Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Reading Challenges Check in: July

Should I start putting a link here or something? Maybe I should, I realize 8 months into this thing.

This year I decided to do Diversity Bingo 2017, and the 2017 Diverse Reads Book Challenge. Each month, that challenge has a mini theme, and July's theme was Sexuality and Gender Identity. I decided to read:

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Published: June 6th, 2017 by Simon and Schuster
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 367 plus acknowledgements
Part of a series? I wish!
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

The part where I talk: I was super nervous about this, but I really liked it. I think I'll review it, actually. So. Keep an eye out for that!

This was also my "something that represents (part of) me" book for QSR. And don't forget we'll be having a twitter chat with Kathryn on August 25th!

Then my bingo books were:

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Published: May 2nd, 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 324 plus acknowledgements
Part of a series? Not that I know of.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

The part where I talk: I really liked this. It'll be in a blog post at some point.

This was both my book for the "ownvoices bisexual mc" bingo space, and my "represents someone else" challenge for QSR. I'm allowed to cheat if I wanna :P

Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali

Published: June 13th, 2017 by Salaam Reads which is a fairly new imprint of Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers that focuses on Muslim books.
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 325 plus the acknowledgements
Part of a series? Nope
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

The part where I talk: I mostly liked this. Blog post on it to come.

Tree Girl by Ben Mikaelsen

Published: April 13th, 2004 by Rayo
Genre: Contemporary MG
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 225 plus the acknowledgements.
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): They call Gabriela Tree Girl. Gabi climbs trees to be within reach of the eagles and watch the sun rise into an empty sky. She is at home among the outstretched branches of the Guatemalan forests.

Then one day from the safety of a tree, Gabi witnesses the sights and sounds of an unspeakable massacre. She vows to be Tree Girl no more and joins the hordes of refugees struggling to reach the Mexican border. She has lost her whole family; her entire village has been wiped out. Yet she clings to the hope that she will be reunited with her youngest sister, Alicia. Over dangerous miles and months of hunger and thirst, Gabriela's search for Alicia and for a safe haven becomes a search for self. Having turned her back on her own identity, can she hope to claim a new life?

The part where I talk: I had some major issues with this. See future blog post.

Other QSR Books:

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Published: February 7th, 2012 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: Modern Historical YA.
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 470 plus acknowledgements.
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

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

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

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

The part where I talk: This was my "own voices queer book" and it surprised me! I think I'm gonna do a full review of it. Keep an eye out.

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

Published: October 26th, 2016 by Roaring Brook Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 258 plus acknowledgements and such.
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: Library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions.

But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.

The part where I talk: This was my "queer book set in another country" book for QSR and this was... um. We had isssues. We'll get to them in another post.

My bingo card now looks like this:


And I got these badges:



Sidenote, how cool is this t-shirt? You can find this on the drive with the badges.

Okay, I think that is everything for this month!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

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