Boricua Reads’ Song Shuffle Book Tag

Welcome to Boricua Reads’ Song Shuffle Book Tag!

I’m breaking my brief book blogging hiatus to bring you a cool (?) new book tag.

This is not to be confused with (Over)Analyzing Literature’s Shuffle Book Tag, this is a different tag with similar-ish intentions. 

Here are the rules to the book tag:

  1. Put your playlist or music library on shuffle. 
  2. You must build a book list (can be read or in your TBR) out of the words in the title of the song that comes up. 
  3. Song must have more than two words in the title. 
  4. You can use more than one song if you so want. 
  5. If you can’t find a book in your shelves with one of the song title’s words, you can choose a book that has a letter starting with that word or the word can sound similar/be part of the one in the song title. 
  6. Then, proceed to talk about the books in the list, your thoughts or opinions on it and whether it’s on your TBR or you’ve already read it. 

Seems simple, no?

Here’s a random example:

Song: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Books:

I- I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Wanna – I Wanna Be Where You Are

Dance – Dance All Night

With – With the Fire on High

Somebody – Somewhere Only We Know

For my own take on it, I went on Apple Music and clicked on one of the ready-made playlists and kept scrolling with my eyes closed until I got to a song with more than two words in its title. I got Better Luck Next Time by Kelsea Ballerini, which is a song I hadn’t heard of! Upon listening to it, I actually really liked it. 

Here are my choices:

  • BetterBlood Water Paint
  • Luck – Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune
  • NextNext Year in Havana
  • TimeTimekeeper by Tara Sim

Thoughts:

  • Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough – I read this over a weekend away from my house and it was truly a work of greatness. I followed it up with The Poet X, and I couldn’t have made a better decision. Both works deal with bodily autonomy in different ways and eras and races, and I loved them. TWs: abuse, sexual assault, and torture
  • Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim –  I adore books that have a hint of magical realism, especially if they’re written by WoC. Add food to the equation and questions of identity and family, and you make a perfect book. I’ve been so stoked to read thi and by the end of the year I’d like to get this. I’ve had this in my TBR since it was announced and now it’s out so I have a moral obligation to support this wonderful book.
  • Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton – Everyone and their mother has recommended this book to me and I finally got a chance to buy the ebook on sale recently. I’m looking forward to delving into Elisa and Marisol’s stories.
  • Timekeeper by Tara Sim – I absolutely loved Timekeeper by Tara Sim! I sort of abandoned Chainbreaker midway through my reading of it, but I have to finish it so I can know what happens! I’m so bad at reading series *crying emojis*

What did you think? Will you try it? I’m tagging the Latinx Squad if they’re interested in trying out the book tag, you can tag whomever you want or just do it if you want to; no one’s policing your ability to do this. This is for fun! Just make sure to credit me, Boricua Reads or @boricuareads on Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr.

Enjoy!

Taking Responsibility: about “All Of Us With Wings” and our duties

(Content Warning: this post will talk about sexual assault, more specifically CSA, trauma, and pedophilia)


Earlier this week, some readers on social media brought to attention some highly questionable content of All Of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil. In their (incredibly valid) criticism, they talked about the fact that the Love Interest of the book is a 28-year-old man, while the main character is a 17-year-old girl of Mexican descent. 

I highly encourage you to seek those posts out, as well as Gabi’s post about her experience reading it. I think Gabi talked about it in a great manner and brought in context that some folks might’ve needed. I especially urge you to read the words of readers of color who’ve been talking in depth about the issues of pedophilia and child sexual assault (CSA) that are in the book.

I wanted to take a moment to talk about my own hand in the discussion of the book. I received an ARC from someone else who’d already read it and they’d loved it, and then SOHO Teen sent me an ARC that I forwarded to another queer Latinx teen reader. 

I hadn’t had time to really read my copy until recently for various reasons, but mostly it was because I’d read around Goodreads about the fact that the love interest was older than the main character and that turned me off. I’ve probably read about two chapters of it, and though it contains a lot of things that should be talked about more in YA (trauma, recreational drug use, drinking, casual bisexuality), the fact that a grown man was gonna be pursuing an underage girl made me distance myself from the book. 

As someone who, at fifteen years old, was pursued by a man in his late-twenties (even though I had a boyfriend at the time), and had friends who were pursued by older men while we were in middle school, I cannot condone this kind of narrative. Unless you’re using it to directly negate and criticize this type of behavior from men, I don’t want to read and re-experience what I, and people I know, went through.

Gabi’s post delves into how there are bystanders who victim-blame the main character and don’t really condemn the relationship and how, though the characters end their relationship, the book’s ending leaves the relationship as a sort of open-ended narrative. 

I believe we can talk about teen girls and how they deal with trauma without having them be groomed by older men, especially when the character had gone through CSA and had been assaulted by a father figure beforehand. 

If I’d actually known that the characters get into a relationship, instead of what I’d originally thought would happen (that the main character gets fixated on an older man but gets rebuffed by the man– as should happen if men were actually shit and took responsibility for their actions), I wouldn’t have helped boost the book online. I wouldn’t have taken pretty pictures of it or told people to buy the book. 

Even though I want to promote more Latinx voices, I don’t think I did this responsibly. I want to bring to the forefront the writings of Latinx, especially Latinx who live within the margins, but if it comes at the cost of re-traumatizing readers I will not continue promoting that. I also believe we have a responsibility to critique our own community when we do something wrong, and in this case we did something wrong. I respect Michelle and I think she writes with a beautiful prose. However, I want to make it clear that I can’t continue promoting her book in good conscience. 

I also can’t keep quiet about this situation. Doing so means ignoring valid criticism coming from QPoC, especially Queer Teens of Color, of the book, and it means siding and condoning these narratives. I might value uplifting Latinx voices, but I won’t do so at the cost of turning my back on people affected by a book. One of my missions when I started #ReadLatinx was to bring more Latinx voices in publishing to the forefront, but that also means being able to critique and be able to create discourse around books by Latinx, be it positive or negative. Most importantly, my goal was about Latinx readers finding themselves in literature, and that meant having accurate representation that we can latch onto.

It deeply saddens me when adults who are committed to uplifting Latinx voices and helping Latinx audiences find themselves prefer to remain neutral in a situation such as this. If you’re not able to separate yourself from the relationships we have, I don’t know what to say. I think, in the spirit of unity, one thing we should be able to do is reach out to our friends and colleagues when they’ve misstepped and done something wrong from a place of wishing to grow. We can’t say we’re against bigotry and the issues that affect our communities (such as the oversexualization of Latinx girls, especially Queer and Trans Latinx, at the hands of a cisheteropatriarchy) and still remain silent. 

All of this to say that, we have to remain critical and not become biased in regards to our own community. We can’t overlook these issues. Doing so is how situations of anti-Blackness slip through the cracks, how we help foment transphobia or ableism. Every time we raise our voices we are doing a radical act, and we have to take a look at our actions and decide whether being complicit in our community’s own oppressive structures is good enough.

I apologize for ever promoting this book. My posts will remain up because I believe in learning from your actions, but know that I do not condone the contents of the book. I will not be complicit in the re-traumatizing of readers. Will you?

Latinx Summer Reads 2019 (or, #ReadLatinxFive)

latinx summer reads 2019 header
[ID: banner with a beach, clip arts of a palm tree and a cute red crab, on the sand there’s 8 books– Gods of Jade and Shadow, while they sleep (under the bed is another country), My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, Shades: Detroit Love Stories, Exile, Where are You From?, The Grief Keeper, and A Crash of Fate]
The sun’s out and blazing hot, the beach is crowded, but there’s a bit of shade under the umbrella. Or perhaps you’re in the Southern hemisphere, dealing with the cold and bundling up before leaving your home. It’s a good thing there are books for every occasion!

It’s been a full year since I started the #ReadLatinx project, and it’s been such an amazing ride! Thanks to this project, I’ve been able to meet new people, readers, writers, and industry folks who had been searching for this kind of work and have been incredibly supportive throughout this whole endeavor. I appreciate and I’m grateful to all of you! You all keep cheering me on, especially when I start doubting whether or not my work is done in vain. I also want to take a moment to say THANK YOU because I now have over 1000 (!!!!!!!) FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER! I also have 60 followers on here which is unbelievable as well! I only hope to keep growing my platform so I can continue shining a light on Latinx creators.

If you’re interested in reading the past #ReadLatinx posts, scroll to the end for a list of them. I dub this list #ReadLatinxFive.

In any case, I’m proud to present over 40 books that will be releasing between June 1st and August 31st, 2019. This list consists of books written and/or illustrated by Latinx authors. The list will be divided by age category (Picture Books, MG, YA, or Adult) as well as genre (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Anthology) and subgenres in certain cases (Literary, Contemporary, Fantasy, etc.). Each of the books listed will have the title, the name of the author/illustrator, its release date, and a short description written by yours truly. Each category is sorted by release date. Books marked by an asterisk (*) are ones I don’t know their official release date or don’t have enough information about.

Disclaimer: This compilation is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive; it only contains titles I’ve been able to find through extensive research. If you know of a book I didn’t list, or have a correction to make, don’t hesitate to let me know! I also add books at my own discretion, as I have no intention of boosting sexual harassers, racists, homophobes or transphobes. Continue reading “Latinx Summer Reads 2019 (or, #ReadLatinxFive)”

Crazy on You: a review

boricuareads review crazy on you.png

Description:

Worse than a one-hit wonder, Tassia Hogan is a one-line wonder. Infamous for a memorable, extremely provocative verse, her music career is going nowhere. Finding a decent man to date has also proven fruitless . . . they all think she’s as wanton as those lyrics. But now her label is offering Tassia the chance to shine–with a catch. The album is duets. Her partner is a Country Western singer. And he’s just as reluctant to agree as she is.
Hyde Love has been in the music business since he was eleven, and he’s becoming more and more disenchanted with it. Collaborating on an album seems great in theory, but Tassia is an R&B singer. Melding their sounds and personalities will be difficult–though not as tough as keeping things strictly business. Getting involved with his partner could prove career-wrecking, yet discovering the real Tassia could be earth-shattering.

Continue reading “Crazy on You: a review”

Upcoming Spring ’19 Book Releases by Latinx Authors & Illustrators

latinx spring reads banner.png
(banner that says “Latinx Spring Reads 2019” on top, @boricuareads under the 2019, and in the bottom there are book covers with leaves and stems under them to simulate flowers)

The snow is starting to melt, the trees are looking green again, flowers are beginning to welcome sunshine and showers…

Here? It’s gonna get hotter as Easter approaches, with more people bathing at the beach and more tourists starting to arrive for their Spring Breaks. That’s right, Spring is around the corner. The time between Spring and Summer is my favorite, as it’s cool enough for me to wear cool jackets and but also hot enough that we don’t have to wear coats (I mean, I don’t have to wear coats at any given time here, but I’m being empathetic for those going through harsh winters and who are waiting for Spring to arrive).

It also means it’s time to bring a new list to your lives, or, what I’ve dubbed “#Read&Latinx.” We’ve had Summer 2018 (#ReadLatinx), Fall 2018 (#2Read2Latinx), and Winter ‘18-19 (#ReadLatinx:Winter Drift) to prepare for this monster list. 

Curating these lists is both a joy and a curse, seeing as I’d like to buy every single book but I know that can’t be feasible (I’m both broke and unemployed). Working on these posts is my way to give back to a community of writers that can be often ignored by a community of readers as well as publishing at large when they’re not given ample publicity in comparison to many hegemonic writers.

In any case, I’m proud to present over 70 books that will be releasing between February 15th and May 31st, 2019. It consists of books written and/or illustrated by Latinx authors. The list will be divided by age category (Picture Books, MG, YA, or Adult) as well as genre (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Anthology) and subgenres (Literary, Contemporary, Fantasy, etc.) Each of the books listed will have the title, the name of the author/illustrator, its release date, and a short description written by yours truly. Each category is sorted by release date. Books marked by an asterisk (*) are ones I don’t know their official release date or don’t have enough information about.

Disclaimer: This compilation is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive; it only contains titles I’ve been able to find through extensive research. If you know of a book I didn’t list, or have a correction to make, don’t hesitate to let me know!

Continue reading “Upcoming Spring ’19 Book Releases by Latinx Authors & Illustrators”