I focused on bilingual characters, and characters who find themselves in-between cultures, for today’s Broke and Bookish theme:
– Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
I renamed myself Ari.
If I switched the letter, my name was Air.
I thought it might be a great thing to be the air.
I could be something and nothing at the same time. I could be necessary and also invisible. Everyone would need me and no one would be able to see me.
This story is my favourite contemporary YA coming of age tale. Saenz has such a poetic touch with a clear voice. In the story, Ari and Dante’s friendship evolves into a sweet romance. Spanish is not directly quoted in the novel but the plot does delve into the different experiences of being Mexican-American and coming out.
– Otherbound by Coriynne Duyvis
But every day, she’d move a little farther away from it. Become a little less what people had made her and more what she made herself.
Amara uses sign language in a political magic ridden desert world. Nolan’s family speaks both English and Spanish in our world. There’s a budding relationship between the lesbian and bisexual characters in this story too.
– The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina
I walk among my enemies. But I carry my friends with me.
I briefly reviewed it here. I love how this young adult fantasy/scifi story is set in Australia. Australian Indigenous mythology is also interwoven into the story.
– Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
I’m beginning to realize that things don’t turn out the way you want them to. And sometimes, when they don’t they can turn out just a little bit better.
This story carved a space in my memory. Jose’s adventures as a teenager within an Italian-Australian family was relatable when I was a young adult.
– Odori by Darcy Tamayose
She knew the journal, with its fragile thin pages would be the foundation of her sanity. It would bring her the opportunity to compose in a time of destruction.
This is a mythic and magical historical fiction novel set in both Canada and Japan. Reviewed here.
– A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xialou Guo
‘Love’, this English word: like other English words it has tense. ‘Loved’ or ‘will love’ or ‘have loved’. All these tenses mean Love is time-limited thing. Not infinite. It only exist in particular period of time. In Chinese, love is ‘爱’ (ai). It has no tense. No past and future. Love in Chinese means a being, a situation, a circumstance. Love is existence, holding past and future.
Charming, playful and clever. The heroine’s observations on the English language were both wry and sincere. Thanks to Nafiza for recommending it.
– Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
‘All translations are made up,’ opined Vikram, ‘Languages are different for a reason. You can’t move ideas between them without losing something.’
Oh Vikram. Jinn always fascinate me. Alif the Unseen is a fun mythic adventure. The observations on language and the power of stories (by both the human characters and the supernatural creatures) are on point.
– Talk Under Water by Kathryn Lomer
…Then you flick your hand away, the fingers opening, as if the memory has escaped into the air. Everyone does it just a little bit differently. I wonder if that’s a bit like people having different pronunciation, or maybe a different sort of voice.
An Aussie YA Contemporary novel which follows a romantic friendship. Will becomes interested in Auslan (the Australian sign language) as he gets to know Summer. I’ll review this book closer to the release date.
– Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory
The best aunts aren’t substitute parents, they’re co-conspirators.
Reviewed here. I liked how Harrison is proud of his mother’s Mexican American heritage. He is understandably weirded out by the family’s move to a small town and school that is predominantly white. Harrison also has a prosthetic leg and is focused on unraveling the supernatural mystery of the town.
– Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
I have not been so much pushed by winds as pulled forward by the force of my decisions.
I don’t read enough YA historical novels (which is weird because I really enjoy them.) Girl in Translation is no exception. There’s a bit of romance and drama in this one too.
On my TBR:
Feel free to recommend a book below!