Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Blogger

Smugglivus 2011 Guest Blogger: Ari of Reading in Color

Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.

Who: The wonderful and inspiring Ari of the YA review blog Reading in Color. As the blog name suggests, Ari reviews mostly books written by and featuring people of color.

Please give it up for Ari, everybody!

Happy Holidays everyone! I am thrilled to be invited back for my second Smugglivus. I was completely surprised to be asked because I have fallen so behind in the book blogging world I hardly know what’s going on. What’s the new trend, unicorns? Dwarfs? Mysteries? I certainly don’t know thanks to the wonderful world of college applications and playing a fall sport and being employed (these are all things I am grateful to have the opportunity to do mind you) and I hate that I read so little this year. What I DO KNOW is that I managed to squeeze in some great books and I am eagerly anticipating 2012.

12 2012 releases I am eagerly awaiting (sing the following list to the tune of “Twelve Days of Christmas”, make it work)

Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan & Justine Larbalestier

-The main character, Mel, is attempting to keep her best friend from falling in love with a vampire. It sounds hilarious, it’s written by two frighteningly witty authors and the main character happens to be Asian. An obvious must-read.

Irises by Francisco Stork

-It’s Francisco Stork, who doesn’t adore Francisco Stork? I’m devastated I missed meeting him at ALAN this year. Repressive father, mother, in a permanently vegetative state, sisterly bond.

Into the Wise Dark by Neesha Meminger

-I don’t read much science fiction/fantasy but Neesha Meminger is one of my favorite authors so I’m eager to read it and give the genre another go. The author admits it’s the hardest book she’s ever written which makes it even more intriguing. It’s time travel, defiance of elders, making a possibly destructive mistake, oooo!

Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis

-The story of brilliant (in their own way) twins but their father has a potentially life-shattering secret. Color me curious! And I desperately want to revisit Tanita Davis’ excellent writing.

Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott

-Zetta Elliott is brilliant, I learned so much about the world (especially NYC) from A Wish After Midnight I’m eager to continue my Zetta-education. Also a Black teenager who loves math, bird watches, and a Muslim basketball star. Busting down stereotypes for the win!

Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon

-I literally had an ‘OMG’ moment when I read the summary. It’s a sequel to the fantabulous The Rock & The River, about Maxie, the girlfriend of one of the other characters in the first book. She’s a Black Panther, in Chicago. *faints from excitement*

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick

-I hadn’t heard of this book until Doret from theHappyNappyBookseller talked about it in her 2011 Smugglivus post and described it as “a must read for Chris Crutcher fans”, I LOVE Chris Crutcher. And it’s about the Irish mob, racial tension. Sign me up.

The Savage Fortress (Ash Mistry Chronicles Book 1) by Sarwat Chadda

-Another one of my favorite authors, Sarwat Chadda is phenomenal. The tale is set in India and seems mysterious. And there’s a “demon cobra-girl” who is the daughter of a god, oh yes.

The Traitor & The Tunnel (Agency #3) by Y.S. Lee

-I meant to order the UK version of this book and due to lack of time/funds I never did. I miss this series so much (making us Americans wait a whole year, the nerve! 😉 and I am DYING to see how it ends (Mary-James FTW).

Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani

-The main character truly cares about her fiancé, whom she has been engaged to since she was three. But then her father moves the family from India to America and that changes everything. I think everyone is oddly curious about child betrothals and arranged marriages; I know I am at least, so I look forward to gaining some insight/possible new perspective.

The Jade Notebook by Laura Resau

-I can’t say much about this book because it will give away major parts of the first two books but basically it’s the BIG REVEAL (and the second book was a totally wonderful book because it wasn’t just filler). Set in Mexico, hooray for more sofa/chair traveling!

The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani

-The story of a half-Jewish, half-Indian girl whose father loses his job. Unlike other books/movies it doesn’t sound like this book will be the typical spoiled-girl-goes-to-public-school-and-hates-it-then-loves-it. Much more complex than that I hope (and believe).

11 fabulous read-in-2011 reads

Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger

-My favorite contemporary romance/just plain fun book of the year.

The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau (and The Ruby Notebook by Laura Resau)

-Perfect travel book, I loved my first trip to Ecuador in the first book and my first trip to Aix-en-Provence, a trilogy (but please note these books are NOT fluff but not too depressing).

What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

-A quietly intense 2011 debut about a Latina having to choose between family and a college education, yeah not exactly an easy decision.

Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon

-Irresistible, this is all that a sequel/conclusion-to-a-series should be (and it has one of the most romantic lines ever, I think).

Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French

-I LOVE stories about teens making a difference and this one has many different branches that all lead back to the importance of speaking up when a wrong is being committed and the value of nature.

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

-This book made me cry because of how strong people can be and how cruel kids can be, the story of a girl with severe cerebral palsy who can’t talk and is in a wheelchair.

Huntress by Malinda Lo

-The story of two exceptional young women whose romance does not overtake the quest plot complete with gorgeous writing and setting.

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

-“The best laid plans of mice and men” is a lesson this middle school student-athlete is about to learn all too well and bonus points for a cute crush and mentions of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

-A fantasy heroine who is not completely selfless or a total brat, she is pleasant mix of the two (like most teens) and chockfull of alchemy knowledge galore!

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

-This book can only be described as mesmerizing, at times a bit much for its MG audience in terms of its depressing tone, it is still a fantastic read for MG readers and up.

How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen

-Sometimes cheesy but mostly endearing, it is the very definition of a jolly (MG) book.

6 author encounters: I met B.A. Binns, Sarwat Chadda, Lyn Miller Lachmann, Zetta Elliott, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Medeia Shariff.

And one book I love that I’m currently reading:
Libyrinth by Pearl North (I’m two chapters away from being done and this book is a book-lover’s delight. Although the books featured in the story are sort-of random). It’s suspenseful and littered with lines from books and the main character does not need to open a book to read it, she HEARS books. So cool because she can read and hear books.

Yup that’s all I’ve got. Have a lovely book-filled new year everyone!

Happy New Year, Ari!


  • Jodie
    December 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Dudette Mary’s story doesn’t finish in ‘Traitor’, there’s a fourth and final wrap up book coming out (maybe end of 2012 – can’t remember) provisionally titled ‘Rivals in the City’. Can you say YAY?!

    Thanks for reminding me to pre-order Ship of Souls btw.

  • Misti
    December 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I loved the way Traitor in the Tunnel ends… I didn’t know we are getting a fourth book when I read it and was happy with it. But I’m even happier now that I know #4 will be coming. 😀

  • Rasco from RIF
    December 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Ari, what wonderful lists…I did not know Tanita would be coming out with a new book – hurray! No wonder you tweeted recently about your excitement over 2012 books. As to 2011, I too like the Operation Redwood book and I think back regularly on Draper’s Out of My Mind; my son’s cerebral palsy is not as severe, but our family and particularly my son experienced a number of the incidents the young girl does. I am behind on my Resau reading, you remind me in this post to “catch up.” And am I the only person in America who hasn’t read Breadcrumbs? Thanks again for a super post!

  • Doret
    December 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Ari thanks for putting Lovetorn on my radar and I think you’ll really enjoy Boy 21.

  • Ari
    December 29, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    @Jodie-WHA? When was this announced? I swear you’re gone for something like six months and the world turns upside down (in book blogging that is 😉 YAYYYYY!

    And yes for pre-ordering SoS!

    @Misti-Ah you and Jodie are torturing me with your hints about Traitor & The Tunnell! I’m glad to know it’s not an annoying cliffhanger ending though

    @Rasco-I know it seems like forever since Mare’s War, I’m ready to delve back into her wonderful way with creating characters!

    I can’t believe how shocked I am by the cruelty of kids, I was oblivious as a kid. I am incensed that your son had to undergo any of those incidents Melody went through, it’s SO WRONG. We need tolerance lessons in schools
    And yes read The Notebook series ASAP and now is the perfect time to read Breadcrumbs because it’s a wintery-book 🙂
    @Doret-Thank you for putting Boy21 on MY radar! I didn’t really like Indie Girl but my fingers are tightly crossed for Lovetorn

  • Nymeth
    December 31, 2011 at 5:38 am

    Jodie has been telling me to read the Agency series for so long. About time I listen! Excellent list; thanks for putting all of these on my radar 😀

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