Christmas time is here!
Alright, now that the Snoopy gifs are out of the way, happy December Calendar Girls! I don’t know about anyone else, but I am ready for a break from my semesters, some hot chocolate, and some holiday cheer. Also, a little good news on the job front wouldn’t hurt, so please keep keeping your fingers crossed for me!
This month we’re talking all about books with diversity. I’m very much looking forward to talking about this, partly because I have literally no idea what I’m about to pick, and partly because I’m ready for some great recommendations! I know that I don’t read enough books with diversity (my penchant for picking up older novels really bites me here), and my tbr is currently hanging out *whispers* below 85. So! Hit me with em!
I think what makes this theme tricky is the wording of diverse “cast”. I read plenty of books by and about people of color, and the number of LGBTQ books has definitely gone up since I started blogging. But it’s tricky to find a book where the characters are black, white, gay, latina, east-asian, lesbian, blue, green, orange, and everything in between. Also, I feel like picking a Sci-Fi book where we’re past the point of segregating ourselves is cheating. (Plus, I already picked The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, so…)
Alright, after digging through my goodreads shelves for a few minutes, I think I’ve found the perfect book! But first, I want to give a shout-out to The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. It’s usually my go-to for diverse cast because there is so much representation, and his universe in only diversifying more these days. But I wanted to pick something a little different this time.
So, with no more delay, my pick is…
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Oh. My. Gosh. This book is SO FUNNY, but it is also shockingly diverse. When I picked up this book I was ready for a healthy dose of feminism and looking at beauty contestants in a different light. What I wasn’t prepared for was every bit of diversity you could expect. Racial diversity, sexual orientation diversity, gender diversity, it was all there. The ONLY thing missing was neurodiversity, but I betcha a million bucks if Libba Bray had written this book in 2019 that would have been there, because diversity was the POINT of this book.
So Beauty Queens is about the contestants of the Miss-America-equivalent get in a plane crash on a desert island and have to take care of themselves. But the real point is that the girls discover that when nobody is looking and nobody is judging, they finally feel free to be their true selves. They learn to appreciate each other for their different strengths and different points of view. Plus, they’re going to take down corporate America, which is always a win in my book.
If you’ve missed this book since it came out eight years ago, if it’s slipped under your radar, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s funny, smart, touching, and feel-good.
Christmahanakwanza: Best Diverse Cast
Beauty Queens – Katie (that’s me!) @ Never Not Reading
Six of Crows – Adrienne @ Darque Dreamer Reads
Six of Crows – Flavia @ Flavia the Bibliophile
Aurora Rising – Teri Polen
Beauty Queens – Deanna @ Deanna Writes About
Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile, and is now be hosted by me (!), Katie, and Adrienne at Darque Dreamer Reads. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers, and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl.
Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and I will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!