I’m a sucker for a good superhero story! I love the comic book/graphic novel versions but my favorite are the novel-length stories. There’s so much more time and paper to tell the intricate details that you miss in the shorter graphic novels, though I do miss the illustrations terribly! In the vein of diversity, I present, Infinity Son by Adam Silvera.
Emil and Brighton are brothers and close friends. They share a love of all things Spell Walker, a group of individuals, Celestials, born with superpowers. They fight to save the world not from aliens but from Specters, people who kill magical creatures to steal the power in their blood. It’s hard being mere mortals and specters offer the possibility of becoming something more. Neither boy has manifested powers, yet, but Brighton still believes that they could, on their 18th birthday. Disappointed, they head back home but, on the way, they are attacked by a specter and Emil suddenly starts shooting phoenix fire which is NOT a Celestial power. Their heroes, the Spell Walkers, are desperate for Emil to join their fight but he’s not a fighter. He wants peace and to have nothing to do with his powers. Brighton, however, is ecstatic. Immediately, he sees his popularity on YouTube skyrocket. He might not have Celestial or even specter power but he has his followers which are growing exponentially. Soon, however, the constant struggle, the personality differences and a BIG SECRET revealed begins to fray Emil and Brighton’s relationship to the breaking point.
In his signature style, Adam Silvera takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride through familial relationships, loyalty, rage right up until the surprise ending!
I’ve been focusing on ordering books with diverse characters, settings, and backgrounds. Diversity in YA fiction has been a struggle for a long time. When you were in school (are in school?) and you read the classics, how many of them had people of color in any other role than servant, slave, or bad guy? Book Riot did a survey of the 3,000+ ya books published in 2019 and broke them down; 41.8% of main characters were white. This number is far better than, say, 5+ years ago, but we still have a long way to go to have a truly balanced selection of books for our very diverse young adults.
Now, if you know me at all, you’ll know that the first of my diversity books was going to be a fantasy. Yes, yes, I’ll get to other genres later but I’m a eat dessert first kind of person (or even east dessert for dinner).
Malik and his sisters are on the run. They escaped their village and assumed new identities since the Eshran people are maligned by nearly everyone. When they reach Ziran, amid a crush of people arriving for the Solstasia festival, a spiteful specter kidnaps young Nadia. In order to free her, Malik makes a bargain that will mean death to the young princess Karina, who has her own deadly intentions to bring her recently murdered mother back to life. Forces are working around them that neither are aware of or understand and each one is determined to see their mission through, no matter the cost. The evil they unleash will take strength, cunning, and magic to overcome.
Roseanne A. Brown is of West Africa decent and Song of Wraiths and Ruin was inspired by the folklore of her ancestors. Her princess is lonely, angry, clever, spoiled and lost. Her hero is timid and uncertain yet he’s also brave and selfless. As they move through the intricately woven tale, they grow and change and they learn that wisdom isn’t always easy to find and betrayal can come from the least likely places.