Twelve Days Of Book-Mas: Six Ownvoice Novels (Day 6)

Posted December 18, 2020 by stuckint in 12 Days of Book-mas / 0 Comments

Hello everyone and welcome back to the third round of Twelve Days of Bookmas, a festive series of posts where we are counting down to Christmas book recommendation style!

Today I am sharing six novels by Ownvoice authors- with particular emphasis on BIPOC authors. It was difficult to narrow it down to six, so let me know if I missed your favorite!

On the sixth day of Book-mas I found under the tree: six ownvoice novels!

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Published by Riverhead Books on July 2, 2020
Pages: 343

Twins, inseparable as children, ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds: one black and one white.
The Vignes sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything, including their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. Across the country, the other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, although separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen when their own daughters' story lines intersect?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, The Vanishing Half is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of of race, gender, and identity, and the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's desires and expectations.

Why I Want To Read It

If we are going to talk about a book that is topping all of the best of lists, I don’t think the conversation can pass without mentioning The Vanishing Half. I have recommended this book to family friends and library patrons who will listen because of all the buzz and lauding by trusted sources. I don’t know if I’ll get to this one by the end of the year but the hype is real and I am happily a victim of it.

The First Sister (The First Sister Trilogy, #1) by Linden A. Lewis
Published by Skybound Books on August 4, 2020
Pages: 352

First Sister has no name and no voice. As a priestess of the Sisterhood, she travels the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth and Mars—the same ones who own the rights to her body and soul. When her former captain abandons her, First Sister’s hopes for freedom are dashed when she is forced to stay on her ship with no friends, no power, and a new captain—Saito Ren—whom she knows nothing about. She is commanded to spy on Captain Ren by the Sisterhood, but soon discovers that working for the war effort is so much harder to do when you’re falling in love.
Lito val Lucius climbed his way out of the slums to become an elite soldier of Venus, but was defeated in combat by none other than Saito Ren, resulting in the disappearance of his partner, Hiro. When Lito learns that Hiro is both alive and a traitor to the cause, he now has a shot at redemption: track down and kill his former partner. But when he discovers recordings that Hiro secretly made, Lito’s own allegiances are put to the test. Ultimately, he must decide between following orders and following his heart.

Why I Want To Read It

i mentioned in a previous post that one of my jobs at my library includes receiving the new books that come in and getting them where they need to go for catalogueimg. I was made aware of The First Sister by said process and the cover is absolutely eye-catching. Beyond that, all I needed to see was it’s comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale and Red Rising and I was hooked. Can comparisons to bestsellong novels be trusted (I’m looking at you Hunger Games and Gone Girl comps)? Debatable. But I’m willing to take the chance.

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 15, 2020
Pages: 384

Korey Fields is dead.
When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn't how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.
Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.
Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?
All signs point to Enchanted.

Why I Want To Read It

YA circles are describing this book as gritty and deep, two adjectives that almost guarantee I will pick it up. Plus I am making a concerted effort to purchase, read and promote diverse novels and Grown seems like the perfect read for anyone who enjoyed the Bestselling novel: Daisy Jones and the Six. I am planning to purchase this one soon and hope to prioritize it at the beginning of next year, so stay tuned for that.

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi
Published by Razorbill on September 8, 2020
Pages: 480

Two sisters are torn apart by war and must fight their way back to each other in a futuristic, Black Panther-inspired Nigeria.
The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky.
In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life.
Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together.
And they're willing to fight an entire war to get there.
Acclaimed author, Tochi Onyebuchi, has written an immersive, action-packed, deeply personal novel perfect for fans of Nnedi Okorafor, Marie Lu, and Paolo Bacigalupi.

Why I Want To Read It

I read Riot Baby at the beginning of 2020- so you know, like ten years ago- and I appreciated it (I would say adore but it doesn’t feel like the right adjective). So of course I had to explore Onyebuchi’s Backlist. War Girls sounds amazing and I love me some good YA sci fi. I have actually started this one- and by start it I mean I’ve read a few pages and then got distracted because, again, 2020.

We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Published by One World on February 4, 2020
Pages: 352

"An incisive and necessary" (Roxane Gay) debut for fans of Get Out and Paul Beatty's The Sellout, about a father's obsessive quest to protect his son--even if it means turning him white
Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize - "Stunning and audacious . . . at once a pitch-black comedy, a chilling horror story and an endlessly perceptive novel about the possible future of race in America."--NPR
"You can be beautiful, even more beautiful than before." This is the seductive promise of Dr. Nzinga's clinic, where anyone can get their lips thinned, their skin bleached, and their nose narrowed. A complete demelanization will liberate you from the confines of being born in a black body--if you can afford it.
In this near-future Southern city plagued by fenced-in ghettos and police violence, more and more residents are turning to this experimental medical procedure. Like any father, our narrator just wants the best for his son, Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. The darker Nigel becomes, the more frightened his father feels. But how far will he go to protect his son? And will he destroy his family in the process?
This electrifying, hallucinatory novel is at once a keen satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. At its center is a father who just wants his son to thrive in a broken world. Maurice Carlos Ruffin's work evokes the clear vision of Ralph Ellison, the dizzying menace of Franz Kafka, and the crackling prose of Vladimir Nabokov. We Cast a Shadow fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love.
"We Cast a Shadow asks some of the most important questions fiction can ask, and it does so with energetic and acrobatic prose, hilarious wordplay and great heart. . . . Love is at the core of this funny, beautiful novel . . . . At any moment, Ruffin can summon the kind of magic that makes you want to slow down, reread and experience the pleasure of him crystallizing an image again. . . . Read this book."--Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
"A full-throated novelistic debut of ferocious power and grace . . . a story that refracts the insanity of the world into a shape so unique you wonder how this book wasn't there all along."--Lit Hub"Propulsive . . . We Cast a Shadow proves that the eeriest works of speculative fiction are those that hit closest to home."--Vulture

Why I Want To Read It

We Cast A Shadow deserves all the trigger warnings and is quite polarizing, but if you thought that would only want to make me read it more, you would be right. I purchased this book this summer and am ashamed to admit it has sat abandoned on shelf since. In my defense, I do stare at it almost daily and imagine what it would be like to pick it up and read it. That counts for something right? Right!?!?

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse
Published by Saga Press on October 13, 2020
Pages: 454

From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.
A god will returnWhen the earth and sky convergeUnder the black sun
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

Why I Want To Read It

I tried the audio of this one a few days ago and realized pretty immediately that this is one that I need to read, not listen to. There is so much to love about this book- magic, political intrigue, and a society based on pre-Columbian society. I am always looking for ownvoices fantasy novels and this one sounds fresh and unique.

What About You?

Have you read any of these books? What are some Ownvoice novels that you’ve read this year? Let me know in the comments!

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