#Diverseathon Wrap Up
WOW, what a crazy week. I almost made (and still tempted) to make a post about my thoughts on what’s going on in America (though, it would mostly be angry) but I want to make the post organize and thoughtful, so we’ll see. Again, reading usually calms me down and I’m glad I participated in this readathon!
Anyways, in my TBR post, I said that I would most likely read only two books and I was completely right! I ended up reading and finishing Shadowshaper. I decided to not read George because at the airport, I saw a hardcover of Difficult Women on sale for 40% off and I was like “ima buy dat” since it was on my most anticipated list (when I make those lists, I never actually end up reading those books because I hate buying new releases since they are so expensive, I ain’t rich). But I bought it and read it! Both the books I read were also #ownvoices! On to the reviews!
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Published: June 30th 2015 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Page count: 304
Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on.
Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.
Review: I really enjoyed this book but something fell flat with me. I’m not sure what that is, but I want more from the world, from the characters. I loved the magic system and found myself memorized when Sierra or Robbie would use their Shadowshaper powers. I think the concept of using art to manifest spirits is incredibly fascinating. However, for some reason, I didn’t care for the plot. Most of the time, I felt ‘meh’ about everything. The character development lacked to me and wished Sierra was more complex (though I did like her as I will mention later). Like I said in the beginning, I wish there was more. It’s pretty face paced and i think that’s where the novel fell. It was too fast pace and a lot of situations seemed convenient. However, what I appreciated about the story was the subtle and not so subtle discussions on racism. The cast was also extremely diverse, containing POC (lantinx) and individuals who are in the LGBT community. Also, Sierra as a character felt real to me. She’s slightly insecure about her wait and second guess whether if she’s going on a date or not with Robbie (something I do all the time when someone asks me to go somewhere with them). I thought the relationship between Sierra and Robbie was a tad bit fast, but nonetheless really cute. Overall, it was a good quick read. If you want to read about a cool magic system with diverse character, I recommend this one!
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
Published:January 3rd 2017 by Grove Press
Page count: 260 pages
The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the marriage of one of them. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.
Review: WOW. Just wow. The first story definitely sucked me. Roxane Gay’s writing is honestly just memorizing. It’s easy to read yet contains so much depth. All the women she constructs in her stories were all so memorable. They were “difficult women” they were real. Throughout these collections, I was stunned and uncomfortable. A lot of these stories were harder to read than others because how vividly Gay describes the events that are occurring. Her writing was compelling, honest, real. One of my favorites was the first one, “I will follow you” where Gay tells the story of two sisters who were abducted when they were younger and as adults they are inseparable that many seem to be weird. I also liked “Mark of Cain” where a woman marries a twin. The twins switch places (the husband with a mistress) and the women pretends to not be aware of the swapping and accepts what’s happening. Another being “Difficult Women,” where Gay lists distinct groups of women(crazy women, mothers, loose women) and expresses why they are misunderstood. These are just the first stories and I can easily list all of them because they were just absolutely stunning.The characters were 3-dimensional, the love stories seemed realistic, the situations many characters are in are heartbreaking. Each story is unique in its own way and many of them I will reread in the future. Also, the representation of WOC and LGBT is also presented, making this more relatable to me personally (especially the biracial representation). If you’re a woman, a man, a LIVING person, you should read this (I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately but you should make this one a priority). I can’t wait to read more by Roxane Gay. TW: abuse, rape.
Read any of these books? Did you participate in #Diverseathon? Let me know down below!