Why literature representation matter.

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It’s been four years since I graduated high school and my reading has increased exponentially. The first year after graduating I didn’t read much. A few books here and there. I mostly re-reading books I had sitting around, to kill time while waiting for a family trip or to temporarily offset my boredom. By the third year I was an going to bookstores and buying books to read, or listening to the  audio versions. It wasn’t until I started blogging about the books I read that I realized what made me stop reading in the first place, the narratives.

My reading list for high was pretty standard. To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men Wuthering Heights, and Shakespeare. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the value and validity of these books, but for an African American male this reading list is lacking. Yes, I understand that people say To Kill A Mockingbird is a timeless book. Sadly, all it really does is make white people feel less guilty about the oppression of black people, even though Atticus Finch never actually existed. That book and many of the others mentioned are assumed to be book all can enjoy. I didn’t enjoy wuthering Heights, I didn’t care for any of the families, Heathcliff bothered me, and I felt bad for the servant Nelly. I couldn’t get into reading these books because I couldn’t relate to them, I couldn’t see myself as them.

Now it’s hard to question why people don’t like to read books. So many things play into it, but I can be certain a big portion of it has to do with because for so long we’ve been forced to read books from people who write about perspectives we can’t relate too. How much can I gain from reading The Great Gatsby. Nothing, I could care less about a rich white man. I don’t want to read about a rich white man. I want to read about the Pecola Breedloves, Ali’s & Noodles  , et al.  I enjoy reading about me, something I wasn’t able to do in high school, but even that has been a challenge.

Walking into a bookstore, or searching through online websites can be a few shades of lackluster. Especially when you’re shopping for diversity. Ciswhite men dominate this industry. With there limited perspective on other people, or their lack on caring how they represent other characters outside of their protagonist.


5th Wave review

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I just finished reading The 5th Wave, and while i’m not a fan of books involving aliens, (or aliens in general.) this book grew on me. I have to admit, the first 50 to 75 pages didnt grab my attention. To the point where I put the book down several times throughout the week and almost considered not finishing it. I over came this apathy really, really fast. Once I started reading it again I was hooked. Kind of like that TV show that has a kind of okay first episode but an amazing season. This book took me on an roller coaster I had no idea I was about to take. Part of me wasnt ready, another part of me was thrilled to here. The main character Cassie follows the footsteps and the blue-print of so many other heroic female driven novels. With such bravery, ambition, and tenacity she keeps us on our feet as we –for the most part– follow her on this journey of what it means to be Human. The Key theme throughout this novel is: being Human. Or being enough. As we advance throughout the sections we are introduced to a library of new characters. All of who, after finishing it, makes me question: What exactly is it that makes us Human. (When reflecting on this book) And how do we lose it? (I’m going to try and be as spoiler free as possible) We meet characters who don’t have a sense of what it means to be human? Characters who know that there is only one possible outcome to this invasion they are under: Death. This, fear, this realization that they can only postpone death for so long affects their psych; to point where some people go ‘Dorothy’. As we read we realize how easy it is to dehumanize and militarize people, and vice versa how easy it is to humanize and demilitarize people.
This book has two important plot twist in my opinion. The first, for me at least was kind of ruined when we first were introduced to Vosch. When we finally got pieces put together after the scene with Reznik on the roof, I was happy I understood a lot of things. But I wasn’t surprised. I kind of already guessed it by this point because of the whole Camp Ashpit. The second plot twist, well more like an OMG moment, for me was the Shark scene. I feel like, after-wise, had I been more INVESTED in their relationship I wouldn’t have seen it coming, but to be honest. The scenes of them in the cabin bored me a bit.
What Rick Yancey does so well with this book is the with his writing he keeps the action up.  For to often we read books with passive syntax, and here you’re..eventually…thrust into a game. survival vs Sacrifice. At any moment your fav can die. (Kind of Like game of thrones) The book is divided into 91 chapters…or passages. But then those 91 sections are separated by 13 larger sections. What I think fell a little short, was that after awhile the narrative begins to switch back a fourth through multiple perspectives, which at times got confusing because it wasn’t made apparent who I was actually reading at first. (I have this problem a lot) Another thing that bothers be, not just with The 5th Wave, or Rick Yancey. But this idea that YA novels need  to have a love triangle. (this is me foreshadowing the next book for the most part) But i’m not going to get off topic. One thing that bothered me is I feel as if this book wasn’t quotable. Not to many statements stuck out to me as profound, The ones I did like however, will be posted below. I enjoyed The 5th Wave, I give it three out of five dog ears.

“Private Zombie, you have two seconds, exactly two seconds, to seal that sewer pipe posing as a mouth, or I will incinerate your ass with the rest of the infested alie sons of bitches!”

Okay, I just realized something that bothered me, this has a  minor spoiler in it, so if you’re going to read this book, consider that before continuing. But  this dialogue that happens between Cassie and Evan right during the first kiss. Isn’t appropriate It sends the wrong signals to people. This might be the over feminist/activist in me, but it bothered me while I was reading it. Thank god they didn’t “Have sex”.  As authors and writers, we need to find a better way to romanticize a couple instead of having women say no to a mans advances and having the man brush it off and continuing anyway. OR at least add a part where the woman is giving verbal consent to continue. I know “It was just a kiss” That’s. not. the. point. though. But once again, I digress. Another place, Another time. Another post.

HERO review

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I just finished reading HERO by Perry Moore. My Goodreads Said it took me five days but it actually took me roughly two days. Okay, first off. One of the major things I loved about this book is that the main character (Thom) Identified as gay. And throughout this novel he struggled with acceptance and understanding how to be himself. – However this is NOT the main plot.


The main plot follows Thom and a few new friends he meets a long the way as they attempt to make it as members of the League superheros (Think Justice League), equipped with their own unique set of powers and skills. What I liked most about his friends is the humanizing quality they have. Each character for the most part has some flaw, but its not like an attitude problem or a weakness to peanut butter. Its an actual flaw.

The writing itself wasn’t the best, a lot of unconnected plots. For example: Thom’s superpower is he has the ability to heal people and things. However, one supporting character struggles with her own issue i’m not spoiling, that I kept me wondering why doesn’t Thom just heal her, Or when there is a random attack that we dont know much about, why it happened, where it came from, or what it was exactly.

The main antagonist isn’t “revealed” until the final fight, but it doesn’t make any sense. The lack of back story for the antagonist did not help me connect the dots. I mean I understand what was happening, I guess. But the why wasn’t there. The where did this come from wasn’t answered. It was like BAM! now im evil and I hate everything.

Ultimately, I’d recommend this book, it made me ugly cry. There is a cute love story in it. And  a honest conflict between A father and a son who just wants acceptance. A lot of people say they won’t read it because the reviews say the writing sucks, but honestly, the story is amazing! DONT. SKIP. OVER. THIS. BOOK.

The rest has spoilers in it, scroll with caution.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mosquitoland review

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So before I get into a Spoiler-free review of Mosquitoland I have to share a funny story: I wasn’t going to buy this book.

tumblr_nqr87wD2bV1tezf1qo1_1280This book, along with We Were Liars  had been sitting in my amazon cart for a few weeks…and I had every intention to buy them but at the last minute I decided not to. So I put them in my wishlist. Well, one day I went inside a bookstore and saw this book. I decided “you know what, this is a sign from the book gods to buy this book. So I bought it (along with The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood)

Okay so that wasnt funny.

Here is a quick, one line synopsis of the book before I share my thoughts:

Mim Malone embarks on a journey to get to her mother.

Things I loved about the book.

  1. I loved the journal entries. I really enjoy when authors incorporate journal entries into their books from the POV of the main Character. I also loved the surprise involved with the journal. The Journal entries allowed for us to see a different side of Mim. We got to reach a very personal, intimate level with her. Which is important for readers to be able to get attached to character.
  2.  I love how it wasn’t a love story? And by that I mean (in the most vague way ever), she did what she had to do.
  3. I love the symbolism of the lipstick + her mother + her journey. I liked how she had something that gave her the strength and courage at times. When times got tough she had something to remind her of her mother, ultimately reminding her of the reason she was on this journey.
  4. The way David Arnold handled Mental health in this book was so honest.
  5. I loved the supporting characters: like Arlene, Glenda, Caleb, uncle Phil, Walt Aunt Isabel. I also loved the diversity in the people she met (Except poncho guy)
  6. Walt. I loved Walt.
  7. The relationship she had with her father was so authentic and toooooooo over the top. The family dynamics as a whole were spot on in my opinion, especially since dealing with divorce and death.
  8. The experiences she made while on the journey never felt forced, (Except for…) I felt like that is what my trip might have been like  if I went in search for my mother.
  9. I love how Mim Malone doesn’t allow her illness to define her and ho she was so relatable.

Okay, now FOR THE SAKE OF SPACE, on to the things I didn’t favor to much

  1. The actual execution of the lipstick. There has been a discussion about whether it was appropration/wrong for him to have Mim us it in the manner that she did. I’m not familiar with how warpaint works but like I Said I loved the symbolism it gave us but I think it could have been a little less appropriating?
  2. At points it seemed like Walt was fading into the background of everything. (Which thinking about it that might have been his intention.)but there were moments when we’d go pages without hearing from Walt and its like…they’re in a vehicle where is he.
  3. I’m not sure why, but I feel like her (and others) story isnt finished.And it makes me upset because I just want to know more. and more. and more. and more.
  4. Sometimes, it got a little confusing as to if we were in the present or past (Not really sometimes just one time in particular which I think is because of how I stopped reading)
  5. I wish I got to know more about Walt.
  6. I wish they didn’t refer to him as a pet.
  7. I wish this book were longer.

Personally, Id recommend this book to everyone. It was a very smooth read (I recommending reading it with Say it out loud by Cinema Cycle playing in the background or Ed Sheeran radio The A team.

“I am a collection of Oddities.”

“Be curious, but contempt. Be loyal, but independent. Be Kind. To everyone. Treat every day like you’re making waffles. Don’t settle for the first guy (or girl) unless he’s the right guy (or girl). Live your effing life. Do so with gusto, because my god, thers nothing sorrier than a gusto-less existence. Know yourself. Love yourself. Be a good friend. Be a kid of hope an substance” (Page 342)

Grasshopper Jungle review

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Grasshopper Jungle is a Young Adult Novel written by Andrew Smith. It centers around the main character Austin Szerba and his sexual confusion and attraction to his two close friends (Robby Brees and Shann Collins) of opposite genders. All while dealing with the probability of the end of the world.

The book itself is written in a format that it is easy to follow. Each section is divided into subsections with a catchy title attached to them. Where often times the main plot line would be put on pause for a back story about Austin’s great great grandfather.

This isn’t your typical coming of age’s story. I mean, I guess you can say it is. If that includes killer praying Mantis. Most of the book was very slowly. I kept waiting for some action. I mean the world might be taken over by a swarm of giant killer praying mantis, alas, it wasn’t nowhere near the pace I expected it to be. We spent a lot of time dealing with Austin questioning his sexuality in a problematic way. He knew he was attracted to both his friends, but instead of question if he was bisexual  He kept wondering if he were gay for liking both male and female. Anyways, when the book did seem to pickup in certain points, we often hit these road blocks of Austin proclaiming to be Horny. About everything. Which,  one, kept pulling me out of the book, and two made me roll my eyes way to many times. Though, I got the use of it. I mean I get it, a high schooler constantly being horny and going through puberty. But some of the times it seemed so unnecessary and ruined the moments for me. – Which could also be argued as the main idea of it’s usage-.

    One of the biggest problems for me was that the author would halt the main story line to tell us what other characters were doing at the exact same moment. Which, I understand this book is basically a collection of historical moments for Austin but I could of went without the pages upon pages of unnecessary details of what others were doing.

What I like the most about this book was the unconventional and unrestricted approach to a coming-of-age novels. Many people complain that they’re tired of reading novels that’s only plot is someone struggling with their sexuality. Well, if you’re one of those people this book is for you. It has end of the world realness. Along with random moments of sexy time and sexual confusion.

All in all, I give this book 4 stars out of Five.

More Happy…review

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MORE HAPPY THAN NOT is Adam Silvera’s debut novel that has taken the internet, and myself by storm. ( If you haven’t already seen my dream movie casting o51XS1ZfTVLL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgf this novel click here)

This month I unintentionally filled a lot of my reading with books that centered around gay-protagonist. ( Simon vs The homo sapiens Agenda, Grasshopper Jungle, I’ll give You The Sun, Giovanni’s room and, More Happy Than Not) This wasn’t my intent. I tend to be a more harsh critic of YA -lgbt novels. Because they, unlike their hetero counterparts play a more important role because of the lack of representation…With that being said every novel I read for the first time this month (Which is all minus Giovanni’s room) Has impressed me.

Time for the Actual review (Non-spoiler):

Halfway through the book I thought I knew the plot twist. I was reading and expected for what I thought would happen to happen and it never did. MHTN is a beautiful novel that takes you on this journey that tackles serious issues like homophobia, depression, and suicide. But in a way that’s not to heavy-handed or over political. This book follows Aaron as he discovers a new happiness when his girlfriend Genevieve leaves him for a couple of weeks. This new happiness takes shape in a guy named Thomas he meets by chance while hiding. We get to be apart of this evolving friendship, and his relationship with his old friends that takes us by the hand and doesn’t let us go. All while exploring the interrelation awkwardness he maintains with his brother and mother.

Now most people would probably consider this book to be slow. Which, I guess if you’re reading only in a rush to reach the twist and finish it then yeah, you’re gonna think its slow. You’re expecting to reach the end instead of smelling the roses that Silvera has written for you.This book is super diverse, which I love. I love diverse LGBT books that take the narrative off coming of age novels about a white cis males.

I give this book four dog ears out of five. What makes this book not another coming-out-novel is, like the other books I read this month, they all added an element or a twist to them that took an unconventional approach to them. A lot of time people complain (Straight people)  that they’re tired of reading coming out novels, or they wished the characters could be gay without having to deal with the added benefit of coming out. Like being gay in theory (As I wrote about in an earlier post) However, this book gives a voice to those who don’t feel the need to speak. Its been a long time coming of reading about the Manic Pixie dream girls and the ridiculous love hetero-sexist love triangles. I’m glad that the coming-of-age novels are emerging in the YA section. I’m glad they’re not cliche. I’m glad we have authors like Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli, Jandy Nelson, David Leviathan, Alex London and so many more who aren’t afraid to take risk. And I’m glad we have the publishing companies and editors willing to work and back these amazing books despite the content and backlash that might follow suit.

This following month I won’t be reading as much, or posting. (Gonna back log and Queue) Will be working on finishing my Novel for NaNoWiMo. If you wanna get updates or give words of encouragement, jusssst let me know.

As always,

Read books because you can. Read books because you want too. Read books that inspire you. Read books that you WANT to read, how you WANT to read, and WHERE you want to read.

Aristotle and Dante review

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the secrets of the Universe is a novel written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

  • Goodreads blurb

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

  • Thoughts

I recently went on a LGBT-YA reading marathon and finished it off with A&D with high expectations. This is one of the books that many book bloggers raved about lthoving. For the most part we get to follow Ari (Aristotle) as he struggles with being a very shy person and not having a close relationship with his parents. They both keep a lot of secrets from each other, which makes the family’s dynamic, less than average. This, however is the complete opposite for Dante’s family. They show affection. Tell each other everything; If there were to be a spectrum of how families should be, on one end would be Aristotle’s family. On the other end would be Dante’s family. We, the readers, get to follow them as they foster a relationship: stemming from events I wont spoil. I walked into this book expecting to fall in love.  (I had just finished reading


MORE HAPPY THAN NOT so I was still on the high of that great book) Sadly, my expectations from the high of the community was met. This book was extremely slow. It has a really great beginning and an amazing ending but the author lost me many times in the middle. To many of the moments that happened after Dante left felt like filler placed in with no true value or additive to the novel. Just forcing the reader wait for what we already know is going to happen. Nothing made this book standout to me the way others raved about. From the cliche moments, to the plot lines that didn’t seem legit. The way the history of Ari’s brother unravels is kind of cool though.


The complexity of Aristotle and Dante’s characters lacked, big time. They felt like nothing more than quirky teenagers who read poetry and make weird quotes.  Almost like a Manic-pixie novel. They seemed to be 3-dimensional for the most part, coming to life with their own conflicts (both internally, and externally). The writing of this novel is easy to follow, but like I said earlier it’s slow. Which I’m not sure if its slow because I was expecting things to happen or because nothing was generally happening. While this might not be one of the favorite novels I understand the importance of this novel, and how it is playing a role bigger than it expects

Ultimately, I have to give this book a two out of five stars. At face value it was a good book, but it lacked the depth needed for me personally to really enjoy the characters and story line.