My Hero Monday: Malinda Lo

My Hero Monday is an original feature (and now a link-up!) from the feminist blog A Girl’s Voice. In the words of its creator, Chloe, “It celebrates female heroes in our society, and promotes learning about new heroes.” My Hero Monday posts feature women both real and fictional, living and deceased. 

The full link-up schedule can be found at the end of this post – and if you’d like to join next month (I strongly encourage that you do so), you can find the rules and other information here.

So, this month Chloe was super busy… and I offered to help her her with the MHM blog chain, thinking she’d probably say no thanks. But she agreed! So I chose the theme for this month – lady authors, because November is NaNoWriMo – and I was the one who ever-so-nicely made that handy-dandy schedule found at the bottom of the post. You’re welcome.

Anyway, enough blabbing. Here’s my post. Enjoy!

Note: You can find my previous MHM posts here.

my hero monday

Photo found on the author's website

Photo found on the author’s website

Malinda Lo

Date of birth: I was not able to find this. Um, 1970s, maybe?

Current age: See above. Evidently I have poor Google skills.

School(s): Wellesley College, Harvard University, Stanford University

What books has she written? Which one is your favorite? Why?

THEY ARE ALL MY FAVORITES AND I CAN’T PICK JUST ONE. Kidding, kidding. I mean, I wrote this question, so I really can’t complain…

Her books are:

+ Ash. This is a retelling of “Cinderella,” but the romance features two girls instead of a girl and Prince Charming. It’s ADORABLE and REALLY BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN and I would recommend it to, like, everyone. This was the first Lo book I read and it remains my favorite.

+ Huntress. This is a companion to Ash, and it takes place before that story. I haven’t read it yet. I say that this is due to all the other books on my to-read list, but truthfully? She hasn’t published many novels, so I’m making them last as long as possible and I don’t want to have run out of books to read! PUBLISH MORE STUFF SOON, MS. LO. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Adaptation. What does aliens + government conspiracies + love triangles + bisexuality equal? An amazing story, that’s what. I read a lot of dystopian fiction/other science fiction, but not much of it impresses me. This novel, however, did. Yay!

Inheritance. This is the sequel to Adaptation and it’s great, too. There should be more YA duologies; I haven’t found many but the ones I’ve read have been quite good. Trilogies get a little old after a while, don’t they?

Additionally, Lo has written a novella (Natural Selection; a companion to Adaptation and Inheritance) and several short stories. She’s contributed to multiple anthologies: Defy the Dark (which I’ve also read), Grim, and Diverse Energies.

When did I first hear about her?

2012, I think. The fantastic and lovely Orphu over at A Mirror Made of Words (who is also participating in MHM this month!) adores her books and kept talking about them. So of course I had to see what all the fuss was about!

I didn’t get around to reading any of Lo’s books until this winter, though.

I wish I’d read them sooner. I say that about a lot of books.

What makes her one of my heroes?

Well, first of all, she’s a tremendously talented author. Her stories have highly original plots, and by the end of each one I always feel like the characters are my friends! Plus, her writing style is absolutely gorgeous – clear yet wonderfully descriptive. I mean, Ash‘s writing style is basically Tolkien-level gorgeous.

Secondly, diversity and representation are super important to her… and I care a lot about those things too! (As evidenced by this post and that post and this other post. Oh, and how about this one? And that one? I care a LOT, as you can see.) She’s a queer Chinese-American author, so all her books feature A) Asian characters and B) queer girls.

Reading her books was like… well, like finding everything I’d ever wanted from a story. Beautifully written, intriguing stories with diversity FTW! When I read Ash I was just so done with reading straight love story after straight love stories. I wanted a story that was a little more “me,” and eventually I found it, and basically: Thank you.

There’s one more reason I admire Malinda Lo. She is fantastic about interacting with her fans. She tweets a lot, and she goes on book tours. (I would’ve totally pestered my parents about going to the Indianapolis signing if I’d heard about it more than a day in advance.) She runs a website called Diversity in YA (which you can also find here) along with another author, Cindy Pon, and it’s awesome.

But perhaps most importantly, SHE BLOGS. Right here. And quite frequently, too. She talks about all kinds of neat things: writing advice and how to write characters who are different from yourself and YA and huge list-filled posts about LGBTQ+ fiction.

And I think that’s pretty cool.

I want to write beautifully; I write diversity into all my stories; I want to become a published author someday, an author who interacts with her fans and talks to them about writing and whatnot. And Malinda Lo does all three of those things!

P.S. Before I move on to the quotes section, I’d like to share a video with you – since I seem to have made that a tradition in my previous MHM posts. Here is Malinda Lo’s video for the It Gets Better project!

Notable Quotes:

“It may not be your dream, stepsister, but do not scoff at those who do dream of it.” 

– Ash

“Then they took the last step together, and when she kissed her, her mouth as warm as summer, the taste of her sweet and clear, she knew, at last, that she was home.”

– Ash

“She would rather be alone in her room than alone in the midst of a celebration she was not a part of.”

– Ash

“All you can do is make your decisions based on what you know now.”

– Huntress

“People are always going to think something about you that isn’t real. It doesn’t matter what they think.”

– Adaptation

“There was something magical about it: this warm September night, the yellow-and-green flags fluttering from the ceiling, the salsa burning hot on her tongue, the Mexican Coke a rush of sugary sweetness. This is normal, she thought, and she wanted to cry.”

– Inheritance

“Homophobia isn’t the same as heteronormativity, at all, and I think that heteronormativity can be harder to fight because it’s so subconscious, so deeply ingrained throughout our entire society in all kinds of cultural productions, TV, film, books, everything. It’s everywhere. That’s harder to fight.”

– From her blog

Last but not least, I’d like to add that Ms. Lo wrote a pep talk for NaNoWriMo in 2013. It’s about sticking with your story even when your inspiration is dissipating and you should totally read it.

-~-

So, tell me: Have you read any of Malinda Lo’s books? (If you haven’t, you should. Definitely.) If so, what was your opinion of them?

Be sure to check out the other My Hero Monday link-up posts!

November 3:

nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel

Cait @ Notebook Sisters

November 10:

Bridget @ Nerds Inc.

Mawa Mahima @ All Things Wordy

Artgirl @ Alien Cows

November 17:

Charley @ Charley R’s Leaning Tower of Plot

November 24:

Orphu @ A Mirror Made of Words

Wrap-up by Engie @ A Girl’s Voice

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
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23 Responses to My Hero Monday: Malinda Lo

  1. moosha23 says:

    Malinda Lo sounds pretty amazing, yeah diversity is something that EVERYONE should be bringing into the media! Especially books, I mean, books teach empathy yet there’s never a story to “relate” to if you’re a minority… so I’m glad Lo’s got a spiffin blog and lots of wonderful books packed full of diversity! 🙂 Definitely keep her in mind next time I’m browsing for books!

  2. Taylor Lynn says:

    Yes, I have read Malinda Lo’s books, and I own quite a few of them as well! Like you, I think my favorite is Ash; it’s got such a sweet story and feels just like a traditional fairy tale. Malinda Lo was also the first to introduce me to the idea of the need for diversity in YA literature; before I read her blog, it wasn’t even something I thought of. Now I consider race and sexuality and nationality and ability and religion when I’m writing or coming up with an idea for a book, and I try not to fall back on straight-white-abled characters by default. (And when I do create those kinds of characters, I try to do so consciously.)

    This is a great post! I had thought about signing up for the link-up but I guess I missed the deadline. *frowns* Is there any possibility of squeezing me in later in the month, even though I’m disgracefully late?

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ash is adorable and reading it resulted in many fangirlish squeals from yours truly. 😛 I’m really picky about YA love stories because most of them are weird and terrible and probably unhealthy/controlling too, so when I read something adorable it means a LOT to me. 😀

      Exactly! It wasn’t something I even used to think about, but now I try not to create “default” characters.

      Er…. I really, really want to but I think it’s too late to change the schedule. :/ I’m really sorry… maybe next month, though?! 🙂

      • Taylor Lynn says:

        Yay for adorable love stories! I used to be really picky about the romances and/or romantic subplots that I liked in YA, but I’ve opened up more to them. (Actually, I feel that I’ve continued to expand my reading tastes in general, which I’m rather proud of, silly as it may sound!) Still, I know what you mean; some of the romances in YA just aren’t my cup of tea, haha.

        Eh, no worries, just figured I’d ask. Probably for the best I missed the deadline, anyway, since Cait already featured the author I was going to write about! 😉 Hope you guys have fun with it, though–it’s a great topic. Maybe I’ll just have to do a few posts about favorite authors on my own time, haha. 😉

    • nevillegirl says:

      Tbh, I think it often depends on the genre… most romance found in YA dystopians isn’t very good (imo), for example. So there’s that.

      Yeah, I definitely look forward to your post next time, should you decide to join! 🙂 I have no idea if we’ll do a theme (but I hope we do; it’s quite fun), but I’ll definitely suggest that again to Chloe.

      • Taylor Lynn says:

        I think there’s definitely some truth to the genre thing…romances in dystopians do tend to resemble each other, as do many of the romances in other genres as well. I have my favorites in all the different genres, though, so there’s that. 🙂

        Yes, do suggest it to her, it’s such a fun theme! (Plus, it’ll help her link-up catch on among book bloggers if she focuses on authors every now and then. 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      And now we’ve come full circle, because… that’s one of the things I love about Adaptation/Inheritance! It’s a YA dystopian series that REALLY stands out from its… cohorts, I guess? *cannot think of the right term right now*

      • Taylor Lynn says:

        Cohorts? *nods* Cohorts sounds good. But yeah, the Adaptation duology seems to be pretty unique in terms of…well…almost every aspect, haha!

  3. I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY NEED TO READ ASH. My current NaNo novel is a romance between two girls and I’ve actually never read any books like that (Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour is on my list, but I haven’t been able to snag a copy yet!). I’m doing a massive project at school on diversity in YA so Malinda Lo has already been on my radar for a while. I can definitely see how she would be such a great hero 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      YES, YOU REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY NEED TO READ IT! 😀

      I got Everything Leads To You at the library yesterday! I’m quite excited to read it; the plot seems cool and THE COVER IS SO PRETTY.

      Ooh, tell me more about your project! It sounds awesome. ^-^

  4. Cait says:

    I AM SO SAD MY LIBRARY DOESN’T HAVE ASH. Or anything by her, actually, except Huntress, which now I’m not sure I want to read if I should read Ash first. WAHHHH. Would it even make sense? I mean, I know you said it’s a prequel, so it might? But I don’t know. On Goodreads it doesn’t even indicate that it’s in the series. Grrr. ANYWAY. I am going to read something by her one of these days. She sounds absolutely inspiring and wonderful.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I AM SAD FOR YOU TOO FRIEND. 😦

      Idk, man, I’ve heard that it’s better if you’ve read Ash first? But that might just be someone’s opinion, sooo…

      She’s amazing. ❤

  5. Mo says:

    Agh, I feel bad for not responding to this sooner, but I was out from 4 p.m. to midnight last night.

    I mean, you know I love Malinda Lo. I think Ash is my favorite, and then the Imrian duology, and I liked Huntress but wasn’t quite as impressed by it. (To fellow commenters–I don’t think it really matters if you read Huntress before Ash. They really aren’t that connected as far as I could tell.)

    • nevillegirl says:

      It’s fine. 🙂 I’m just happy that you commented, I mean, Malinda Lo is awesome and I’m always happy to fangirl about her books. (As well as a lot of other books.)

      *frowns* *makes scary hissing noises at the blogger who told her that Ash comes before Huntress*

    • nevillegirl says:

      I think she is actually writing something new, but… it’ll have to be edited first, and publishing takes a while, and dsagjhsdglsdgsdgshdgl *impatient bookworm noises*

      Not you. And not Pilku, either, while we’re at it…

  6. F says:

    I’ve never read any of Malindia Lo’s books, but they sound lightyears more creative and unique than the other fairytale retellings I’ve read lately!

    Also, thanks for thinking of me to do this blog link-up! Unfortunately, by the time I read your comment November had already started.. If you do decide you need an extra person, I’m here, but it will be a week or two before I have time to write a post. I have to say I love the idea for this link-up, and again, cool post 🙂

  7. Pingback: My Hero Monday: JK Rowling | Stay and Watch the Stars

  8. Pingback: My Hero Monday Wrap-Up #3 | A Girl's Voice

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