Raise Your Voice 2016 with Laura Silverman and Julie Murphy

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 Laura Silverman

Laura received her MFA in writing for children from the New School. She loves books and dogs – okay, and quite a few people too. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Author Links: TwitterTumblrInstagramGoodreads

(You can add The Upside Of Unrequited to your Goodreads shelves Here!)

I have almost nothing in common with Molly Peskin-Suso, the main character of Becky Albertalli’s The Upside Of Unrequited. I don’t live in D.C. I don’t have a twin sister. I don’t – yes, I’m saying it – I don’t get Pinterest. And yet, I feel a deep connection to Molly because we do have one important thing in common: we’re both Jewish.

Jews are rarely portrayed in the media. For centuries, Jews have been taught to hide themselves. Make themselves smaller. Assimilate. Blend in. Go unnoticed. Like many other minorities, persecution stains our past, and so subconsciously we even hide ourselves today in America in 2016.

It wasn’t until I read Albertalli’s lovely novel I realized how much I wanted and needed Jewish representation. There’s representation out there but not much. And since The Upside Of Unrequited is #OwnVoices it makes the representation that much sweeter. I’ve said before, in one Twitter thread or another: you can write outside of your own experience accurately, but it will never be the pure joy and truth of Own Voices representation.

Small things in Albertalli’s novel brought me great happiness. The store Molly works at is Jewish-owned and called Bissel. To quote a small excerpt from the book: “Like the Yiddish word, meaning ‘a little bit.’ As in, good luck only spending a bissel of money when you walk into Bissel.”

My Zayde, my grandfather, spoke and read fluent Yiddish. This means my mom uses hundreds of Yiddish words, and it means I use dozens of Yiddish words. Bissel is one of them. I use it without thought. Another word I use is polkey. When I was in Kindergarten, my teacher taught us the parts of the body. She pointed to the upper leg and asked me, “Laura, what is this?”

I said, “Polkey.”

There was some confusion. I didn’t know the word thigh existed until that day.

Often the simplest things are also the most obscure things, like the casual use of Yiddish, and they come almost exclusively from Own Voices works. Just a bissel can evoke a burst of warmth because it tells me someone understands my life. A bissel of shared joy. To quote the book again, “There’s this thing I feel when I meet another Jewish person in the wild. It’s like a secret invisible high five.”

I know that feeling so well. And even though it’s a book not a person, when I read The Upside Of Unrequited, it was also like a secret invisible high five.

Thank you, Becky Albertalli.

Title Girl Out of Water
Author Laura Silverman
Pages 321 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
To Be Published May 1st, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersIndie Bound

Fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen will fall in love this contemporary debut about finding yourself – and finding love – in unexpected places.

Ocean breeze in her hair and sand between her toes, Anise can’t wait to spend the summer before her senior year surfing and hanging out on the beach with friends. Santa Cruz is more than her home — it’s her heart. But when her aunt, a single mother, is in a serious car accident, Anise must say goodbye to California to help care for her three young cousins.

Landlocked Nebraska is the last place Anise wants to be. Sure, she loves her family, but it’s hard to put her past behind her when she’s living in the childhood house of her runaway mother, who has dropped in and out of her life since birth. And with every photo and text, her friends back home feel further away.

Then she meets Lincoln, a charismatic, one-armed skater who dares her to swap her surfboard for a skateboard. Anise isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. Because sometimes the only way to find your footing is to let go.

About Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy is the #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Ramona Blue, Dumplin’ and Side Effects May Vary. She lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, traveling, watching movies so bad they’re good, or hunting down the perfect slice of pizza. Before writing full time, she held numerous jobs such as wedding dress consultant, failed barista, and ultimately librarian.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

(You can add The Upside Of Unrequited to your Goodreads shelves Here!)

I’m one of those horrible people who get grumbly about things that everyone else loves. I know. It’s annoying. I tell you this because Becky Albertalli and her books defy that normally unshaken fact about myself. Everyone loves Becky and her words — and so do I.

Not to be self-centered (except, yes, I am totally self-centered), but this story starts with my own book. Becky read an early copy of Dumplin (my own fat girl book), and immediately reached out to me. This is a normal, sweet thing that authors do when we read one another’s work. Maybe it’s because I’m a Scorpio and an INTJ or maybe it’s life as fat girl that’s forced me to create my own source of confidence, but I don’t really absorb compliments. And, tbh, the public creates a narrative about your work — whether good or bad — and those comments, no matter who they’re from, start to lose their meaning a little bit.

But when Becky reached out to me, she spoke about my fat girl like someone who had BEEN there. Like someone who had lived that life. She spoke about being a fat girl in the same way I did. Becky kindly thanked me for the book and I gushed over Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, because DUH HAVE YOU READ THAT BOOK OMG WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN.

Anyway, I know what you’re thinking — WAY TO MAKE THIS POST ABOUT YOURSELF, JULIE. But I tell you all of that because us fat girls don’t get too many experiences where we can say THAT’S ME IN THAT BOOK/MOVIE/SHOW. So I take it very seriously when someone says I have given them that experience. That’s a comment I never tire of and something I’ve only experienced myself as a fat girl less than a handful of times.

That’s why when I read about Molly Peskin-Suso, I knew that Becky had given me a gift. In The Upside Of Unrequited, I saw myself at 16. And let’s be real: 30, too. There was a lot I didn’t have in common with Molly, but what we shared was something that so many fat girls confront on a daily basis. We want love in a world that has told us everything about us is unlovable. So how do you demand that love? Not only from the world, but from yourself. And when you’re given that love, how do you remind yourself on a daily basis that you’re deserving? Becky hit all these notes for me in her latest book, which is well worth the wait. She gave me the ultimate fat girl gift, and I’ll never be able to thank her enough, because my very short list of fat girl fiction has expanded. I’m so excited to turn readers on to The Upside Of Unrequited and I hope I’m starting with you.

Becky, you’re my girl. Riots not diets forever.

Title Dumplin’
Author Julie Murphy
Pages 375 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published September 15th, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine, Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.  

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant — along with several other unlikely candidates — to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City — and maybe herself most of all.

One response to “Raise Your Voice 2016 with Laura Silverman and Julie Murphy”

  1. Alexa S. says:

    I love, love, love hearing about Laura and Julie’s experience with The Upside of Unrequited! It makes me look forward to reading that novel even more than I already did.
    Alexa S. recently posted…BookTube Review • Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children (Part 1)My Profile

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