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Why We Need More Positive Girls Portrayal in Books

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Hello everyone! ♥

Today we’ll be talking about something that’s been on my mind for quite a while : girls representation in books. Now you may be wondering what I’m talking about because don’t we get so many representation already? Well, we do. After all, most book covers are photos of girls. But are they positive? Well, we’ll see in a bit 😛 what pushed me to actually write this post was seeing some of my twitter friends talked about the same thing. It made me realize that my opinion was valid and not just my own… you know, that other people share the same opinion with me.

But before we talk about WHY we need more positive portrayal, let me talk about the negative portrayal first.

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One dimensional character

If you read regularly, I’m sure you must have noticed the following characters : the calm and quiet main character who prefers her own company, the bubbly best friend who keeps trying to ‘drag her out of her shell’, and the evil, mean cheerleader who’s out there to make the protagonist life a living hell. Let me tell you something, those characters are cliche. Especially the mean girls.

I’m not saying there are no mean girls in real life because the truth is, there are. They exist. But in all my years of going to school and university, I haven’t come across a truly stereotypical mean girl who’s a tall blonde, a cheerleader, dates high school quarterback, and only cares about makeup, party, and boys.

The ‘not like other girls’ trope

Honestly, we should’ve left this trope in 2016 because it’s problematic! Not like other girls is usually used to describe a main character who’s again calm, quiet, nice, and doesn’t realize she’s pretty. She’s not like other girls because other girls care about their looks, wear make up, talk a lot, and flirt with boys. It’s like a girl has to be ‘less girly’ to be special and that’s like??? I mean… what’s wrong with other girls?

A male character saying a girl is not like other girls mean that he doesn’t think other girls are worth it. It’s like saying a girl who, I don’t know, acts girly, doesn’t deserve his attention because he wants someone special? On the other hand, a female character saying “I’m not like other girls’ is condescending. It’s like saying she’s above the other girls and by all means, better than them. It also says that other girls are shallow and she’s not. It’s not uncommon for me to read a book where the female characters slut shame other girls who aren’t friends with them.

Girl hate

I don’t understand why a lot of authors have this trope in their books. In books, girl hate may take a lot of form but they exist. There’s the hate between the captain of the cheerleading team and the main character. There are girl bullies. There’s also this kind of hate where the characters seem to be friends but secretly hate each others, leading to back handed compliment or any other offensive comments.

Do you notice all the things I pointed out above? If you don’t it’s either you don’t read that much or I’ve been reading the wrong books all this time 😂

These tropes might be common, but that doesn’t mean they’re not wrong because to be perfectly honest, they are. They’re harmful. I’m not saying every girls are best friends with each others because we don’t. Girl fight exists, bullying exists, but are they as common as books portray them to be? I don’t think so. That’s why we need more positive portrayal of girls in books.

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Now that we’ve talked about the negative portrayals, it’s time I tell you my reasons why we don’t need them and we need a more positive one instead.

Girls are not monolith

Just like people in general. Quiet girls aren’t always nerdy and nerdy girls aren’t always quiet. Girls who love makeup and flirt with boys aren’t always mean or shallow. Girls who like sport aren’t always tomboy. A member of cheerleading team could be socially awkward, a girl who loves reading could also like to gossip, a sweet girl could be secretly mean, and so on. My point is, girls aren’t cut out from paper, we’re multi dimensional characters who love many things. The ‘not like other girls’ trope basically saying that the other girls are just the same, which is not true at all.

Take me for example. I’m a huge nerd who prefers reading to every other activities but I also love wearing makeup and dressing up. I’d rather stay home than go to a party but I also like to gossip and talk about boys with my friends. I could be friends with both girls and boys. I’m not one dimensional, and neither are my other girl friends. Back in high school, one of my best friend was a cheerleader. She likes to sing, gossip, flirt with boys, and she’s so nice we used to share a lot of secrets. She’s not mean.

That being said, everyone has their own personality and it’s complex. Girls might have some similarities in common but each of them has their own personality. There are so many ways to be a girl and there’s no right or wrong among them 🙂

Girl friendships are amazing

This. This is why I don’t get the girl hate trope because the truth is, girls don’t hate other girls. Okay, not entirely true. I’ve hated other girls and stopped being friends with some of them but it doesn’t happen that often. Even if it does, there’s always a reason. A real one. We don’t go around hating other girls just because. Of course there are girls who bully other girls, but in my experience, they don’t go around bullying nice, quiet girls just because they exist.

Most of my best friends are girls and they are amazing. My first real friendship was formed on my first year of high school. It’s a group of 4 girls. We talked a lot about clothes, boys, other people, our problems, our family, our pasts, and basically everything. They’re my closest confidante and we still keep in touch until now, almost 8 years after we met. We were separated on our second year. We didn’t share the same class, so I formed a new friendship with some new girls. It was a big group, I’m not even sure how many of us was in that group but we were all close and we didn’t secretly hate each others.

During my time in university, I met 4 more amazing girls whom I immediately became best friend with. They’re my rock. Living away from home, from your parents, means that the only family you have is your friends and that’s what they are to me, family. I went to them with every one of my problems and they’re always there for me. I’m also friends with almost all the girls on my year. We might not be besties but we get along fine.

My point is girl friendship is amazing and we should have more of that in books!

Girl readers need  positive examples

A lot of teenage girls read books, especially YA. A lot of them look up to book characters and set them as their role models. Imagine if books only portray negative stereotypes. Those young readers might use them as examples and that’s why we need positive portrayals for them.

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 As usual, I’m ending my discussion with some book recommendations so today’s recs is supposed to be about positive girls portrayal. However, I’m kind of drawing blank because it’s such a broad and vague term and not a lot of books came to my mind. So, this recs is gonna be about fantastic female friendship 😛 even then, thinking up books with truly great friendship still turned out to be difficult. I mean, how sad is that?

Here are some that I managed to recall ♥

I’LL MEET YOU THERE BY HEATHER DEMETRIOS

You know I love this book so, so much and one of my favorite element is the friendship between Sky, Dylan, and Chris. Okay it’s not exactly a female friendship because Chris is a guy, but let’s just talk about Sky and Dylan here. Their friendship is amazing! Dylan always has Sky’s back and ready to defend her and from what I gathered from the story, Sky also had Dylan’s back when she went through some tough stuffs.

PS. I LIKE YOU BY KASIE WEST

Lily and Isabel are definitely my friendship goal! They just get each other and I love how they handled their conflict. Dating your best friend’s ex could go wrong on so many level, but it could also be alright. I know this, I’ve seen in twice in real life, so I was happy to see how things turned out between Lily and Iz.

CROOKED KINGDOM BY LEIGH BARDUGO

There are tons of reasons why Six of Crows duology is absolutely amazing and one of them is because the fantastic friendship between Inej and Nina! ♥ At first I was worried they were gonna be some kind of frenemies but turned out their friendship was so, so genuine and fun and full of talk about foods! 😛

EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU BY NINA LACOUR

The award of the best book best friend is definitely going to Charlotte, Emi’s best friend! She’s amazing, fun, smart, and she gets Emi. She knows when to talk to her and she knows when to give her space. I also love the friendship between Emi, Charlotte, and Ava. It’s adorable ♥

For more recommendations about female friendship, head straight to CW’s blog! She wrote a recommendation post a few months back and it was amazing! ♣

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Alright everyone, those are my reasons of why we need more positive girls portrayal in books because the portrayals we do have are so stereotypical and well… not true! What do you think about it? Are you tired of seeing the ‘not like other girls’ and ‘girl hate’ tropes over and over again? What are your favorite books featuring positive female portrayals? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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Review : The Girl from Everywhere & The Ship Beyond Time // Maps, Ship, Diverse Characters, and Time Travel

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Hello everyone, it’s review time! ♥

As you probably remember, I won a giveaway hosted by Heidi Helig in December. The prize is seven diverse books that arrived last month and two of them are Heidi’s own books : the UK edition of The Girl from Everywhere and the ARC of The Ship Beyond Time. Thank you Heidi! 😀 Since it was Heidi who gave me the books, of course I read her books first. Not to mention that I’ve been wanting to read them for a while now.

Without further ado, let’s get down to the review!

The Girl from Everywhere

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RATING : 3-stars

Goodreads Amazon • The Book Depository

I had so much expectation going into this book, mostly because I got to know Heidi first and I wanted so bad to love the book. But I… couldn’t. Believe me, no one feels more sad about this than I do 😦

According to the summary, The Girl From Everywhere sounds very promising. Time travel, life in a sea, maps that could take you wherever you want to go, what’s not to love? I really loved this unique premise, but sadly the execution fell flat to me.

It started off great, intriguing, and full of action. I thought I was gonna love it, but soon the pace slowed and it became boring. The world building was sketchy at first, I had to stop reading and think in order to imagine what the world look like. Then we got more information, but it was confusing. The book started dropping random historical facts about Hawaii and China that didn’t really affect the story. Maybe they did, but the way it was done was sort of an info dump. I felt like I was reading those facts straight from a history book and I didn’t even remember half of them.

After we got passed the first half, the book started to pick up pace and things started to get interesting. We got more insights about everything, but just when I started to enjoy it, the pace slowed again and things became confusing. It was like… I don’t know, maybe the writing was dense, maybe there was too much information, or maybe it simply dragged for too long, but I suddenly lost my ability to imagine the story. I asked myself “what is happening” repeatedly because I literally had no idea.

Toward the end of the book, things started to make more sense and by the time I reached the end, I had a pretty clear idea of what was actually happening. It was an epic story, but it takes a while for me to understand. That being said, I feel like the plot was a bit all over the place and the pacing was uneven.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t in love with the characters either. Nix’s personality lacks depth and was frankly, bland. All I knew was that she was smart, good with facts and strategy, had a complicated relationship with her father, and wanted to escape on her own. But those facts don’t equal personality and it was such a bummer for a main character. Even more of a bummer was the fact that the people around her seemed to be more interesting, especially Kashmir and Bee. I just want more scenes with Kash in it.

I 100% did not appreciate the love triangle because 1) it was unnecessary, 2) the second love interest, Blake, was so boring and uninteresting, and 3) Nix should just be with Kashmir. Trust me, it’s not me taking side and being #TeamKashmir, but it just wasn’t a competition. Nix and Kash had been best friend and flirted all the time and suddenly a strange guy showed up just because. Blake might be an important part to the plot but he doesn’t have to be a love interest.

On the brighter side, I love how diverse the characters in this book are! Nix is a biracial Chinese-American and Kash is Persian (and most likely Muslim because he said Insya Allah). One of the crew, Bee, is lesbian and talks to her dead wife all the time. There’s also a lot of reference to Hawaiian history and Chinese mythology.

ALL IN ALL, The Girl from Everywhere has a unique and intriguing premise, but the execution fell short for me. The plot was interesting but the pacing was very uneven and there’s so much info dump it confused me instead. However, I’m still deeply curious and will definitely read The Ship Beyond Time to find out what will happen with everyone, which brings us to the next review!

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The Ship Beyond Time

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RATING : 3-5-stars

Goodreads Amazon • The Book Depository

Like I said a few moments ago, I had a high expectation for The Girl from Everywhere and was disappointed. That’s why I lowered my expectation going into this book and it was a good thing because I ended up enjoying it more. Dare I say, The Ship Beyond Time was a lot better than its prequel but still not as good as I’d love it to be.

The book picked up not long after the first book ended. The crew was back in The Temptation and was about to leave Hawaii after the mess they’ve caused. There was a quick recap, enough to refresh the memories of those who read the first book long ago, but not too boring for those who binge read both books like I did. For me, it was off to a great start. Then the plot takes turn and turned out this was more complicated than the first book.

It’s a good thing that we already had the rules of navigation covered in the first book because in this book, we’re exposed to yet another rule : changing the past. In fact, the whole plot is revolved around these questions : could we change things? And if we could, then should we? We were also introduced to some new vital characters and at first it was confusing! Characters come and go and for a while I really was questioning their purpose. But then everything tied together and made sense.

However, I still feel like the plot was a bit all over the place. Fantasy is my favorite genre but I really had a hard time grasping the plot. I mean, I understood the big picture but the way it was told was… well, all over the place </3 Like there’s this vital character who only appeared near the end of the book. There was a hint of him but there wasn’t enough for me to connect it to the real person. I don’t know if there’s too many information, too little time to process, or the way it was told was simply vague? Or maybe it’s just me.

Another good thing about this book is that it doesn’t feel like a history book anymore. I mean, the first book was pure info dump and this one still has a lot of facts, mythology, and history lessons, but the way they were told was better and more smoothly. Plus this time I didn’t let myself become too preoccupied by those facts, so it was easier to enjoy.

Aside from the new characters, we still have all the old crews. I warmed up toward Nix because in this book, her character became stronger and less boring. However, Blake was still as bland as a white sheet. He’s too naive and boring and…. annoying. I dreaded every conversations that involved him, not to mention the thing he did to Kashmir. Just, NO. Slate became more interesting and complex and due to a certain twist, we got to see the other side of him!

To me, the highlight of this book was definitely Kashmir. I already liked him since the first book but he shone more brightly in this one! Mostly because HE GOT HIS OWN POV! Granted it was only for like 4-5 chapters but those chapters are the ones I enjoyed the most 😛 he’s so charming and complex and I love the fact that he was questioning his own purpose and existence because for some reasons, it added depth to his already incredible personality! I also loved Bee and Rotgut.

ALL IN ALL The Ship Beyond Time was a good conclusion and a better book than the prequel, but it still hadn’t meet my expectation. However, I love its theme, its diverse characters, all the maps inside, and Heidi’s writing so I’m definitely going to give Heidi’s future books another chance 🙂

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Have you read The Girl from Everywhere? What do you think about it? The Ship Beyond Time comes out on February 28 so who’s excited to find out more of Nix, Slate, and Kash’s adventure? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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Authors Whose Books I’ll Buy Without Even Caring What They Are About

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Hello everyone! Welcome to another list/recommendation post ♥

Today we’ll be talking about authors whose books I’ll buy without even caring what they are about, a.k.a my auto buy authors! I have a lot of favorite authors, but are they all auto buy? Not necessarily. Auto buy authors are even better than favorite authors because just like I said, I wouldn’t even read the synopsis before deciding if I’m gonna read the book. I have blind faith in their writing 😛

In order to be an auto buy for me, authors have to had released more than one book and all of them have to be equally great, or at least the newer one is better than the debut. All of the books also need to have something remarkable that would make me crave for more, it’s either the characters, the plot, the writing, or all of them. Continue reading

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Let’s Talk: Do Reading Plans and Rules Work For You?

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Hello everyone, welcome to another discussion post! ♥

At the beginning of the year like this, you must have found a lot of reading challenges and read-a-thon all across the blogosphere. You might also see a lot of posts regarding the bloggers’ TBR for those challenges. I have to say, they’re all super interesting! I want to take part in those challenges & read-a-thon but based on previous experiences, chances are I’m gonna fail. This made think about other reading plans and rules such as making monthly TBR or doing a book buying ban, and their effectiveness.

So today I’m throwing one question for us to answer : do reading plans and rules work for you? Because for me, they generally don’t. Let’s see some of these examples! ♣ Continue reading

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Review : The Sun is Also a Star // Way Too Insta-Lovey for My Taste

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RATING : 2-5-stars

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This is my first Nicola Yoon’s book and I was initially reluctant to read it because of the insta love. But then I read positive, glowing reviews from some bloggers whose opinion I trust and decided to give this book a shot. I was disappointed. My initial thought was true. I’m honestly so sad to be giving this book 2.5 stars because I loved the writing so much! 😦 It hooked me right from the beginning but sadly there’s so many things that didn’t work out for me.

Let me break it down to you. Continue reading

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Who am I? Let’s Find Out Through This Tag!

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Hello everyone, it’s TAG time! 😀 It’s been over a month since the last time I did a tag. I was going through all the tags I need to do in search for the perfect one but then Tasya tagged me for this WHO AM I TAG! 😀 It’s so interesting and funny I immediately decided to do it ahaha anyway, go ahead and visit Tasya’s blog! She’s a fabulous Indonesian blogger like I am 😛

Let’s do this! ♥ Continue reading

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My Stance as A Diverse Book Blogger & Introducing New Feature : The Diversity Corner

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Hello everyone! Welcome to another discussion post ♥

Today we’ll be talking about something a little more serious than usual. As you probably have known, I once wrote a post declaring my support for diversity. It’s true, I thoroughly support it. BUT, you might also notice that I almost never tweet about diversity or voice my further opinions in that matter. Why is that? The truth is, I have a lot of reasons, and today we’ll be talking about it along with my future plan.

Let’s break it down! Continue reading