Spooky Book Recommendations

So we are in my favourite season, Autumn or as Americans say ‘fall’, and I decided to gather my favourite spooky/halloween-ish books and recommend them to you. Some books on this list aren’t probably what you’d pair with spooky/halloween but my brain works in weird ways and I just love the vibe these books give me.

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So with further ado, the spooky books I recommend!

1. People Like Us by Dana Mele

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People Like Us is about a girl named Kay and her friends who find a dead body of a classmate in a pond near their school, and if this isn’t creepy enough, while the police interrogate Kay, Kay starts receiving mysterious threats from someone who claims to be the dead girl. This book is one of my favourite books of all time. The writing is beautiful, it is queer (f/f !!!), fast paced and kept me literally at the edge of my seat.

2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Invest in some tissues for this one.

A Monster Calls is about a boy named Conor who keeps having this nightmare that he’s not quite ready to talk about yet. But one night he gets a creepy visitor. A Monster outside his bedroom window. The monster tells him stories and Conor tries to figure out what they mean, all while trying to deal with the fact that his mum is in hospital with terminal cancer.

I cried. You will too. Creepy but sad read.

3. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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Cassidy Blake almost died, but when she didn’t she developed the power to cross between two worlds. The realm of the ghosts and the one she lived in before her near death experience. Amazing MG story about a girl who ghost hunts and gets into so much trouble. Finished reading the second book in the series recently and it was amazing. This is set in Edinburgh, the second book is set in Paris and the third in New Orleans.

4. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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My Sister, The Serial Killer is a story about two sisters. One keeps accidentally killing her ex boyfriends, the other has to help her sister clean up her messes. The story is amazing for so many reasons, one being that it is set in Nigeria and is a horror/thriller and i’ve never read anything like it. It deals with important topics such as colourism, elder sibling syndrome, and marriage politics in Nigerian families.

5. Paper Girls (graphic novel)

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Paper Girls is set in 1989 and follows 4 girls who deliver newspapers each morning. One morning on their daily route the apocalypse happens and as you can imagine, chaos ensues. It is beautifully drawn, hilarious and gay (f/f hehehehe we stan).

6. Noggin by John Corey Whaley

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Noggin has been one of my favourite books of all time for many years.

It follows a teenage boy who has cancer and after modern medicine fails him, he is offered the chance to be one of the first people to try this new whacky procedure. A procedure that involves cutting his head off and attaching it to a donor body. Problem? They have to wait for when the science becomes advanced enough to do such a procedure, meaning he could wake up in 20 years, 50, 100 and everyone he loves would be long gone. So what does he do? He does the procedure and wakes up 5 years later where he is still a 16 year old and all his friends, family and girlfriend are now 5 years older and everything has changed.

7. More Than This by Patrick Ness

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More Than This is about a boy who dies and then wakes up. Beautifully written, haunting, whacky science and GAY. This book will also destroy you. I think Patrick Ness’s brand is destroyer of souls. He is one of my favourite writers of all time.

Those are my spooky recommendations! If you’ve read any do tell me so that we can scream together, or if you haven’t I hope I have been convincing enough in encouraging you to pick it up!

Thanks for reading :)

Bi Representation #BiVisibilityDay

Today I’ll talking about bisexual representation in literature, specifically my debut novel Ace of Spades.

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I’ve read a lot of amazing books with brilliant bi rep. I think there is no one way to write someone’s identity. We all live such different lives and so no experience is the same. But there has been instances in the media and in literature where the bi representation is offensive, mediocre and crude. There are tropes like promiscuity and the inability to settle down, being perceived as dirty, and ‘faking it’ for attention. While yes there are bi people that don’t want to settle down and are promiscuous, the way the media and literature has often portrayed it in the past is that all bi people are like this rather than seeing people as individuals and their actions as a part of who they are not because of their sexuality.

The Bi Representation in Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades is a very gay book. I can count the straight characters on one hand but I can’t count the queer characters on one hand. I’ve always wanted to read books about queer people - queer black people in particular - solving crimes, getting themselves into trouble and just misbehaving. I love thrillers but it’s a genre that is so white that I couldn’t find the stories I wanted in the bookshop.

Today I’ll be talking about Andre and Belle (the beautiful people in the picture above) and the importance of different kinds of bi representation.

What I noticed in a lot of books and movies is that if there is a bi character, we often never see them actually say it. It’s something that the author adds later, or just says is canon. This often feels dis-genuine and a little shitty.

When you read Ace of Spades you’ll see two very different representations of bisexuality. Belle dates more than one gender over the course of the story, she also says on the page that she is bisexual. In terms of aesthetics and the stereotypes that come with that, Belle is blonde, white and conventionally attractive. She also is quite feminine and there is a lot of stereotyping that comes with very feminine bi women, that they are too ‘pretty’ or ‘girly’ to be bisexual. I really wanted to have all my characters disrupt the dominant ideologies that exist in society.

Andre on the other hand is black, poor and in a gang. Queer people exist everywhere, despite what people think. Growing up a lot of black people would say being gay or queer is a non-black thing. It’s something only white people do. I remember an auntie of mine saying that gay people don’t exist in Nigeria. If only you knew auntie. Because of society, Andre never says he is bi on the page. He’s dating the main character, Devon who is gay, but there is a hint at the end that Andre does have relationships with other genders too. With Andre he’s very much on the surface what people expect people in gangs to look like. With that expectation also comes the assumption that these boys are all straight. Many of which aren’t but most aren’t out because of society and these toxic expectations.

Andre and Belle live very different lives, and I wanted to show how two experiences of bisexuality out of an infinite amount of experiences looks like.

Some books with amazing Bi rep that I recommend

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins-Reid

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

History is All You’ve Left Me by Adam Silvera

Thanks for reading!

Being a Dyslexic Writer

Hi guys! So today i’ll be talking about Dyslexia. It’s something I remember struggling with all my life. It impacted the way i read, wrote and processed most things and I didn’t get a formal diagnosis until my first year of University.

A quick personal history

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So the story of my dyslexia first and foremost. I have always been at the top of my class - in terms of academics. I loved school, it was the only place I was happy. At home a lot was going on and so school was my escape from that and being good at it was everything to me.

I first realised something was up when I realised I couldn’t really read as well as everyone else. My mum told me millions of stories when I was younger, it was where my love of fiction comes from, and she would always read to me. In class when you’re very young too, teachers read to you. It’s not something that you do until a certain age. I think I was in year 1 (about 5 or 6 years old) when I realised I couldn’t read. We were given reading journals in class for the first time. We had to read at home ad show that we were making progress. We also had to read out loud in class. I remember this year so vividly because it was the first time I had ever been yelled at by a teacher. We’d go and take turns reading in class, and when it got to me, I’d struggle so much. My mum told me that I used to read in a robot voice, she said I was so focused on trying to figure out what words meant that it just came out so monotonously. During this time, I started to feel anxiety about reading time at school which lead to me hating books but loving stories which lead to me dreading school - my safe haven.

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My mum would be told over and over again that I was being lazy, not trying hard enough. Which confused my mum greatly, because all I did as a kid was homework and then extra work on top of that. My mum would buy those exercise books, the ones with the questions for the different level kids as a treat for me, and i’d finish it in one sitting. I wouldn’t sleep until I had done all the questions. School and work was all I did at home. It was the thing I enjoyed doing the most. So for the teacher to call me lazy my mum was really concerned. I eventually started forcing myself to read, trying to crack this magic code that wouldn’t click with me. I felt horrible, like my brain was broken. The words just didn’t make sense. I resorted to hiding my reading journal and saying I couldn’t find it, because the progress I kept making was never good enough and I’d get yelled at.

As I grew I stopped reading books, they stressed me out. I didn’t start reading again properly until I was 12, but I never stopped writing my own stories. Once when I was in year 5 (aged 9/10) I wrote my first book and gave it to my year 5 teacher - my favourite teacher I have ever had who I even went to do 2 weeks of work experience with when I was 15. She read it and wouldn’t stop laughing, flipping the pages and told me how great I was. She said she couldn’t wait for me to be a published writer and that I shouldn’t stop writing. She honestly probably changed the course of my life.

I decided to get the dyslexia test after having a hunch for a few years. One of my best friends, Drew, is dyslexic and she’s known for years and got tested early on. She is also a top student, in fact, she does Law right now at the hardest school to get into in the country. So dyslexia doesn’t mean you’re useless like teachers and people try and make you think.

The Test

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I first had to do a preliminary test to see if I had any of the usual signs of dyslexia. I pretty much aced that preliminary test - I definitely needed to see an educational psychiatrist. They set up a three hour examination with him and we did a bunch of tests and he timed me writing and we talked.

He told me one of the biggest issues with diagnosing dyslexia are teachers and the lack of education there. A lot of teachers assume you will find the dyslexic students at the bottom of the class and so they don’t even consider their top students struggling because of a learning disability. He said he reckons that it must have been so clear that I was dyslexic but it didn’t match their preconceived notions of what a dyslexic child should look like and so they ignored it until i was 18.

I was diagnosed with both Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. Dysgraphia is specifically a form of dyslexia where you struggle with expression, spelling, penmanship among other things.

Life suddenly started to make sense.

Being a writer with dyslexia

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Being a writer with dyslexia and dysgraphia is very possible. I love stories, always have and I love telling them. I just have a little difficulty getting it right the first few times - making the sentences make sense.

It doesn’t mean i’m useless or can’t write, it just means I have slightly different barriers when doing so.

I wish more dyslexic kids knew that they weren’t broken and that they can still achieve their wildest dreams. But so many people make them feel that they are and that isn’t right.

I hope to write books with dyslexic characters, go to schools and raise awareness on the issue.

Thank you for reading this post! I think it’s so important to raise awareness and be clued into what it’s like for people with dyslexia. But also recognise that my brain working this way doesn’t make me any less of a person and that I can still do all the things I set out to do.





Avengers of Colour 2019 Mentees!

I am so pleased to announce the 2019 mentee selections! We received so many applications and it was so hard to narrow them down - as you will see, many of us had to choose more than one mentee. Now the time has come to reveal who those writers are.

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Team Okoye - Adiba’s Mentee’s

Juliet Lubwama and Maha Hussain

Team Black Panther - Faridah’s Mentee’s

Gail Upchurch, NJ Mvondo and Jennifer Chukwu

Team Spiderman - Kess’s Mentee’s

Michelle Cao, Micaela Clark and Alethea Sung-Miller

Team Valkyrie - Louisa’s Mentee’s

Gretchen Potter and DeMisty D. Bellinger

Team Marvel - Lyla’s Mentee

Maya Kaddah

Team Thor - Molly’s Mentee’s

Samara Lo and Solin Hanna

Team Hulk - Chloe’s Mentee’s

Meriam Metoui, Sophia Grace Duong and Allegra Martschenko

Team Shuri - Liselle’s Mentee’s

Corinne Jean-Jacques and Farhiya Samatar

These are the mentee’s of Avengers of Colour 2019!!! We are so excited to welcome you guys into our avengers family, and for those of you that weren’t successful this time, click here for some advice moving forward. This isn’t the end of your journey. Some of the mentors will be providing feedback so check out the different mentor twitters for more information on that.

As always, we love you 3000 :-)