Showing posts with label racist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label racist. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

[Review] The Amateurs (#1) - Sara Shepard: Rookie Detectives and Murder

In THE AMATEURS, Aerin and a bunch of amateur detectives are trying to solve the murder of her older sister.

What intrigued me: Felt like reading a thriller.

Awful Execution

THE AMATEURS has the strangest premise: A couple teenagers who are obsessed with unsolved crimes and frequent true crime forums decide to solve a murder case. What sounds really great in theory absolutely fails in the execution. Shepard's writing style doesn't really match the tone of the story, it's wonky at best, and never manages to convey the atmosphere you'd expect in a book like this. The multiple POVs neither work, nor are the characters fleshed out enough to make this story even remotely compelling. Had THE AMATEURS stuck with Aerin's POV alone, I would've liked this a lot more. The other characters are just messy to read about the writing feels stilted. This is definitely a subjective taste issue, if you've enjoyed other Shepard books in the past, you'll probably feel differently.

Another thing that bothers me about the execution is the fact that this is not a fast-paced thrilling narrative. It reads exactly like the premise sounds- amateurs working on a case, not knowing what they're doing. This is just not fun, and beyond that the whole reveal and set up of the mystery makes no sense whatsoever, and renders this story pretty much unrealistic and off-puttingly pointless. I also suspect that a ton of plot holes will open up when you're reading this for the second time.

Sexism, Racism, Exoticism

To a degree all I've said so far can be overlooked. It's really subjective. But the last nail in the coffin is just the horrible, extremely offensive portrayal of non-white characters in this. I hated every second of reading any description of non-white characters in this and seeing reviewers praise the "diversity" in this book is laughable at best, making me lose my faith in humanity at worst. I think there are a total of two non-white characters. One of the protagonists, Seneca, is biracial-coded. I don't think it's on-the-page representation, I certainly don't recommend that you pick this up because of this, and neither should this be on a list of books with biracial characters. She's described as exotic, with light eyes and light brown skin, and that's that. That's not how representation words, this is actually just exoticism.

Then we've got characters who homogenize Asians and make jokes about all Asians being the same, without having it addressed as racist, which renders me speechless.

Beyond that THE AMATEURS is dripping with sexism. From centering every female character's personality around their breasts, to turning the female characters pretty much just into sex objects and reducing them to their sexuality - this is as far from feminism as it gets.


Rating:

☆☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Sexism, racism, bad prose, and a plot that makes no sense - decide for yourself if you think that's worth picking it up. I certainly regret the time I spent reading this. Hours of my life I'm never going to get back.



Additional Info

Published: November 1st 2016
Pages: 320
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA / Thriller
ISBN: 9781484742273

Synopsis:
"I need some answers about my sister. Help…

Five years ago, high school senior Helena Kelly disappeared from her backyard in Dexby, Connecticut, never to be heard from again. Her family was left without any answers—without any idea who killed Helena, or why.

So when eighteen-year-old Seneca Frazier sees a desperate post on the Case Not Closed message board, she knows it’s time to change that. Helena’s high-profile disappearance is the one that originally got Seneca addicted to true crime. It’s the reason she’s a member of the site in the first place.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she agrees to spend spring break in Connecticut working on the case with Maddy Wright, her best friend from Case Not Closed. However, the moment she steps off the train, things start to go wrong. Maddy’s nothing like she expected, and Helena’s sister, Aerin, doesn’t seem to want any help after all. Plus, Seneca has a secret of her own, one that could derail the investigation if she’s not careful.

Alongside Brett, another super-user from the site, they slowly begin to unravel the secrets Helena kept in the weeks before her disappearance. But the killer is watching…and determined to make sure the case stays cold."
(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read a decent YA thriller lately?

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

White Authors Who Write about Slavery | YA Talk




Due to harassment and lack of allyship this educational post has been removed. Why?

More on problematicness:
Should We Separate Authors from Their Problematic Work? 
Do We Owe it to Authors to Call Out Problematic Books Nicely?
What is POC rep to you? "Olive Skin", On the Page, and Non-#Ownvoices Authors 
All YA Talk posts

BEFORE YOU COMMENT -
I don't want to hear about white authors who did it well or answer your question about your slavery book. Please listen. I'm trying to make you understand.

For personalized advice on writing diversely and recognizing problematicness, check my Patreon.
If you want to support The Bookavid and posts like this, feel free to buy me a virtual coffee via ko-fi.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Let Me Be Your Racism Tutor- I'm Starting a Patreon! | Blog News

So, as you may or may not know I have a very severe chronic illness. And any financial help I can get would very much make my life easier.

Since this blog takes up a LOT of my time, I will probably on the longrun be unable to make any more posts without financial support. That's the chronic illness life.

I decided to launch a Patreon specifically because I've noticed that SO MANY allies approach me with very detailed questions about writing diversely or recognizing problematicness that I physically cannot answer all of them without repercussions to my mental and physical health. 

These kinds of posts take a lot of energy, especially to a chronically-ill person like me. Patreon is the perfect place for even MORE posts about problematicness, racism, ableism, homophobia, and also a nice way to help you with your own writing and ensure the next generation of writers gets some help.

This will be mostly a feature for the allies and social justice advocates-in-training. I will be making several posts every month answering questions that you may have. 

THE IMPORTANT STUFF - What you can expect from this Patreon

  • !new! posts every other day
  • exclusive writing advice in terms of writing diversely
  • exclusive advice on recognizing problematicnesss and allyship
  • exclusive educational blog posts
  • in-depth book talks about problematic books
  • accessability: as a patron, there's a way for you to read posts from higher tiers. Choose which content you'd like to support.
  • submit questions that I answer periodically. Choose your content.
  • up to 35% discounts as a patron if you want to book my editing and sensitivity reading services
  • a safe space to ask questions about writing diversely and being a good ally, and interact with other allies
I'm also African, living in Germany, biracial, bisexual, disabled, ace-spectrum, and neuroatypical - so if you have any questions in regards to writing characters that are one of these things, you can totally ask me for advice.

BIO - Who am I

I'm a chronically-ill book blogger, writer, and aspiring publishing professional. I've been blogging on my book blog The Bookavid since September 2014, primarily focusing on promoting and reviewing diverse reads. 
I'm also trying to get a foot in the door in the publishing industry where my main goal will be to help diversifying and doing everything I can to get marginalized readers the representation they deserve. Unfortunately this proves very difficult despite lots of experience, because I cannot work in-person. And even beyond that my chronic illness makes it pretty much impossible for me to have a regular job without facing a severe health risk because my health keeps steadily declining and symptoms keep getting worse.


FOR WHAT - What will I do with the money


Any money received through this will go towards living expenses. My chronic illness makes it incredibly difficult for me to live normally - I cannot physically work and any time I put into creating content online of course takes away from that. This is why I'd love your support, because without it I won't be able to continue blogging and promoting diverse books for marginalized readers, serving as a resource for more than 20,000 people online. 

Any financial help would make it possible for me to continue to promote diverse reads and continue making blog posts and book recommendations that are very much
 needed.

<3

So here's the Patreon link. Stop by if you like.


If you'd still like to support but can't afford becoming a Patron, a virtual coffee through ko-fi is always nice. 

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

[Review] Six of Crows (#1) - Leigh Bardugo: European Exoticism, Russian Cliches, and a Confusing World





In SIX OF CROWS, a gang of master thieves is hired to free the inventor of a dangerous drug that might kill everyone who uses it.

What intrigued me: The fact that no one on tumblr is physically able to shut up about Leigh Bardugo. Did I even have a choice?

European exoticism isn't cool-or inventive

The world building is just awkward. Ketterdam, the setting, is loosely based on a cliche of Amsterdam. The language and lingo the characters use is a weird mix between Dutch, German and Swedish words and names, umlaut marks thrown around randomly, and every cliche you've ever read about Russia. Please don't smash existing languages together, it may sound ~cool~ and **exotic** for people who don't see through this, but it makes native speakers cry. I cried. 

I was secondhand embarrassed more times than I could count. Stadwatch, Fabrikator, Hringkälla, Corporalnik ... can we just stop??

This does not work as a stand-alone

Aside from the fact that the lingo made me want to crawl into a hole out of embarrassment, this is just not the book for me. The characters are very much cliches - we have the morally grey super attractive reckless leader Kaz, the funny best friend Jesper, the badass girl who's secretly pining for Kaz, Inej. And some filler characters whose names I didn't bother to learn. 

There is so much filler, so many names and so many concepts I have never heard befor-. SIX OF CROWS is technically a spin-off of Bardugo's Grisha verse and supposed to be able to stand on it's own, but it really can't. I didn't know what was happening half the time. Heartrender, Drüskelle, Grisha... what is all this??! It's thrown around in the book very early on without explanation, or just a lazily muttered sentence here and there, and I had to look words up online to be able to follow the plot. This a red flag and should never happen if this book is marketed as the beginning of a different, independent series!

Maybe it was the topic, maybe it was the world building, but I was just so bored out of my mind while I read this. Nothing in there, nothing in this premise made me want to continue. I didn't like any of the characters, I found the mission annoying, and the world building confused me too much to even want to bother learning what's going on. I'm sorry, this is probably an it's not you, it's me situation.


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you haven't been in contact with Northern European or Russian culture, go ahead. You'll probably enjoy this and think it's very unique and interesting. To my European friends out there: No.



Additional Info

Published: 29th September 2015
Pages: 465
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9781627792127

Synopsis:
"Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
 

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first."(Source: Goodreads)


 Have you read any of the Grisha books?

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