Author: Megan Angelo Publication date: January 14, 2020 Genre: science fiction, dystopian My rating: 4.5/5 stars
A curious blend of incisive perception, dark humor, and horrifying prediction, Followers is a worthy addition to the rapidly expanding canon of Black Mirror-esque dystopian fiction, shining a critical lens on our fascination (obsession?) with technology, social media, and how far we will go to get what we think we deserve.
“I’ve done the actual math. There are eight million people here, and all of them want something as bad as I want what I want, as bad as you want what you want. We’re not all going to get it. It’s just not possible, that all these people could have their dreams come true in the same time, same place. It’s not enough to be talented, it’s not enough to work hard. You need to be disciplined, and you need to he ruthless. You have to do anything, everything, and you need to forget about doing the right thing…Leave that shit to people in the Midwest.”
Author: Suzanne Walker (author), Wendy Xu (artist) Publication date: October 22, 2019 Genre: graphic novel, young adult, fantasy My rating: 4 / 5 stars
Queer and quirky and oh-so-cute, Mooncakes was the quick, enchanting graphic novel I didn’t know I needed in my life. I finished almost all of it in a single night, and boy, was it a fun and heartwarming ride, complete with utterly charming magical creatures, adorable cats, and a super-sweet romance.
Being off from work for the holidays has set me behind a little on my audiobook listening, but I’ve finally gotten through another round of three, and you know what that means: more mini-reviews! This time, we have a nonfiction, feminist, data-driven book; a queer sci-fi romance; and an #OwnVoices YA contemporary/rom-com about two Indian-American teens at a summer coding program. Let’s get started!
Author: Rebecca McLaughlin Publication date: January 7, 2020 Genre: young adult, fantasy My rating: 2.5/5 stars
When broken down to its fundamental components, Nameless Queen has a lot of things that tend to make me automatically love a book: a protagonist who is a thief, hidden royalty, and commentary on classism and rigid social structures. But when taken as a whole, the novel failed to breathe much life or originality into those tropes. The result was a lukewarm story–not bad, but wholly unremarkable.
Author: Stacie Ramey Publication date: January 1, 2020 Genre: young adult contemporary, romance My rating: 4/5 stars
A timely narrative about disability, sense of self, and first love, It’sMy Life deftly navigates the difficulties–physical, emotional, and social–that accompany serious disability, through the eyes of a smart, likable, and relatable narrator. Though it does get a bit cheesy and/or implausible at times, the story itself is an important one, specifically targeting the younger end of the YA spectrum with a solid message of hope.
Author: Claire Kann Publication date: January 23, 2018 Genre: young adult contemporary, LGBTQ+ My rating: 1/5 stars (and I considered giving it less than that…)
I. Am. So. Mad. At. This. Book. Seriously, I am one angry ace right now. I was so excited about this book; I had seen it listed so many times in articles with lists of books featuring asexual main characters, and plenty of people had written great reviews of it on Goodreads. I should have realized early on that most of those glowing reviews were not from OwnVoices reviewers; the one highly-ranked review I saw written by someone who is actually ace was quite critical.
It became apparent that the people who praised this book were glad because it taught them about asexuality. The thing is, simply having representation isn’t enough, especially if that representation is bad. And BOY HOWDY was this representation bad. Maybe someone out there can see their feelings reflected in the story told here, but for me–based on my own experience, the experiences of other aces I know, and the little research that actually exists on asexuality–it was inaccurate, full of stereotypes, and generally just not good.
Oh, and the book itself was pretty crap as well, so before I start tackling all the ways in which the book does aces dirty, might as well discuss those problems.