Tag: representation

Sarah J. Maas Fans: This Queer Sci-Fi Story Explores What Humanity Really Means

Sarah J. Maas fans, take note: there’s a new fantasy queen about to take over your reading life. Award-winning screenplay and short story writer Nina Varela’s debut novel Crier’s War is an Own Voices fantasy epic that will have you on the edge of your seat from the first page. It has been described by Booklist as “Rife with mystery, romantic tension, and political intrigue… perfect for readers craving queer fantasy with dense worldbuilding.”

 

 

From debut author Nina Varela comes the first book in an Own Voices, richly imagined epic fantasy duology about an impossible love between two girls—one human, one Made—whose romance could be the beginning of a revolution.

Perfect for fans of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse as well as Game of Thrones and Westworld.

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.

Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.

Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.

Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

 

Images Via garage26 and HarperCollins

 

I know. Before you ask, here’s the preorder link. And though you definitely don’t need any more convincing after reading that enticing blurb, I’m just going to keep going, because I am EXCITED about this book.

Though LGBTQAI+ representation has undoubtedly become more common in recent years, it is still super exciting to see this representation manifesting in new and different ways, across all types of fiction. This is something Varela is passionate about, telling blog Book Bratz that “Homophobia doesn’t exist in the world of Crier’s War; Crier and Ayla never experience any suffering or oppression because of their sexualities; but I am queer and I live on Earth and some of my world bled through. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think there’s a certain part of Crier’s story—separate from the romance—that will resonate with queer people.”

And the School Library Journal agrees, noting that Crier’s War is “A lush #OwnVoices fantasy debut with science fiction elements and LGBTQIA+ representation.” (Sidenote: they also call it “perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass.” Didn’t I say this! Maas fans, I see you.)

But seriously, Crier’s War is already causing a stir, with Kirkus Reviews gushing that “Dizzying political machinations intertwine with a burgeoning romance. The plot zooms ahead with nail-biting tension. A fresh, suspenseful take on the robot apocalypse'” and Tara Sim, author of the Timekeeper Trilogy calling it “a beautiful poem of a book.” And if you know anything about Nina Varela, it really comes as no surprise that she should have written something so beautiful and revolutionary.

Don’t miss your chance to catch Nina Varela IRL at the following locations next month!

  • Saturday, October 5th, The Ripped Bodice with Audrey Coulthurst, Los Angeles, CA
  • Saturday, October 12th, Tattered Cover with Casey McQuiston, Denver, CO
  • Friday, October 18th, Books Inc. Opera Plaza with Tara Sim, San Francisco, CA

And find her online on her website ninavarela.com, Twitter, and Instagram!

This Beautiful Middle-Grade Novel About Native American Identity Is a Game Changer

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day doesn’t come out until October 1st, but it’s already making waves. Day’s debut is inspired by her own family’s history and follows a girl named Edie Green who uncovers her family’s secrets, and discovers her true identity as Native American.

Christine Day and I Can Make This Promise | Images Via HarperCollins

 

Tackling themes of identity, coming-of-age and First Nations family separations, Christine Day, who is Upper Skagit, has written a beautiful, sensitive and hopeful debut, and in doing so has added some much needed First Nations representation to the middle-grade reading pool.

All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers.

Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.

Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?

While the story is inspired by Day’s own family history, the book is not autobiographical. In an interview with The Horn Book Inc., Day stated:

In earlier drafts of this book, the family’s story was almost identical to mine. When I finally departed from the full, absolute truth of my personal history, I fell in love with the revision process. It was so liberating and inspiring to blur the lines between fact and fiction. Everything in this book still feels like it could be true to me. But it no longer feels like I’ve said too much.

I Can Make This Promise has received starred reviews from both Kirkus Reviews, who calls it, “enlightening and a must-read for anyone interested in issues surrounding identity and adoption”, and Publishers Weekly who have dubbed it “an affecting novel [that] also considers historical truths about how Native Americans have been treated throughout U.S. history, particularly underlining family separations.” Cherokee Nation’s Traci Sorell, award-winning author of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, says “Day’s novel brings an accessible, much-needed perspective about the very real consequences of Indigenous children being taken from their families and Native Nations. The absence of one’s tribal community, loss of culture and lack of connection to relatives have ripple effects for generations.”

Described by Hayley Chewins, author of The Turnaway Girls, as a book that “manages to be both deeply sad and brightly hopeful”, I Can Make This Promise approaches difficult subject matter with the sensitivity and skill required by any great children’s author, which is what Day undoubtedly is.

Day holds a master’s degree from the University of Washington, where she wrote her thesis on Coast Salish weaving traditions. A huge ice cream fan, (her favorite flavors are Rainbow Sherbet by Baskin-Robbins and Half Baked by Ben & Jerry’s, for those wondering), Day is also super into Harry Potter (rating Prisoner of Azkaban as her number one!) and the Marvel Comics Universe.  You can find her online at bychristineday.com, where she has writing tips, a discussion guide for educators, a blog, fun facts and more! You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to keep up with her news, as there is sure to be lots to come!

Two Hugo Finalists Trying to Turn Silver to Gold

The Hugo Awards, the annual award for science fiction, will announce their winner later in the week, but for now, there are two finalists which are the first in their series—so you can start reading right now, and be ready for the winner this weekend.

 

Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning

Image Via Amazon

 

Maggie is a post-apocalyptic Navajo monster hunter, and that’s just the beginning. When a girl goes missing in a small town, she’s forced to team up with a medicine man to travel the reservation, uncovering secrets and coming closer and closer to a monster more terrible than either can imagine. An immersive flooded world, filled with gods and monsters, and characters with enough sarcasm and attitude to bear the weight of a dark plot and devastated world.

This has already swept a few awards, and is sure to be a good pick for anyone who likes any supernatural or speculative genres.

 

 

Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik

Image Via Amazon

 

You may have noticed by now I’m A LITTLE OBSESSED with Naomi Novik, but hey, the experts back me up. This is sort of a fairy tale, related to Rumpelstiltskin, but you always get much more than you can possibly foresee with Novik.

Since her father is running the family business into the ground, Miryim takes matters into her own hands. For better or worse, she’s very good at debt collecting, and ends up catching the attention of the supernatural—the icy Staryk—and it only gets more dire from there. You can expect gloriously lush world building and characters who feel like real people.

 

 

 

Featured image Via Pixels

Children’s Books Need More Black Representation

Children’s books are powerful tools that help instill a sense of empathy in young readers. They are testing grounds for new ideas and exercises in ethics. Reading, at any age, teaches us that the experiences of other people are not only valid, but influential to our own lives. It’s for this reason that representation in children’s books matters.

According to reporting from Cooperative Children’s Book Center of Education, in a study of 2,500 titles, less than 1 percent of books for children and teens had Black authors or illustrators in 1985. Although that number has improved more than 30 years later, only 10 percent of children’s books featured black characters in 2018, while 27 percent of them featured animals or other characters who aren’t human.

Image result for black children book

Image via pintrest

America’s school’s are heavily segregated, and to under-represent a specific group of people is to feed into an already divided educational system. Black children need to see themselves expressed in children’s lit, and white children need to see their peers in equal measures. As racial tensions increase in America, it will be imperative for young readers to empathize with people who have different backgrounds and skin color.

Mary Taris

Image via Atlanta black star

Mary Taris, the CEO for Strive Publishing and an advocate for black YA, told the Atlanta Black Star: “All in all, I’d say it’s not enough for a book to just be about African American characters. They also have to have an authentic portrayal of African American characters in order for them to truly be a mirror for Black children and teens.”

There is an increasing demand for black representation in children’s literature, and people like Mary Taris are leading the fight.

 

Featured Image Via: Daily Express

 

red white and royal blue

Amazon to Adapt LGBTQ Hit ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ for TV

Berlanti Productions is still going strong, even without any future seasons of Arrow lined up after next year’s Season 8 conclusion.

Deadline reports that Amazon Studios and Berlanti Productions will be adapting Casey McQuiston’s Red White & Royal Blue, one of 2019’s most anticipated LGBTQ novels about an unexpected power couple romance.

 

Red White Royal Blue

Image via Amazon

 

Red White & Royal Blue follows America’s favorite son, White House royal-equivalent, Alex Claremont-Diaz, as he falls in love with former across the pond enemy, Prince Henry. The surprise romance causes all sorts of diplomatic complications between the two nations, and Alex’s relationship problems will be taken to another level.

The highly anticipated novel appears to be in good hands. Juilliard Playwriting graduate Ted Malawer will pen the adaptation, and Berlanti Productions has developed LGBTQ content with favorable audience approval, especially after its recent success with introducing LGBTQ superhero icon, Batwoman, to television (She was the only memorable part of that Arrowverse TV crossover).

While there is no release date for the rom-com adaptation, the novel will be published by Macmillan next month.

 

 

 

Featured Image via Deadline