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Tag Archives: #DiversityDive Reading Challenge

Dive Into Diversity Family Series: Stepfamilies

We’re continuing to delve into what exactly diversity is and I’ve really decided to hone in on family. Not everyone has a traditional family. The APA says that 40-50% of marriages will end in divorce. My mom’s first marriage did. It was just my mom and I for a little while until my dad (what […]

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July 14, 2015 - 8:00 am

Cousins Siblings Friends | Dive Into Diversity - […] Plus it fits in perfectly with Magan’s closer look at family varieties (reminder to check out her stepfamily post!). Feel free to leave comments below, and let us know what diverse reads you’ve been loving […]

May 1, 2015 - 1:33 pm

Stacking the Shelves & Wrappin’ It Up April 2015 | - […] Magan @ Rather Be Reading delves into Diversity with books about step-families and reading recommendations! […]

May 1, 2015 - 3:30 am

Julia Anne @ Peach Print - I just joined in on the Dive Into Diversity reading challenge fun today, but I was happy to realize I had already recently reviewed a book in the “diverse book” category, and it was one of the books you mentioned in your post, too. 🙂

Julia

April 30, 2015 - 10:44 pm

It's a Wrap • So Long, April • Rather Be Reading - […] Kids: Bedtime Stories Dive Into Diversity: Magan explores step-families Pub Date: First and […]

April 21, 2015 - 11:56 am

Alexa S. - I love that you’re focusing on non-traditional families for Dive Into Diversity, M! It’s a fantastic idea. My family is pretty traditional for the most part, but I love reading novels that celebrate ALL kinds of families. Great suggestions for the stepfamily reads! I think If You Find Me should be another on your list 🙂

April 20, 2015 - 10:01 pm

Crystal - It took me a while to think of books with step-families. Outside Beauty by Kadohata is one. I will have to think about it some more.

April 15, 2015 - 8:24 pm

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - Love your post, Magan. I think it’s really important to showcase stepfamilies in books, especially since they’re so present and a part of life for a lot of YA readers. While of course I want to read and see authentic representation on the page, it’s nice to come across a book without the evil dynamics, like someone mentioned above. Great to hear The Wrong Side of Right showcases stepfamilies in a positive light. Now I have even more reason to want to read it!

April 15, 2015 - 7:12 pm

Rachel - Gahhh, thank you so so much for this post. I have never had a traditional family and I have a REALLY hard time connecting with books that are heavily focused on the nuclear family because that’s just so far from my personal experience. I’ve read a lot of these, but I definitely have some new ones to add to my TBR!

April 14, 2015 - 4:27 pm

Ellie @ Ellie Reads Fiction - I just shared my review of Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson – a sweet MM romance of two childhood friends on a road trip finally coming together.
The issue of complex family relations was strongly present in the story – one boy was the child of divorced parents and the other was adopted. There were interesting family dynamics involved which influenced their romance.
Overall, as a fan of contemporary romance, I very much appreciate it when the stories reflect the present world in all its complexity, including the family relations. Thank you for highlighting this aspect!

April 14, 2015 - 3:45 pm

Magan - Natalie, thank you so much for checking out the post. I’m so glad you could connect and find some books to add to your to-read list. Thank you for your thoughtful comment! <3

April 14, 2015 - 3:40 pm

Natalie @ Flowers in my Books - This was a great post! It was nice to hear about your family, as someone who has grown up with a bio dad who is a step-dad to my brother and sister and then having my parents separate I know how important it can be to read books about non-traditional families (especially ones that bring it into a positive light). Thanks for the recommendations, I will definitely be adding some of these to my reading list 🙂

Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes • Magan Reviews

Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes [twitter • website] Publication Date: March 24, 2015 Publisher: HarperTeen Pages: 368 Target Audience: Young Adult Keywords: teenager disappearance, thriller, Internet dating Format Read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!) Summary: Max, Preston, and Parvati form a small underground business developing lies for their classmates to get what they want at school; business is going great until Preston asks Max […]

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April 7, 2015 - 8:02 am

Getting to Know Paula Stokes, Author of LIARS, INC. - […] don’t forget to add LIARS, INC. to your Goodreads, or read my review if you need a bit more convincing. […]

April 3, 2015 - 3:59 pm

Megan - I have seen this cover a few times and was curious. I didn’t know anyone who had read it, so in light of wanting to spend my money on something I knew I would likely enjoy I passed it up. After reading this though I’m really interested and might just pick it up in my next shop!

April 1, 2015 - 11:25 am

It's a Wrap • See Ya Next Year, March! - […] Start of Me and You by Emery Lord Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz One Wish by Robyn […]

March 24, 2015 - 4:25 pm

Magan - Thanks, Sophie! It’s such a fantastic one! Hope you enjoy it!

March 24, 2015 - 4:25 pm

Magan - Maggie, I wonder if you’d still have issues with the changes she’s made. You read an ARC, correct? I think things are going to feel really tight and put together in the final copy!

March 24, 2015 - 4:24 pm

Magan - Emma, I think you’d have a lot of fun analyzing LIARS, INC. for sure! Definitely check it out!

March 24, 2015 - 4:24 pm

Magan - Alexa, it’s a great read! Definitely check it out!

March 24, 2015 - 4:23 pm

Magan - You’re welcome, Brianna! Thanks for reading! 🙂

March 22, 2015 - 11:16 pm

Brianna - This sounds like another great read. Thanks for sharing your review.

March 19, 2015 - 1:48 pm

Alexa S. - I honestly wasn’t certain if I wanted to read Liars Inc. initially. But after reading your review? Heck yes, I’ll consider giving it a shot. It sounds like a really intense story with lots of twists, and I think those can be great fun sometimes!

March 18, 2015 - 4:23 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - I was intrigued by the cover and jacket copy for this one but it never really grabbed my attention to read it. But gosh this review shows I am very wrong. It sounds fantastic. Thanks also for mentioning the changes from ARC to finished copy as I find that sort of thing fascinating.

March 18, 2015 - 7:39 am

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I didn’t like this as much as you did, but I do agree about all of the great diversity in the story. Even though I had a few issues with the story I really enjoyed all of those things. I expected the whole Liars Inc. business to be a much bigger part of the story, too, and I also liked that it wasn’t, but it kind of drove me crazy how Max kept mentioning it. Great review!

March 18, 2015 - 6:31 am

Sophie @ Seamless Reader - I simply can’t wait for this book to come out!

Great review! 🙂

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz • Magan Reviews

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz [twitter • website] Publication Date: March 3, 2015 Publisher: Simon Pulse Pages: 304 Target Audience: Mature Young Adult Keywords: eating disorders, theater school, Nebraska, LGBTQ, black MC Format Read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!) Summary: Etta is all of these things: black, bisexual, a former ballerina, lonely, recovering from an eating disorder, and anxious to get out of […]

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October 13, 2015 - 8:00 am

Dive Into Diversity Family Series: Single-Parent Families - […] Not Otherwise Specified • Since You’ve Been Gone • The Last Time We Say Goodbye • I’ll Meet You There […]

March 12, 2015 - 9:31 am

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - So glad you loved this, especially as I’m planning to read this next! I’ve never read a book by this author before, but I’ve heard fantastic things. I’m interested to meet Etta and will be aware that her character may take a bit of getting used to. Lovely review, Magan!

March 11, 2015 - 11:11 am

Magan - Brianna, I agree that it was very different than my typical reads, but I think that’s why it stood out so much. I hope you give it a try! 🙂

March 11, 2015 - 11:10 am

Magan - Yay, Alexa! That makes me really happy. Etta is SUCH a different character. She’s very in-your-face, but I think her journey is important. Plus, I just can’t neglect to acknowledge how well Moskowitz wrote the friendship aspect between Etta and Bianca. It blew my mind!

March 11, 2015 - 10:57 am

Alexa S. - I’d seen Not Otherwise Specified mentioned a couple of times, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it. But judging from your review, it’s an important sort of read because there’s nothing quite like it out there! I think I might pick it up just out of sheer curiosity. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, M 🙂

March 11, 2015 - 10:07 am

Brianna - This isn’t something I’d normally pick up, but it sounds really good. Etta sounds like a great character.

The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman • Magan Reviews

The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman [twitter • website] Publication Date: April 24, 2014 Publisher: Createspace Pages: 386 Target Audience: Contemporary Adult Fiction Keywords: weight and obesity, stigmas, friendship Format Read: Digital copy received from Publisher (Thank you!) Summary: Katie, Pixie, Ellie, and Jane are fed up with not seeing results at their weekly slimming meeting. They gossip and ignore the leader […]

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March 11, 2015 - 11:06 am

Magan - Alexa, definitely do! I enjoyed it so much. It was such a nice change of pace from my typical reading and offered a different perspective I gladly welcomed! 🙂

March 3, 2015 - 3:00 pm

Alexa S. - The Curvy Girls Club sounds so interesting! I’d never heard of it prior to your post, but I think I’m going to have to add it onto my list of books to check out 🙂

February 27, 2015 - 11:46 am

Magan - You’re welcome, Brianna! I really hope you pick it up and enjoy! 🙂

February 27, 2015 - 10:36 am

Brianna - This sounds great. Thanks for sharing your review.

Promposal by Rhonda Helms • Magan Reviews

Promposal by Rhonda Helms [twitter • website] Publication Date: February 10, 2015 Publisher: Simon Pulse Pages: 224 Target Audience: Young Adult Fiction Keywords: promposal, public displays of affection, LGBT, Dive Into Diversity Format Read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!) Summary: When best friends Camilla and Joshua find themselves in less-than-ideal situations for prom, one of them going with someone she doesn’t want to date […]

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March 11, 2015 - 11:15 am

Magan - Alexa, it sounds like even within the US Promposals are a completely different thing. I’d NEVER heard of them when I was in high school, but other commenters said they had them around that time. So interesting how it’s all spread out!

March 3, 2015 - 1:46 pm

Alexa S. - Promposal sounds like a super cute read! In the Philippines, going to prom is an entirely different experience; I can’t imagine anyone making promposals a big deal over there. But I am curious to see how this story plays out for both these characters. If it’s wrong to root for their happy ending, then I don’t want to be right!

February 23, 2015 - 11:22 am

Magan - Brianna, major props for originality! The idea you had was super cute. And I’m just gonna say it: That guy was a jerk for not even acknowledging your promposal. 🙁 Errr. I’m so erked right now.

February 23, 2015 - 11:21 am

Magan - Leah, I don’t even know! The promposal wasn’t a thing at my high school either. (Though, admittedly, mine was very, very small.) I think I would have been super embarrassed too. In retrospect, I’m so glad that when my husband proposed, it was just him and me. Not a huge, dramatic moment.

February 23, 2015 - 11:20 am

Magan - Jen, have you received a big Promposal? I hope you have SO MUCH FUN at your prom! Share photos! xo

February 23, 2015 - 11:19 am

Magan - Emma, you’re so welcome! It was a really interesting read. I felt SO wary in the beginning because I didn’t expect it to capture my attention in the way that it did.

February 18, 2015 - 4:21 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - This sounds like a really sweet book with a lot of appeal. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

February 18, 2015 - 2:43 pm

Jen @ Books and Other Happy Ever Afters - I read this one very recently too and I thought it was such a cute and fun read! I myself am a senior in high school so I hope my own prom works out well. Lovely review! I agree with a lot of your thoughts; Camilla was seriously sweet and the Joshua’s crush couldn’t be cuter.

February 18, 2015 - 2:22 pm

Leah - Ooh, I haven’t heard ANYTHING about this!! When did these promposals become a thing? I graduated high school in 2006 and, at least in my area, no one did anything crazy elaborate! On the one hand, it can be really adorable (and VERY impressive when you think about how much thought and effort goes into them)…but on the other, I get secondhand embarrassment REALLY bad. REALLY bad.. Whenever a video of one goes viral (and marriage proposals too) I run away. I’m also the type of person where, if someone had pulled off some gigantic event to ask me to prom, I would have felt obligated to say yes. So I’m with Camilla there.
That said, this really does sound adorable (& yay for diversity!!)

February 18, 2015 - 10:40 am

Brianna - When I was in high school (1996-2000), asking people to dances in unique ways was all the rage, whether it was prom or otherwise. I asked a guy I liked to Sadie Hawkins using a box of Lucky Charms – he had to return one kind of marshmallow for yes, another kind for no, or the cereal if he was going with someone else. We won’t talk about how he didn’t respond. At all. Ever.

Religion in YA Books • Dive Into Diversity

Each Sunday, I found myself driving down the back roads of our small town with my grandparents, headed to our tiny Catholic church. I was baptized there and participated as a reader, attended Sunday school, and in high school was confirmed, too. I didn’t really know anything other than Catholicism until my sophomore year in […]

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March 11, 2015 - 11:12 am

Magan - Crystal, that’s awesome! Thank you so much for sharing those book recommendations! I really appreciate it! 🙂

March 6, 2015 - 6:34 pm

Crystal - I found A Time to Dance to be a wonderful exploration of religion and spirituality. I reviewed it here http://richincolor.com/2014/07/review-a-time-to-dance/. Also, the new book Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein has more about religion than I expected. There is a contrast between the Ethiopian church (orthodox) and the Friends (Quakers) that the main characters have been part of in the past.

February 23, 2015 - 11:32 am

Magan - Jamie, thanks SO much for sharing your story and the great recommendations. I haven’t read either of the books you’ve mentioned so I’ll be adding them to my TBR right now. I’m so glad you shared! xoxox

February 23, 2015 - 11:31 am

Magan - Elizabeth, you know what — you’re so right. I definitely haven’t read a lot of books with Jehovah’s Witness. THANK YOU for letting us know about Brown Girl Dreaming! I enjoy how trilogies can explore religion by really making up their own as well. I think it’s a good way to get people thinking about things without being so explicit.

February 23, 2015 - 11:23 am

Magan - Katie, I SO hope you check out the books! And I’m so thankful for your recommendation too. Going to head to Goodreads to check it out! I just don’t understand why there aren’t a ton of religious exploration books out there. I know a lot of teens are questioning this. It felt like SUCH a big deal to me in high school.

February 16, 2015 - 10:03 pm

Katie @ Bookish Illuminations - Magan,

I love this post! This is exactly the kind of discussion I love–religion and spirituality in literature, especially children’s and YA. I agree with you–there isn’t as much religion in YA as I think there should be, and I hope that publishing trend changes in the near future.

I haven’t read any of these books you mentioned, but knowing that they focus on characters struggling with questions of faith and religion makes me me want to check them out. I think being curious about these issues is healthy and reflects a more authentic spirituality.

I would so welcome more YA novels that reflected characters expressing their spirituality/religion or struggling with those big questions in life that we often associate with religion and spirituality.

I always try to tease out any spiritual dimensions I find in the books I review–in a very broad sense–but it’s rare that I find books engaging with religion and spirituality in a more specific way. One book that comes to mind with a clear spiritual dimension and that does engage with religion in a refreshing way is The Orphans of Race Point by Patry Francis. It’s not YA, but I think YA readers who are mature could read it.

February 15, 2015 - 12:20 am

Alexa S. - Honestly, I love reading about characters who have strong ideals or struggles with religion. It’s a quest that every individual goes through on their own at some point, trying to make sense of things and decide what to believe in. The books you’ve included, particularly Kenneally’s novels, are great examples of books that tackle religion in a way that feels organic, thoughtful and interesting. Would be awesome to read more books featuring all sorts of religion!

February 10, 2015 - 3:46 pm

Elizabeth - This is only fresh on my mind because I just finished Brown Girl Dreaming last night, but she talks a bit about growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, which is something that I have not ever read about anywhere. It was an experience I appreciated reading about, even though I’m not particularly religious myself. I also enjoyed the role of religion in a couple of fantasy trilogies I’ve read– The Girl of Fire and Thorns series and His Fair Assassin series both features fairly pious main characters, though those religions were fictional ones. But on the whole, religion or spirituality are not very prominent in the books I read.

February 10, 2015 - 3:38 pm

Jamie - I grew up only going to church on Christmas and Easter and sometimes to sunday school with my neighbors and VBS in the summer. Then in 8th grade I started going to youth group at a baptist church with a friend (because of a boy and all the boys certainly made me keep going haha). I stayed and got really involved and then made the decision to go to a Christian college. Between my mom passing away and just my experience AT that college I walked away more confused than ever. So I love seeing religion explored in a way that isn’t like Christian fiction or trying to convert someone. Like truly I feel like wrestling with what you believe in or don’t believe in is a huge part of one’s life experience. Especially in the face of death when you really look at like “hey what do I believe in…will I see them again? Is there nothing after death??” I mean, I get panicky at night STILL wrestling with these things.

So yeah I really love seeing it! And not just Christianity. I love seeing all faiths though obviously Christianity is what I’m most familiar with and can relate to.

I recently read No Parking In The End Times and I thought it dealt with wrestling with your faith really well. The girl believes in God and grew up in the church and then her dad gets involved with this cult-like end time group and through this experience she really reevaluates her beliefs and struggles with if she believes in God at all. It was really thought-provoking though I think if people don’t like reading about people who have faith and are wrestling with it probably won’t enjoy it.

I also read Like No Other by Una LaMarche and that was SUCH a good book and the main character was a Hasidic Jew and I loved how it looked at her religion and her culture and how an event really made her question things!

February 10, 2015 - 1:35 pm

Magan - Valeria, every question you posed in your comment is EXAXTLY what I was thinking here. You are spot on. I really feel like I’m missing out on culturizing myself by not seeing this in my reading. It makes the books less unique, I think, and all of the characters a greater melting pot. I want to learn and grow and be pushed to encounter differences. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

February 10, 2015 - 1:30 pm

Magan - Thank you, Andi! I haven’t read that one by Terra, but fully intend to ass it to my TBR list! Thanks so much for contributing!

February 10, 2015 - 1:29 pm

Magan - Thanks for your comment, Jen! I agree – in mainstream YA I’m not seeing a lot of exploration of other faiths. I don’t temd to read actual targeted Christian fiction from a store like Lifeway. I guess I’m pretty surprised that religion is really skipped over in our young adult books. Even if it’s not the primary focus, couldn’t it play a minor role? I haven’t read those books you listed but I am so intrigued! Thanks for sharing!

February 10, 2015 - 1:25 pm

Magan - Bruna, that’s my point – I’m not seeing a lot of those other cultures and religions well-represented at all. I do understand your point of this not being in every book because some people just really don’t want to read about it. Out of curiosity, have you read any books with any religion aspects you’ve found did a good job incorporating it as part of the discussion without it being the sole focus?

February 10, 2015 - 1:20 pm

Magan - Rachel, you’re so right about HOW TO LOVE. I has forgotten that. Subtle, yes, but still a part of the story. Coming from a catholic background, I fully understood how she would have felt being pregnant and her parents reactions. The story would have felt less complete without that i think. Also, thanks for the sweet comment. I’m really glad you found this interesting!

February 10, 2015 - 1:18 pm

Magan - It really seems to be lacking, Brianna. You bring up a great point about the Holocaust. I haven’t read a book focusing on that time with a religious aspect either.

February 10, 2015 - 11:56 am

Brianna - I can’t think of a single book off the top of my head, YA or otherwise, where religion plays a prominent role (other than memoir). Even Holocaust literature doesn’t really talk about the religious aspects of those peoples’ lives.

February 10, 2015 - 11:55 am

Rachel @ Hello, Chelly - Magan, I love that you wrote about this! I was at a similar crossroads during college (I was brought up Catholic but some of my relatives belonged to a Baptist church). I agree this topic isn’t explored enough in books but I would like to see more of it. One book that did come to mind is HOW TO LOVE by Katie Cotugno. Religion/Catholicism plays a role but a subtle one. But I always find myself thinking of it when I look back on that book (which happens to be one of my all-time favorites). Great post!

February 10, 2015 - 11:30 am

Bruna - Interesting discussion. Religion is not something I see a lot in the books I read, and to be honest, I don’t think is something I would normally seek out. I have struggles with what I actually do believe in and I am already so surrounded by people in real life wanting to push their religions on me that I feel that books are a way to scape that. If is something completely different from my culture, like Islam or other non-Western religions I might be interested; or discussions on atheism or agnosticism. But as far catholicism goes, I just rather do without it.

February 10, 2015 - 10:28 am

Jen Ellision - I wish I had some from other faiths to add, but the only books I can think of that explore faith are of a Christian slant.

I read it a while ago and I believe it’s Christian fiction YA, but if I recall the Lisa Tawn Bergren’s River of Time series had some good exploration on faith… not heavy-handed at all, which has been my problem with some Christian fiction. Plus the series is adorable time travel historical romance YA.

Jackson Pearce’s Purity may have had a little exploration too, but I seem to recall it being more about the character’s relationship with her dad than church…

February 10, 2015 - 9:54 am

Andi - I loved reading Small Town Sinner. I was so intrigued by that kind of subject. One that I read that I really enjoyed was Pure by Terra Élan McVoy. Really interesting look at teens with purity rings, waiting until marriage to have sex and what happens when someone goes against that or you yourself thinks about going against it.

Great post Magan.

February 10, 2015 - 9:20 am

Valeria @ A Touch of Book Madness - I love that you raised these questions. I have to agree with you. Other than Christian fiction which, as the genre suggests, deals with a lot of religious issues, I don’t see it anywhere in YA. I would love to see it reflected, and much like you be able to learn about other beliefs and cultures. People tend to focus on other diversity issues, but religion always seems to be pushed aside. Why is that?