I will be discussing the other 4 books I have read in June for this post. In case you have missed my previous post where I talked about the first 4 books, check it out here: https://littleflyleafreads.com/?p=401!
*** I was sent this books via BookSirens in exchange for an honest review ***
Unfortunately, this book was not for me. I felt let down at the direction the story took. From the synopsis, I thought that this book would be more focused on the mystery of the disappearance of Surway rather than on a random vindicated stranger and a child, Andrew Day. In addition to that, the reveal of the identity of Lucian Baker felt so lacklustre and I did not quite buy that he would be left most of Surway’s fortune. The plot seemed to move at a sluggishness place as well which removed me from the story.
The incidents that took place also felt unbelievable to me. I did not really understand their significance. I felt like they didn’t add much to the story. The way the characters were written felt juvenile to me. They had such strange interactions with each other, especially when they spoke to each other. I did not quite understand some of the thoughts that Andrew had. I am not too certain if he was meant to be a teenager from the descriptions of him. If he isn’t a teenager, the dialogues and thoughts he had makes sense. Anyway, I did like his foster/adoptive parents. Although they spoke strangely, they were really caring towards Andrew.
It’s a bummer that I did not enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. The prologue was promising and compelled me to read on further. I was really intrigued by who this mysterious Lucian Baker was and what happened to Surway. However, as I read on further, I lost interest in the mystery and did not really enjoy the payoff. This book may not have worked for me but it could for you.
“Angry mothers raise daughters fierce enough to fight wolves.”
What a line!
This was such a magical, beautiful feminist story!
The story revolves around Handmaiden Rabbit, Empress In-yo, Cleric Chih (they go by they/them pronouns!) and Almost Brilliant. Now, don’t let these strange names fool you! In the story, Cleric Chih and Almost Brilliant travel to learn more about the history of the past. They meet Rabbit who was a handmaiden to In-yo along the way. Rabbit shares her wisdom (her life experiences and stories), telling them the importance of history. and storytelling. Through Rabbit, we find out about Empress In-yo’s life and how she was one of the first empresses. (or perhaps she was the first, I don’t recall clearly) It was really empowering reading her story as in the past (even now), not many women are in positions of power.
The writing is strikingly stunning, roping one into a magical world. I enjoyed the descriptions of the countryside and the characters a lot. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. If you are looking to read from more QPOC authors, (I believe the author identifies as queer and she is Vietnamese) this is definitely a book you should read! The story features a queer cast of characters too!
I am glad I stumbled across “The leavers” whilst looking for books to read for the Asian Readathon! This is a book that encapsulates immigration and trying to fit in a different country after migrating there. I strongly related to Deming not feeling like he truly belonged in America.
The story spans two different timelines- before Deming becomes separated from his mom, Polly and after he gets adopted into a white family. In the beginning, Polly and Deming migrate from China to America to start life afresh- to get better opportunities. They move into a shared apartment with Michael and Vivian. I really loved the friendship between Michael and Deming! They slowly begin to settle. However, out of the blue, Polly goes missing and never returns from her work.
After his mother’s disappearance, Deming is left with no one to take care of him, we later find out why. So, he somehow ends up being adopted by two white college professors who signed up for a Transracial Adoption Programme. (I am not too sure about the exact terminology) Here is a great article I found about a person who underwent Transracial adoption: https://www.yesmagazine.org/opinion/2019/11/13/adoption-trauma-transracial/.
They attempt to “Americanise” Deming by renaming him “Daniel” and fix his English pronunciation. Due to this, Deming becomes disconnected from his culture and language. He keeps reminiscing the day his mother left but later decides to keep his memories suppressed. That is until Michael messages him one day. From then on, Deming actively seeks to find out what happened to his mom. Deming slowly begins to discover what had exactly happened back then. Along the way, he rediscovers his identity.
I loved the discussion of “otherness”, identity, struggles of being a single parent and familial relationships. The bond between Polly and Deming was heartening to read. Though they might have been separated, I could tell that they still loved each other so much. Of course, the main issues were racism, microaggressions, erasure of identity as well as transracial adoption. Is it really right to adopt someone from a different culture and attempt to raise them by erasing their culture and language?
Definitely a thought-provoking read. The only reason I did not rate this book higher was because it felt repetitive at times towards the end. Along with that, I found myself frustrated with Deming for some of the decisions he made which kind of disconnected me from the story. However, don’t let that discourage you from reading this book!
This book is definitely one of those life-changing books that everyone should read.
Being cis and straight, I am trying my best to be a better ally. What better way to do that than to read from the perspectives of people who are part of the lgbt+ community. After seeing and hearing all the rave reviews of this book, I knew I had to read it ASAP! This book truly deserves all the hype, love and praise.
In “All boys aren’t blue”, George M. Johnson recounts their life experiences as a Black, queer and gender non-conforming individual. They also imparts valuable knowledge they gained from his life such as dealing with their identity and grief. Listening to them (I listened to the audiobook which is phenomenal!!!) share what they had gone through in the past opened my eyes to various societal issues such as imposing toxic gender roles, assigning colours (blue and pink) to babies according to their gender and avoiding discussions of gender and sexuality. These are issues that are very much still present today and they need to change. George also discusses how they feel marginalised within their own Black community as the Black community is not always open to those who don’t conform to a set sexuality and gender. I must mention that there are trigger warnings for sexual abuse, death, grief and bullying. They does not shy away from difficult topics so read with caution!
George is truly inspirational. In this book, they also gave advice to younger individuals of the lgbt+ community. I love this book so much. I truly learnt a lot. I felt lots of emotions too T.T I do hope I can be a better ally to the lgbt+ community!
Thank you so much for reading this post! Till next time, take care!