#DiverseAThon Recap: Breaking Out of My Comfort Zone

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In addition to my diversity discussions & TBR last week, I decided to join #DiverseAThon  😀

#DiverseAThon is a Read A Thon where we were encouraged to read as many diverse books as we could hosted by JoceMonica, Whitney, and Christina ♥ Not only that, these lovely ladies also hosted twitter chats discussing diversity everyday for a week. It was held from Monday, September 12, until yesterday, September 19. So before I start, I just want to thank them and everyone who has participated for enlightening me about diversity and ‘forcing’ me to read something that is usually not my cup of tea 😀

For this #DiverseAThon, I managed to join 4 twitter chats and read 5 diverse books. YAYYY TO ME! I’m proud of myself ♥ Let me take you to all the books I read this week! 😀

diverseathon-homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

RATING : 3-5-stars

Homegoing is the official group read for this #DiverseAThon. It follows the story of two half sisters and their children and their children’s children, separated by force outside their control. This book is PHENOMENAL! Which is why I’m nervous because this is an unpopular opinion. Most people rate it 5 stars, and here I am, contemplating between 3 or 4 and finally decided to settle for 3,5. Please don’t hate me though, I’ll explain why :’)

Diversity elements : POC MCs, diverse setting and culture (Ghanaian), slavery

5-things-about-this-book

  1. This book is an amazing, realistic portrayal of Black people lives in the past centuries. I adore it so much, it hurt so bad, I cried several times </3 This book is also an eye opener, it taught me a lot about the lives of people I never knew. Slavery was cruel and unfair, but even after the slavery ended, the unfairness still exists. There would always be injustice toward people from minority race.
  2. It taught me how it feels to live in fear and how to make the best out of it. It is a real portrayal of diversity. For that alone, this book deserved a million praises.
  3. But I don’t think this book is for me. I’m a fan of character-driven story. I adore character development, and I love books that allow me to connect with the characters and feel whatever they feel. Because this book changed POV so much, it didn’t allow me to actually connect with the characters. Just when a character grew on me, the POV changed and we were introduced to another new character.
  4. I really connected with the first few characters but as the story developed, I found myself become less and less attached to the characters.
  5. I looove the idea of parallel stories slowly intertwining ♥

final-thoughts

All in all, I’d still recommend this book. It was so real and sooo honest! It is the most ‘diverse’ book I’ve ever read it was so enlightening I think everyone needs to read this! 🙂

Written in the Stars by Aishaa Saeed

RATING : 3-stars

Written in the Stars follows the story of Naila, a Pakistan girl who lived and grew up in America. Naila could chose whatever it is she wanted to do with her life except her husband. Her parents would choose it for her. When they found out Naila had a relationship with this boy Saif, they were furious and took Naila on a trip to Pakistan to set her straight.

Diversity elements : POC MC, Pakistani culture, arranged marriage

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  1. I did not expect it to be this… brutal. This book started off pretty light but quickly turned brutal.
  2. I felt like Naila’s personality was kind of flat. Not to mention her relationship with Saif. I didn’t feel the chemistry between them.
  3. I was confused with the message the author was trying to send. I read the author’s note and she said that it was to bring awareness to the still-common practice of violence in arranged marriage but honestly, the message I received was that arranged marriage is a form of violence that restricts someone’s freedom to the extreme and that if someone tries hard enough to break free, they’ll get their own happy ending.
  4. I was hoping for more positive portrayal of Pakistani culture.
  5. The writing was a bit jumpy, like, it switched scene without me realizing it has switched scenes. I found myself confused several times.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

RATING : 45-stars

Aristotle and Dante is a beautiful book about growing up, discovering one’s self, and finding love where you least expect it. This book isn’t what I expected. Scrap that, I honestly didn’t know what I expected either, but I enjoyed this a lot ♥

Diversity elements : POC MCs, Mexican culture, LGBTQIA

5-things-about-this-book

  1. I love the MC, especially Ari. I love how he narrates the story, so loud and sarcastically funny and full of questions about the world.
  2. I really enjoyed the dynamic of between Ari and Dante’s relationship. So, so raw and honest!
  3. The parents are the best parents in YA! No missing, ignorant parents in this book YAYYY! They’re both still married, love their kids, and so supportive.
  4. I love the issue this book deals with. It’s all family and love and friendship and dealing with the pasts. I really love to see Ari coming to term with his sexuality and to see he built that relationship with his father. It was so heartwarming ♥ I also love to see the bits of Mexican culture in it, though I wish there were more
  5. It’s not a five stars for me but for once I have nothing bad to say about a book! 😛

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

RATING : 45-stars

First thing first, I just want to say that I NEVER read books with lesbian person of color as main character before, nor have I read book that centered around feminism. I was surprised to find myself enjoyed this book so much! ♥

Diversity elements : POC MC, LGBTQIA, Puerto Rican culture, feminism

5-things-about-this-book

  1. I (in most way) don’t identify with Juliet. I mean, in terms of religion, sexual preference, race, and ethnicity, I literally have zero things in common with her. Yet I found her story so elegant and touching and (strangely) relatable
  2. Seeing Juliet embraced her sexuality was a really interesting experience and I loved to be in her head.
  3. Reading it was also eye opening. I’ve heard a lot about racism but this book told the story in a different way. It made me understand racism, especially between white people and other minorities in America, in a totally different level. It made me realize that racism would always, always exist, no matter how intelligent and open minded people are
  4. This book enlightened me of how broad feminism really is
  5. On the more technical aspects, I felt like the writing was dense and dragging at first. There were wayyy too much descriptions of unnecessary things. But as the story got more intense, the writing become lighter.

Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour

RATING : 45-stars

Everything Leads to You follows the story of Emi, a passionate set designer, and Ava, a long lost granddaughter of Hollywood super star. This is also the first LGBT book I read where the sexuality is not the issue. From the very first page of the book, Emi is already sure of her sexual preference. There was no confusing her self or any issues with coming out. Emi is openly lesbian and her family and friends accept that. Therefore, the LGBT element here is not the main aspect of the story. This story is about making peace with one’s past, chasing dreams, and finding love.

Diversity elements : LGBTQIA

5-things-about-this-book

  1. It was so enjoyable from the very first page! So light, fun, and cute ♥
  2. I love all the characters! I love the way Emi narrates the story. In fact, I love being in her head. I also love Charlotte, the other side characters, and Emi’s family 😀
  3. The story is not uncommon, but interesting. I love to follow Ava’s journey and see the revelation of her past
  4. The pacing is perfect and it was a really light read for me.
  5. I love Emi’s job! ♥ I loooove it more than I could ever love my future career (I guess?)! Her job is so cool and fun! I mean, she got to go to garage sales and flea markets and thrift stores to find meaningful things that would show up in a movie! Though of course, it’s a job, so it has its tedious moments, but still 😛

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What I Learned from #DiverseAThon

  • It was hard to break out of my comfort zone, but once it’s done, I’m craving for more! I learned about gay, lesbian, Puerto Rican, Ghanaian, Mexican, and now I wanna know about other African countries, other Latinas, other sexual orientation, basically EVERYTHING!
  • This #DiverseAThon opened my eyes to so many possibilities out there ♥ It is such a great opportunity to try something new and find new books that you wouldn’t normally read
  • I understand now that RACISM is a big deal! Like, BIG DEAL. It’s all around us and it’s inevitable no matter how often we claimed otherwise.
  • It’s possible to relate to a character who has zero similarities with me
  • I’m proud to say I’m 5 books more educated than I was before 😛
  • I’m also sure that EVERYBODY must have learned something new this week
  • I’m now absolutely sure that my favorite genres really are fantasy and contemporary under the YA category. I don’t do well with historical fiction. I tried, but I just couldn’t. I’d like to read tough and sensitive subjects in a light way. You’ve seen my reviews :’) Book recs on diverse fantasy/contemporary would be much appreciated! ♥
  • I’m adding more and more books to my diversity TBR because I don’t want it to be just an occasional thing. I wanna read diverse books regularly 😀

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So those are the books I read this week and what I learned so far! This #DiverseAThon has been AMAZING and I’d like to once again thank the lovely ladies mentioned above for hosting this genius event! ♥

Did you join #DiverseAThon? What books did you read this week? Have you read any of these books? Drop some comments and let me know what you think! 😀

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15 thoughts on “#DiverseAThon Recap: Breaking Out of My Comfort Zone

  1. I love your reviews. You are making me want to read them all but I must resist! I have other books that I really need to read. However, I just brought Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova! I am so excited for it to arrive later this week! I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and I am in love with it. I already wrote a review for it and it will be up next week.

    I am extremely blessed to have my friends and family in my life and they are diverse in every way. I have my own experiences as a deaf person but at the same time, as a white woman, I can’t claim to understand their own experiences. I want to try and cannot wait to talk, listen, learn, read and support people in every way as I can. I am not eloquent and I hope to be one day so I can inspire people to learn just I am right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! ❤ Yessss ALL this diverse recs had successfully made my TBR exploded! So many great books to read, so little time :') I have Labyrinth Lost on my kindle and I'll read it sometimes around next week! Hope we both enjoy it 😀 I think reading diverse books is a good way to learn more about things we're not familiar with. It's not the same as experiencing, but it's one step there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You read so many books in a week! Wow. Homegoing is a book I’ve been meaning to read since a LONG time, I just haven’t picked it up yet :/ Though I was not a fan of Ari and Dante, I’m glad you liked the book! I’ve also been meaning to read Everything Leads to You.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! #DiverseAThon looks like a lot of fun and these books sound very cool. I have at least one of them on my TBR list. For some diverse contemporary-ish books, I would recommend The Color Purple by Alice Walker and Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende. The first is about an African American lesbian in the early 20th Century, and the other is about a Chilean American girl dealing with her past. They’re both very interesting and well-written.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! ❤ it was realllyyy fun, a great opportunity to read books I never thought I'd love! 😀 Ooohhh African American lesbian in 20th century sounds really cool! And I've never read anything featuring a Chilean so I'll definitely check them out. Thank you for the recommendations ❤

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  4. I didn’t join DiverseAThon because I didn’t have enough time to, sadly, but I’m thrilled to hear this worked so well for you! I loved Aristotle and Dante, I thought that it was a beautiful book, the characters slowly grew on me and I appreciated that so much. I haven’t read Written in the Stars, but I do love the cover, sad to hear that book didn’t work out too well for you. I don’t know if I’ll give it a try, or not yet. Everything Leads to You is on my TBR, and YAY you loved this! This makes me so happy. That book sounds so good, the cover is gorgeous, and I absolutely need to read more of these kind of books.
    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too! What a great opportunity to read books I never thought I’d like! ❤ I can't wait to read more books by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Yesss and the synopsis is so so interesting I was hoping for more, but if you decide to read it, I hope you enjoy it more than I did 😉 Everything Leads to You is soooo cute! ❤ Yayyy happy reading to you and thank you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a fantastic recap!
    I totally understand your rating for Homegoing. I also like character driven stories, but I understood that this book was not meant to be about any individual character, but the story and legacy of two family lines, so I was able to overlook my qualms about the POV switching too often. I’m glad you still enjoyed the book, though.
    You picked some excellent books!! The only ones I haven’t read are Written in the Stars and Everything Leads To You, both of which are on my TBR. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! ❤ yes, come to think of it, I realized that Homegoing is a different kind of book and that doesn't mean it's not good. I love the diversity so muchhhh it's actually my first book portraying Ghanaians. Or Africans in general :') Yayyy I hope you enjoy them both! Everything Lead to You is so adorable and light 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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  8. I loved Homegoing, but I definitely understand why some people might not have been able to connect to it. I think I found it easier because I’m obsessed with multi-POVs, haha. I really need to read Ari & Dante, Everything Leads to You and Juliet Takes a Breath! So glad you enjoyed all of these!!!

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