Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Each week, you feature a diverse book you have read and enjoyed, a diverse book on your TBR and a diverse book that has not yet been released.
At some point in the past three years, I started prioritising diverse books above what I was actually reading i.e. non-diverse books. I’m not sure when, why, or how this even happened, but naturally this also bled into my writing. I’m really proud of my current reading (and writing) habits and, first and foremost, I’d really like to use this space as a means of highlighting some of the incredible diverse books I read before starting this blog.
A B O O K I H A V E R E A D
THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL BY NADIA HASHIMI
In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.
But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-aunt, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.
Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?
Reminiscent of Khaled Hosseini’s novels and extremely underrated, this is one of my favourite books. It isn’t young adult, but I would still recommend it to everyone regardless of the type of books you enjoy reading. The fictional narrative is woven with aspects of realism so it’s guaranteed to hit you on an emotional level.
A B O O K O N M Y T B R
RADIO SILENCE BY ALICE OSEMAN
Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.
But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.
Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past… She has to confess why Carys disappeared…
Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.
It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.
Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.
I haven’t read Alice’s first novel, Solitaire, but I’ve only heard great things about this one. There’s racial and sexual diversity – Frances is biracial and bisexual – and the story revolves around a platonic friendship rather than a romance, since Aled is also asexual. I have a love-hate relationship with the contemporary genre, but this sounds very different to anything I’ve ever read before so hopefully I’ll be picking it up soon.
A B O O K R E L E A S I N G S O O N
THE HATE U GIVE BY ANGIE THOMAS
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
This hasn’t yet been released in the UK but it’s already out in other parts of the world, and I’m not at all surprised by the praise it’s getting. I already know this book is going to be a game-changer. It’s not just diverse but also an #ownvoices novel, and I feel incredibly inspired by the author’s journey to getting this imporant story published.