Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly spotlight created by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks that specifically illuminates diverse literature. You can find more details of it in the announcement post here. Each post involves sharing:
- A diverse book I have read and enjoyed
- A diverse book that has already been released but I have not read
- A diverse book that has not yet been released
As part of #AsianLitBingo this month, I’m focusing on books by Asian authors and with Asian characters in this spotlight.
Read and enjoyed: Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee
Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby.
But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.
Not Your Sidekick was actually featured in my first Diversity Spotlight Thursday, as a book on my TBR, and I was so lucky that Emily Mead lent it to me so I could finally read it. What I enjoyed:
- The futuristic setting, heroes-and-villains foundation of their society, and their technologies were so much fun to read about. It reminded me of Big Hero 6 and I would so love to see a similar kind of animated adaptation of this book.
- Jess was so compelling as a protagonist — her insecurities about not measuring up in terms of achievements, and regarding her cultural identities, felt very real.
- It’s really interesting to read about an Asian diasporic character in this kind of story — talking about Jess’s Chinese classes in one paragraph and superheroes in the next; very affirming to read about.
- Family stories are always great, and I loved that Jess’s parents and siblings had such a strong presence in the book, which shifted in a well-developed way as the story progressed.
- Jess and Abby were an adorable duo!
- The action-packed scenes and discoveries at the end were fun and gripping to read about
TBR: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.
Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.
Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.
Not Yet Released: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
Rom-com! Indian protagonists with strong cultural elements! Amazing-sounding characters! I don’t really have much to comment except this sounds adorable and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one (good to know it’s being published in Aus/NZ!)
Have you read, or do you plan on reading, any of these books? Let me know your thoughts!