A Dark and Starless Forest

In A Dark and Starless Forest (2021), Sarah Hollowell has written a rare gift–a fat-positive YA fantasy that has something for everyone, except perhaps for cis white middle-aged men. It’s written from Derry’s perspective–she is a fat, white teenager, one of nine multiracial siblings in an adoptive family headed by Frank, their guardian, Each ofContinue reading “A Dark and Starless Forest”

The Cherry Robbers

I highly anticipated reading The Cherry Robbers (publishing today, May 17, 2022) by Sarai Walker, author of Dietland, and I was not disappointed. Walker’s second book is different in tone and subject matter, but it is just as transgressive as Dietland was. There are two storylines: The first is set in the very recent pastContinue reading “The Cherry Robbers”

The School For Good Mothers

The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan (2022) is frightening because it is our world taken just one not-so-unlikely step further. Frida Liu is the 39-year old Chinese-American mother to Harriet, a toddler, and shares custody with her ex-husband, Gust, who had an affair with Susanna while Frida was still pregnant with Harriet. FridaContinue reading “The School For Good Mothers”

Pumpkin

In Pumpkin (2021), Julie Murphy has created another hero of Clover City, the West Texas town that is the location of Dumplin‘ and Puddin‘. Waylon Brewer is a high school senior, a fat, openly gay boy whose parents “hit the queer lottery” because his twin sister, Clementine, is a lesbian. Waylon is a ginger withContinue reading “Pumpkin”

The Reading List

The Reading List (2021) by Sara Nisha Adams was lovely and heartbreaking at the same time. Set in London in Wembley, it follows widower Mukesh as he begins to try new things after the death of his beloved Naina; and young adult Aliesha who has just started working at the library, but isn’t sure it’sContinue reading “The Reading List”

News of the World

I had no previous knowledge about and didn’t know what to expect of News of the World (2016) by Paulette Jiles. My first clue was the inside cover map of 1870’s Texas and jacket description of an elderly former military man, Captain Jefferson Kidd, being asked to escort a young girl from the Indian TerritoryContinue reading “News of the World”

Big Boned

Big Boned (2021) by Jo Watson was a random library pick based on its title, cover, and jacket copy, which begins “Can she be herself in a one-size-fits-all world?” I knew that I had to read this young adult romance, which promised to be fat positive. Lori is a high school senior, an artist whoContinue reading “Big Boned”

On the Come Up

The Hate U Give‘s author, Angie Thomas, has created an even more compelling protagonist, Bri, in On the Come Up (2019). Bri is a high schooler living with her mom and older brother, because her father, the locally-famous rapper Lawless, was killed by gang violence when she was little. She wants to rap, too, andContinue reading “On the Come Up”

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

It took two tries for me to stick with The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters (2019) by Balli Kaur Jaswal–I think I needed the audio version to fully get into it. although Jaswal’s third novel–2017’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows–was an instant favorite. Unlikely Adventures opens with an ill Punjabi-Sikh mother of adult daughters,Continue reading “The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters”

Echo

Echo, a Newbery-winning middle grade novel by Pam Munoz Ryan (2015) tells the stories of three preteens–Friedrich in 1933 Germany; Mike in 1935 Pennsylvania; and Ivy, in 1942 Southern California–who are all connected by music and a harmonica that finds its way to each of them at just the right time. The stories are bracketedContinue reading “Echo”