Diversity Spotlight Thursday # 1
Diversity Spotlight Thursday was created by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks. The idea behind this feature is to create “a weekly spotlight that illuminates diverse literature specifically.” I’ve been looking for a Thursday or Friday meme for a while now but just couldn’t settle on one that appealed to me. This one sounds perfect though, so I’m going to give it a go. Thanks so much to Aimal for coming up with such a great idea!
Here’s how the meme works. Basically you select three books to spotlight each week, using this format:
- A diverse book you have read and enjoyed.
- A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read.
- A diverse book that has not yet been released.
A Diverse Book I have Read and Enjoyed
Goodreads Synopsis: Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and dazed with optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin’s doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.
Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents’ chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya’s mid-thirties. When she can’t get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya’s care. As Kavya learns to be a mother–the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being–she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.
Lucky Boy is an emotional journey that will leave you certain of the redemptive beauty of this world. There are no bad guys in this story, no obvious hero. From rural Oaxaca to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto to the dreamscapes of Silicon valley, author Shanthi Sekaran has taken real life and applied it to fiction; the results are moving and revelatory.
Why I’m Spotlighting Lucky Boy: I literally just finished this book – haven’t even written my review yet – but it’s just such a beautifully written, moving, and relevant book that I couldn’t wait to share it with my fellow readers. The main characters are Solimar Castro Valdez, who is an illegal immigrant from Mexico, and Kavya and Rishi Reddy, who are Americans of Indian descent. When Solimar is detained because of her illegal status, her infant son Ignacio, who was born in the U.S., is taken from her and put into foster care with the Reddys. The Reddys have been desperately trying to have a child for a long time and instantly fall head over heels for Ignacio and are very hopeful that they’ll be able to keep him. It’s an incredibly gut-wrenching read because you, of course, want Solimar to get her son back, but then you also see how loved and well cared for he is by Kavya and Rishi and so it’s just an impossible situation because no matter how it plays out, someone will end up with a broken heart. It really got to me, both as a mother and as someone who hates seeing how deportations literally rip families apart.
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A Diverse Book That Has Already Been Released, But I Have Not Read
Goodreads Synopsis: The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.
Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
Why I’m Spotlighting Homegoing: I purchased Homegoing a few months ago because of all of the rave reviews it has received but somehow it got shuffled down my TBR and I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I’m planning to read it soon though as part of the Beat the Backlist challenge I’m participating in.
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A Diverse Book That Has Not Yet Been Released
Goodreads Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn’t have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it’s working fine. While her dad goes on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, Del manages the family cafe. Easy, she thinks. But what about homework? Or the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell? Or her best friend who won’t stop guilt-tripping her? Or her other best friend who might go to jail for love if Del doesn’t do something? But really, who cares about any of that when all Del can think about is beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street. . . . Until one day Rosa comes in the cafe door. And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?
Why I’m Spotlighting Get It Together, Delilah!: The few early reviews I’ve read about this book describe it as a fun and light-hearted read. They make it sound a lot like Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which was one of my favorite reads from last year. It features an LGBT romance and a focus on family and friendships. Get it Together, Delilah! released on April 4, 2017.
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Great post! Homegoing is amazing! This other one coming out in April sounds interesting. I’m adding it to my TBR list.
Thanks! I actually just finished Homegoing last night and thought it was incredible. Can’t believe it’s actually a debut novel.
Lucky Boy sounds like such an emotional read! Homegoing has been on my TBR for a while now, I should really get to it someday soon… And Get It Together Delilah sounds so fun and it indeed sounds a bit like Simon which already raises the expectations so much 🙂
I’m the same way with Homegoing. Everyone says such lovely things about it that I need to just make reading it a priority because I feel like I’m missing out. And oh my gosh, yes on the Simon comparisons! I hope I’m not getting my expectations too high but it just sounds like a read I’m going to love.
Great choices! I read and loved Homegoing so much, it was one of my fave from last year ♥
Thanks! I’m so glad to hear how much you enjoyed Homegoing. I keep hearing that it’s an incredible read so I’m really looking forward to it.
Get It Together, Delilah does sound like a cute one! I love LGBT+ Fiction.
Yeah, I really hope it’s as cute as it sounds. It sounds like a perfect read for summer.
I have Lucky Boy and I haven’t read it yet. I feel like it’s going to be gut wrenching, so I find myself shying away from it. I’ll need to get over it.
I’m right there with you. I won it in a giveaway months ago and kept shoving it aside because I just knew it was going to break my heart. I’m glad I finally read it though because as heartbreaking as it is, it is beautifully written.
What a great idea for a meme! I haven’t seen this one before but I’d like to keep coming back to see your picks!
Thanks for these three – I haven’t heard of any of them but I’m definitely going to take a look at them now.
Have a great weekend!!!
It was new to me as well but I love it. I’ve already added tons of books to my TBR since discovering it. 🙂
Great choices! I have both Lucky Boy and Homegoing on my TBR list. I’m glad you liked Lucky Boy, I need to read it soon.
Lucky Boy is great and I actually just finished Homegoing this weekend and thought it was incredibly well written. I hope you enjoy both of these as much as I did.
Lovely recs, Suzanne. Lucky Boy I feel is going to rip my heart out. And thank you for the heads up about this meme.
Yes, Lucky Boy was an emotional roller coaster for me. Very well written though so it’s worth it.