Raise Your Voice 2016 with Dahlia Adler

Raise Your Voice is a special annual month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader whose purpose is to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in literature, with a particular emphasis on #OwnVoices stories. In it, authors recommend books with sensitive, positive and accurate representation that will help to create a resource of diverse books that marginalized readers can turn to when they need them most. Your voice matters. Raise it! For a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates, click here.

About Dahlia Adler

Dahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of Mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teens by night, and writes Contemporary YA and NA at every spare moment in between. She’s the author of the Daylight Falls duology, Just Visiting, and the Radleigh University series, as well as over five billion tweets as @MissDahlELama. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookPinterestGoodreads

(You can add Playing With Matches to your Goodreads shelves Here!)

Rec me a book with a bisexual character, and there’s a 99% chance I will jump on it and read it immediately. But rec me a book with a Jewish main character, and I will cringe so hard, I probably look like a turtle rescinding every limb into its shell. I know people understand that no marginalization is a monolith, but I struggle to explain just how different the Jewish experience can be from person to person, and just how much Jewish representation in fiction is never Me, and that goes double for kidlit.

The thing about marginalized representation is so often it’s about being the Other, the outsider. Hell, the first YA I ever saw with an Orthodox Jewish main character was literally called Like No Other, and though I did like it and was really impressed with the amount of research that clearly went in, I know books like that are an exotic window in. But I didn’t grow up in a world of windows; I grew up in a giant hall of mirrors. And that’s something people never seem to understand.

I went to Jewish schools from age 3 right up until seminary at age 18. I went to Jewish summer camp for every summer in between. I was Othered in the grand context of the country, sure — everything from Christmas to Saturday morning cartoons was for Everyone Else, Not Us — but not in my world in which no one was celebrating Christmas, and no one was (openly) watching Saturday morning cartoons. Jewish literature will often tell you of the ways that people don’t fit in among their peers, how they had bat mitzvahs when everyone else was having normal birthday parties or used “Well, I get eight nights of presents” to combat mockery of Chanukah from those celebrating Christmas, but that wasn’t my life: we all had bat mitzvahs. We all celebrated Chanukah. We weren’t Other; we were It.

So, confession: I don’t read Jewish lit, unless it’s recommended to me by someone Jewish I trust tremendously not just with their book choices but with their knowledge of Me. And that was the case for Playing With Matches by Suri Rosen, which my dear friend Katie Locke nudged in my direction. It’s not my usual thing, really, being a comedy of errors that doesn’t feature any romance for the main character, but it gave me something I have never, ever before felt with a Jewish YA: the ability to shut off my critical editor brain. Because this was me. It didn’t explain me to outsiders. It wasn’t trying to be a window. It wasn’t “look how unique and different this world is.” It didn’t caricaturize things like keeping kosher or observing Sabbath. I didn’t have to worry about how it was making us look or whether the explanations of everything were accurate. While it’s certainly a fun and adorable book for others, it’s not for others.

I wasn’t Other growing up as a teen, but I’m Other now. Vacations days don’t accommodate my holidays and book events are always on Sabbath and Kosher food is rare around my office and and and. And that’s okay; resisting the blend-in, resisting assimilation while being in The World is what Modern Orthodox Judaism is about.

But for the length of Playing With Matches, I was in a hall of mirrors again, and it was beautiful.

Title Out On Good Behavior
Author Dahlia Adler
Pages 290 Pages
Intended Target Audience New Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA
Find It On GoodreadsAmazonChapters

Frankie Bellisario knows she can get anyone she sets her sights on, but just because she can doesn’t mean she should—not when the person she’s eyeing is Samara Kazarian, the daughter of a southern Republican mayor. No matter how badly Frankie wants to test her powers of persuasion, even she recognizes some lines aren’t meant to be crossed.

But when Frankie learns she’s been on Samara’s mind too, the idea of hooking up with her grows too strong to resist. Only Sam’s not looking for a hookup; she wants — needs — the real thing, and she’s afraid she’ll never find it as long as Frankie’s in her head.

Forced to choose between her first relationship and losing the girl who’s been clawing her way under her skin, Frankie opts to try monogamy…under her own condition: 30 days of keeping things on the down low and remaining abstinent. If she fails as hard at girlfriending as she’s afraid she might, she doesn’t want to throw Samara’s life into upheaval for nothing. But when neither the month nor Frankie’s heart go according to plan, she may be the one stuck fighting for the happily ever after she never knew she wanted.

2 responses to “Raise Your Voice 2016 with Dahlia Adler”

  1. Suri Rosen says:

    Dahlia, it’s impossible to describe how moved I am by this.

  2. Alexa S. says:

    This is such a lovely piece, Dahlia! I’m glad you found a book that made you feel that way again <3
    Alexa S. recently posted…My Book Adaptation Wishlist TagMy Profile

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