Friday, March 09, 2018

The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

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The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood
The Radical Element
Jessica Spotswood
Genre: Anthology, Historical, YA
Publication date: March 13th, 2018
by Candlewick Press

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In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It's a decision that must be faced whether you're balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it's the only decision when you've weighed society's expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they're asking you to join them.
-A copy was provided by Candlewick Press for review-

There was once a time when while reviewing an anthology, I would review every single story within it. I don’t do that anymore because 1. I am lazy but 2. I don’t think anyone really wants to read a review of EVERY SINGLE short story in an anthology because thats a lot to read and most people will pick an anthology up even if it has a couple mediocre short stories. Also, like, I do want to say I am definitely appreciative of the people who do review every single story and you guys are great. ANYWAY. The Radical Element is chockfull of some of the best YA writers right now and it ups the ante from A Tyranny of Petticoats. Tyranny certainly won my heart in 2016 but we still needed a lot more intersectional stories and that’s what we got in 2018.

The first couple stories didn’t really blow me away though. They had strong character arcs but almost no plot whatsoever and if you know anything about me, you know I am a plot gal. I love my characters and //want// a good character arc but if there is no plot, I am not gonna be a v. happy gal.

Fortunately, a lot of the other stories did have plot arcs and gave me exactly what I wanted. Good characters, a good story and some good times.

Top 3 Stories

Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore

I’ve only attempted to read one book by McLemore (which didn’t work out because of issues with pacing) but I NEED MORE OKAY? This short totally blew me away

When The Moonlight Wasn’t Enough by Dhonielle Clayton

This story explores the very real question of how to be patriotic in a country that hates you. It’s incredibly well written and has a dash of magic. Honestly, Glamour may be my favorite story but I think When the Moonlight Wasn’t Enough may be the most powerful one within this anthology and really important in this decade.

Take Me With You by Sara Farizan

Truly just a story of friendship and finding yourself in a true place. Honestly, I actually really want a full length novel with these characters. There is a larger story to be told here.

 

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Posted by on 03/08/2018 • 4 Comments

I am a finnick-y asshole when it comes to rating books 5 stars which isn’t necessarily because I don’t love books but I want to reserve that 5 stars for a book that is something that I am going to remember for a long time after I close the last page shut. The Poet X is just one of those books you are gonna come out of feeling something. I don’t share the same identities as the main character and yet the way Xiomara navigates her diaspora completely moved me. The way her story was told made me feel seen and validated.

The Poet X is told in verse and yet it tells an overarching story that I am not sure prose could have done justice to. Acevedo is incredibly talented to…

Can You Read Too Many Books?

Can You Read Too Many Books?

Posted by on 03/06/2018 • 8 Comments

 

I feel like the question that is the title of this post is super loaded but I don’t know how else to really get into a question that I’ve been contemplating for a while. Which all starts with this, GOODREADS CHALLENGES.

Some people love challenging themselves to read more every year and other people don’t want to set a number for how much they are gonna read, lest they ruin it. I am somewhere in the middle? I’ve taken to setting challenges as 1 book a year for the past two years but like, here is the thing. I can set it to 1 to make myself feel good but I’ll always have another ambitious goal where I wanna read like 5,000,000 books.

The most books I’ve ever read…

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Posted by on 03/05/2018 • 0 Comments

I am garbage for a good middle grade adventure so when The Mad Wolf’s Daughter was pitched to me, I was on board and wanted to gobble this book up. Good thing it wasn’t disappointing, amirite?

Here is the thing, among the sea of commercial fiction that dominates Middle Grade books, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter doesn’t necessarily stand out but thats not really a good or bad thing? Familiar tropes and adventures are good things and just because The Mad Wolf’s Daughter isn’t necessarily //different// doesn’t mean that it is a bad book or a mediocre book?

The thing about tropes (at least in my opinion) is that it all comes down to how the author uses them to enhance their story. You’re never going to read a book that is free of tropes…

Diverse Books Out February 2018

Diverse Books Out February 2018

Posted by on 03/04/2018 • 4 Comments

Heyyy, I am still here doing these roundups. I mean, it is only February and I still have like 10 more months to give up but I haven’t yet! These roundups tend to focus on YA and MG books because those are easiest to keep track of but I do try to include romances because I also read those and I want to make the list as thorough as possible. If I miss a book, or include one that shouldn’t be on here, let me know!!!

                   

Notes:

***The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza has an instance where a character is deadnamed

Any of these on your TBR? What are you most looking forward to diving into??

Fresh Batch (March 4th – 10th)

Fresh Batch (March 4th – 10th)

Posted by on 03/03/2018 • 1 Comment

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

To Kill a Kingdom Alexandra Christo Publication date: March 6th 2018by Feiwel & Friends

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Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most–a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen and or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the…

What I’ve Been Reading: February Update

What I’ve Been Reading: February Update

Posted by on 03/01/2018 • 5 Comments

January kind of flew by but I feel like February has felt like it has gone on forever. I did get a lot of reading done but at the same time, I haven’t really wanted to read in the same way I wanted to last month. That might be in part due to the fact that I’ve been stressed out all month and just need something to let up so I can breathe and read. For this upcoming month, I do hope that I will be able to go back to unhauling my backlist TBR.

I read 5 sequels in February (technically more but I am sticking to old series that I started instead of new books.) That’s one less than last month but hey February has less days so…

How to Support Diverse Books (aside from buying them)

How to Support Diverse Books (aside from buying them)

Posted by on 02/28/2018 • 2 Comments

 

Here is the thing, even though you may think that there has been a huge influx of diverse books, there really has not been. Diverse authors, especially people of color, still face many barriers when it comes to getting their books published. You can check the CCBC Publishing Stastisitics for more info. We might not always be able to buy every single diverse book that comes out (even if we will try) because our wallets aren’t infinite but there are more things we can do that also supports diverse books!

1. Request upcoming releases at your library if they don’t already have them pre-ordered. Even if you are planning on buying a copy.

Libraries are always welcome to open recommendations from patrons!

2. Check diverse books out from the library!…