This year I’m embarking on a personal Diversity and Inclusivity Challenge. This involves trying to ensure at least half of all the books I read each month feature either diversity or an inclusive, accepting world. I’ve defined diversity as involving books focused on one group (non-white because too many books have already featured enough white only characters) or featuring a varied and diverse cast. Inclusivity here refers to worlds that accept the differences between people/creatures with no or very little disparaging remarks. So, how did I do in April?
I read 7 books, 6 of which were a diverse or inclusive read. I have no idea how that happened considering I just spent the past two weeks thinking it was March, but I’m thrilled! I’m even happier I actually enjoyed all of these books.
The Diverse Books
One Foot in the Fade by Luke Arnold was my first read of the month after I finished up A Tiny Upward Shove by Melissa Chadburn on the first of the month. This is the third in a fantasy series about the magic disappearing from the world. This one involves an eclectic group going on an adventure, so, clearly, there’s a diverse cast. There are witches, humans, genies, wizards, Angels, and more working together and against each other or just stuck being casualties. While many of them seemed happy to work together, there still remains what feels like a deep divide between all the creatures.
The Mad Girls of New York by Maya Rodale was surprisingly diverse. As it’s historical fiction based on the life of Nellie Bly, I wasn’t expecting it to be so diverse. Most of the historical novels I have read haven’t been. But this one is mostly set in NYC in the 1880s and it made a point of including two black women, one a journalist and one a successful businesswoman, as well as mentioning at every turn just how diverse NYC was back then. Immigrants were a big part of the story, and even had a hand in showcasing just how terrible society was towards women back then. Even if Nellie herself appeared warm and accepting of those unlike her, part of the story focused on how unfairly some people were treated.
By the Book by Jasmine Guillory is the second in a Disney movie reimagining series. This was my first read from both the series and the author. It features a black female lead as well as what appears to be a black male lead. Izzy’s best friend is also Indian. Considering this doesn’t come up often in the book, I hesitate to call it inclusive because one thing that really stuck out at me was how few diverse hires there are at the publishing company Izzy and her friend work at. And there’s a white guy who is clearly out to get Izzy (but I’m still hazy on exactly why).
Misrule by Heather Walter is the second in this Sleeping Beauty inspired duology. It’s chock full of diversity with different races mingling and, actually, not too many humans. But there’s a clear divide between the creatures of the Dark Court and the Fae, and some disparagement the various characters from others peppered throughout. There’s clearly little acceptance in this world, and that’s kind of one of the things underlying the story.
The Inclusive Books
Not this time.
The Diverse AND Inclusive Books
The Wrong Victim by Allison Brennan is the third in a thriller series featuring a mobile FBI unit. While it might be a tiny bit of a stretch to call this one diverse since I got the impression most of the characters were white, the team itself is mixed. The leader is Cuban, one is Asian, and one is black. Some of them are also younger and one is older in a more grandfatherly way. But the team really started to pull together in this book and I loved how their differences worked together and just never got in the way, mostly. They all started to lean on and trust each other, which was so nice to see.
From Bad to Cursed by Lana Harper is the second in this series about witches living in a small Midwestern town. I’ve just recently started it, but, after having read the first book, I feel certain this is where this book will fall. One of the families appears to be black, and this novel features a romance between a young man from this family and a young woman from what appears to be a Russian family. I’m also hoping to get more glimpses of the couple from the first book, Emmy and Talia, who seem to be exceptionally close some months after the events of the first book. But this whole series revolves around four families of witches, each of which specializes in different types of magic and each fighting against each other for power and money.
Resembling Lepus by Amanda Kool is an exceptional sci-fi murder mystery novella. It tackles many things, but, as far as I could tell, not diversity. But this is set in a post-dystopian world, so they’re more dealing with surviving and learning to take care of what’s left of the world. There’s a fascinating dichotomy between humans and imitation humans, which are kind of android-like, as well as animals and imitation animals.
None this time.
Thanks for reading!