I Changed my Favorites List!!!
Yesterday, my profile’s favorites list consisted of: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (series), Ready Player One, The Illuminae Files (series), Throne of Glass (series), The Raven Cycle (series) and Six of Crows (series)
I have now removed The Illuminae Files, and replaced it with Amelia Westlake, the book I was sent for Lit Club and read yesterday. Wow it was good. I won’t go into too much detail, because I assume I shouldn’t say too much without first talking about it in Lit Club, but I will give the follow reasons why it is one of my all time favorites.
1. It had great representation of LGBT teenagers and the problems they face. It was so nice to see some lesbian and bisexual representation that had zero stereotypes. All LGBT characters truly felt like their sexual orientation was only a small factor, just as it is and should be, as it is for straight characters. So often a LGBT character’s orientation consumes their character, however Amelia Westlake didn’t do this at all! There was also intersectionality shown through a badass POC bisexual girl!
2. The characters were so good. They were all unique, diverse, clearly different from each other, flawed and human. I felt that all of them were realistic and I could connect to each in different ways.
3. It handled many difficult and important themes and issues (sexual abuse/pedophilia, manipulation in relationships, elitism/classism, discrimination (race, sexual orientation, and gender), the corrupt values and conservatism often seen in private girls schools (I certainly see it in my own school) and more)
4. The plot was original, exciting and unique! I loved the how the character’s personality greatly influenced the plot and that the plot developed their characters further. I’ve never read anything like this, and it was so exciting to read something so incredible that made me feel like just maybe this could happen to me.
So why did I choose to demote the Illuminae Files?
1. Out of the 6 books on my list, this had the least diversity and representation. There was one mention of the main character’s mentor being Chinese, and some non-western surnames can be recognised in minor characters, and the LGBT representation is honestly abismal. There is one mention throughout the entire series of any LGBT people, and that is one man who lives with his husband on another planet. (I didn’t even remember that, I had to look it up to see if there was anything). There are no characters with disabilities and no intersectionality whatsoever. Every main character is cisgender, heterosexual, caucasian and able. It also wasn’t very progressive in the way women are treated. (Sooo many I slept with your sister jokes and objectification of women. Ugh.)
2. The characters were a bit under developed. A lot of sci-fi cool stuff, space, A.I. drama, zombies, ect, but not much soul or life to the characters
3. The series decreased in quality as it went on. I LOVED Illuminae (the first book), however Gemina (the next one), wasn’t quite as good, and although the last one, Obsidio, had some cool plot twist reveals, it was ultimately, even worse.
Despite all this, The Illuminae Files is still amazing!! The formatting is unique and engaging, and the plot is exciting and well thought out. It may be being demoted, but it is still my 7th favorite book.
So there you have it, Illuminae Files is out and Amelia Westlake is in. Thank you Inky for introducing me to (and sending) this book to me! I highly recommend it to everyone!!! (Unless for some reason you really hate contemporary YA. Idk why you would but apparently people like that exist) If you’ve read either of these, tell me what you thought!