The Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event that was created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile. It was inspired by the 1961 classic song by Neil Sedaka and created to ignite fun bookish discussions among readers and bloggers.
Each month we get a new theme and choose our favorite book for the theme. The participants get to vote for their favorite.
I’m thrilled with this month’s category for Calendar Girls – it’s the one I voted for! Diversity in YA books has made some significant strides over the past few years, but don’t be fooled – we still have a long way to go. I’ve read some wonderfully diverse books, but I’m limiting my choices to those I’ve completed this year.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Although released a couple years ago, I just got around to reading it a few months ago – and it’s my loss for waiting so long. Such charming characters, and Monty, flaws and all, will always hold a special place in my heart. As he would totally expect. With racial diversity and LGBTQ characters, this is at the top of my favorite reads this year.
Pax Novis by Erica Cameron: With asexual and nonbinary, among other LGBTQ characters, Pax Novis boasts outstanding representation. The author even took it a step further by creating a third gender pronoun. I stumbled over the terminology (ze, zem, zir) a bit at first, but barely noticed it after a couple chapters.
But the winner was the first book that came to mind and in my top five reads of this year. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. With a crew that includes a character with a disability, an autistic character, racially diverse (including aliens, lol!), and LGBTQ characters, Aurora Rising offers a wide expanse of representation. I fell hard for these relatable and fully-developed characters, and their banter had me laughing out loud several times.
If you haven’t read any of these books and are looking for more diverse reading material, I strongly recommend all of them. Add them to your TBR!