A POETRY BOOK OR A PLAY
Trigger warnings: death of a parent, plane crashes, descriptions of birth complications, stalking, sexual assault
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.
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.
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.
Trigger warnings: instances of racism, homophobia, bullying and outing of a character
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
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.
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
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!