In the midst of college applications, extracurricular activities, and school assignments it is important to allow yourself to come to a quiet place and wind down. One thing that can help you destress after an insane day or a never-ending week is immersing yourself in a book.
In fact, it is said that reading (fiction, in particular) can have similar effects as meditation. Also, as a high school student preparing for college, it is important to keep in mind the educational benefits of reading. Continuing to build literacy will not only provide personal academic growth, but also improve your writing skills, which are so crucial when it comes to writing those college application essays! So, in the spirit of literacy, we are launching the Empowerly Book Club where we will feature monthly book recommendations via the blog and Instagram. This way, all you have to do is download, purchase, or check out the book at your school or local library and read! Recommended by students for students, here are a few novels to start you off for this month:
1. Picture us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Protagonist Danny Cheng is an Asian-American teenager in his senior year of high school living in the Bay Area of California. He thinks he has his path set as a talented artist, a loving son, the friend everyone wants to have, and he even has a secured scholarship to design school. Danny’s life is challenged when powerful themes of suicide, family secrets, immigration, and sexuality begin to emerge.
The book’s dedication says it all- “There will always be so much darkness in the world, but may you never stop finding the light and shining it all around you- and for all the kids living in the shadows.”
2. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Xiomara, or X, writes poetry as a way to escape her life in Harlem and understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship with the world. She battles implications of body image, her mother is only interested in X being the perfect Catholic daughter, and X doesn’t feel like she has any control over her life. When her teacher encourages her to join the poetry club, X starts to make her voice heard and discover her relationship with the world.
3. Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton
If you’re into sci-fi, Black Mirror, or Westworld, this book might be right up your alley. Set in today’s world, but to the near distant futures, this book is made up of six interconnected stories that challenge how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human and push the definition of "human." Genetic manipulation, life extension, and other deeply thoughtful, poignant, horrifying, and action-packed themes fill this newly released novel.