If You Liked… #11: Diverse Historical Fiction Edition

Because I have Rachel dragging me (it’s ok i secretly love it) about not reading Outrun the Moon, I thought I’d make this edition of If You Liked… all about some awesome diverse historical fiction!

I missed the If You Liked… post in December because I was so busy talking about some of the best 2018 books I read, so I am here in January with two If You Liked… posts this month! One at the beginning and one at the end.

Obviously, diverse historical fiction is an area where book recs are a bit sparse (as history is very white-dominated), but I tried my best to incorporate diverse historical fiction books you should totally have on your TBR!

I ran into some snafus as I assembled this list because I definitely wanted to make sure that the authors were #OwnVoices or close to #OwnVoices. (I.e. I wanted to recommend The Queen of Water, and then I learned that the primary author was not indigenous, so . . .).

But in the end, I have 5 reads and books like it for you to fall in love with as your 2019 TBR pile grows! The recommendations work both ways, although they’re more catered to the “love” book!

If you liked Moxie, you’ll love Pulp!

Moxie is probably the first book I thought of when I heard of Pulp.

Where Moxie plays on zines and Riot Grrrls from the ’90s, Pulp takes a look at classic lesbian pulp fiction from the mid 1950s, both in a historical and modern standpoint (see: alternating timelines).

So yay for queerness in historical fiction and getting to examine that–I am excited to read Pulp when I track down my library’s copy as it sounds great and both a heartfelt contemporary and a blast to the past!

If you liked They Both Die at the End, you’ll love The Weight of Our Sky!

Obviously, The Weight of Our Sky had to make the list!

I’ve already read it and it is AMAZING and talks about the race riots in Malaysia from the late 1960s. This is super dear to my heart as my mother’s side of the family is very familiar with the Indonesian race riots of the 1990s, and seeing similar situations portrayed on page has been really meaningful for me.

I’ve compared The Weight of Our Sky to They Both Die at the End both because they’re 24 hr-ish novels and jam pack a LOT of emotions in a pretty short time, but also because they’re both sucker punches and really emotional and maybe a little sad. So be prepared, because both books are really profound (although I loved them both).

If you liked Salt to the Sea, you’ll love Flygirl!

I have never heard of Flygirl until yesterday, but a World War II book about a light skinned black girl and racism and what it’s like to be white-passing and not fit into either of your cultures.

It sounds amazing, and I’ve heard it be compared to Ruta Sepetys’ works which makes me even more excited to pick this one up! Flygirl sounds amazing and meaningful, as well as a novel that tells a lesser told narrative from a time where a lot of the voices were dominated by white people.

This is one to keep a lookout for to buy/check out, because even though it’s a decade old now, it sounds fantastic.

If you liked Olivia Twist, you’ll love Outrun the Moon!

So the official comp title was Code Name Verity, but I’ve never read Code Name Verity, nor did the summaries sounds similar (in spunk or other things) so I just went with my gut on this one!

One of the highest praises I’ve heard about Outrun the Moon is about the spunk and ambition and entrepreneurship of the Chinese American main character. And you know who else has all of these qualities? Olivia Twist from Lorie Langdon’s Oliver Twist retelling.

So I really really really need to pick Outrun the Moon up and it’s one of my top goals due to so much prodding from friends (thank u, friends). Apparently it’s like AMAZING so what you gonna do? (the only answer: READ IT.)

If you liked I’ll Give You the Sun, you’ll love Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe!

In terms of writing style, I feel like Aristotle and Dante really fits I’ll Give You The Sun. Both are really meaningful and profound and maybe a little understated books (and ones that have reached critical acclaim) and I definitely think fans of one will really like the other!

Contrary to popular belief, Aristotle and Dante is not contemporary, but rather set in the 1980s featuring queer Hispanic teens! Both books are captivating and feature a lot of coming-of-age vibes, so I definitely think they’re worth the read if you liked one of the two books!

What diverse historical reads are your favorites? Would you comp these to something else?

9 thoughts on “If You Liked… #11: Diverse Historical Fiction Edition

  1. I loved Pulp. It was a bit sad, but I think that’s because it really does take you back to the queer experience (albeit white queer experience) of the 1950’s and 60’s. It’s interesting, though, because there is some crossover with the character in that time period with Black characters and it is brought up, the utter difference in their experience. Plus, the modern day character mentions the whiteness of the pulp books, so it gets acknowledged.

    I think you’ll like it a lot, hopefully anyway. 🙂 Fingers crossed! I’ve got a few new books to add to my TBR apparently.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ooooh, okay! that’s really good to know–thanks Harker!

      and yeah, I kind of guess it was pretty white/queer :/ intersectionality is soooo hard to find.

      and yeah! I hope you enjoy reading them! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just read The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim. It’s the story of two Korean sisters who get split up because of the Korean War. One goes to the US with her parents when she was just a little girl, whereas the other sister stays behind and lives through the war and tumultuous post-war period. It’s soooo good! I love seeing how their experiences diverge because of where they grew up. And seeing the family ties strengthen and weaken thanks to the distance was also a very good touch.

    Another obvious diverse historical fiction is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. She’s such an amazing writer who turned a complicated-to-execute plan into a very interesting book. It follows several generations (one per chapter, I believe seven generations in total) and the characters from two branches of the same family tree. In the 1700s (I believe, but I don’t remember the dates too well), two sisters get split up in Ghana: one marries a white slaver and another is sold into slavery. We get to see what their descendants grow up to be and how this one event is still very much felt seven generations on. It’s such a brilliant novel…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a concise review of the debut novel Homegoing! My book club loved it!
      A diverse historical children’s mystery novel I hope some of Vicky’s readers will try is “The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. I didn’t care for the stilted dialogue and too many themes, but this middle grade novel is on many Best of 2018 lists. Convince me that it is worth it. (I checked it out 3 times, and finally listened to the audio version…).

      Liked by 2 people

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