember those? I did read manga before that but it’s really hard to find good LGBTQIAP+ manga that are not full of gross stereotypes and fetishing adgjhs

Shoot Around

My absolute favourite!! Okay I love all the comics on this list dearly, but oh my goodness this one. It has a special place in my heart because it was the first LGBTQIAP+ comic I read but it’s also just SO GOOD. It’s about an all girls high school basketball team and their coach who suddenly find themselves in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. While it gets tense and there’s quite some angst – because you know,, zombies – the focus lies on these characters just trying to keep on living their life, not just surviving. Out of the eight main characters only one of them is white and none of them are both cis AND straight – the only (seemingly) straight character is trans. The supporting cast is also incredibly diverse and look!! At that body diversity!! It’s heartwarming, heartbreaking, absolutely hilarious and very queer and unfortunately finished, though that does mean you can binge and don’t have to fear any horrible cliffhangers! If you need more convincing I once wrote a post about it but if I’ve got your attention, please read it either on the Webtoon site or app – it’s completely free for you but supports the artist.

Rock and Riot

IT’S GREASE BUT QUEER LIKE COME ON YOU NEED THIS. Shoot Around is very diverse when it comes to sexualities and gender identities, but Rock and Riot?? I was blown away. >big>So many different identities but all these characters are so much more than that. Also!! As you can see there’s also diversity when it comes to race and bodies! Rock and Riot takes place in the fifties and follows two (later three) gangs: a girl gang, a boy gang and a non-binary gang. The first two gangs have a rivalry together, while the third one is just off having a Good Time™. These kids are just so silly and relatable and it’s just adgjs They stand up for what is right and fight for each other – I can’t say too much without giving it all away but damn the scenes I’m talking about were empowering. Also THE BEST, MOST ICONIC™ coming out scene of all time. You can read the comic on Tumblr  but if you need more convincing you can read my old post about it

Lumberjanes

You might have heard of Lumberjanes, as it’s pretty popular around the book blogging community (for non-superhero related comics anyway) but if not have no fear these kids are queer! Couldn’t help myself. Anyway not all of them are (at least not confirmed) But Mal and Molly are in love and it’s adorable and just everything, Jo is a trans girl and later on we get a non-binary character. It takes place at a summer camp in magical woods with monsters, not all of them friendly, but that’s okay because these girls are always up for an adventure. It’s silly, it’s fun, it’s cute. READ IT. And if I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s my old post on it

Goldie Vance

Did someone say Nancy Drew but she’s black and queer – that someone is me. I said that. HELLO MEET GOLDIE VANCE SHE’S A TEEN DETECTIVE, HELLA SMART, LOVES CARS AND RACING IN THEM AND SHE HAS A HELLA COOL GIRLFRIEND*. Goldie Vance is cute, fun and colourful. I mean look at that art?? Goldie isn’t the only girl interested in cars – there are multiple girls who are, who work on them and who race as well. There are a bunch of interesting characters and it’s just so worth diving into?? Though if I didn’t have you at ‘Nancy Drew but she’s black and queer’ I don’t know how to convince you further. Though I did write a post on this wonderful comic once upon a time that you could read if I haven’t convinced you yet 

* I’m not jealous you are

DC Bombshells

Can you believe I haven’t written a post on this comic yet even though I love it very very much. I can because I’m lazy and forgetful  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Anyway, DC Bombshells takes place during World War II in an alternative universe where most male superheroes don’t exist (or aren’t superheroes like Bruce Wayne) and puts DC’s women – superheroes and villains alike – in the spotlight.It’s very political, but also just a lot of fun. One of my favourite things about this comic is their take on the Bat Fam, as it includes a bunch of teens/young adults who were inspired by Batwoman, took up her name and decided to keep Gotham save while Batwoman is in Europe fighting the nazi’s. They’re a very diverse group and I just love those kids. The comic has multiple queer characters (and a bunch of POC as well!) and f/f relationships, though it’s been so long since I read this and I’m super behind, so I don’t want to go into too much detail in case I remember something wrong. I started to reread it last year so that I could write a proper post but guess I should start rereading again dgksjshg

And that’s part I! I still have some others to share so if nothing here interests you, part II might have the perfect comic rec for you!

Have you read any of these? What’s your favourite LGBTQIAP+ comic? Let me know in the comments!

Anger is a Gift // A Powerful Look On Police Brutality (Also It’s Hella Queer™ )

Author: Mark Oshiro
Genre: Contemporary //  YA // LGBTQIAP+
Goodreads rating: 4.42
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Honestly I don’t even know where to start I’m so blown away by this book. I’m honestly kind of disappointed at the lack of hype surrounding this one? I’ve barely seen it around and hadn’t even heard of it when I stumbled across it on Netgalley. Let me tell you: Anger is a Gift deserves all the hype and more. It’s incredible, intense, heartbreaking, yet also shows family, friends and an entire community having each other’s back, fighting for each other and always, always being there for one another.

Anger is a Gift is very graphic, and just gets more and more graphic as the book continues. The police brutality described just gets worse and worse, and gets described in some detail, which is something you should know going in if this triggers you. That said, it’s an incredibly important read and Oshiro has clearly done so so much research, making this incredibly realistic and brutal.

Moss watched his father get shot right in front of him by a police officer, leaving him with severe PTSD (it’s never stated that Moss has PTSD, I read it this way myself) and panic attacks, which is described really, really well. He’s also left with a lot of anger, naturally, which only increases in the book, but as the title of the book states ‘anger is a gift’, and Moss learns that his anger is not a bad thing, and that he could use it to try and change things. Moss’ character development is incredible: he went from not wanting to be anywhere near a protest because of his panic attacks to pretty much leading a movement.

While the entire book is very intense, it’s not all heavy stuff, especially when it comes to Moss’ family and friends. His relationship with his mother is so heartwarming to read: they share everything and are very open; something that all characters were with each other. They all just discussed everything, had no secrets for each other… It was so refreshing to see. Plus all the parents actually being involved!

”You realize how lucky I am that my son is one of my best friends?”

And then there’s his friends, who are absolutely amazing. These kids would do anything for each other – which they did. They always had each other’s back, no matter what. They went through hell for each other, and they’d do it over and over again. Also I loved how diverse (none of them are white) and queer they’re group was, without anyone seeming like the token anything. Moss himself is gay, Esparanza is a lesbian, Reg is disabled, Kaisha is ace, Njemile is trans (and has two moms!), Bits is nonbinary and Rawiya is a Muslim. They’re so unapologetically queer and Oshiro has gotten the queer friends group thing so right – the way they talked about their sexualities and gender identities, joked around etc. all felt very realistic and similar to me and my friends. While of course they face discrimination, the people that matter never give them a hard time and are very accepting and supportive, which was great to see.

And oh, oh my god the romance. The romance is just so good I’m still broken over it. It starts out very awkward yet also very cute, and just very realistic? The entire romance was – neither of them had been in a relationship before, neither knew what to do.

Another burst of nervous energy flushed through Moss’ body. ”Yes,” he said. ”I mean, no!” He blurted it out, then shook his head. ”Please sit down,” he finally said, certain he had embarrassed himself beyond repair.
(I made a note on my Kindle app about this that just says ‘Useless Gay™’)

As I said, all characters were very open with each other, and Moss and Javier were no exception. They shared their doubts with each other: doubts about themselves, but also doubts about the relationship because they were both clueless cinnamon roles. Moss felt so safe with him, sharing his insecurities and Javier making sure that he never felt that way. They were absolutely lovely. While they were never really friends before the romance developed, it still felt very much like the relationship was built on friendship. Also everytime Javier kissed Moss on the cheek I died.

Anger is a Gift  is a powerful, incredible, critical look on how rooted racism is in America and the corruption of the police. The ending is so powerful and heartbreaking, because it’s very realistic. I highly encourage you to read Oshiro’s author’s note, as it made the book even better (if that’s even possible).

I could never do this book justice. There are no words to do so, but I hope you’re going to pick this up, because Anger is a Gift is really important, touches on so many important issues that I can’t even begin to list because then we’ll be here for a while, and is just a must-read for everyone.

Have you read Anger is a Gift? Are you planning too? Let me know in the comments!

Starfish // The Best Anxiety Rep I’ve Ever Read


Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Genre: Contemporary //  YA
Goodreads rating: 4.12
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time as her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the West Coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns transformative truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

A luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.Disclaimer: I was given an copy of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Where do I even start? Starfish has been one of my most anticipated reads for a while now, and boy it did not disappoint in the slightest. In fact I think it went beyond my expectations.

I’ve been having trouble writing this post for weeks now, because putting my love for this book into words?

It’s been a while since I read a book that I loved this much, plus a lot of it hit me personally, making it even harder to write this review. While I haven’t gone through exactly the same thing as Kiko, her relationship with her mother really reminded me of mine with my father, something I haven’t really talked about on here. While of course there are differences between Kiko’s mom and my father, there were a lot of similarities and I’m just so happy to see this represented so well in ya fiction. Because I’m lucky to know that things weren’t okay, so I know that it’s okay to choose to not have a relationship with my father now, but there are so many kids and teens out there that don’t, that think they just have to accept the way it is because they’re family. 

She can’t be the villain if she’s the victim.

Starfish shows us that it’s not okay, not in the slightest, and never tries to normalise her mom’s behaviour or get us to symphatise with her.

One quote that hit me really hard, because I’ve heard pretty much the exact words (except in Dutch of course) were: ”I’m not some evil dictator.” Her mom constantly played the victim, made it all about herself, constantly looked down on Kiko, and meanwhile Kiko badly tries to be perfect as to please her mom. I still have issues trying to do everything perfectly because of my father, so I related to Kiko so much.

Kiko’s anxiety definitely stems from her mother’s abuse, but it also stems from (TRIGGER WARNING: sexual abuse. Yes, this is a spoiler, but I want to mention this so that people know what to expect going in) her uncle sexually abusing her when she was a kid. This only made her mother’s abuse worse, as she doesn’t believe her. Thankfully I haven’t experienced any sexual abuse, but I definitely got my anxiety from my father’s abuse, making me feel a lot more represented in this book than others that deal with anxiety.

That’s not to say that other books I’ve read don’t have great anxiety rep! One of the reasons I loved Queens of Geek and The Upside of Unrequited so much is because of their great anxiety rep, but Starfish? Starfish is so on point. It touched upon things that I haven’t seen before in YA (that’s not to say it isn’t there! I just personally haven’t read it or my memory is failing me once again) and it made me think about my own WIP, as these things Kiko felt and experienced are just so normal to me that I didn’t even think about including them in my own WIP that also deals with anxiety.

I loved the inclusions of what Kiko actually wanted to say, and what she really ended up saying, because same? Not being good at talking to people, hating parties and loud music*, not being able to have fun when there are people you don’t feel comfortable around**, needing someone to hide behind/to talk for you/just be there with you in new situations, quickly worrying that you said the wrong thing and upset someone just because they’re not immediately responding… and just so much more. Starfish captured anxiety so well – anxiety is different for everyone, so there were differences between me and Taylor (Queens of Geek) and Molly (The Upside of Unrequited), but Starfish is the first book that when it came to my anxiety I just felt fully represented in.

Normal people don’t need to prepare for social interactions. Normal people don’t panic at the sight of strangers. Normal people don’t want to cry because the plan they’ve processed in their head is suddenly not the plan that’s going to happen.

* Fun fact: when I was still in my mother’s womb and my mother would go somewhere with loud music I would protest by moving around and kicking until she left lmao sorry mom so yeah that’s something I probably wouldn’t like even if I didn’t end up with anxiety, but now it can be really hard for me to handle?
** Like it didn’t matter I had my friends at school parties I did NOT feel comfortable at all with all the other people around. During our senior trip in Barcelona our teachers surprised us by going to a club hahahaha thanks mates couldn’t you have warned a girl I had a panic attack :) bless the club for having wifi though so I could talk to my mom all evening

I loved how at the end of each chapter Kiko would describe what she drew or painted that day, which always reflected something she went through, felt or experienced during that chapter, and to see how she’d turn that into art. Sometimes it was heartbreaking, sometimes heartwarming, but it was always beautiful. The way Kiko’s written as an artist is something I aspire to write as one of my character is an artist as well. Plus as an art lover it was just fun to read about an artist!

I draw a woman wearing an elaborate dress, twirling like she’s made of light and sun. And then I draw a shriveled girl trapped within her shadow. She doesn’t want the light – she just wants her mom.

One of my favourite things in this book is her relationship with the artist Hiroshi, who doesn’t just take her under his wings as an apprentice, but welcomes her into his family. He gives her so much wisdom, love and kindess, and so did the rest of his family. I also loved that this way Kiko could reconnect with her Japanese roots, which is something she was missing. Speaking of the Japanese rep, I’m not Japanese, so I can’t speak for it, nor can I speak for her experience of looking Asian in a white society, as while I’m part Indonesian I’m very whitepassing. So far I have only seen positive reviews from Asian bloggers, but if there’s anything incorrect about the rep that you’ve mentioned in your review, please let me know so I can link to it!

Kiko’s development is incredible. In the beginning she can barely go out by herself (same girl), but in the end she does things outside of her comfort zone, despite her anxiety. She isn’t magically cured, she still suffers from her anxiety, but she learns how to live with it. And that my friends? Is the message I really needed right now as my anxiety has been pretty bad lately.

Starfish is an incredible read, and definitely my favourite of 2018. Of course it’s only May, but I just don’t see anything surpassing it. It has a great balance between heavy and light, but never downplaying the heavy elements. It tackles racism, abuse, family, belonging and so much more.

If you haven’t picked this up yet, I highly recommend it.Have you read Starfish yet? What did you think? Any other great anxiety YA books you’d recommend? What’s your favourite read of 2018 so far? Let me know in the comments!

The Radical Element // Twelve Stories About Badass Girls

Author: Twelve different authors
Genre: Historical //  YA
Series: A Tyranny of Petticoats #2
Goodreads rating: 3.77
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced whether you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

I HATE rating and reviewing anthologies – some of these stories were amazing and I would’ve loved to see them as an actual book, others not so much. So while some of these are solid four or even five star reads, I ended up rating it three stars. I’m happy that there’s diversity not just among the stories and their protagonists, but also among the writers themselves, which means we also have some own-voices stories. All of the women featured in this book are incredibly empowering and inspiring. Even if the short story they appeared in didn’t really capture me, they certainly did. I am disappointed that there were no f/f romances though, even though one of the protagonists liked girls.

💛 Daughter of the Book by Dahlia Adler ⭐⭐⭐ // This one tells the story of Rebecca Gratz, a woman who really existed and was an advocate for Jewish women and economic equality. Daughter of the Book shows her as a young girl with a thirst for knowledge of her religion, culture and history. I really liked how determined Rebecca was and how it focuses on how important Jewish women were. I do feel like it was more of a set up though, but it did make me really interested in finding out more about her!

”What do I say when they want to know how you could leave them behind?”
”Tell them I’m Jewish first.”

💛 You’re a Stranger Here by Mackenzi Lee ⭐⭐⭐ // My expectations were really high for this one, as I absolutely loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. This one fell a bit short for me, as I felt like not much really happened. I still ended up giving it three stars because I love Lee’s writing style and I really liked the message of it:

”Finding things that give you hope, and make you want to do good things for others. And if Joseph’s words do that” – she pats the Book of Commandments manuscript – ”then that seems fine to me. Seems like a thing that people could need.”

💛 The Magician by Erin Bowman ⭐⭐⭐⭐ // I didn’t expect to love this one as much as I did! Ray has a reputation as an unbeatable poker player and calls herself a ‘magician’ rather than a cheat. Pretending to be a boy so she could earn more money, she agrees on going on an expedition, which of course could mean having her secret exposed. Besides Ray being a badass, her relationship with Mrs. Lowry, the woman who took her in and raised her, was my favourite aspect of this story. Despite this relationship, she is still desperate to find her biological family and find out more about who she is. While I wasn’t blown away by Bowman’s writing in Vengeance Road, I absolutely loved it in The Magician.

She was tired of pretending, and here along the river, she was a mystery even to herself. She was a boy and she was a girl. She was motherless and she was someone’s child. She was a soul wanting to belong and a soul desperate to escape.

💛 Lady Firebrand by Megan Shepherd ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ // Two girls, one of which black, the other in a wheelchair, being spies against the South during the Civil War, blowing things up and fighting against slavery as a masked hero? Yes please. I would love to read more about these badass girls and their beautiful relationship.

Pauline and she, they were more than coconspirators. They were more than Lord Firebrand. They’d be there for each other in hard times and in good times, no matter the danger, always trusting in each other’s strong heart.

💛 Step Right Up by Jessica Spotswood ⭐⭐⭐ // Ruby wants nothing more than to escape her abusive uncle and become a part of the circus and their family. I would’ve loved to see more of her relationship with the people at the circus over the years, as that would’ve made the story a lot more heartwarming. Although her uncle treats her horribly and her mother turns a blind eye, Ruby does have a good relationship with her sister Pearl, which of course I loved because sisters!! While they loved each other, Pearl understood Ruby’s dream and supported her in any way she could.

”You looked after me the whole time we were growing up. It’s time for me to look after myself now.”

💛 Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ // This one too I need as a full book it was so beautifully written and magical and just dsjgh It made me super excited to read Wild Beauty wich I finally can now that I’m back home. Glamour follows Graciela who uses ‘glamour’ to make herself look white and works in Hollywood as Grace, and Sawyer, a disabled transgender boy. According to McLemore this story is her ‘wish to give Graciela, a daughter of Mexican-American farmers, and Sawyer, a transgender boy living with a disability, the space that history would have tried to deny them.’ And she definitely did. I just want more haha. The way it was written felt very real, and despite being a short story Graciela and Sawyer were very well-developed. Just,,, give me a full book please

She had told no one why she wanted to become Grace Moran: because the world left so little room for Graciela Morena

💛 Better For All The World by Marieke Nijkamp ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ // Oh my goodness this one was so good. I need to read more by Marieke Nijkamp, something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now, but especially after reading this. Short stories often feel underdeveloped to me, but this one was truly perfect as a short story. It’s an own voices about an autistic girl, following the trial of Carrie Buck (who really existed), another autistic girl who’s fighting in court for her bodily autonomy as the state wants to sterilize her. It’s an incredibly powerful and important story.

”Carrie Buck is a girl like me. Despite everyone telling her that she didn’t matter, she came here to fight for her choices. She has the inalienable right to do so. But instead of recognising that, we assign vallue to her, to each other, to ourselves. We tell her she isn’t competend enough. She isn’t fit enough. She isn’t equal enough. Do you know what would be better for all the world? If instead of fighting to limit her rights – our constitutional rights, our fundamentally human rights – we fought to embrace them and strengthen them. If we limit equality, we can never be truly equal.”

💛 When the Moonlight Isn’t Enough by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐⭐ // This one was just a bit eh for me. The main character and her parents drink moonlight in order to stay immortal, but this was never really touched upon. It just left me with a lot of questions and I was bored. Nothing really stayed with me and I didn’t hightlight anything. It doesn’t help that it’s been a while since I read this either.

💛 The Belle of the Ball by Sarvenaz Tash ⭐⭐⭐ // This one was fun! The protagonist wants to be a comedy writer, which of course wasn’t easy for a woman back then. It was a fun and interesting read, but it just didn’t blow me away.

💛 Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brave by Stacey Lee ⭐⭐⭐ // I would’ve loved to have rated this higher, but it fell a bit short to me, as if not much happened. Lana wants to become the face of Miss Sugar Maiden, because ‘maybe it was time for a nonwhite on the box. Sugar Maiden’s product comes direct from Hawaii, born of the sweat of thousands of islanders – Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, and Filipinos – yet the girls on the boxes have always been as snowy as its contents.’ The story also focuses on the discrimination her parents as half-Japanese and Chinese faced and another important aspect is Lana’s love for her family, which keeps her going. It just left me with a ‘that’s it?’ feeling, which is why I ended up rating it three stars, but I really loved Lana and her story.

💛 The Birth of Susi Go-Go by Meg Medina ⭐⭐⭐ // As mentioned before, it’s been a while since I read this and well… I don’t really remember this one? It wasn’t badly written, but it wasn’t very memorable either. Susana’s grandparents are finally coming from Cuba to live with her and her parents, which she is very nervous about because she doesn’t remember them. I wish the story would’ve focused more on that and that we had seen her grandparents more.

💛 Take me With U by Sara Farizan ⭐⭐⭐.5 // This one was a lot of fun! Soheila has fled from the war in Iran to live with her uncle, aunt and little cousin, who is her only friend. Until she meets Mai that is. Mai introduces her to pop culture, especially music and eventually Soheila becomes a part of Mai’s band. I really liked how Mai became a big sister to Soheila, Soheila discovering American pop culture and the band aspect. Plus of course how Soheila (and Mai!) hung out with her little cousin. He was adorable.

During that set, I was free to be whoever I wanted to be. Not Apollonia, not Amir’s babysitter, not a self-conscious girl. I was bitchin’ and so was my band.

All in all this is a fun, inspiring and empowering anthology that I definitely recommend.Have you read The Radical Element? Or another cool anthology like this? Let me know in the comments!