It’s time for another Lucy Recommends… today! I love writing these recommendation posts so much because it means I get to talk about lots of my favourite books.
Today I’m going to be recommending diverse fiction. They’re diverse for lots of different reasons and I would highly recommend all of them.
Crow Moon by Anna McKerrow
Crow Moon is one of my favourite books of 2015 so far and it’s the perfect diverse read. One particularly diverse element that stands out is the religious diversity in it because Crow Moon is a dystopia set in a pagan community. It was incredibly realistic and broke away from the typical stereotype of paganism. I loved it!
Amy & Matthew by Cammie McGovern
One of my favourite diverse reads, Amy & Matthew (also known as Say What You Will in the US) is about a girl with cerebral palsy and a boy with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I loved the juxtaposition between the physical and mental health condition and it also has a rather interesting twist at the end!
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Cassandra Clare always manages to create lots of amazing diverse characters in all of her books – racially, sexually and religiously. They all feel like your best friend!
The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell
When I read The Last Leaves Falling at the end of 2014, I knew it was something special. It follows the story of a Japanese boy called Sora who has a neurodegenerative disease and it discusses important issues such as assisted suicide and having dignity when dying, which are all very current issues.
Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne
I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Tanya talk about writing Follow Me Down and I think she writes diversely perfectly. A murder mystery novel set in Wiltshire, it’s about a Nigerian teenager called Adamma and is told in alternating timelines. I loved it!
You know a novel is truly flawless when you feel as if it’s natural; the words flow into one and you are witnessing the events through the characters’ eyes without fault. That’s how I felt when reading Amy & Matthew.
One of the easiest ways to describe Amy & Matthew is to quote from the text itself: ‘there were many ways to be a freak. Amy had no choice, but other people did. If you worked hard and concentrated, you could hide your freakish thoughts.’ Amy has cerebral palsy, which limits her communication and movement. It’s her senior year and she decides she’s going to replace the aides who usually help her with students. Step in five peer helpers. Matthew has noticed Amy since they were young and so offers to help. The thing is, Matthew has his own problems to battle. For fans of Eleanor & Park and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Amy & Matthew will blow you away.
I think I fell in love with this novel from the first page. It was understanding and meaningful and it had me completely hooked. I can tell this book will touch a lot of people once released, just as it touched me. I was wary before I started reading it, I must admit. Books dealing with such subjects are becoming ever popular (and for good reason) but there is a certain atmosphere surrounding them that isn’t needed. As it’s only a recently emerging trend, it can always be worrying beforehand; you never really know what to expect. I didn’t need to be worried though, because I loved Amy & Matthew.
The thing I loved most about this book was it wasn’t your typical romance book. From the title you would expect it, but it’s really not. To call it a romance novel would be a dishonour because it’s so much more than that. It’s the blooming friendship between two people as they discover themselves at the same time and explore the changes of the world around them; it’s the differences between the two and how they bridge the gap. In two words: truly stunning.
I don’t want to talk too much about both Amy and Matthew because I think the brilliant thing about this book is discovering their personalities and hidden depths for yourself. I thought I knew who they both were but then things would happen and I had to reassess. It was such a refreshing way to read because you don’t often get that.
Simply, you should go out and buy Amy & Matthew straight away. It challenges preconceived notions and will blow you away.