Diversity in Popular Media: Why is whitewashing still a thing?

Yesterday, I went to the movies to see Logan and left with in a sour mood. Not because of the movie** but because of the movie previews. Sounds weird, I know, but let me explain. They showed four movie trailers: Guardians of the Galaxy II (so excited!) ; Fast and The Furious 8 ; Death Note and Ghost in the Shell. Since I titled this post with words like ‘diversity’ and ‘whitewashing’ I think you know where I’m going with this.

(**I really enjoyed Logan. It’s incredibly violent and bleak, but it’s also one of the best (if not the best) movie from the X-men franchise I’ve seen.)

Death Note and Ghost in the Shell have one thing in common: they’re both being accused of whitewashing. For those of you who don’t know what that means, here’s the definition:

“Whitewashing is a casting practice in the film industry of the United States in which white actors are cast in historically non-white character roles.”

“Historically non-white character roles” means that either the character was a historically non-white person (e.g. Native American warriors; Chinese leaders; … ) or that the character was a non-white person in the original source material (e.g. literature; comics; anime; …).

There are hundreds of instances of whitewashing since the beginning of the movie industry. Two famous examples are Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) where Mickey Rooney wore yellowface to play Holly’s Asian landlord and Lawrence of Arabia (1962) where Alec Guinness plays the Arab Prince Faisal. While I don’t agree with these choices, I can understand them. You have to remember that 50 years ago minorities and people of colour were not given the same opportunities (and rights) as caucasians.

Since we’re no longer living in that time, you would expect that whitewashing would be a thing of the past. But no. Here are a few more movies that have been criticized of whitewashing in the last five years or so:

  1. The Hunger Games (2012): Katniss Everdeen is described to have the typical look of District 12: olive skin, straight black hair, and grey eyes. This description led many readers to believe that Katniss and her people were non-white. Yet, Jennifer Lawrence was cast. There are a lot of conflicting opinions on whether this was a good choice. Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games, said Katniss as well as Gale “were not particularly intended to be biracial” which I think she only said to “keep the peace” and justify both casting choices. And even if Katniss and Gale were “not particularly intended to be biracial” but the people of District 12 were (as she described in the book) does that mean she only used diversity as a plot point? Like, okay, let’s have some diversity in this future world but let’s make sure the main characters (the one who’re “saving the day”) are not? What’s wrong with biracial or any other non-white characters being main characters?
  2. Aloha (2015): This movie is set in Hawaii, which is 70% (!) nonwhite yet features an all-white cast.
  3. Doctor Strange (2016): Tilda Swinton plays the Ancient One. In the comics, this character is actually a man, also from Kamar-Taj, a fictional kingdom in the Himalayas.

And lastly, the two movie trailers I watched yesterday:

Death Note (2017): the original material is butchered by not only changing the plot but also relocating the story to Seattle, renaming the protagonist Light Turner, and casting Nat Wolff. Since the story was completely reworked, Nat’s casting is no longer a strange choice but the question remains: “Why did it have to be Americanized in the first place?”

Ghost in the Shell (2017): this is an adaption of the Japanese franchise which features several white actors but Scarlett Johansson received the most backlash for portraying the main character. Sam Yoshiba, director of the company which holds the rights to the series and its characters, said:

“Looking at her career so far, I think Scarlett Johansson is well cast. She has the cyberpunk feel. And we never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place… This is a chance for a Japanese property to be seen around the world.”

While I agree that this type of movie is right up Johansson’s alley, it doesn’t excuse the fact that they (once again) chose a white actress over (in this case) an Asian actress. Also, the phrase “we never imagined it would be a Japanese actress in the first place”. Why is that? Is it so unfathomable that a non-white actor or actress might actually take the leading role and for the movie to be a success?

Is that what it is? Does the movie industry really believe that non-white actors don’t stand a chance in the box office? That people won’t go see a popular movie or franchise (such as Death Note) where the original material has been kept just because it doesn’t star a white movie star?

I really don’t want to believe that’s what it is (it’s 2017 for God’s sake!), that it all boils down to money no matter what, but I’m struggling to see another explanation.

I don’t understand why no one seems willing to take a risk and give non-white actors / actresses / directors / writers / … a chance.

It just makes me really sad to think that the movie industry still chooses money over accurate representation and diversity. Especially when other media, particularly (YA) fiction, have shown that diversity can also lead to success. Just look at Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give.

I want to end on a positive note and highlight a couple of diverse reads and books with ownvoices, hoping the movie industry will soon realize the mistakes they’re making and will aspire to be more inclusive by giving minorities a chance on the big screen.

When Dimple met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: a romantic comedy told in alternate perspectives about two Indian-Americans whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

City of Saints and Thieves by Nathalie C. Anderson: After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

Piecing me Together by Renée Watson: Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi: On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera: Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted

***

What do you think about Death Note and Ghost in the Shell? Acceptable or not? Do you think literature is doing better re:diversity compared to the movie industry?
Let me know in the comments so we can start off a discussion.

 

See you soon,

Lauren

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re all excited about! This week I’m waiting for…..

32075671

I know what you’re going to say: “But, Lauren, The Hate U Give was released in February.” To which I respond, “Unfortunately not for me.” Ugh, I hate how I’m living in a non-English country and we have to wait for AGES for new books to release. Okay, it’s two months tops, but still. Everyone has read it by now and raving about how good and important this book is and I’m stuck here, waiting for it to release on…

April 6th.

That’s right. I have to wait 10 more days until I can get my hands on this one. And The Hate U Give is not the only one by the way. I’m also waiting for other books that have already been released in the US and the UK like “The Inexplicable Logic of My Life”; “List of Cages” and so many more. It’s so unfair.

*sigh*

I’m sure you know what the book is about (you’ve probably all read it by now) but here’s the summary anyway.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.

***
Is anyone else in the same boat as me? What books are you waiting for?

See you soon,
Lauren

Top Ten Books I Couldn’t Put Down

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is “Top Ten Books Read in One Sitting”. Since I’ve only read one book in one sitting, I adapted this week’s theme to Top Ten Books I Couldn’t Put Down (but had to because of school, sleep, work … you get the point)

1. Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

Smart, hardworking girl with a big heart? Check.
An adorable love interest who’s also a famous writer? Check.
Fandom? Check.
Convention setting? Check.
Supportive friends and parents? Check.

What else do you need?

2. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

I’ve read this one just last week and my full review is coming soon so I won’t spill too much information but… this was such a fun and adorable read!

It’s about Steffi, who has trouble speaking (selective mute, social anxiety … ), and Rhys, who’s deaf and how they understand each other perfectly and fall in love. I love how it’s not just about dealing with their disability / disorder / mental health but there’s plenty of room for them to be teenagers with “normal” problems. Like falling in love for the first time, standing up to your parents, finding your identity, etc.

Also, can I just say that Rhys is one of the sweetest and cutest and most adorable love interests ever? Yes, I can because it’s true and I want one.

Just read this:

stefstef: are you doing anything next saturday?
rhysespieces: i hope so
stefstef: oh, ok. Have you already made plans or something?
rhysespieces: what? no, i mean i hope that i’ll be doing something with you
rhysespieces: like seeing you, not DOING something
rhysespieces: oh fuck
stefstef: 🙂
rhysespieces: i am so much smoother in my head
stefstef: i hope for your sake that’s true

Ugh. They’re so cute.

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell captures what it’s like to be a teenager and fall in love for the first time. It was a pleasure reading her story and fall in love with the characters and the story.

4. Looking for Alaska by John Green

I love John Green’s mixture of weird, funny, and serious. His characters are complex, their motives and actions completely realistic. Alaska is one of the most interesting female characters in YA fiction simply because she’s not perfect or (falsely) modest and she’s not pretending to be. She’s not even likable sometimes and that’s okay.

5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

This book is a perfect combo of the two authors. John’s characters were quirky and eccentric and made me laugh out loud many times (shout-out to Tiny!) while Levithan’s words hit me on a deeper level. Also a great representation of depression.

6. All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This book is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide during WWII. And, no, it’s not a romance. I like how Doerr shows that both sides of the war had their victims. It’s easy to hate all Germans but Doerr shows us it’s not that black-and-white. I also really admire his prose (especially when in the POV of Marie-Laure) which is full of physicals details that don’t rely on sight.

7. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

One of my all-time favourite classics. It’s hard to use so many POV and make readers relate and sympathize with all of them but Faulkner definitely pulls it off. His prose is one of the best I’ve ever read. It comes out so naturally and effortless.

8. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

It broke my heart page after page after page but I couldn’t put it down.

9. We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

I absolutely love Henry. He’s funny, sarcastic, a real skeptic and incredibly nihilistic but he’s got a big heart. I’d love to have him as a friend.

10. All the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

I don’t think this needs an explanation. From the day every book was released, I was lost in J.K Rowling’s magic world and I didn’t stop until I finished.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

30197201

Details & Summary:

Title: A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: MacMillan Children’s Books
Release Date: January 12th 2017
Pages: 320

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

My thoughts

Having read the summary, I expected a cute, fluffy YA romance. And while the romance is definitely cute and fluffy, Sarah Barnard also surprised me with how much care and attention to detail she put into her main characters and the story itself.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder tells the story of Steffi, who’s a selective mute and suffers from an anxiety disorder, and Rhys, who’s deaf.

“Lots of people are shy. Shy is normal. A bit of anxiety is normal. Throw the two together, add some brain-signal error – a NO ENTRY sign on the neural highway from my brain to my mouth perhaps, though no one really knows – and you have me.”

They’re thrown together on the first day of sixth form because Steffi knows BSL (British Sign Language) and their instant connection soon blossoms into a strong friendship and later a romantic relationship.

I’m going to go over the romance aspect fairly quickly since (in my opinion) the book is about much more than a teenage romance, which I’ll discuss below. As said before, Steffi and Rhys’s romance is cute and adorable. Tem, Steffi’s best friends, sums it up perfectly.

‘God, you guys are sickening,’ Tem says, following. ‘I’m getting diabetes just looking at you.’

I read this book mostly on the train and I can’t tell you how many times I smiled (and almost squealed) at how cute they were being. I particularly enjoyed their jackbytes conversations (which to them is the equivalent of talking over the phone). Here’s a snippet:

stefstef: are you doing anything next saturday?
rhysespieces: i hope so
stefstef: oh, ok. Have you already made plans or something?
rhysespieces: what? no, i mean i hope that i’ll be doing something with you
rhysespieces: like seeing you, not DOING something
rhysespieces: oh fuck
stefstef: 🙂
rhysespieces: i am so much smoother in my head
stefstef: i hope for your sake that’s true

But the romance between Steffi and Rhys isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Both characters have individual problems and problems they face as a couple. Steffi is a selective mute and suffers from anxiety and Rhys is deaf so communication is both a blessing and a curse. It’s often described that they live in their own world where they can communicate freely but other times they don’t communicate, which causes problems.

Steffi “opens up” throughout the novel – speaking much more frequently – but I like how her development isn’t just because she’s with Rhys. Love doesn’t cure mental illness and it’s great to see that reflected in the book. It’s true to life, which is very important for any mental illness in YA fiction.

And while on the subject, I’m very impressed by the level of care and detail that went into the book. I obviously can’t speak for the deaf community (or for people who suffer from anxiety) but it seems to me that those subjects are treated respectfully.

I learnt a lot from this book, not just a few BSL signs (the description and visualisations of the signs are a great addition) but also the assumptions that “normal” people make and their well-meaning but condescending behaviour, i.e. deaf people can’t talk, speaking loudly when talking to deaf people, anxiety or any other mental illness must have a cause and a solution, etc.

And people really like explanations. They like explanations and recovery stories. They like watching House and knowing a solution is coming. They like to hear that people get uncomplicatedly better.

Ultimately, this book made me think and consider the lives of people who’re not like me, which is as much as you could hope for as an author.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a book about two teenagers who are on the edge of society and are trying to find out where they belong. Aside from being a diverse book, it also features a strong and realistic friendship between two girls and realistic family bonds. Though last quarter of the book felt rushed, Barnard’s writing style is enjoyable and easy to read, and the book ultimately succeeds in what it set out to do.

Rating

Recommended for

People who want to see a realistic portrayal of mental illness and disability and don’t mind a flufffy, cute romantic relationship.

Mental Health in YA fiction

Hello and welcome to Infinity Talks!

Infinity Talks is my version of a Discussion Post where I will (try) to tackle a particular subject in YA fiction and hopefully open up a discussion with all you lovely people.

For my first Infinity Talk, I’d like to discuss Mental Health in YA fiction. I thought it would be a good place to start because I’ve seen an increase in YA books that deal with the subject over the past couple of years. I’ve read more than a couple by now and I’d like to discuss what I’ve read so far.

First of all, I’d like to point out how happy I am that mental health is being discussed more openly. And why shouldn’t it? According to research done by the National Alliance on Mental Illness four years ago no less than 20% of teenagers and young adults aged 13 to 18 experience mental disorders. And those are low estimates since a lot of teenagers are reluctant to seek help.

Why? Because there’s still a stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Teenagers and young adults often feel ashamed of their mental health struggles which means it takes longer for them to seek out help (if at all). They feel alone, confused, and scared while they try to cover up and pretend they’re okay.

While YA books that feature characters with a mental illness is by no means a replacement for professional help, they can help teenagers feel less alone. They can give them a better understanding of their illness, which could be the first step in seeking out help.

That’s why it’s so important that YA fiction provides a realistic representation of mental illness.

But what do we mean by realistic?

For me, the key to accurate representation is twofold:

  • Death to all clichés and stereotypes: someone who struggles with depression can have plenty of friends and have fun. Just because you can’t see their pain doesn’t mean it’s not there. Someone who has anxiety can still leave the house or talk to a group of people. The following isn’t relevant to YA fiction (I hope) but I’d still like to point it out. I’ve seen this around on Instagram.

“I just spent half an hour cleaning my room. #OCD”
“I don’t like to mix my M&M’s. OMG, I’m so #OCD”

For the love of God, it’s not an adjective. And you can’t just throw that word around. OCD (or any other mental illness) is not fun or quirky or cute. It’s an illness.

  • Don’t hand out cures or solutions: I can’t tell you how annoyed and angry I get every when the main character “cures” their mental health issue(s) with love. Seriously? Like, no. Kissing a new guy/girl/other and being all lovey-dovey doesn’t “cure” you. A mental illness is something you (mostly likely) carry with you for the rest of your life. Some hot guy/girl/… on a motorcycle isn’t going to change that. (Yes, I’ve read books like this.)

Failing to accurately represent mental illness is disrespectful toward those who actually suffer from it. It diminishes their struggle and their bravery which is completely unacceptable.

*deep breath*

Okay, rant over.

Onto the good stuff. Since mental illness is being discussed more openly there are more books that feature main characters with mental health issues. Some are bad, but, thankfully, there are plenty of authors who get it right too. Here’s my top five and a quote for each so you get an idea:

  1. “I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.” – It’s Kind of a Funny Story

  2. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a well. I feel like I’m way down this deep, deep hole and I’m looking up and all there is is this little dot of light and I have to shout at the top of my lungs for anyone to hear me and even when I do, I say the wrong thing or they don’t really listen or they’re just humouring me – The Rest of Us Just Live Here

  3. I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won’t tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn’t change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

  4. i think the idea of a ‘mental health day’ is something completely invented by people who have no clue what it’s like to have bad mental health. the idea that your mind can be aired out in twenty-four hours is kind of like saying heart disease can be cured if you eat the right breakfast cereal. mental health days only exist for people who have the luxury of saying ‘i don’t want to deal with things today’ and then can take the whole day off, while the rest of us are stuck fighting the fights we always fight, with no one really caring one way or another, unless we choose to bring a gun to school or ruin the morning announcements with a suicide – Will Grayson, Will Grayson

  5. I feel like a rock being skipped through the ocean—pain, relief, pain again, relief again, eventually destined to sink – History Is All You Left Me

***
How do you feel about mental health in YA fiction? Which books get it right? Which ones don’t? What are some stereotypes and clichés that annoy you?

Let me know in the comment section.

See you soon,
Lauren

Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

we-are-okay

Details & Summary:

Title: We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Publisher: Dutton Books for Younger Readers
Release Date: February 14th 2017
Pages: 234

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

My thoughts…

There are many different ways to deal with grief, but Marin chooses solitude after her Gramps dies. She leaves everyone she loves behind – most notably, her best friend and girlfriend Mabel – and spends her winter break alone on an empty campus. But then Mabel crosses the country and visits Marin, putting an end to her solitude but not her loneliness.

“We are so alone. Mabel and I are standing side by side, but we can’t even see each other. In the distance are the lights of town. People must be finishing their workdays, picking up their kids, figuring out dinner. They’re talking to one another in easy voices about things of great significance and things that don’t mean much. The distance between us and all of that living feels insurmountable.”

From their interactions and conversations, it’s clear that the girls know each other very well. They know when to talk and when not to, they know what the other likes, when to be serious and when to joke. We learn more about how their relationship came to be through flashbacks set over the summer break.

The flashbacks serve several plot points: it explores the relationship between Marin and Mabel, but – more importantly – sets up the mystery. Why did Marin leave? How did Gramps die? What happened between them?

I’ll be honest: it’s a very slow reveal. The plot doesn’t progress in leaps and bounds. It’s a slow burn where a lot of time is spent on details. How Marin and Gramps lived together yet had separate lives, how their knees touched under the table, how he baked cakes for her, how Gramps exchanged love letters with Birdie, how Marin desperately tries to remember her mother who died when she was three …

LaCour captures Marin’s loneliness and silent desperation perfectly, not only through her words but also through setting (an abandoned campus in a NY snow storm) and (lack of) action. I also enjoyed the relationships, especially the camaraderie between Gramps and Marin and the friendship that blossomed into something more between Marin and Mabel.

However, since the book progressed so slowly, I found it a bit boring at times and felt tempted to skip a few pages. You get plenty of flashbacks into Marin’s old life, but I didn’t really understand who she was as a person when she wasn’t with Mabel or Gramps. And while I could imagine how she must be feeling and felt bad for her, I didn’t connect to her on a deeper level.

We Are Okay explores grief and loneliness and the complicated relationship between a girl and her grandfather. It also features a f/f relationship that had plenty of complexity without ever feeling the need to label or discuss it. While I enjoyed reading this book, it didn’t pack an emotional punch for me the way History is All You Left Me With by Adam Silvera did.

Rating

Recommended for…

People who don’t mind a slow build-up and the characters being the focus of the story.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is “Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR”. I thought I’d share my Top 10 since there are so many books I’m looking forward to.

  1. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson: Mary B. Addison is a black teenager who – allegedly – killed a three-month-old baby when she was nine. She was convicted and transferred from “baby jail” to a group home. When she falls pregnant, Mary must find her voice–before the state takes away her baby.
  2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: This is easily the most hyped book of early 2017. I’ve only read positive reviews so I’m expecting it to be good. The Hate U Give is inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement.
  3. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life: I loved Ari & Dante so I’m excited to see if this new book can live up to my expectations.
  4. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner: Carver Briggs sends a text while driving, causing an accident that kills his three best friends. Now he must live with his guilt–and face a possible investigation into their deaths. I really hope the author doesn’t go all preachy – warning us about the dangers of texting and social media and whatnot – and diggs into the guilt the MC has to deal with.
  5. Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinsky: “Can friendship, Star Trek, drama club, and a whole lot of coffee get two nerdy best friends through the beginning of their senior year of high school?” What’s not to love?

  6. North of Happy by Adi Alsaid: In the wake of his brother’s untimely death, a teen chef runs away from home to find his true path in life. Ever since Ari & Dante, I’ve been interested in Mexican culture so I’m looking forward to diving into Carlos’ life.
  7. It Started with Goodbye by Christina June: After being falsely accused of a crime, Tatum is stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Also features a “feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother”. Sound like fun to me!
  8. The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil: “Fact: Sophia is smart. As in, certified-child-prodigy, breezing-through-uni-subjects-even-though-she’s-only-in-year-twelve smart. Truth: Joshua is good at magic tricks, ignoring most things about year twelve, and not thinking at all about life after high school.” This reminds me of Natasha and Daniel from The Sun is Also a Star.
  9. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: This is supposed to be a “laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.” A comedy about an arranged marriage? #othervoices? Count me in.
  10. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: It’s a new book by Becky. That’s all I need to say.

***

Which books are you looking forward to?