Hello friends! We are back with another Woven In Books post. Today we have Laurel @ The Suspected Bibliophile recommending some amazing under hyped diverse reads which everyone should totally be reading. You can read the previous Woven In Books post HERE and the intro post about it HERE. You too can sign up and recommend your favourite diverse books so do sign up!! Click on the sign up form here.
Withour further ado, onto Laurel!
I love reading diverse books, advocating for more diverse reads, and doing what I can to get diverse reads into readers’ hands. As a new (and queer) librarian in a conservative community, it can be hard to promote LGBTQIAP+ books in a way that doesn’t bring the torches and pitchforks, so it requires some creative marketing.
Last month’s display was introducing our library patrons to science fiction and fantasy books—and surprise! Every book showcased was written by a woman, with as many queer woman and women of color as I could find in our collection.
Recently, I overheard a parent requesting The Miseducation of Cameron Post—which unfortunately we don’t have in our collection—but the interest is there and the tides are slowing changing. Slowly but surely. I don’t think the mom had any idea what the book was about, but she was doing her best to find the book that her child wanted to read.
Over the past few years, young adult fiction has had quite a few queer contemporaries published, and while some *cough cough* Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda *cough* have gotten a lot of press and movie deals (for good reason—it is pretty dang cute), I feel like the books featuring lesbians and bisexual women have slipped under the radar.
Here are four contemporary fiction books about queer girls you might have missed, but should definitely try:
Rukhsana has toed the line under her conservative Muslim parents’ rule. In a couple months she’ll be 18 and living her dream life at Caltech, studying astrophysics and free to openly date her girlfriend. But when her mother catches them kissing, Rukhsana is whisked away to Bangladesh, where she faces conservative mindsets and an arranged marriage. Can she escape? And can she find a solution where she keeps her love and her family?
This is absolutely not a light and fluffy read (check out the trigger warnings first). However, one of the book’s biggest messages is that you can’t condemn an entire culture based on the actions of one family. And you can’t condemn a family based upon ingrained cultural mindsets. There’s a lot of nuance and layers behind a person’s motivations and decisions, and ultimately each person is the hero of their own story.
Sana Khan is your perfect, put-together cheerleader and overachiever, who wants to be a surgeon and just got accepted into Princeton. Rachel Recht is the brilliant film director at the elite Roycer Academy—but has a chip on her shoulder as a scholarship student, someone who has to battle for the right to attend a fancy school. And she hates Sana Khan, ever since Sana jokingly asked her out in freshman year. But Rachel’s senior film is due, and her film teacher has decided Sana is going to be in the film—as the lead—or Rachel’s future attendance in NYU is in danger. Can these two work together?
This cover. It owns its sapphic rep, and the sapphic women of color rep on the cover is just incredible. I enjoyed reading this one, and the representation is off the charts. Sana is Indian-American and Muslim, and Rachel is Mexican-American and Jewish, and there’s a bunch of other characters who pulled the plotline along as Sana and Rachel fought over their misunderstandings and differences.
Alice is Black, biromantic, and asexual. She’s out as bi, but still coming to terms with telling people about being ace. Between struggling to recover from being dumped by her girlfriend, trying to tell her ambitious family she has not desire of being a lawyer, and working at the local library, she’s got a lot on her plate. Then she meets Takumi, a gorgeous coworker who sends sparks flying through her body.
On a level of one to squee, this book was definitely a SQUEE! It was so utterly adorable and cute, with perfect one-two jabs right into the feels as Alice navigates her world and future. There is great commentary on being black, being ace, intersectionality, consent, cultural stereotypes, physical appropriation/sexual harassment, and the role of sex in a healthy relationship. And Alice works in a library! I’m over the moon, although I wish that the library had featured a little more and was a little more realistic than just…shelving book. But this is cute and solid ace and biromantic rep from an #ownvoices author.
Going Off Script by Jen Wilde (although the author is white the MC is Indian America)
Bex is psyched that she’s finally getting out of her dead-end Washington state hometown and moving to LA to intern for her favorite show, Silver Falls. But instead of sitting in the writer’s room and helping to pitch ideas, she’s picking up coffees and ignored. Bex stays silent when the misogynistic showrunner steals her idea to add a queer woman of color character to the cast. Then the showrunner tries to straight-wash Bex’s character after another actor’s homophobic rant, and Bex can’t stay silent anymore.
This is a book calling out the straight-washing of media culture and how that shit just isn’t going to fly in 2019—people want queer storylines, and they need representation. There are some not-so-subtle jabs at a popular paranormal TV show featuring two prominent male characters…and a revolving door of women who serve only to boost the male characters’ development and plotlines. If you’re thinking, wow, what a supernaturally odd thing to say, then perhaps you need to read this book—because aside from these criticisms, it’s clear that much love given back to the show and its fans. Oh, and the romance is cute too! While Bex is White, her love interest Shrupty is Indian-American and the author is queer.
And that’s a wrap! I’ve got loads of other suggestions, but I’m capped at four!
Laurel is a queer librarian who book blogs as a hobby. Check me out at The Suspected Bibliophile.
You can also find her on Twitter.
What are your favorite sapphic young adult books?
Have you read any of the books mentioned ? Tell me about it!