Why I Marched (And I’ll do it again, and again, and again . . .)

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The day after the Women’s March on Washington (or should I say the WORLD!) there were responses to our march such as:

“Don’t tell me I’m not a real woman if I don’t support the March!”

“What rights have you lost?”

“Women aren’t 2nd class citizens!”

“It was pointless!”

And though many of my sibling protesters have refuted these statements already, I want to add my voice to the mix. Who knows, maybe what I say will resonate with someone along the way. You won’t help a single soul by remaining silent.

“Don’t tell me I’m not a real woman if I didn’t support the march!”

Okay, I know I can’t be everywhere at all times, so I certainly can’t see every Facebook post, every tweet, every blog post or article, but I saw a lot. And I still haven’t gotten through all 6 hours of footage from the March, but I’ve seen (or witnessed!) most of it. Not once have I seen, heard, or read anyone say that if you didn’t march or support the March, that you weren’t a real woman.

Sometimes, and I know this can be hard to wrap our minds around, we hear what we expect (or want) people to say. (I’ve done this, by the way.) And I’ve seen it over and over again in conversations about diversity and representation between authors. If I were to say, “As a woman, I support all women,” someone might hear condemnation in that. But it’s not there. I never said you should support all women. That’s a choice.

We sometimes place connotation on something another says that wasn’t there. We might have a point in mind we want to make, and we have to work hard to hear and understand what is being said, not what we think is being said.

I’m not accusing anyone of anything here: just making a point. Before you accuse us of trying to make you feel like less of a woman, maybe look at what you read or saw and make sure it’s actually what you thought it was. Or maybe you’re creating your own narrative because it fits what you want to say. Possibly, there’s something inside of you that needs addressing, not the women who are excited to have gone to the March.

I can’t speak for all 500,000 people in DC (or millions worldwide!), but I saw no shaming of women who didn’t participate. I took part in no shaming of women, and neither did the group of people I marched with, or the thousands around me. I witnessed none of that behavior on Facebook or Twitter and saw none if it on the news. And there were even pro-life people protesting with us and they were not harassed. Even if there were those that participated in shaming, remember that one or two people don’t speak for an entire movement. They certainly don’t speak for me.

I stand for and with my sisters even if they don’t think I need to stand for them. It’s solidarity even in the face of disagreement. Because when push comes to shove, I’ll be there for all my sisters, not just the ones who agree with me.

I march for all women.

 

“What rights have you lost?”

I love having the Constitution and the Bill of Rights thrown in my face like they’re not living, breathing documents whose interpretations haven’t changed over time, and are still changing. Let’s not forget that our first Declaration as rebelling colonies said “all men are created equal” and was written by a man who owned slaves. We’ve long been a nation of contradiction between our ideals and the reality of how we apply them. And no matter what the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or your average politician say, we live in a patriarchal society.

Of course, society is far better now than it was even 50-60 years ago. Mary Tyler Moore was criticized for wearing pants on TV for Pete’s sake! She could only have one scene an episode in pants to appease the moral sensibilities of those poor offended viewers. But is that all we want, just better? Not equal? Should we just “be grateful we have progress at all”? Is that all we expect or accept for ourselves? For our daughters?

It’s 2017 and we still haven’t come out of the full shadow of patriarchy. Women make 80 cents to every dollar a man makes. To be clear, because I’ve heard this argument before, these studies are conducted using the same job, with the same experience and education. And the gap is even worse for women of color and working mothers, with the gap growing larger with age. Based on data accrued 1960-2015, we won’t close that gap until 2059. (That’s 42 years for 20 cents!) And if you take into account that the growth of women’s income has slowed in increase since 2001, it’s likely to be 2152 before the gap disappears. (135 years!!!!)

And that’s just the pay gap. How about a woman needing to defend what she wore, how much she drank, and her behavior in a rape trial? Or a rapist getting only a few months in jail after a brutal, violent rape that will leave that woman scarred for life, because he’s a “good boy” who just “made a bad choice”? And why we teach our girls how to protect themselves, act demure, don’t drink too much, wear clothing to cover, etc., instead of focusing on telling our boys DON’T RAPE!? And how about the fact that the laws restricting our reproductive rights and our bodies are almost entirely written by men who have no laws restricting their reproductive rights and their bodies?

Shall I go on? Attitudes toward working mothers, hell, attitudes toward stay-at-home moms, appropriate feminine behavior, boy’s club attitudes in the workplace, asking husbands to “control” their wives behavior, professionals only speaking to the husband not the wife sitting right there, the poor white male attitude that they have it so rough right now because women have it easy . . .

Yeah, some of those are personal.

Okay, stopping there before I get too fired up. We live in a society where norms are expected of both men and women, and I challenge those norms unequivocally! I cry, and it doesn’t mean I’m weak. I get angry, and it doesn’t ruin my femininity. I can be nice, and I can be nasty. But the patriarchy doesn’t get to define my femininity or my feminism.

And in case you were wondering, smashing the patriarchy benefits men, too. I know opponents like to make it sound like women want to take over and make men submissive, but this is just not true. Feminists are looking for equality, equal footing. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all people are created equal.

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Men need to be free to be who they are and not a societal norm predetermined for them just as much as women do. I want this for my daughter. I want this for my sons.

I march for men, for my husband, my sons, as well as women.

 

“Women aren’t 2nd class citizens!”

I didn’t grow up feeling like a 2nd class citizen. I still don’t. (For the record I don’t recall anyone associated with the March saying we were, either.) But I’m a middle class white woman with a college education, married to a middle class white man with a college education. My day to day experiences reflect my place in society. I have benefits not every person has.

In fact, just being able to attend the March on Washington is a reflection of my privilege. I have a supportive and like-minded husband who was happy to take over my half of caring for our children while I was gone. I could afford the airfare, food and travel expenses from Michigan to DC, even if it means I have to make sacrifices elsewhere, it was a choice I could make. I had friends to stay with in DC, to guide and advise me, and I’ve visited before so I knew my way around and felt comfortable in the city. And I’m able-bodied, so no physical limitations prevented me from standing in the streets of DC for 7 hours. I am privileged in so many ways, and I am not a 2nd class citizen, despite the shades of patriarchy that color our society.

But to be Black, Latina, Native, Asian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, poor, uneducated, LGBTQIA+, disabled, neurodiverse, or any of an infinite number of intersectional identities in the United States is to experience a reality far different from my own. I can never truly know what it is like to move through life with any of these identities, but my inherent privilege compels me to learn as much about them as I can. It is my responsibility to try to understand, feel compassion and empathy for, and most importantly acknowledge and respect the humanity in all people. There is no respecting a people if you don’t have the desire to learn about them, their culture, their struggles. Otherwise, you are just giving lip service to the idea of equality, not feeling it in your heart.

It is my responsibility, nay, my privilege, to help uplift those that I can. What is the point of having privilege if you don’t use it for some better purpose?

So I marched for the women of color who work twice as hard to get half as much.

I marched for the trans women killed in our streets for no other reason than existing.

I marched for all my LGBTQIA+ siblings who often face a choice of hiding who they are or being ridiculed.

I marched for my disabled friends who could never have travelled so far from home & stayed so long.

I marched for the innocent people called terrorists just for being Muslim.

I marched for the women raising children by themselves on food stamps and a prayer.

I marched for the students who learn with outdated books & no technology but strive for college.

I march for all humanity.

 

“It was pointless!”

Protest is as American as baseball. Maybe even more so. Americans were protesting long before the Babe hit that infamous home run. We were born from protest! The Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Abolitionist protests pre-Civil war, prohibition protests (for and against!), MLK’s March on Washington, Million Man March, Iraq War Protests, and on and on. We are a nation of people who believe it is not only our right but our duty to speak up when we see injustice being done. We know it is our civic duty and our privilege to speak our minds and express our opinions, especially since there are so many in this world who don’t have that option.

So don’t tell me it was pointless. Don’t ever. Because you spit in the faces of those who came before. You erase the people whose shoulders we stood on to get where we are. You belittle the sacrifices and the blood, sweat, and tears wrung from Americans of all kinds who made your life better.

But no sweat. It’s okay. You go ahead and think protesting is pointless. Meanwhile, I’ll be busy.

I march for all women.

I march for men, for my husband, my sons, as well as women.

I march for all humanity.

And it’s never pointless!

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How I Got My Agent! (Or the art of never giving up)

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I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile, but I wasn’t sure on the timing. Should I do it right after I signed? But that seemed a little soon. What about after you get a book deal? Well, I’m still waiting on that. And submission can be a long process, so I decided to go ahead. No need to wait. Besides, maybe it’ll get my mind off the fact that actual editors at actual publishing houses are reading my manuscript.

I won’t bore you with the long, drawn-out story of how I became a writer. Maybe that’s for another day. Let’s enter at the scene where I have a publishable YA Post-Apocalyptic manuscript just waiting for the right agent to snap it up. I researched agents and how to write a query. Wrote. Revised. Wrote. Revised. Etc., etc. Created a list of agents I felt most strongly about, which of course starts out sort of scientific with pluses and minuses and trying to order them based on who you think you would work well with and give your book the best shot. But it always ends up being more of a “feeling” because cold, hard facts mean nothing if you can’t work with the person. And since you don’t really know the agents personally, you have to go by their interviews, websites and blog posts.

So anyway, I had my query, my manuscript, and my list of agents to query. I got started: right about the time YA Post-Apocalyptic had reached its zenith. And nobody wanted my story. I received plenty of full requests, and a lot of “Wow! Love the writing. But YA PA is a hard sell. See me with something else when you have it.” Which is super encouraging. And a let down, but mostly encouraging. I’d been around long enough to know how the industry worked. And personalized rejections were a lot better than form. (I got plenty of those too!)

But then a certain rejection showed up, and I was disappointed, but also elated. I remember thinking while researching this agent, “This is someone I can see myself being friends with even if publishing weren’t involved.” I’m not sure what it was, but I could just tell she was my kind of people. And though it was a rejection, it was sweet and sincere, and I felt an instant connection. So I did something I’d never done before. Ever. I tweeted a thank you to this agent for her a rejection that almost felt as good as a full-request. Almost.

Now, I don’t recommend you do this. I mean, you could, but it depends on the situation. I had other personalized rejections and I didn’t make any other contact. Because agents are busy people, and you can come across needy, or unprofessional, or just plan annoying. But like I said, I could just tell there was something else there. (At least, I hope so. Otherwise maybe I was needy and annoying, but apparently it didn’t hurt me in the long run.)

The agent responded with a heartfelt thank you. And that was that. She moved to the top of my agent list for future manuscripts and I went back to work. But in my mind she had joined  a small group of agents that I really, really wanted to work with in the future.

When I was ready to query again, she was one of the very first agents I contacted. But sometimes, the agents you contact first aren’t always the first to get back with you. As I said before, agents are busy people. They might not get to your query until months after you’ve written it. Time went on, rejections and requests filtered in, and my query spreadsheet filled in with dates and notes, red for rejection and green for requests.

Then I got her full request. I was more than happy to send it her way. She gave me a timeline for when she would read, and I let her know how many other fulls I had out. And then the unthinkable happened. I had an epiphany about a major change to the book. I thought about it for a few days, decided it had to be done, then gathered my courage and asked if she would wait a few weeks to read a revised version. Once again, this is not always the best thing to do. It’s usually better if you have feedback from say another agent and decide to make changes, or a good excuse as to why you just made yourself look totally unprofessional, but all I had was a new set of beta notes and an AhHa! moment. Agents, to my understanding, would much rather wait on reading and see your best work, but I have to believe this makes you look a little flaky. Still, she was happy to wait and I revised and got her the MS as quickly as I could.

I’ve kind of forgotten the timeline after this. I don’t remember how long she had my MS, or how many other fulls I had out at the time. In fact, I tried not to think about any of it too much, because once the MS is in their hands, there’s nothing you can do but write another book or send more queries. Needlessly worrying is not helpful. (We do it anyways.) But it’s not helpful.

The day I found that little email in my inbox that said, “I love your book. Let’s schedule a call.” I was shaking for the rest of the day. We set-up a day and time to talk, and I spent almost a full week alternating between excited squealing to my husband and my sister, and convincing myself this was not, in fact, THE CALL, but only a courtesy to let me know she couldn’t represent me. Which made very little sense, but hey, I have heard of it happening before.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a nervous wreck by the time we actually talked. I have social anxiety as well as a phone phobia, so yeah, that part wasn’t the most fun, but my intuitions were correct. This agent was the sort of person I would get along well with. She listened to me gush about my book, what I hoped for it, what I wanted to achieve and most importantly, she understood how I felt about not only bringing more diversity to children’s  literature, but also my ardent need to do it correctly and cause no harm. Despite my nervousness, it went well. And at the end of the conversation, she offered me representation.

It was like watching a huge part of your dream come true. Surreal and amazing and terrifying all at once. Of course, I felt like there should have been fireworks over my house, but city ordinances and all, so no explosions. I asked for the customary two weeks to think it over and to notify any agents with outstanding fulls or queries about the offer. We agreed to another day and time for a call and I went about the business of contacting the handful of agents with outstanding material.

Those two weeks were unreal to me. When there’s a deadline for decisions, publishing can move fast. I had double digit fulls out at one time and that has never happened to me before. But it was anxiety-inducing too. Because all the while I was excited to see my book being read by many fabulous agents, there was a part of me that wanted them all to reject ASAP so I could call the offering agent and accept. I told myself that wasn’t good business, that I needed to be open to other offers and think about my career and what was best for that. But really I just wanted to accept the person I’d already connected with, the one I was feeling comfortable and excited about. It was a long two weeks.

In the end, I called Valerie Noble and told her she was the one I wanted representing me, my books, and my future endeavors. Sometimes your first instincts really are correct and I’m so glad I found her as my agent. She has to listen to me ramble on about my books, diversity in literature, and of course my kids on occasion. It can’t all be business! But I’m lucky to have found her and so excited to be partners in the publishing journey.

And just a little side-note to end this post. I know this has been said before, but I’ll say it again. NEVER GIVE UP! My connection with Val didn’t start with the first book of mine she wanted to represent, it started with the one she didn’t want to represent. Writing a book, even one that doesn’t get published, is part of the journey. It’s practice, and querying that book makes connections. So don’t give up after one or two or even three. I think Beth Revis had eight trunked manuscripts before she was published. So keep it up. Your goals can come true too! Good luck!

My Year of Diverse Reading Part 2

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There were so many things I wanted to say in my post yesterday (My Year of Diverse Reading), but it was getting pretty long and I had to cut it short. So I’ll try to address a few of them here, though my thoughts are a little scattered, so I hope this has some coherent structure, but I promise nothing.

First, when I started my reading year, I hadn’t made any kind of choice for this to be a year of diverse reading. I’d been trying for years (albeit not as hard as I should have been) to broaden my reading horizons. But I didn’t have any plans for this to be the year it all changed.

But I was writing characters with diverse identities, and had plans for more, so it only made sense to add more books to my reading list that reflected more than cis-het, white, abled, and Christian. I’d already done countless hours of research online reading blogs and articles, watching Own Voices movies and TV shows, and of course reading diverse YA, but the percentage in comparison to non-diverse YA was small.

And let’s talk for a second about “diverse” and “non-diverse” or privileged. I’m not a fan of the current label of “diverse”, though I use it in default of anything else. It’s so normative. If you are LGBTQ+, disabled, non-Christian, or a person of color,  you’re “diverse” as in “not normal” as in normal = white, straight, able, cis gender, and Christian. Why does an identity that differs from the “expected norm” have to be called something like “diverse”? Why is there a norm? Why is anyone “different” if we are all essentially different from each other in some way?

I don’t have an answer, so I’ll use the terminology for now, but I look forward to the day when we no longer have to have these conversations. I’m doubtful it will happen in my life time.

Next, I want to talk about why I wrote the post about my reading last year. It wasn’t for “ally cookies” or recognition. I don’t deserve accolades for doing something we should all be doing anyway. I wrote the post in the hopes that maybe even one reader (hopefully more) would be inspired to increase how many diverse and Own Voices books they read in the next year. I listed some of my favorites from 2016 (not all diverse) to give some examples of what books maybe they could pick up in the future. And I wrote the post to normalize the idea of reading diversely.

We talk about “normalizing” a lot on Twitter. Mostly in the context of “Don’t normalize Trump/White Supremist hateful views and behaviors.” But there’s a flip side to that too. We have the opportunity to normalize diverse reading, empathy, intellect, kindness, etc. I know this alone isn’t going to defeat what has happened to our country both in the election and the dredging of dormant views of white supremacy, but it’s a start. Providing all kids with books that reflect themselves as well as the diversity around us will only increase empathy and understanding. It will hopefully lay the groundwork for better discourse in the future and more empathetic individuals to lead this country.

I mentioned a term in yesterday’s post that I’d like to talk more about: monetary voice. It’s the voice that speaks when I spend money. Often it’s the most powerful voice we have. (Which is completely sad, but sometimes you have to work within the system you have.) Purchasing diverse and Own Voices books speaks volumes to a publisher. The more we spend on these books, the more publishers will realize that they are a valuable market. Publishers will then acquire more, put more money in advances for diverse authors, and put more money toward marketing those books, which will then increase their sales and exposure.

You see, right now we have a situation where diverse and Own Voices books don’t sell particularly well (there are exceptions, I’m speaking in general terms). So publishers pay small advances, print fewer copies, and put very little money (if any) toward marketing those books. The books are not readily available, haven’t been advertised, have little buzz, and aren’t prominently displayed on a B&N bookshelf. In case you missed it, that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You know the old addage: If you believe you’re going to fail, you will. Well, if a publisher believes a book won’t sell, guess what . . .

We need publishers to start taking more chances on diverse books through not only buying them, but aggressively marketing them as well. But that’s not under our control. So what can we do? Buy more diverse and especially Own Voices books. Publishers will see dollar signs rise, and put more effort into acquiring and marketing those books.

But what else can we do to increase the sales of diverse and Own Voices books? Well, let’s go back to normalizing the reading of these books. First, read them, whether you buy them or get them from a library, you are telling someone that these books are in demand. Second, review the books. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads are all prominent places where readers look to find out about books they might want to read. Even just giving it a star value on some of the sites will help, though a written review is more likely to sway a reader deciding if they are interested. Third, use your social media to spread the word. Share your reviews or just talk about the book online. The more people see you reading these books, the more they will normalize it as an option for them.

Though all of the above mentioned points are valid reasons to increase the reading of diverse and Own Voices books, there’s another great, basic reason: THEY ARE AMAZING BOOKS! I have been blown away this past year by the beauty, the grace, the poetry of some of the books I have read. For me, they are windows into a world I could never really know about any other way. For many others they are mirrors and there are far too few mirrors for marginalized youth in this country. There were heartbreaks and up lifiting moments, adventure and beauty, love and revenge. I cried tears of sorrow at soul-crushing endings and sighed with contentment at HEA’s. These books will produce all the feels, OTP’s, and ships you can possibly come up with. And I promise you, if you make room in your TBR for diverse and Own Voices books, you will NOT feel like you are missing out on other books. They are just as good (often better) than some of the novels publishers push as The Next Big Thing.

I’ve run out of things to say right now, though I’m guessing about midnight when I’m trying to sleep, some other thoughts will pop into my head. That’s how it always works. For now, please consider some of the above ways you can help increase the exposure of diverse and Own Voices books, and how reading about all kinds of characters can help our kids grow to be better people.

And now, I have a lot of reviews to write . . .

My Year of Diverse Reading

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Last year I read 129 books. That’s a record for me. I mean, I think it is. I’ve only been keeping track for the last three years, but I’m pretty certain I have never read this many in my life. 2015 came out at 86 books, while 2014 was a whopping 52. So there’s been a lot of improvement in the numbers.

But total numbers isn’t the only improvement. I’ll admit, until recent years I never made much effort to broaden my reading horizons. I read what was available. Or if I was writing something I might try to read everything available that was similar, but for the most part my reading tastes veered toward whatever appeared on a B&N end cap.

And to be honest, I was always okay with that. I was a white cis-het girl living in a white cis-het world, and it didn’t even occur to me that that was a problem.

But it is a problem. A big one. I was doing what millions of teen readers do: read what is available, as well as read what I see. I see white people . . .

So what made me change? Well, getting more involved in book communities both on Absolute Write and on Twitter opened my eyes just a crack to the huge disparity in children’s literature that is available. And even more than that, the fact that ALL kids need to see themselves reflected in literature, but also that white, straight, middle America needs to see ALL kinds of people in literature too.

So I started reading more diverse books. It wasn’t easy. Living in a mostly white community in rural Michigan where almost everyone is Christian, straight, and cis means that books that reflect other walks off life are few and far between. So I had to start ordering titles on line just to get a few, but my book buying budget is limited. A Kindle helped, especially when I’d wait for books to be on sale. But what really saved me was Inter Library Loan!

The librarians began to tell me I didn’t need to request 20 books at a time. They’d still be there when I wanted them, but no! I needed to have them now! Beautiful little books lined up on my desk just begging to be read! It was like the candy dish you can’t stop eating from because it’s there!

Anyway, reading more diversely was a priority for me not only because I wanted to read and promote diverse books and authors, but also because I wanted to learn and do better so that when I wrote characters unlike myself I could do a better job at it. Nothing can replace the value of Own Voices stories, but writing responsibly is the least privileged authors can do.

But despite my “purpose” in reading diverse books, I discovered something very quickly: I couldn’t get enough of them. There were so many quality books out there that I hadn’t encountered before. I had been missing out! And so are all the readers like me who are settling for whatever YA series the publishing industry has decided will be The Next Big Thing!

Okay, so to the stats: (I don’t feel like making a graphic, so I hope the numbers will be fine.)

  • Total Books: 129
  • Non-Fiction: 9 (6.9%)
  • Books Featuring LGBTQ+ Characters (MC or important Side Character): 41 (31.7%)
    • Non-binary Characters: 8 (6.2%)
  • Books Featuring Characters of Color (MC or important Side Character): 65 (50.4%)
  • Books Featuring a Disabled MC: 9 (6.9%)
  • Books Featuring a Female MC: 98 (75.9%)
  • LGBTQ+ Identifying Authors: 13 (10.1%)
    • Trans Authors: 2 (1.6%)
  • Authors of Color: 47 (36.4%)
  • Authors w/ a Disability: 3 (2.3%)
  • Female Authors: 95 (73.6%)

Some books were counted in more than one category for obvious reasons. And for others that weren’t so obvious, a trans author is counted under LGBTQ+ Identifying, Trans, and possibly Female if that is how they identify. Same with Female MC. Female Identifying and Female are the same in my opinion, so that’s how I counted them.

So looking at the stats, I need to read more authors with a disability and stories with disabled characters. In my defense, I searched pretty hard for these stories and they are not easy to find. I can also improve on LGBTQ+ Identifying authors and stories, and luckily there are a lot of great examples (not as many as there should be) but definitely a variety.

One problem I encountered is that so many books written by or about people with marginalized identities are “issue” books. It’s like the publishing industry doesn’t want to publish anything that doesn’t involve people with marginalized identities suffering for those identities. We need lesbian space princesses saving an alien race, and brown kids bringing down a dystopian government, and disabled characters riding dragons to fight a horde of trolls. And most importantly, the marginalized part of their identity is not the point of the book!

*sigh* I know I’m not telling any of my fellow writers things they don’t already know. We’ve been talking about these issues in publishing for years. But as a reader, I’m going to make more of an effort to read diverse books, and diverse authors. Not only because I need to use my monetary voice to make my wishes heard in the industry, but because they’re just damn good books!

Edit: Realized i forgot to include numbers for:

  • Own Voices stories: 51 (39.5%)
  • Muslim MC (Own Voices): 3 (2.3%)

Looks like I can do better on reading stories with Muslim characters and by Muslim authors.

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So here are my Favorite Reads of 2016 in no particular order. And yes, there’s a lot of them. Fight me. I can’t pick a favorite child anymore than I could pick a favorite book. They’re all beautiful and special!

  • A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC & A GATHERING OF SHADOWS by V.E. Schwab
  • PROMISE OF SHADOWS by Justina Ireland
  • SINCE YOU ASKED by Maurene Goo
  • THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp
  • THE LESSER BLESSED by Richard Van Camp
  • BLACKBIRD FLY by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES by Randy Ribay
  • PANTOMIME & SHADOWPLAY by Laura Lam
  • BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray
  • A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD by Hannah Moskowitz
  • THE WALLS AROUND US by Nova Ren Suma
  • SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN by Jeff Garvin
  • THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater
  • THE WINNER’S TRILOGY by Marie Rutkoski
  • IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo
  • GOOD KINGS, BAD KINGS by Susan Nussbaum
  • JULIET TAKES A BREATH by Gabrielle Rivera
  • THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE by Heidi Heilig
  • THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi

Check out My Year of Diverse Reading Part 2 for more thoughts on my 2016 reading.