Oct. 4th, 2016

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer?
Is that even possible?


Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

Why you should read it: Gabby Rivera's book is beautiful and sharp, and it got me RIGHT in my heart. I cried multiple times at the writing and feelings in this story. Juliet is a character who is SO EASY to get attached to and fall in love with. This isn't a romance, but it's packed so full of love my heart was bursting by the end. Strange and difficult at times—Juliet's story isn't always an easy one—but also gorgeous from start to finish.

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Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

Why you should read it: I love science fiction that manages to balance a galactic scope with a more tangible world. Binti is beautifully written, and I loved how vivid everything was. I also adored the main character, how deeply she felt, and how important her family and history were even while she was traveling so far away from them. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel to this novella (though it definitely stands alone just fine).

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Why you should read it: This was haunting and morbid, and also full of heart. I enjoyed a lot of things about this novella, most especially (and personally) the fact that the asexual main character isn’t treated like a problem to be solved. It’s a quick read, and well worth it.

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