I'm so glad that I participated in this challenge and that I was able to reach my reading goals!
1. Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
2. The Promise by Chandra Sparks Taylor
3. Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
4. Invisible Lives by Anjali Banerjee
5. Ash by Malinda Lo
6. Persepolis 1 by Marjane Satrapi
7. One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
8. Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
9. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
10. A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee
11. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
12. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
13. Gateway by Sharon Shinn
14. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
15. Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
16. Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa
17. Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
18. The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
19. Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
20. Caleb + Kate by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma
21. Sea by Heidi Kling
22. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
23. The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee
24. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
25. Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda
My favorite books read for this challenge were Girl in Translation, Someone Knows My Name, Silver Phoenix, and Sea. All four books had great characters and compelling storylines. Girl in Translation focuses on the immigrant experience and Someone Knows My Name is a historical novel about slavery during the 1700s. Silver Phoenix is an Asian inspired YA fantasy. I was drawn to this book by the cover as well as the book description. Sadly, the publisher has decided to reissue the book with a more homogenized YA paranormal cover with a non Asian looking cover model. While it may get more readers that way it made me unhappy because I loved that the original cover showed this strong Asian girl who reflects the character of Ai Ling much better than the new cover. Sea is set in Indonesia in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004. I liked that it covered this tragedy in a very sensitive way.
There were a couple of books that I read for this challenge that I found to be disappointing. Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa is a novella and while the author is POC, the characters of the Iron Fey series are not. The regular novels in the series have both flaws and strengths but this novella seemed to showcase the flaws and I am glad it was a free download and not something I had to purchase. Gateway by Sharon Shinn features a POC main character and I really really wanted to love this book. It started out well but then the ending disappointed me because the story didn't really go anywhere. I also wanted the main character to be stronger and less dependent on her love interest. Their romance was not very believable either.
The POC challenge did introduce me to some great new authors, mainly Cindy Pon, Y.S. Lee, and Julie Kwok. I read two books in Ying Lee's Agency series featuring Mary Quinn who is part Chinese and struggling with her cultural identity in a discriminating Victorian society. I look forward to reading more about Mary who is a strong and intelligent POC heroine. I also found Ai Ling, heroine of Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix, to be a strong and capable heroine and I've just started Fury of the Phoenix, the sequel. It was great to read an Asia inspired fantasy novel.
Over the course of the challenge I realized that while I had been reading some POC books on an off through the years I mostly read books that had Caucasian protagonists or were written by Caucasian authors even though I am a "person of color". I do enjoy reading POC fiction, especially about people from Asian cultures because of my own South Asian heritage. I found that I was able to relate to those characters more (especially the family dynamics).
I am participating in the POC challenge again this year. I already have a small list of books I want to read but plan to add to it. I am aiming to read 25 POC novels for the challenge and I want to read more South Asian fiction because I am participating in Swapna's South Asain Authors Challenge again. Already I am planning to read a couple of books by Shobhan Bantwal and there is a new one by Anjali Banerjee coming this winter that I want to read. I would love to read more POC YA fiction too.
Thank you to Pam, Ari, and all the others who are promoting POC books through their blogs and the POC Reading Challenge! If you'd like to sign up for this year's POC challenge or find out more about it, you can visit the POC Reading Challenge blog.