five YA contemporary fantasies for the ~halloween vibes~

book recs.(1)

Hello, friends!

If you’ve ever read my blog before, then you probably know I am a YA contemporary trash. It’s my whole brand and I hardly ever read anything else but that. However, that doesn’t mean I am opposed to fantasy. I even enjoy it occasionally, especially when it’s fantasy happening in our world.

So, I decided to compile a list of my favorite YA contemporary fantasies that will hopefully give you Halloween vibes as the date approaches. (I feel like Halloween is slowly turning it into my favorite time of the year and? Who could’ve predicted that).

UNDEAD GIRL GANG

IMG_5696Undead Girl Gang will follow Mila, a fat Mexican-American girl whose best-friend has recently died. Everyone in the town has ruled out her death as a suicide, but Mila believes she was actually murdered. So, she decides to do what any other reasonable person would do: to perform a spell to bring her best friend back from the dad so she can figure out what happened. In the process, she ends up accidentally bringing back two other girls and of course crazy shenenigans will ensue.

I did not ~love~ this book, but I would say it was a pretty solid read. The fantasy here is obviously not a huge part of the book, at all. It is the reason why the plot starts, but there’s much more of a mystery element throughout it, as the girls try to figure out who could’ve murdered them.

I found that some of the story beats and aesthetic were overall very similar to Heathers, so if you like the musical/movie, perhaps you’ll enjoy this one too! While I felt like more could’ve been given to the development of the female relationships, I really enjoyed how they were wrapped up, though, and I liked Mila a lot as a protagonist.

THE WICKED DEEP

img_1093I read this book around Halloween of 2018 and it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made! I remember that the weather was perfect for a read like this, as it complimented the atmosphere wonderfully.

The Wicked Deep is set in a sea-side town where every summer, the spirits of three sisters come back to haunt the city, by drowning boys in the harbor like they were once drowned. The dynamic changes once this new-comer, Bo, shows up in the town, unaware of the danger he’s putting himself into.

This book doesn’t necessarily have the most pristine character/relationship development but is SO atmospheric. The present story is intercalated with chapters that tell the past of the three sisters, who were accused of whichcraft and killed, and we also get to follow their perspective, that is remarkably eerie and spooky.

If you’re experiencing fall right now, I’d highly recommend this one, as it has the absolute perfect vibes for this time of year.

CEMETERY BOYS

Trigger warnings: misgendering, depictions of gender dysphoria, death of a parent

Not that I feel like you need *any* more reasons to read this book, as so many people have screamed about it and it was in the New York Best-Seller’s List, but… I shall provide anyway.

IMG_5703Our main character, Yadriel, wants to prove himself to his family as a brujo after coming out as trans. In order to do that, he decides to set free the ghost of his murdered cousin, but ends up summoning the spirit of the hyperactive, local badboy, Julian Diaz.

This book is a delight, honestly. It has the perfect balance of spooky vibes – with the whole talk of ghosts, rituals and Lady Death – and hilarious-ness, as Julian is super funny and the banter between the characters is fantastic.

I feel like if you’re into the spooky aesthetic, but is still looking for a read with great overall themes (loved so much how this book shows Yadriel growing to understand how he doesn’t have to compromise or settle all the time and that he deserves to be recognized for who he is) and A+ character and relationship development, you can not go wrong with this one.

THE DEVOURING GRAY

I feel like, out of all the titles in this list, The Devouring Gray is probably the most full-on fantasy, though for a lot of fantasy readers, this one fell short, so maybe it was just more than what I’m used to, really.

In this small town, the Founding Families are the ones with magical abilities who have the duty to protect the citizens from the Grey – this magical forest where resides The Beast. Our protagonist, Violet, has just moved in to this town and has been showing signs of magical skills, but she’s not part of a founding family. So our protagonists team up to uncover this mystery.

IMG_5707Things to note that make this book super fun:

  • A NUMBER of bi characters, which we love to see!
  • The two biggest romance plotlines deliver just the perfect amount of angst to keep you interested.
  • Small town drama – new girl? outcast?
  • One of our protagonists, Harper, is an amputee, and also an absolute badass.
  • Creepy atmosphere and magic related to tarot cards, rituals, etc.
  • Great exploration of grief and trauma.

This one really surprised me, as I’d mostly read mediocre reviews, and I can not see it, honestly. This book was a lot of fun, imo.

THE WICKER KING

IMG_3534Ok, we’ll end this one with a contemporary with just ~sprinkles~ of fantasy. This is not a fantasy book, in the slightest, but I feel like it shares a similar atmosphere that feels perfect for this time of year.

Here, we follow best friends, Jack and August, who are trying to figure things out after Jack starts experiencing hallucinations. This is where the fantasy gets intertwined, as the world Jack starts seeing becomes more and more real as time goes on, along with the darkness of the story.

It definitely has similar eerie and overall kinda tragic vibes. I keep telling myself I should not recommend this book across the board, because the relationship is definitely not the healthiest and I can definitely see how it would really bother some readers, but I also love it so much I just want more people to read it, lol.

If you have any recommendations of contemporary fantasies, please, let me know! I actually really like this genre and I want to read more of it, especially by authors of color!

 

the bookish baking tag!

Hello, friends!

The Bookish Baking Tag, created by Kay @ Hammock of Books, showed up at a perfect time for me. I’ve been really into baking since quarantine started and even though I don’t know how to cook anything else, I’d definitely be able to live off of cake, brownies and cookies for the rest of eternity, which I’m 100% down to.

Thank you so much for Caro @ Book Cheshire Cat for tagging me to answer this one!

42185079. sy475 The Sound of Stars really had the most perfect beginning. I was immediately immersed into the story and intrigued about these characters and the universe. In this book, we follow a future where Earth has been invaded by an alien species who has banned all forms of art, and our main character is one of the few people keeping a hidden library.

Even though I did not love the entire book, I felt like the beginning was incredibly strong.

(Also, should I try baking muffins? I’d never done it before so I have no idea how complicated/easy it would be but they’re so delicious!)

20698530Technically, P.S I Still Love You starts out just as the year is ending, since the first scene of the book takes place right before New Years. But I love this series so much I had to include it.

I know a lot of people associate the holiday season with cozy, warm vibes (not me, not only because I’m a Grinch but also because in this side of the Hemisphere, we spend Christmas on tank tops and flip flops), and the To All the Boys series screams warm fuzzies to me.

30075662. sy475 Fun fact: even though cinnamon rolls are internet’s favorite way of defining characters and people, I’ve never tried them myself, though I suppose they couldn’t taste anything other than delicious, considering it’s cinnamon after all.

My choice for this answer has to be Aurora, from Aurora Rising, who’s not necessarily smol, but still deserves to be protected. I found myself being so protective of her from the second I first read into her perspective. She’s just confused and trying her best, which means I’ve officially adopted her.

46216773. sy475 I recently read 10 Things I Hate About Pinky and it’s definitely a book with MAJOR summer vibes. It is set during the summer, alright, but also in a vacation-like spot by the lake, and what screams summer more than that?

It’s also a very light-hearted, easy read and the relationships are A+ so really no reasons as to why you shouldn’t read it.

119322. sx318 I’ve been reading the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman and they always give me nostalgic vibes. I think it’s because I read a lot of alike middle grade series growing up and they all share a similar feel.

The characters are kids and being in their perspective, going through these crazy adventures with them, you can’t help but also imagine yourself as a kid who’s part of the group.

16147088Even though I am a firm believer in chocolate chip cookies supremacy and that they’re, indeed, the best cookies to exist (sorry to be dripping FACTS), I can not say I’ve pondered a lot about this question because I do not read that many classics.

In fact, the only one I’ve read and enjoyed was The Outsiders, which I’m not even sure can be considered a classic, but I know it’s a required read, so I guess it does? ANYWAY. The fact the author wrote this book when she was 17 will never fail to blow my mind.

50160953Where We Go From Here deserves SO much more love and hype. Y’all should be reading it already, pls.

It’s a YA contemporary novel that talks about HIV through three different perspectives, by a Brazilian author and set entirely in Brazil, with a very authentic and realistic portrayal of what is like being an university student here. It’s GREAT, alright. Go read it!

41734205I’d never heard of Angel Food Cake before, but a cake that feels like pure air and fluff can only be divine.

Her Royal Highness gave me the exact same feelings: it was just an incredibly light-hearted, fast-paced read, centered around Millie, who moves to Scotland and finds she has a princess as her roommate. I liked that it was such a fluffy romance with little to no drama. It was certainly refreshing.

53565836. sy475 OH YES CARROT CAKE SUPREMACY. I know carrot cake can actually be quite different depending where you live, but in Brazil, we have carrot cake with chocolate frosting and I *can not explain* how good that is.

But I digress.

I felt like it was only fair to choose a book that can top carrot’s cake iconic-ness and that is, of course, Camp. That book has such a positive and up-lifting message about how, regardless of how you present yourself, your queer-ness is valid and you can be whoever you want to be.

I know Barbie said that first, but like, it’s still such a good message!!! We love to see it!

*inserts footage of me trying macarons for the first time* Ok, I am not gonna do that, though I DO HAVE FOOTAGE. Instead, let me just insert a picture of the first macarons I’ve ever tried in 2018 when I visited Laduree’s NYC (yes, very Blair Waldorf of me).

38746485Becoming by Michelle Obama was incredibly intimidating, just because the audiobook was SO LONG. Like, 18h long. And I’m only used to listening to audiobooks that are around 8h long, so yeah, took me a while, but I did it and it was great.

35716237I feel like I don’t talk enough about Summer Bird Blue, so let’s fix that. Not only this book features an ace-aro bi-racial protagonist, but also a number of the side characters are mixed! Our protagonist is also dealing with grief/depression, so there’s a lot of great rep overall and this book broke me and put me back together, so it’s definitely one you should check out.

40874032. sy475 I really don’t like banana bread, fun fact. I don’t like banana in general, so there’s that. But I swear the book I’m answering for this question is *actually* good.

To me, Vicious is 100% deserving of all the hype. Recently, my best friend read it too and he agreed that the reviews are not lying when they say this book is such an immersive experience and a true page-turner!

What’s your favorite baked good – to eat or to bake yourself? And if you’ve read any of these books, let’s chat in the comments!

 

 

top five characters i am unhealthily attached to because i relate to at least one of their personality traits

top5novo

Hello, friends!

By the time you’re reading this post: I am now 20 years old. That’s just… Yeah, no ❤️. I refuse to believe I am no longer a teen, especially considering I don’t feel like I’ve aged at all since I was fourteen and I’m still pretty much the exact same person, with the exact same interests. My brain has not gotten the memo I am growing up, basically.

But in honor of that, I’ll share some of my five favorite characters. Like the name suggests: I am weirdly attached to these characters because I relate to them in some way, and therefore have now started to project my entire life onto them, because why not, right?

ANYWAY. Let’s talk about them:

FIVE. GUZMAN NUNIER FROM ELITE

guzman nunier | Tumblr

I am sorry to my past self who started watching Elite in 2018 (by the way, season 1 was released on my birthday, so we were literally meant to be) and hated Guzman with all my heart. Uh, yeah, here we are now.

Elite is my absolutely trash child and, considering how many times I mention this show in my blog, I’m sure y’all are more than aware. But yeah, just reiterating: I KNOW it’s a problematic show. I still love it.

Guzman is pretty much the mom of the group – and so am I. He takes care of everyone and is extremely loyal to his friends, wanting to be around them and to have them open up to him as well. At the same time, his friends are constantly hesitant to do so, because they don’t want to be judged, which is pretty much my life story summed up in a sentence.

Of course, Guzman changes a lot throughout the seasons and I don’t relate to all of his character, but I’ve always appreciated his loyalty and his strong morals, despite everything that goes around him.

FOUR. JONATHAN BYERS, FROM STRANGER THINGS

Jonathan Byers | Wiki | Comics Português AminoFor the longest time, I’d never been able to explain why I loved Jonathan so much. He’s my favorite character in Stranger Things, definitely in my top ten characters of life and I am so weirdly attached to him when most everyone who watches this show couldn’t care any less.

And I could not, for the life of me, tell anyone what I found so captivating about his character. But after re-watching Stranger Things this year with my mom, I realized.

Jonathan is, in a lot of ways, just the person I would like to be: a protective older brother, a hard-working guy, a dilligent son. But he’s also a person who I already am like: lowkey extremely judgemental (he literally has a line that goes: “I don’t like most people, he’s just in the vast majority” which is literally my motto), mom of the group and someone who believes in the power of being different and unique.

(Basically, Jonathan and I both have an Aquarius rising and I’ll take no complaints).

THREE. AARON BURR FROM HAMILTON

tumblr_24879977b4f0e36ad39eadab13db695f_9bf2bd59_500

I am totally exposing myself in this post, but oh well.

From the first time I watched Hamilton, I already saw so much of myself in Burr and he’s always been my favorite character.

I also then found out the most popular Myers-Brigg personality type and Enneagram that fans associate with him are the same as mine, so we’re both INFJ and Enneagram 5, which means we’re the same person.

I don’t know how good that is, considering Burr is a sort of antagonist in the Hamilton musical and also just doesn’t do much, but some of us WAIT FOR IT ok.

I relate to the way he’s not about *doing* things, but rather overthinking them. He’s not a character who’s interested in being the first to stand up, but would rather stand to the side and wait. As someone who could never see herself being an “activist” of any sort, I lowkey relate.

TWO. NOORA SÆTRE, FROM SKAM

SKAM GIF's - • Noora • - WattpadY’all didn’t think this was going to be a SKAM-free post, right?

I don’t know if Noora is a character I relate or simply a character I want to be like. I think it’s a little bit of both.

I’ve always admired her character so much for standing up to what’s right and being a true feminist icon. But throughout her season, we also learn there’s so much more to her. She’s also the mom of the group and puts so much of herself into helping and being there for others. She’s not used to letting her feelings rule what she does and always overthinks and rationalizes everything, so it’s really great seeing her journey of opening up.

There’s also this scene when someone offers her alcohol, but she denies, and says she’ll have hot chocolate instead, which is the biggest mood of all times.

ONE. LARA JEAN FROM TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE

21 Times Lara Jean Covey From TATBILB Made You Say "Same" | Lara ...

Honestly, by the end of this post, y’all will probably think I am insane. Because if I manage to be both Guzmán and Lara Jean, then something is not right. But I promise it makes sense.

Lara Jean is that female character I’ll go to the ends of the earth to defend (along with Divergent Tris). I love her so much and I think every single one of her actions is understandable and justified. It always baffles me when people say they found the books or Lara Jean’s character to be immature, because, uh, of course, she’s a 15 year old, what did you expect?

But I digress.

The most relatable trait from Lara Jean’s character to me is how she romanticizes everything, and yet, is terrified of romance. She loves the *idea* of it: in movies and books. She’s obsessed about looking through antiques and daydreaming of its past owners and the tragic and romantic lives they could’ve had. But when it comes to accepting romance for herself, she has a hard time opening up and letting people in. Obviously now I am able to understand that for me, this means I’m aromantic, but back when I was still trying to figure my sexuality out, I related SO much to Lara Jean’s character, and I think I always will in a sense.

Let me know in the comments which characters you relate to & which are you just obsessed with for no reason, hahah.

gothtober readathon TBR (but i only read YA contemporaries lol)

to be read.

Oh, wow, look: me taking part into yet again another readathon? Yes.

The Gothtober Readathon is a month-long readathon, hosted by Olivia @ Olivia’s Catastrophe, Tish @ Little Wolf and Hannah @ Laddete M. As the name suggests, the readathon is inspired by gothic/dark themes, but I love the fact you can actually read *whatever* and my TBR will be mostly filled with YA contemporaries, as expected.

OWN-VOICES STAPLES

LGBTQ+ READ

39863399I will be re-reading my favorite book of last year, aka Birthday by Meredith Russo. Will I make this an yearly occurence everytime around my birthday? Uh, probably. But I finally acquired a physical copy of this book so I want to re-read it leading up to my actual birthday and also take my time to annotate/highlight some of my favorite moments.

This book is dual perspective and one of our mains is a trans girl. Also: I loved this book A LOT and highly recommend it.

 

BAME READ

46223352Now That I’ve Found You has just recently came out but I’m so intrigued I just want to pick it up already, lol.

I’ve never read anything by Kristina Forest before and I believe this book will be all about this girl trying to uncover a mystery revolving the disappearance of her very famous grandmother. It’s set in NYC and this premise reminded me of Odd One Out, so I really, really hope to like it.

 

DISABILITY READ

40170373. sy475 Ok, but I will FINALLY be reading The Boy Who Steals Houses. I got myself the e-book for my birthday (my own birthday present for myself, lol) and it’s happening.

It’s about two brothers, one trying to do everything he can to protect the younger one, who’s autistic. I’m pretty sure this book will break my heart in a million pieces, but I’m ready.

 

THEMED PROMPTS

FEMALE PROTAGONIST

40204193. sy475 The Deck of Omens is the sequel to The Devouring Gray, but unfortunately doesn’t have as much of a pretty cover, lol.

This duology actually has like four main characters, but in book one, we mostly follow Violet’s story, so I guess it’s safe to assume she’s our female protagonist. I’m not sure if this one will follow her as much (I don’t think so), but she’s still a main, so it counts, lol.

 

FOREIGN COUNTRY

43298077The good part about being Brazilian is that any book set in the US counts, lol. And most of the books in my TBR are all set there anyway.

I will be picking up We Are Lost and Found, which like Now That I’ve Found You, is also set in NYC, but I believe in the 80s and dealing with the AIDs crisis. I read Like a Love Story that had a similar premise earlier this year, but didn’t enjoy that one a lot, so hopefully this one will be better.

RED

41941681. sy475 So, Patron Saints of Nothing was one of the books I mentioned in my Mid-Year Freak Out Tag as one I needed to read before the end of the year.

I had two more books in the list that I’ve finished by now, so it’s time to pick this one up. I am weirdly intimidated by this book and I have no idea why? From what I recall, it’s set in the Philippines and talks about the war on drugs in the country.

Pretty sure it will break me apart but let’s do it.

GREY MORALITY

33857632. sy475 All the other books I read by Brigid Kemmerer followed pretty morally grey characters, so I expect the same from Letters to the Lost.

I ended up reading the other book in this duology before this one, and I hope to enjoy this one better. I liked the characters in More Than We Can Tell and the themes are interesting – grief and addiction -, so I am really crossing my fingers this will be as good as Call It What You Want.

DARK ACADEMIA

30319086. sy475 LOL. Not me believing I’ll have enough brain cells to read If We Were Villains.

I will be reading this one in English, and it has to do with Shakespeare, so like, lol. The odds of me understanding anything at all to even write a coherent review afterwards are slim.

If I end up DNF-ing this one because I am too dumb: you never saw this❤️

I am hoping to finish an ongoing read this month for the prompt of Read a book with the undead, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it. There’s also a prompt to watch a movie or show with vampires on it and you can just expect I’ll be rewatching Twilight for the 400th time because… yes.

What are you reading on October? Have you read any of these books? If so, what are your thoughts?

 

monthly wrap up: september, ’20

monthlywrapupnovo

Hello, friends!

I feel like it’s been a while since I last shared a monthly wrap up, but that’s because in August I ended up sharing my Latinx Readathon wrap up instead. Not that much happened in these two months, tbh, but I still enjoy these posts a ton!

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Uni is back – all online. I dread online school. Not that I like in-person school any better tbh, I dislike studying in general. But I don’t think I can focus the best at home and I also miss the in-person interactions with professors and classmates. I also have two extra classes than I’d have normally, since I need the extra credits, and decided to take advantage of the bonus time as I’ll be home anyway. To be honest, hating past me really hard with the amount of school work I now have to worry about, lol.

BOOKS I READ

I read a lot in September, so I’ll try to keep my thoughts brief, though, considering *it’s me*, that will be unlikely.

49150990. sy475
★★★★☆

I already have a full review up on my blog about Furia as I was part of the Colored Pages Book Tour for it. It was my first time ever being part of a Book Tour and while I don’t think it will be a reocurring thing in my blog, don’t worry, I loved the fact I had the chance to hype up Furia & also read it earlier which was surreal to me (my first time getting an arc, can you believe it?). I loved the book, by the way: the setting was relatable and wonderful, Camila was such a strong and phenomenal protagonist, and albeit the discussions on violence against women left me a bit disturbed, they were also immensely important.

18406862
★★★★★

I also *finally* read the companion novella to The Wolves of Mercy Falls – Sinner. This one follows Cole and Isabel, whom we know from the original trilogy, and it’s set in L.A as Cole is recording an album and also a reality TV show. Maggie Stiefvater’s way of creating unique and quirky characters, as well as her fantastic writing, never fail to make me feel everything. I loved this book in ways I can’t even express, but it gave me a lot more feelings than I expected, considering how long I spent apart from these characters.

49976087
★★☆☆☆

Take a Hint, Dani Brown was my adult romance of the month. I know it’s ridiculous to say I found this book to be too adult, when that is exactly what it sets itself to be, but I couldn’t bring myself to care about the things these characters were going through, like anxiously anticipating interviewing a professor, writing papers for your master’s degree, tutoring teenagers on toxic masculinity, etc, etc. Like, that’s all great, but my 19 year old self can not give a shit. I also found the dialogues to be really unrealistic and for a book about friends with benefits, it definitey lacked on sex scenes.

52339313. sy475
★★★★☆

Also, all thanks to Adri, I was successfully convinced to read Cemetery Boys – a YA Latinx fantasy that truly *served*. I absolutely loved the characters – Julian Diaz was hilariously amazing and my favorite, but Yádriel also made me feel all the things. I really appreciated how, admist all the fantasy elements, we also got to see Yádriel’s growth as he recognizes he deserves to be seen for who he really is and he doesn’t have to compromise all the time. I loved the family, as well as the friendships. This really was just amazing all-around and I was so happy to have read it.

30197201. sy475
★★★★☆

A Quiet Kind of Thunder had been repeatedly recommended by Marie and Olivia and I’m so glad I read it! I was surprised that this book also got to discuss friendships, family and grief wonderfully well, on top of disability and anxiety. Both of the characters’ motivations were incredibly fleshed out and, even though in any other scenario the spontaneous international trip without telling anyone would’ve annoyed me to death (it’s just the perfect recipe for things to go wrong), it made a lot of sense for these characters and I empathized with their reasoning. I’d say the only thing that bothered me was the fact that the sex scenes were just… the worst, lol.

52172585. sx318 sy475
★★☆☆☆

I ended up falling into sort of a slump, so it wasn’t the ideal moment to be reading anything, but I pushed through and finished Breath Like Water. I feel like in other circumstances, I’d have enjoyed this a lot more. It was clear the author knew very well how to write about swimming, in a way that didn’t feel overly poetic or overly technical, and it was the perfect in between. I found both of the characters interesting, but that was pretty much it. I hated how unrealistic the dialogues felt (Dr. Phil much?), how they erased the character’s responsibility for his actions because of his mental health issues, and the ending was beyond unsatisfying.

33275690
★★★★☆

I also finally picked up my first Emma Mills and Foolish Hearts ticked every single one of my boxes: enemies to friends, boybands and theatre kids. I’d say the only reason why I ended up not giving this one five stars was because I felt like the side characters were a bit meh, but I loved Claudia and Iris a lot and their friendship was the best. The concert chapter also made me cry – I miss going to concerts so much and it was the perfect reminder as to why I love music (and boybands) so much. I definitely want to read more of Emma Mills’ books after this one.

39847584
★★★☆☆

Lastly, I finished Frankly in Love this morning actually and it was *a ride*. I still stand by the fact this is a good book – I loved the writing and the way the author crafted the dialogues. It was definitely a powerful and ambitious story, but it did leave a bitter aftertaste, as I felt like the racist behavior of his parents was not properly challenged on page, the romance absolutely sucked for everyone and the overall writing of the female characters was weird. I think the overall marketing of this book is very misleading – it seems to be a cute fake-dating story, but it’s not cute at all and the romance is by far the worst part of the book.

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

I’ve determined that September will be the month where my playlist titles have to reference Rocketman. We’re still very much in the Hamilton track, I am falling in love with other tracks from folklore, RBD got into Spotify – finally – as well as the Jonas L.A. album. It’s been a month!

LOOKING FORWARD

October is my birthday month! I am lowkey depressed because I’ll be turning TWENTY years old which is just outrageous. I don’t really love my birthday, but hopefully birthday presents?

kaleidoscope of tropes #6: two bros chillin’ in a hot tub only one feet apart even if they’re not gay

kaleidoscope of tropes.(1)

Hello, friends!

First of all, I apologize for the gigantic title. I ended up not writing a post for this series last month, but at last, it returns!

WHAT IS A TROPE?

In storytelling, a trope is just that — a conceptual figure of speech, a storytelling shorthand for a concept that the audience will recognize and understand instantly. Above all, a trope is a convention. It can be a plot trick, a setup, a narrative structure, a character type, a linguistic idiom… you know it when you see it. (source)

Today’s trope is going to be:

TWO BROS CHILLIN’ A HOT TUBE ONLY ONE FEET APART EVEN IF THEY’RE NOT GAY

I hope y’all were able to get the Vine reference, but basically this is what I decided to use as a title for the trope that consists of a relationship between two men that is devoided of toxic masculinity. It’s a friendship where they can be affectionate, loving and open to each other, despite their sexuality.

in books

EXHIBIT #A: WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON, BY JOHN GREEN AND DAVID LEVITHAN

IMG_5003It’s been such a long time since I read this book, but I have so many great memories from it! And it’s all because of the relationship betwen one of the Will Graysons and the true main character of this story, Tiny Cooper.

As I said, even though this book does not center in Tiny, he *is* our main character. He’s the one link between the two Will Grayson’s. The one written by John Green is Tiny’s long-term best friend and I loved how sweet, but realistic their friendship was.

Will is not interested in theater, but joins the play because Tiny insists and because he’s a good friend too. What I liked about their dynamic is how even if they try to keep this no-homo vibe, they literally can’t, lol. Because they love each other too much and it meant a lot to see Will being open and vocal about it after all, regardless of how Tiny can be uncomfortable about public displays of affection.

EXHIBIT #B: DEAR MARTIN, BY NIC STONE

Me talking about Nic Stone, AGAIN??????

Yes.

IMG_3817There are several amazing elements in Dear Martin that I won’t be discussing entirely, but you can check more in-depth reasons to read this book here.

Here we have Manny and Justyce, who have been best-friends for a really long time, and are both some of the few black kids at their prep school. Even though they come from very different backgrounds – with Manny’s dad being CEO of a company, while Justyce comes from a much more humble background and a single mom -, they’re shown to be very close and very understanding of each other’s circumstances.

Their friendship has its ups and downs throughout the book, but what I like a lot about this dynamic here is that Manny is super open and affectionate and brings this out on Justyce too. He’s not shy in telling him he loves him and being his best supportive self, and even if Justyce pretends to be uncomfortable, it’s clear he loves and appreciates Manny just as much.

Be warned that they’re going to break your heart, though!

in television

EXHIBIT #A: BAS AND ARTHUR, FROM SKAM FRANCE

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I literally do nothing else in this blog but talk about Nic Stone and SKAM remakes. I apologize that my content is so repetitive, but clearly I love them.

I absolutely love the boysquad from SKAM France. They’re hilarious and have such a pure but chaotic friendship. That’s the best way I can define Bas and Arthur’s bromance: chaotic. Both are very… unique individuals, I guess you would say, and when they come together, is pure chaos, but also pure brotherhood.

What makes them fit so well in this trope to me is how neither really understand the concept of toxic masculinity and are constantly flirting with each other, because they’re just sure of their sexuality like that. It’s really funny and adorable, but I also love seeing the other more dramatic layers of their friendship too.

EXHIBIT #B: POLO, ANDER AND GUZMÁN FROM ELITE

mine: ander guzman and polo | Tumblr

This is the angstiest bromance of all times, period. But God I *love* them.

They’re shown to have been best friends since forever, and I think the reason why they fit into this trope so well is simply because of the undeniable chemistry all the characters in ELITE have with each other. I don’t know how to explain it, but even if they’re not in romantic relationships with each other, there’s always this underlying tension in all dynamics.

I think this is noticeable in all interactions of this trio – some more than others. But I really appreciate how being friends for so long makes it so they’re very comfortable around each other (sometimes too comfortable cof cof), and yet that doesn’t always have to be seen as something romantic or sexual.

I don’t know if I have a favorite tier, like, if I prefer Polo x Guzmán or Ander x Polo. I like all three of them, in their absolute messiness, hilariousness and angst.

If you have any recommendations for this trope, pleeeease, let me know. I’ll love to discuss them with you in the comments!

a discussion about our expectations on own-voices books ft. me opening up about colonization, white-washed references & why i don’t talk about brazil anymore

Hello, friends!

I am bringing yet again another discussion. Being on Twitter recently has sparked my interest in some of these, so at least there’s one good thing coming from my time in that God forsaken app. (Y’all who use Twitter on a regular basis deserve veteran discounts. That shit is so toxic lmao)

During the last month, I took part in the Latinx Readathon and that was my first time reading so many books by Latinx authors. While I did really appreciate my experience, I also felt like it opened up a lot of internal discussions on how much international/white content I consume regularly.

@jojosiwasbraintumor

I don’t stop thinking abt this tweet AND YES I’m gonna do this STUPID standing in front of a tweet trend because it works #foryou #foryoupage

♬ NO WHERE TO RUN by Stegosaurus Rex – morguehorde

That’s literally me, lmao. Not only because I blog and talk in English regularly, but because most of my interests are not Brazilian or Latinx. I’ve been more recently facing that regularly, especially since I started university and most of my friends there are interested in Brazilian movies, artists and content creators, and I didn’t know any of them. On one hand, I did feel great because it was feeding my quirky, different, not-like-other-girls Aquarius rising persona where I’d be interested in things that they weren’t, but on the other, I realized I should be supporting more Brazilian creators. We talk a lot about #own-voices, and yet, I’ve read more books published in the US about Latinx-Americans than books published in Brazil by actual Latinx.

That’s not the point of this discussion, though, because I do feel like most of you can not relate with it, and that’s fine. My point is that, in the process of reading more Latinx books, I realized I was, in turn, expecting to immediately like and relate with all books and characters.

IMG_4671I do think that we all have this expectation whenever we pick up an own-voices book. Recently, there was a discourse on Loveless, by Alice Oseman and I won’t be getting into all the points of that discussion, but the most relevant one for this post is the fact many people felt like it was not a “good” own-voices work because sex-repulsed aro/ace were the only ones being represented.

The book never set itself to represent every single ace experience out there. I talked more about this in my last discussion, but this is not how own-voices books should be perceived, because NO book is going to tackle all the numerous experiences that marginalized folks go through.

That’s a big reason as to why I stopped writing about Brazil in my blog. If you followed me last year, you may remember I had a feature called “A Trip to my Home Country” where I talked about elements of Brazilian culture. But I didn’t feel comfortable writing about that anymore because I realized I have a very superficial perspective on Brazil, despite living here my whole life, and I didn’t want to share information that was inaccurate and in return, lead people to believing that this is what Brazil is actually like. But it is also true that I’d never be able to represent, in any work, all Brazilian people out there, because our experiences are VASTLY different.

I think the key is not in the author, but in the reader. When you read a book by an Asian-American author, you should know that this is not representative of every Asian-American person out there. And, in my opinion, it shouldn’t be the author’s responsibility to tweak their story so that readers can understand that this just “one experience”.

IMG_4665Yet, I feel like our expectations, especially when it comes to authors of color, is always that they should do the most. When I picked up History is All You Left Me, recently, I even considered adding in my review that there were no characters of color in the story. But then I started to question why would that be a problem. Just because Adam Silvera is a Latinx man, it doesn’t mean he has to write about only Latinx people. If a white author had written that book, would I’ve been mad that they only included white characters?

I’m sorry to keep repeating the same books, but when I was reading reviews for Like a Love Story, I encountered myself in a similar position. I was looking for reviews that were rather negative to see if others had noticed the problematic remarks that this book contains, and I found a similar issue that people felt like, because the book had been written by an author of color, that they were surprised there were no references of queer people of color throughout the book. While I do understand that is a very valid concern, I’d like to ask that: if Like a Love Story had been written by a white author, would people complain that the references throughout the book were all white as well?

IMG_4188I do think that most of these reviewers would have a problem with it regardless, but it made me think if we don’t have different expectations when it comes to authors of color. If it was a white man talking about how Madonna was a life-changing figure for him, it would be expected, but if it’s a man of color, then we question why wouldn’t he have Marsha P. Johnson then?

It’s kinda funny, actually. It reminds me of an episode in Everybody Hates Chris, where all of his projects would be about Martin Luther King, because being black, that’s what all of his teachers expected of him. Let me remind you that people of color can talk about whatever the fuck they want and write about whatever the fuck they want.

(Of course as long as they’re not being mysoginistic, racist, ableist or homophobic but I think that goes unsaid).

Ok, but how does this tie with everything I said before, about my own experience?

Well, because I do think it’s harder for some of us, folks from colonized countries and who’ve experienced hardcore imperialism over the years, to get to know and be proud of our own country’s culture and art. I’m happy to say that for the past ten years, I’ve seen a rise of young people consuming more Brazilian created content, whether that would be in music or YouTube and even books. But if you ask my mom, who grew up in the 80s, all her favorite musical references were probably American, with a few exceptions of Brazilian artists.

I do understand that we should always strive to be closer to our own culture. But I think it’s always important to remind y’all that this is not a possibility for every person out there, and that some people don’t have white-washed references only out of choice (like me, btw. I completely think in my case it’s a choice and something I need to work and be better at, because I have privileged resources to support my own country’s content and art and I choose to consume mostly international media), but because of historical systems that have oppressed marginalized folks to the point where their own content is seen as irrelevant or less.

So this is something I wish more reviewers would take into consideration when setting up their reviews and expectations for books by authors of color.

Alright. This discussion is huge, but I hope I’ve made myself clear. Let’s talk in the comments.

book tour: furia, by yamile saied méndez

A powerful, #ownvoices contemporary YA for fans of The Poet X and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

Filled with authentic details and the textures of day-to-day life in Argentina, heart-soaring romance, and breathless action on the pitch, Furia is the story of a girl’s journey to make her life her own.

Book links:

Goodreads | AmazonBook Depository | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Kobo | Indigo | Google Play | The Kings English

Get to know more about the author!

Yamile Saied MéndezYamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s also a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing for Children’s and Young Adult program. She’s a PB, MG, and YA author. Yamile is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx MG and YA authors. She’s represented by Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary.

Author Links:

Website | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Tour Banner

Hello, friends! This is my first time ever participating on a book tour and I couldn’t be more excited, especially because Furia was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020.

Trigger warnings: domestic violence, depictions and discussions of violence against women, implications of predatory behavior

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  1. Camila. Camila was a fantastic protagonist and I loved following her. She’s strong, determined, and dreams big. I loved how aware she was of the world around her, so she knew when it was not safe to stand up, but she also found small ways to fight injustice and sexism. It is clear Camila is not interested in following anyone, and ready to be the protagonist of her own life. I particularly liked seeing her deal with the choices of loving Diego and wanting to be with him, but also wanting to follow her own path.
  2. The setting. Rosario was such a great setting and it really solidified to me how much more relatable it is to read books by Latinx authors that are actually set in Latin America. Rosario is not the kind of city you’d see in movies or TV, but it felt so realistic to my own experience and I loved how the author created an atmosphere that was still picturesque and romantic.
  3. The feminist commentary. It was really interesting how this was worked throughout the novel. What the author does is talk about what feminism means for this community of women in Argentina and for their struggles. It is hard to read and particularly disturbing at times, as you watch the way these women have been failed by society and by the other people in their lives. I also loved how the female relationships – especially the ones between Camila and her best friends, Roxanna, and her mom – were so fleshed out and powerful for the story.
  4. There’s a lot of football. I love football, ok. I am a Brazilian girl of simple needs – I see football, I love it. Here, it is not only Camila who’s a player, but also her brother and her love interest, so we see a lot of how the sport has impacted their lives as a family and as a community, and at the same time, how much football connects and also breaks them apart at times. I loved the metaphors created there!

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I’d say the only thing that bothered me about this book was the pacing. This is definitely *not* a plot-driven novel, and most of it is very character-focused, which doesn’t bother me, but I can definitely see how it would bother others. I found that the last 30% was kinda rushed, especially in comparison to the rest of the book.

Overall, Furia is definitely one I’d recommend. I think it’s rare for us to see books like this, that have such poignant discussions for a certain demographic, and that are being shared for all people.

I felt the same way when I read Where We Go From Here, which is set in Brazil. It made me want to share with the world and point out, like: “THIS is what living here actually looks like” and Furia made me feel the same way. It’s still universally relatable, but it means even more for other Latinx girls, who’ll be able to see themselves in Camila’s story.

4 ESTRELASNOVO

Before we go, I want to share a playlist that I created as I read Furia! Some of the songs are mentioned in the book (like Mi Gente and Maluma), while others I chose myself because the lyrics can be connected to the story or share similar feelings as the ones the characters are going through.

And, of course, make sure to check out the other tour stops as well! I am excited to hear other people’s thoughts on this one, as it was quite meaningful to me.

September 9th

Fannatality -Welcome post & interview

Pastelwriter – Review Only

Kristia Villaflores – Book Recommendations based on book

Books & Dice – Favorite Quotes

Libros Con Aby Lee – Review Only

September 10th

The Bookish Skies – Playlist

Sasha and Amber Read – Review Only

Toffi Lady Reader – Favorite Quotes

Faydriel Reads – Reading vlog

L De Lecturas – Review Only

September 12th

The Book View – Moodboard

Idleutopia Reads – Review Only

Iris Book List – Blog Interview

Bookrokosmos – Reading vlog

Reading At My Pace – Review Only

September 13th

Too Much Miya – Favorite Quotes

Mel Reads – Review Only

A Cup of Nicole – Reading vlog

Landscape Pages – Review Only

September 14th

Nox Reads – Reading vlog

Bookzandcookies – Book recommendations based on books

Nature Mama Reads – Review Only

Colorfully Bookish – Mood Board

September 15th (Release Day)

Metamorphoreader – Blog Interview

A Bronx Latina Reads – Review Only

Bookishly Kenia – Instagram Feature Post

Book Dragon 217 – Review Only

Thank you so much for the Colored Pages tour for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the book tour! Are you excited for Furia? What book have you read recently that made you feel *seen*?

what i’ve been watching recently #7

O da minha

Hello, friends!

I have to admit: the past few weeks have been rather slow and I only opened up NETFLIX to watch docummentaries and reality shows. I am afraid this won’t be the most entertaining of the posts, but I highly recommend all of these titles if they interest you!

DOWN TO EARTH

rebecca Tumblr posts - Tumbral.com

Granted: I only started watching this show because of Zac Efron, but I found myself completely interested and finished this in a weekend.

This is a documentary series, where in each episode, Zac and his friend, Darin Olien, visit a different country, exploring their initiatives on sustainability and other eco-friendly alternatives. It’s not the most original thing in the world, but I really liked their approach, as someone who’s honestly rather ignorant and uninstered in these topics – it didn’t feel preachy at all and was really respectful.

My favorite episode was the one in Costa Rica, where they visit a small village in the forest. I loved seeing the school they set up and how they were educating children there. Since this is the field I currently study about, it was really fascinating.

But I feel like all episodes were interesting and sparked a great discussion. Even if you’re not interested in the theme and only care about Zac Efron’s looks, I’d still recommend it, lol.

INDIAN MATCHMAKING

Cheers Indian Matchmaking GIF - Cheers IndianMatchmaking Toast ...

NETFLIX: keep the dating reality shows coming. Please.

As the name suggests, this one is going to explore the matchmaking practice, common in Indian culture. While I do understand this show was controversial among the community, I thought it was really interesting for shedding light on what matchmaking really is. Like, even my sister, who’s a very well-educated girl, thought that arranged marriage was still a “forced” practice, when, in reality, we get to see a lot of people who seek out a matchmaker as they’re not being successful dating through other routes. (We still see some people who are being pressured into marrying, though).

I really liked some stories (Vyasar and Nadia deserve EVERYTHING) and found all of them to be interesting, as the show really comitted itself to show people from different backgrounds who were looking for different things.

I still think it’s worth-watching, but definitely make sure to read “own-voices reviews” before or after watching it as I feel like they’re very important to shape your view on the show.

THE SPEED CUBERS

The Speed Cubers | Netflix Official Site

Y’ALL. This documentary. Honestly.

I did not expect to cry this much with a 40min documentary but it was the most wholesome thing I’ve ever watched. I don’t know if it was simply because I was on my period, though I’ve rewatched since, and it still brought me to tears.

Yes, this is a documentary about speed Rubik’s cubing. We follow mostly two people: Feliks Zemdegs – Melbourne-raised and who broke a lot of records while still a kid; and Max Park – a 17-year-old who’s been breaking Felix’s records since 2016.

Max is autistic and it was so interesting seeing the way his victories are not only about the records he breaks, but also about the small ways the competitions and the speed-cubing community allow him to improve his social skills.

It was so wholesome seeing the friendship between Feliks and Max – albeit rivals, Feliks is still Max’s idol and they have such a strong and beautiful bond. Honestly, this documentary made me so happy and emotional. Pleaseeeee go watch it.

LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM

Hug Love On The Spectrum GIF - Hug LoveOnTheSpectrum Netflix ...

Yes, yet again, another dating reality show. Is it noticeable already I really like them? Oh ok.

Anyway, this one is Australian and we follow people in the autism spectrum as they go on dates and try to find “the one”. Like Indian Matchmaking, I do recommend people who watch this show take some time to see the autistic community’s response to it, as it’s always important to take notice that what we see in a show like this, even if we’re following a number of different people’s experiences, can not represent the entire community and it’ll still have its faults.

I found it to be really interesting: dating is already a challenging thing, so it was nice seeing the different ways neurodiverse people interact, express affection, make small talk, etc.

As a neurotypical person, I admit: it was awkward and embarassing at times. But whenever I felt like that, I remembered myself that social skills are not easy for everyone, and that’s OKAY! I think we’re most likely to judge what we don’t understand/are not used to, so it was a learning experience as well.

I am currently watching some K-Dramas and I’ll probably talk about them in my next recap, but for now, I just wanted to recommend these titles. Thank you for reading!

 

latinx readathon wrap up!

read-a-thon wrap up. (1)

A POETRY BOOK OR A PLAY

Trigger warnings: death of a parent, plane crashes, descriptions of birth complications, stalking, sexual assault

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★★★★☆

Clap When You Land was a super intense read that I definitely consider to be deserving of all the hype. Even though I struggle with books written in verse and I did not love the writing in here, I still appreciated the story a lot. I’d have loved to see more of Yahara and Camino’s relationship, but I nonetheless felt like both characters were really well-rounded and fleshed out and I really liked the discussions of privilege that this book presents by comparing the two sisters. I will say, though, it was quite triggering to read at times as I am not comfortable reading about sexual assault, so definitely beware if you plan to read this one as well.

AFRO-LATINX AUTHOR

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★★☆☆☆

I literally have NO idea as to why I did not enjoy The Worst Best Man. Objectively, it was a great book – the Brazilian references were completely well done (except for the translation of “né?” for “you kidding, right?” when “né?” is just “right?”), both characters were interesting, the progression of the relationship felt believable and there wasn’t a huge miscommunication issue, which was refreshing for adult romances. But for some reason, I could not like it??? I think it all just boils down to the fact I listened to the audiobook and I found the dirty talk especially to be so cringey when read out loud. I’m pretty sure I would’ve enjoyed this one a lot better if I had read it, rather than listened to it.

M/M

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★★☆☆☆

I had read mixed reviews on History is All You Left Me, so that’s why I can’t even say this book was disappointing, as I didn’t go into it with high expectations. But, wow, what a mess. For the first 40% of the book, I’d say, I couldn’t really bring myself to judge these characters’ behaviors or problematic statements because they were grieving and I can’t even pretend to understand how hard that is on a person. But when more things about Griffin’s past, especially, were shared, the more I realized how these characters are just purely unlikable and there was nothing redeemable about them at all. I hated how the book also introduced a love interest as if it was a “plot twist” and the half-ass discussion of female characters the author tried to make was just terrible.

F/F

Trigger warnings: instances of racism, homophobia, bullying and outing of a character

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★★★★☆

The Henna Wars is actually a Bengali story, but with a Latinx (more specifically, Afro-Brazilian) love interest, which is why it felt fitting for me to read for this readathon. I really liked our main character and especially the relationship she has with her younger sister, which I found to be particularly realistic, as someone with an older sister myself. I loved the way the author navigated what it was like for Nishat’s family to understand and accept her as a lesbian. I was just a bit let down, because I expected that we’d have more of a discussion in regards of cultural appropriation and, overall, I feel like the racist behavior that was exhibited by other characters was never met with actual consequences, which is realisitc, and I understand, but still infuriating.

SET IN A LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRY

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★★★☆☆

I really am scared of talking about Where We Go From Here because I still desperately want MORE PEOPLE TO READ IT. It’s a book by a Brazilian author, set entirely in Brazil, discusses HIV and is super accurate to a college student’s experience in Brazil (based from my experience, but still). While I did not *love* this book, I really don’t want y’all to take my rating as an indicator that you should not read it, because you still should. I just found the pacing of the last 50% to be a bit off and I would have preferred if the author had spent more time developing the already existent relationship between our three mains, rather than adding more side characters, but it’s still, as I said, a super important read & the romance was AMAZING. Just: go read it. Okay, thanks.

NON-FICTION

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★★★☆☆

I think my read of My Time Among the Whites just really solidified to me that Latinx or those with Latinx heritage living in the States and Latin Americans who live here are completely different people. While I did appreciate the writer for opening up about her family experience, which was very relatable, as well as all the different ways that she found herself having to “compromise” so her Latinx heritage didn’t bother white people, most things still felt completely foreign. I wish the author had acknowledged more the privileges that come in living in a first world country, which she hardly ever does throughout her essays. It really was an eye opening experience, though, as it showed me how different we really are as a community.

AN IMMIGRANT STORY

Trigger warnings: ICE raids, anti-immigration sentiments

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★★★★☆

As I mentioned in my TBR, I had high expectations for this book and I am glad I was not disappointed. Lobizona presented a really smart way of using the worlds of Lunaris and the Septimus as a mirror of our real world. I loved Manu as a main character so much that even though I did not find myself carrying a lot for the side characters, I was still intrigued to keep reading because of her. She’s such a fantastic protagonist, who’s not interested at all in settling at a place where she can be accepted with a few people who love her, but is rather determined to carve a place in both of these worlds where her existence is recognized for herself and for anyone that’s different that comes after her. I loved her and I can not wait for book #2 to come out.

If you’ve read any of these books or was participating in the Latinx readathon at all, let me know your thoughts in the comments!