Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Blogger

Smugglivus 2010 Guest Blogger: Ari of Reading in Color

Welcome to Smugglivus 2010: Day 4!

Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors, bloggers and publishers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2010, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2011.

Who: Ari of the conscious, inspiring and most importantly awesome good fun YA review blog Reading in Color. As the blog name suggests, Ari reviews books written by and featuring people of color – and in a sea of homogeneity, Ari’s is a voice drawing much needed attention to often overlooked titles and authors. She’s also been a major part of the cry against whitewashing, as seen this year with Liar and Magic Under Glass.

It is our great honor to present you with Ari, and her favorite reads of the year!

It’s the Falling in Love…With Books

Sorry about the title, I’m listening to Michael Jackson right now (anyone know what song I’m referring to??). Keeps me in a good mood! Although discussing good (nay FREAKIN FANTASTIC) books always makes me happy.

I’m ecstatic that I was invited to participate in Smugglivus, even if I can’t say the name (a reader who can’t pronounce words to save her life, how about that?). Anyway thank you so much for inviting me Ana and Thea! Happy holidays everyone! Like many a book lover, I adore the holidays. I’m on winter break so I can curl up and read for days and still have time to hang out with my friends. I can give books as gifts. Maybe even receive some giftcards for bookstores. I love looking at all the ‘best of lists’. I love, love, LOVE the holidays.

I’ve already discussed my favorite books (YA/MG/adult) read in 2010 (so far) a quick recap:

1. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (fav YA 2010 debut)
2. 8th Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (fave MG 2010 debut)
3. 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter
4. The Agency series by Y.S. Lee (A Spy in the House, The Body at the Tower)
5. Children of the Waters by Carleen Brice
6. His Own Where by June Jordan
7. When the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer
8. The Billi Sangreal series by Sarwat Chadda (Devil’s Kiss, The Dark Goddess)
9. Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins
10. Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley
11. Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15, 000 Books Beat Hip Hop Culture by Thomas Chatteron Williams
12. Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
13. Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson
14. The Rock & The River by Kekla Magoon
15. Sammy and Julianna in Hollywood by Benjamin Alire Saenz
16. Touching Snow by M. Sindy Felin
17. We Were Here by Matt De La Pena
18. If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

Personally, 2010 was a great book year for me. I think I can safely say while I read some wonderful books in 2009, I read many more superb books in 2010. However I’m ready to look ahead to 2011.

I am looking forward to reading Teenie by Christopher Grant and Bitter Melon by Cara Chow, both of which come out December 28, 2010. I also need to read Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French , The Arrival by Shaun Tan, Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, American Born Chinese by Gene Leung, and The First Part Last by Angela Johnson. Saving the best for last, perhaps?

There are so many 2011 titles I’ve been dying to read. It almost makes me wish 2010 would end. Almost (there’s the tiny little issue of winter break ending in 2011…).

My Top Eleven WoW (Waiting on Whenever) picks

1. Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves, release: January 4th. Daughters of a serial killer and they follow in daddy’s footsteps. The cover has teacups and blood on it. It’s by Dia Reeves.  ‘Nuff said.

2. Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon, release: March 29th.  If you’ve read Silver Phoenix (if you haven’t hop to it, you only have about 4 months to catch up!), you know why I need this book in my hands, right now. Plus this time I will read it while eating Chinese food (as if I needed an excuse).

3. The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson, release: January 4th. I love the idea of calling mixed race people ‘lattes.’ Not that I get it (may have to do with my not being a coffee drinker?). Regardless it sounds like it will have the perfect mix of humor and sensitivity.

4. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney, release: February 8th.  I admit, I NEED to read this because Kaz is one of my dearest friends and it’s her debut!! However the gorgeous cover and intriguingly unique plot (alchemy with fairies??) make this book sound like a winning package.

5. Huntress, by Malinda Lo, release: April 5th. I’m ready to revisit the beautiful world and words of Ash and Malinda Lo. And just look at that cover! I would pick it up in a heartbeat.

6. Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger, release: January 3rd. Neesha is another one of my close friends and mentors so of course I’m eagerly awaiting her second book. I adored Shine, Coconut Moon (her debut in 2009) and I look forward to reading a fun story about falling in love and being set up on dates with “suitable Indian boys”

7. Luminous by Dawn Metcalf, release: July. I would read this book based on the cover alone. Go and drool over the cover and summary.

8. Bestest.Ramadan.Ever by Medeia Shariff, release: July. I’m so tired of all this Islamphobia. Hurray for a book about Ramadan with a main character that all teens can relate to, an added bonus is that it sounds like a pretty funny story.

9. Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia-I recently wrote a post about how I want some books set in a boarding school about teenagers of color. this book sounds like it will deliver and I love the setting of Switzerland, so different from anything I’ve ever read. I also loved Cristina Garcia’s middle grade novel, I Wanna Be your Shoebox.

10. Orchards, by Holly Thompson, release: February 22. I really want to visit Japan but for now I will have to ‘settle’ for traveling via armchair and this book sounds like a good tour guide. I like that it’s told from the perspective of a girl who bullied someone and now has to deal with the consequences. seems quite timely.

11.  How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen, release: February 22. I desperately want to see more funny ‘multicultural’ YA/MG books. This book brings us one step closer. Also, Lamar loves bowling. After President Obama’s bowling disaster (no disrespect intended, I’m not exactly the greatest of bowlers), we need to show that Black people can bowl. I jest, I jest. Sort of.

There you have it. A list of highly anticipated reads (many of them debuts) and my favorite reads of 2010 (I’m hoping the list will grow longer!).

I wish you all lots of love, good memories, books and chocolate. Have a spectacular 2011!

Thank you, Ari!

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  • Karen Mahoney
    December 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Awesome post. Awesome list of books. (And I swear that’s not just because you mention me. You know that’s true, so I shouldn’t really need to say it! *g*)


    p.s. I just love the cover for BITTER MELON. Stunning.

  • mara
    December 5, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Thanks for the great list, I love the Slice of Cherry and Bitter Melon covers… On the other hand, I get a little sad every time I see the new Cindy Pon cover – it’s so blah compared to the awesomeness of the original Silver Phoenix cover. 😡 People (especially those in advertising) really piss me off sometimes.

    Here’s to a new year with less whitewashing.


  • Ari
    December 6, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    @Kaz-I love the cover for Bitter Melon too, the foamy gray of the waves looks nice combined with the model.

    See I was sort of hoping I would list a book you HADN’T heard of 😉

    @mara-I second that cheer! And i second the feeling of being p.o. by people in advertising at times. however I am hopeful that if we continue to promote diversity, we will see a change in how books by/about poc are marketed.

  • Olugbemisola
    December 9, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Ari! Thanks so much for including Superzero on this list of fantastic books! You, Ana, and Thea are a generous bundle of awesome. Happy, Happy Smugglivus!

  • Dawn
    December 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Wow! This is an *incredible* post and I’m so thankful you included LUMINOUS in this amazing Smugglivus list!

    Thank you, Ari!

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