Continuing on our Cinderella Summer theme, the Science Fiction Book Club is now reading Ash by Malinda Lo. Ash is a Cinderella retelling that leans more to fantasy than science fiction. As usual, Ash’s parents have died and she’s left with a Step Mother who’s not so great. Unlike most retellings, however, Ash’s love is not so predictable. This version acknowledges the weight of grief and brings LGBTQ representation into a stereotypically heteronormative story.
Considering Ash is Lo’s first novel, the fact it was nominated and placed on so many award lists is truly impressive. Some particularly noteworthy ones include being nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and the William C. Morris Debut YA Award. Lo keeps a thorough and informative blog on her website. If you dig deep enough you can find some gems such as a reflection on writing five years after Ash was published, a guide to researching for a “diverse” scifi/fantasy novel, and thoughts on self-rejection as a person from a marginalized group.
If you can’t tell from her blog, Lo has been very active in bringing attention to the fact young adult books have historically been very homogeneous. In 2011 she founded a website with fellow author Cindy Pon called Diversity in YA. While it’s currently on an indefinite hiatus, you can still look through their blog posts and statistics on the emerging representation in the genre.
You can find Ash at your local public library or through interlibrary loan.
We look forward to chatting with you about Ash on Wednesday, July 18th at 12pm in Library 314.