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Asian Readathon 2022 Summary

May is always one of my busiest months (birthdays, holidays, the first time in the year when the weather gets nice and suddenly we’re not longer cooped up indoors), so when I signed up for the Asian Readathon for Asian Heritage Month, I was worried I was getting in over my head. I was especially nervous because I’d been in quite a reading slump so far this year, but I surprised myself by not only reading six books for this readathon, but also both of my Book of the Month selections and one (of three, sadly) books from my online book club!

All of the books I selected for this readathon were already on my tbr list, so it felt good to knock that number down a bit. I also made it a goal this year to read more books by POC, so this felt like a perfect reason to do that. If I want to read these books anyway, why not do it during a time to celebrate and bring awareness to these authors and stories (of course, we shouldn’t be reading these books exclusively for one month of the year). What I’m learning is that I really enjoy stories about different cultures, especially those that include mythology and folklore from said cultures. Who knew that young adult fantasy still had my heart?

The Asian Readathon had five simple rules, as follows:
– Read a book written by an Asian author.
– Read a book featuring an Asian character who is a woman AND/OR older.
– Read a book by an Asian author that has a universe you would want to experience OR a universe that is totally different from yours.
– Read a book by an Asian author that has a cover worthy of googly eyes. 
– Read a book by an Asian author that has a high rating OR was highly recommended.

I found that all of these books covered multiple rules. For example, The Ones We’re Meant to Find was written by an Asian author, had a universe that is totally different from mine, had a cover worthy of googly eyes, AND was highly recommended by a handful of my friends. In that regard, it was easy to reach this goals of the readathon, and I loved the loose interpretations here. It took a lot of the stress away from the readathon, and I had a lot of fun with it!

I already wrote full reviews for both The Ones We’re Meant to Find and The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, but here are some mini reviews for the rest of the books.

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Review: The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Summary: Cee has been trapped on an abandoned island for three years without any recollection of how she arrived, or memories from her life prior. All she knows is that somewhere out there she has a sister named Kay, and it’s up to Cee to cross the ocean and find her.

In a world apart, 16-year-old STEM prodigy Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city built for people who protected the planet―and now need protecting from it. It’s been three months since Celia’s disappearance, and Kasey has given up hope. Logic says that her sister must be dead. But nevertheless, she decides to retrace Celia’s last steps. Where they’ll lead her, she does not know. Her sister was full of secrets. But Kasey has a secret of her own.

Genre: science fiction, young adult, fantasy, dystopia
Rating: ★★★★

The Ones We’re Meant to Find has been on my tbr for a while, and I’m admittedly kicking myself a little bit for waiting until now to read it, but I’m so happy I finally did.

In regards to the 2022 Asian Readathon, it checks off multiple boxes: a book by an Asian author, a book that has a cover worthy of googly eyes (seriously, forever swooning over this cover art, it’s g o r g e o u s), and a book that was highly recommended. I had multiple friends who read this book last year, and I heard nothing but good things about it. I was genuinely shocked to see a lower rating than I expected on Goodreads, because this story blew me away.

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Review: The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

Summary: One day Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty-single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders.

In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and donate their organs until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable.

Genre: science fiction, dystopia
Rating: ★★★★★

The Unit was one of the last books I read in 2021, and, two months later, it’s still a story I think of often. It’s easily one of the saddest dystopian stories I’ve ever read, and I found myself strangely attached to and empathetic toward Dorrit as the story progressed despite feeling little emotions toward her in the beginning. Dystopian stories are very rarely happy, so even though the ending was not necessarily predictable but expected for the genre, I still felt such a heavy heart when I set this book down.

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Review: The Girl with All the Gifts by MR Carey

Summary: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

Genre: horror, science fiction
Rating: ★★★★

Who knew a book about zombies could be so heartbreaking? I was not expecting this book to simultaneously tug at my heart, make me feel like yelling, and have me cheering for a little girl who maybe sometimes eats people. The Girl with All the Gifts truly has everything, and was a perfect October read.

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ARC Review: The Perishing by Natashia Deón

Summary: Lou, a young Black woman, wakes up in an alley in 1930s Los Angeles, nearly naked and with no memory of how she got there or where she’s from. Lou dedicates herself to her education while trying to put her mysterious origins behind her. She’ll go on to become the first Black female journalist at the Los Angeles Times. When she befriends a firefighter, Lou is shocked to realize that though she has no memory of ever meeting him she’s been drawing his face since her days in foster care.

Increasingly certain that their paths have previously crossed, Lou begins to believe she may be an immortal sent to this place and time for a very important reason. Lou sets out to investigate the mystery of her existence and make sense of the jumble of lifetimes calling to her from throughout the ages before her time runs out for good.

Genre: historical fiction, science fiction
Rating: ★★

This was such a difficult read. The cover and premise of The Perishing drew me in immediately, and I had extremely high hopes for a story that defines itself as speculative fiction. Instead, it felt incredibly dry at times, and the concepts weren’t executed the way I hoped they would be.

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