The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis (Penguin, 2016) is a powerful story. I finished it three months ago, but it still fills my thoughts. Well deserving of all the award love heaped its way. On the Notables for the CBCA Book of The Year Older Readers 2017, shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and longlisted for the Inky Awards 2017.
Unbecoming by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books, 2015)
How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss (Simon & Schuster, 2016)
Forgetting Foster by Dianne Touchell (Allen & Unwin, 2016)
I recently read these three books featuring a character with Alzheimer’s disease. Unbecoming and Forgetting Foster were both for my book group. I only just finished Unbecoming, a year later!? Fellow book groupers know more about the condition because they’ve cared for family members with it. Karen told us a person can die from it, which I never knew.
“Representation and diversity are not buzzwords or trends or something you do to experiment or to ‘be nice.’ They are important and vital necessities to storytelling and should be approached with respect and consideration and humility. Something you work on because you genuinely want to make the world a better place for others.”
It reminded me of a VOYA review of Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman. Brugman’s writing is spectacular, Solo is one of my fav books and I really liked Alex as Well. Malinda Lo blogged about Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews last year. VOYA’s review of Alex as Well horrified me. Lo said,
This review presents this critique especially bluntly (emphasis added):
“The topic of intersex individuals and those with gender identity issues is receiving much attention lately, in news as well as in young adult literature. Alex’s story is certainly distressing, and teens need more resources on these topics. This novel, however, is overwrought and comes across as a cautionary tale of worst-case scenarios. Limiting the book to a few core issues would have made it more genuine and heartfelt. Sadly, it comes across as an afterschool special. Recommend this title to teens requesting books on gender identity issues only if they have read everything else in the collection.” — VOYA review of Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman
Excuse me!?! Malinda Lo continues:
“I don’t have any definitive proof that there’s an invisible ceiling on the number of issues a YA novel can contain, but reviews such as those above do police the boundaries of what is acceptable in a realistic YA novel.”
What she said. Read Alex as Well now. You’re welcome.
Things happened. Things changed. A girl full of light could get that light snuffed out, and when everything around her was dark, she could roll up in a ball and ignore the whole world, starting with her best friend.
I decided to read Shine by Lauren Myracle (Amulet Books, May 2011) because a few years ago I read ttyl and liked it. I hadn’t even read the blurb of Shine and expected something light and fun, um no. Since I’d only read one of LM’s books I wondered if her books were diverse, but someone on twitter said Shine was very different from LM’s other books. And I agree, Shine is amazing. It’s more like the books I usually read, full of angst and heartache, so I was quite at home, despite initially expecting something different. And Lauren Myracle has quite a way with her words, my favourite kind of author.
Continue reading “You are the light of the world”