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It’s July, which means I’m back with another 3 books that I’ve read this month. I am recommending these books for everyone, even if you’re not a fan of the genres, because they are just incredible – I hope you give them a chance and enjoy them!


 

CLAP WHEN YOU LAND

Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: Young Adult

What’s in the pages? “I am beginning to learn that life-altering news is often like a premature birth: ill-timed, catching someone unaware, emotionally unprepared & often where they shouldn’t be.”

When Yaharia and Camino River’s father dies in a tragic plane accident, their lives are changed forever. In two different countries, with a sea separating them, they have to come to terms with it in their own way. In the depths of their loss, they learn about each other’s existence and the different lives that their father led.

Why should you read it? I’ve talked about Elizabeth Acevedo before, so I will save you the preamble and say this: Author Extraordinaire.

In Clap When You Land, she tackles grief through the loss of a loved one and manages to evoke the sentiment by showing how everyday life has to move on despite the loss. The book is written in verse, and this in turn also helps to drive the message of loss home. The author uses inventive spacing and design choices to make the reader pause and think of the meanings and implications of specific phrases throughout the text.

I am starting to think that Acevedo is much more than just an author. She is a creator of worlds that you have never visited, and somehow inhabit. And people you’ve never met, that somehow become your closest family and friends.


 

REBEL RITES

Deborah Emmanuel

Genre: Creative Non-Fiction

What’s in the pages? After getting caught partying at a late-night rave, Singaporian Deborah tests positive for drugs and is sentenced (without trial) to six months in the country’s prison system. A world of squatting holes, broken women and steel bars, and a further six months at a Christian Halfway House.

In her non-fiction story, Deborah takes us on a spiralling journey from teenage rebellion and freedom into the isolating, cold world of the Singapore prison system.

Why should you read it? The first time I met Deborah Emmanuel was at a Spoken Word Poetry Night called Tongue Fu, where poets collaborate with musicians to create an immense pairing of improvised genius. I love Tongue Fu, every performance is spectacular, but that night was special, as a force of nature took the stage and had the audience in the palm of their hands, and I became enamoured with the presence that is Deborah.

At just over 70 pages, this book is a digestible portion of someone’s life, filled with some of the most poetic, elaborate and resplendent language that I have ever seen in a novel.

Through this time in her life, Deborah shows us how experiences can change a person and impact their whole outlook, while also reminding us that no matter how bleak a situation is, it is never black and white. There is always some good that comes with the bad.


 

UNDERDOGS

Chris Bonnello

Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian Sci-Fi

What’s in the pages? Britain, as we know it, no longer exists. It is destroyed after the most dangerous coup in history has been implemented successfully. The population of the UK now live in giant Citadels, and their only hope is a group of underdogs.

What makes them underdogs?

The last hope against Nicholas Grant and his army of clones is a group of Neurodiverse rebels who after being defined by their weaknesses all their lives, must learn to play to their strengths and save the world.

Why should you read it? It’s important for different types of people to feel like they see themselves in stories. One of the groups that I think doesn’t get great representation is young people with disabilities. That is until now!

In his book, Underdogs, Chris Bonnello (the mind behind ‘Autistic Not Weird’) manages to give fantastic, respectful representation to this group by having characters with PDA, Downs Syndrome, ASD, Dyslexia and more. What is refreshing is that the story isn’t all about their disabilities, but more about how those conditions give them strengths and weaknesses throughout the story.

With incredible twists and turns, Underdogs is Sci-Fi Adventure at its most exciting, and disability awareness at it’s very best. I highly recommend this book to everyone!

For more book recommendations follow Joel’s Instagram @neurodiversebookworm.

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