Hands up, who’s stoked for Wonder Woman? Yep, that’s all of you, and all of us at Geek Girl Riot (we had to put our hands down so we could type this). Our review spells it out pretty well: your excitement is warranted. For now, listen in to hear some snippets of interviews of Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and director Patty Jenkins. But first…
Kicking off today’s episode with a pinch of fiery fury is Foz Rants. Ramp up the rage with Foz Meadows on today’s topic: politics, people, and what the fuck is wrong with everyone. All warmed up? Good. Now Sam is about to add even more books to your To Be Read list in her spring YA roundup—you’ll be able to see the full list of her recs below.
Now comes time to chant: Steven Universe! Steven Universe! Steven Universe! Because yup, there’s a new season starting this week, and we’re here to spread the love for this incredible show. Special guest, Rejected Princesses creator Jason Porath, joins Sherin and Alex to talk their favorite episodes, themes, characters, and songs—because did you not get it already? We. Love. This. Show.
If you haven’t heard, Geek Girl Riot is now on idobi Radio! Tune in every Tuesday at midnight (aka Wednesday morning) for your dose of late-night geekery from our team of rioters. For now, keep scrolling to see a full transcript of Sam’s YA roundup, along with her list of recommendations.
YA Roundup Transcript:
It’s Sam and I’m here to make your To Be Read list even longer than it probably already is. I’m a huge YA fan, so today I’m focusing on a handful of YA books that have come out so far this spring that I think you need to pay attention to. And because I spend a lot of time updating my Goodreads, I’ll also let you know which books I’m looking forward to.
First, I’d like to apologize in advance to any authors whose names I may mispronounce. We’ll post a reading list on idobi.com in case you really can’t figure out what I’m talking about. But let’s get down to it. In order of release date, here is my spring round-up of recent YA books.
Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give has been getting lots of buzz and rave reviews since it came out in March. The story is one that’s sadly familiar: a young, unarmed black teenager is gunned down by a trigger-happy police officer. In this case, there’s a witness: our protagonist, Starr, who has seen more than her fair share of violence in her sixteen years, and is determined to use her voice to bring justice to her friend. This book is real—it doesn’t shy away from portraying grief and anger, and a black community struggling to overcome the injustices they face on a daily basis. Thomas handles more than just police brutality: there are also issues of race and wealth and gang wars, and you’ll come out the other side with a better understanding of THUG LIFE, as defined by Tupac.
Now, I’ve actually talked about Ashley Poston’s Geekerella for a “Loudness in the Library” segment, but I’m not sure if you’ve heard that episode yet. Plus, I loved this book, so I guess I’ll just talk about it again! It’s a contemporary Cinderella retelling set in a world of conventions and fandoms. Elle is a girl who dreams of getting away from her cruel stepmother, and Darien is the teen actor starring in a reboot of her favorite sci-fi show. Their relationship is mostly built through text messages and it’s absolutely adorable, plus bonus points because Darien is a person of color. There are references to real life geek culture, and a charming writing style, and the whole thing leaves you with the satisfied feeling you get when you watch an excellent new episode of your favourite TV show.
Another book that charmed me was The Upside of Unrequited. A couple of years ago, I devoured Becky Albertalli’s debut, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (which, by the way, is being turned into a movie), so I was really looking forward to her new one, and it did NOT disappoint. Molly is a self-professed “fat girl” who feels doomed to a life of unrequited crushes, especially after her twin sister gets a serious girlfriend for the first time. But after meeting her nerdy yet endearing co-worker, Molly starts to think that maybe one day a guy will accept her, no matter what her size. Albertalli’s characters are always so life-like—they feel more like friends than fiction, and Molly tells a story that I think a lot of people will relate to, with humour and a sprinkling of chocolate. Seriously, though, you might want to invest in a package of Cadbury Mini Eggs before reading this sweet story.
One book I haven’t been able to stop talking about is Cale Dietrich’s debut, The Love Interest. I like to push it as a book for YA fans written by a YA fan. Basically, there’s an organization that manufactures Love Interests for people with promising futures. Caden is one of the love interests sent out to woo Juliet, a young scientific prodigy, but he has to compete with a bad boy named Dylan. It sounds like the setup for a typical love triangle, except Caden and Dylan find themselves falling in love…with each other. There are tons of tropes in YA books that I hate, and some that I love, and even some that I love to hate, and Dietrich manages to subvert almost every single one of them. But he does it with such affection that I was smiling like a fool for half the book (and holding my breath for the other half), and honestly, it was everything I’ve ever wanted in a YA novel.
Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi is an adorable story about an arranged marriage and what happens when your cultural views clash with your parents. Dimple isn’t very traditional, relating more to her upbringing in America than her Indian heritage, so when her parents try to set her up with hopeless romantic Rishi, she just wants to be left alone to pursue her dreams of going to Stanford. The relationship between the computer nerd and the artist will appeal to people who, like me and Rioter Sherin, loved Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star. And, like The Hate U Give, it gives us a look at a culture that isn’t often given a place in mainstream YA.
So far 2017 seems like it’s going to be great for YA books, and we’re not even halfway through the year! The next few months will bring us even more novels that I’m dying to get my hands on, including Julie Murphy’s Ramona Blue, which is already out. Murphy’s previous novel, Dumplin’, about an overweight girl who enters a beauty pageant, was sharp and well-written, and I’m betting her latest, featuring a girl who questions her sexual identity, will be an equally interesting conversation starter.
The end of May sees the release of Francesca Zappia’s Eliza and Her Monsters, a story about webcomics and fan fiction. Every review I’ve seen has compared it to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, and since Fangirl spoke to my soul, I already know I’ll love this one too.
Then June brings Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, about an English gentleman who embarks on a Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend and unrequited crush, and it sounds absolutely fabulous. Plus the title makes me think of my favorite Panic! at the Disco album, which is always a bonus!
And, of course, V.E. Schwab releases her latest YA novel, Our Dark Duet, in June and I’m stoked. It’s the sequel to This Savage Song, a unique story about monsters and music, and I’m sure it will be fantastic, though of course I’m biased because V.E. Schwab is one of my absolute favorite authors.
Honestly, I could keep going with these book recs—I mean, I haven’t even mentioned any of the books I’ve read this year that aren’t new releases, like Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle which is so good, you guys, I can’t even talk about it—but since you’re probably dying to get to the nearest bookstore now, I’ll cut myself off. Let me know if there are any YA books you’ve read and loved recently that you just have to shout about by tweeting us at GeekGirlRiot, and I’ll see you on the other side of my massively long TBR list.