Friday, 24 June 2022

Five of My Favourite Books With 2SLGBTQIAP+ Representation

Happy Pride Month, all! I've been celebrating the month by supporting local queer and trans businesses, and of course, reading a bunch of books with some great representation! In honour of June, I've decided to compile a list of five of my all-time favourite 2SLGBTQIAP+ books. I've read some great books over the years, and as I add to my collection, I'm sure this list will grow. For now, here is, in no particular order, some of my favourite books in honour of pride month. 

1. Cemetery Boys by: Aiden Thomas 

Featuring a trans male protagonist and a queer romance, Cemetery Boys was an absolute delight to read. We follow Yadriel, a teen brujo who performs a ritual that accidentally releases the ghost of Julian Diaz back into the physical world. Julian and Yadriel end up growing closer as Yadriel tries to prove himself to his family and Julian attempts to set things right with his before he can rest in peace. Aiden Thomas seems like the loveliest person ever, and I will now read whatever they write. This book is perfect for the Fall months, in my opinion, and is Own Voices for queer, trans, and Latinx representation! 

2. Jonny Appleseed by: Joshua Whitehead 

Jonny Appleseed is a Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer young adult who works as a sex worker in the big city, while remembering the stories his kokum told him as a child. When his kokum dies, Jonny travels back to the reservation for her funeral, and recounts his childhood on the rez and all of the people who influenced his youth. I cannot recommend this book enough. Oji-Cree/nehiyaw two-spirit/Indigiqueer writer Whitehead makes Jonny come alive with each page. Whitehead has such a profound way of writing, and I would recommend this book to anyone looking to read more from Indigenous authors. 

3. Heartstopper by: Alice Oseman 

In this graphic novel series, Nick and Charlie navigate school, sports, and crushes as they go through high school developing a relationship with each other. Charlie is openly gay, but Nick is still coming out as bisexual, but the two have each other and an eccentric group of friends to help them through. Queer joy is so needed. This series is light-hearted, fun, with bisexual and gay representation. If you need a break from reading trauma, this series is for you. 

4. The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea by: Maggie Tokuda-Hall 

I find this book to be so underrated. I need everyone to give it the hype it deserves. In this book, Flora/Florian is a genderfluid pirate who takes on the identity of a man on the ruthless pirate ship Dove, in order to earn the respect of the crew. While on the ship, Florian is tasked with looking after Evelyn, a wealthy young lady who is being shipped off to another district to be married. Evelyn grows close to Florian and teaches him how to read, and when she learns that Florian also goes by Flora, she becomes determined to help her escape their shared brutal situation on the ship. But, Evelyn and Flora will soon become caught up in a dangerous plot once a mermaid is caught on the ship and exploited for her blood. This book has it all: pirates, mermaids, a genderfluid main character, a strong queer relationship. Hall built this story up so well despite its many elements, and I thought the world was captivating. 

5. I Wish You All the Best by: Mason Deaver 

When Ben is thrown out of their house by their parents for coming out as nonbinary, their only option is to move in with their estranged older sister Hannah and her husband, Thomas. Ben struggles to adapt to their new life in a new neighbourhood, and begins therapy to help cope with their anxiety disorder. At their new school, a friendly boy named Nathan helps Ben find their way through senior year, and Ben begins to find hope in new beginnings. This book starts off tough with Ben going through major trauma with their parents. However, as the book continues, Ben is able to go onto a path of healing. This book has a great sibling relationship between Hannah and Ben, as she really educates herself on how to best help Ben. With Own Voices non-binary representation, this book really is a hit. 

Like I said, this list could go on forever. I hope you all have a lovely Pride Month, and if any of these books resonated with you, let me know! What are your favourite 2SLGBTQIAP+ books? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Thursday, 9 June 2022

One True Loves by: Elise Bryant

 Genre: young adult fiction, contemporary 

Published: January 4, 2022 by: Balzer + Bray 

Pages: 314 

Rating: 5/5 stars 

CW: racial microaggressions, struggles between teen and parent 

Lenore Bennett is a talented young artist who has freshly graduated from high school. She plans to go to NYU in the fall, but choosing an undeclared major has caused a riff between her and her parents, who wished Lenore would settle down and just pick something. To celebrate the summer, Lenore, her parents, and her two siblings embark on a Mediterranean cruise, for some much needed relaxation. However, while on the cruise, tension grows between Lenore and her parents, especially when they make friends with another family on the ship and their son, golden-boy Alex Lee. Lenore struggles to enjoy herself when all she can think of is how she can show her parents that she is making the right decision, but one thing Lenore did not consider is the possibility of a crush developing on the ship. 

Elise Bryant has done it again! I read the first book in this series, Happily Ever Afters, about a year ago, and I fell in love with these characters and the fluffy way that Bryant writes. In this book, we follow a side-character from Happily Ever Afters, Lenore, who loves her parents deeply, but struggles to connect with them because of their very different ideas about what she should be doing for university. All of this is mixed with a Mediterranean setting which makes the novel the perfect book for summer. I absolutely loved all the imagery and I just want to go on vacation now. Overall, this book is diverse, with some important themes packed in, alongside lovable characters. 

First off, I loved the Bennett family. Lenore is strong-willed and confident, her parents have such a great relationship mixed with the right amount of goofiness. Her brother Wally is a complicated character but I enjoyed getting to learn more about him as he developed, and her sister Etta is studious and sarcastic, she was such a joy to read about. Since I loved all the characters so much, getting through this book was breeze, because I really did just root for every character and tried to see something from their point of view. Overall, I think Bryant did a great job at portraying a perfectly imperfect family. 

An important part of this book is the idea of travel. Jesse @ Bowties and Books on Youtube put it very well that very rarely do we get Black travel narratives. Oftentimes it is white characters that are awarded the privilege to travel. To have a fluffy travel narrative with a Black main character where the plot doesn't rely on trauma, is very refreshing. Bryant touches on this idea of travel being a privilege often not accessible to Black folks, as she goes into how Lenore's parents had to work twice has hard as their white coworkers to get to a comfortable point in which they could take their family on a nice vacation. Lenore's parents are incredibly accomplished, but they also recognize how difficult it was for them to get there due to structural issues put in place. I think Bryant did a great job at depicting racial micro and macro aggressions that Black families go through, while still keeping the book quite easy to get through in terms of content. 

I mentioned before that the setting of this book was so great. I don't think I've ever read a book mostly set on a cruise ship before, but it was so fun to read about how Alex and Lenore keep bumping into each other despite the size of the ship. Similarly, Bryant also incorporates Mediterranean cities as the cruise makes its way to different stops, so there is some lovely food imagery and architectural imagery that just had me longing for hot weather and beaches. The settings were so fun to read about. 

Overall, this book was an absolute delight. I love reading books where families play a central role, it was great to learn more about Lenore's family and all of their quirks. I think this book integrates travel very well, and also has some great representation along the way. I would highly recommend this book for a perfect summer read! 

Have you read One True Loves? What did you think? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess 

Friday, 3 June 2022

Month in Review: May

I survived May! After a very busy, nerve-wracking month, I am so happy to be into June and I am ready to kick-off the summer. Here's what happened in May: 

What I Read: 

Heartstopper: Volumes 1-3 by: Alice Oseman: 5/5 stars 

Bunny by: Mona Awad: 2/5 stars 

Life In The City of Dirty Water by: Clayton Thomas-Muller: 4/5 stars 

The Break by: Katherena Vermette: 3/5 stars 

Four Aunties and a Wedding by: Jesse Q. Sutanto: 4/5 stars 

Jameela Green Ruins Everything by: Zarqa Nawaz: 4/5 stars 

Embers by: Richard Wagamese: 4/5 stars 

Favourite book: The Heartstopper series ruled my May reading. In honour of the tv show premiere, I decided to read the graphic novels, and I am absolutely loving them. They are so cute and wholesome, and I can't wait to get to volume four. 

What I Blogged: 

My favourite blog post of this month was my discussion on Why I Am A Fan of Fan-Fiction. It is a revision of a post I put up in 2016, and I was so happy to share my updated thoughts on fan-fiction and reasons why the genre is so great. 

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Cee discusses Rich Vamps: Dracula and the Blood of the Poor 

Nicole asks: Does Your Right To Free Speech Extend To My Blog? 

Sabrina shares 10+ Booktubers I Love 

Life Stuff: 

This month, I attended my first academic conference in Montreal, which was scary, but I am proud of myself for how it went. I met so many lovely professors in my field, and the experience will definitely help me in the future. I rewarded myself with some fun shopping in the later parts of the month, and some much needed downtime before I begin writing my major research paper. 

Which now leads me to the heart of my MA degree: my major research paper. The paper needs to be completed by the end of August, and is roughly 40 pages. I'm procrastinating... a lot. I think I've fallen a bit off of the wagon in terms of schooling, so I definitely need to hop back on and stay focused. My blogging schedule should still stay the same, but I definitely need to manage my time better. 

So, that was my May! It's time to get down to business, wish me luck! 

How was your May? 

Emily @ Paperback Princess