Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book, as this book has already been published, I will not share my review on Netgalley at this time.
An engaging and deep anthology of stories. The first two and the last two were quite good, and very memorable.
It’s so important for people to be able to see themselves across different media, and Boundless does a great job pulling experiences from so many different people. The twenty stories in this book range from the silly to the somber, all striking your emotions in different ways.
I really admire the goals of this book and the different stories I got to read. However, I do think this book works best for teenagers and preteens. As an adult, reading some of these stories felt very much like I was being subjected to the complaints of whiny teenagers. I feel very old saying that as someone who is barely (she lies) out of her teenage years. The middle stories of this book had me leaning towards three stars, but a few of the stories near the end brought it back up to a four for me.
I’m excited that I got introduced to quite a few new to me authors, some I hope to read again in the future.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
3.75 rounded to 4
The anthology BOUNDLESS is an example of what Inkyard does so well: showcase a range of diverse experiences, perspectives, and authors. I've already bought the book and marked several of the stories to share with my students in my first semester creative writing courses. I love that we can discuss outstanding writing and experiences we haven't read enough of yet.
Boundless is a collection of stories centering characters who do not fit into one race category. They are multicultural or mixed race and embrace (or try to) all parts of themselves. The representation in the book is powerful and folks who can relate will love seeing their loved experienced on the page. Unfortunately, I did not finish the collection, as the writing of most of the stories wasn't "rich" enough for me. I expected more poetic or description language but it was a lot more straightforward. I would still recommend this collection for the unique representation.
This is a fantastic YA anthology.
It is approachable for teens and quite varied in its contents. Some of the stories aren't as strong, but that is not unusual in an anthology.
The book is very clearly written for the YA audience.
Boundless is a new anthology containing twenty stories celebrating multicultural identities. It delves into experiences that teens and young adults with multiracial/multicultural identities may have. There were some stories that explored more emotional issues such as self acceptance, abandonment, grief, and familial separation. There are some stories that will hit your feelings hard. The other stories are more carefree written to make the reader feel good.
Overall, I enjoyed this anthology. I could tell that each of the authors had put their heart into their story. There seems to be a little of everything that a reader may be able to relate to. The target audience is young adults but, I think everyone can take something from these stories. Anthologies like Boundless will help readers feel less alone.
**Rating: 3.5 Stars**
Thank you net gallery for the advanced copy of this book. This is an anthology of young teen stories of all those awkward firsts like crushes and tryouts and tampons. The teens in the stories are facing these moments through a multicultural lens. Definitely a read for a younger audience.
Our library is trying to order titles to help bridge our immigrant and native-born communities and this title is perfect! The language is approachable, the cover art is trendy and appealing. I look forward to seeing how it does on our shelves.
This one was really cute. I think the short stories were really digestible and really gave a lot of perspective. I really wish I could have seen these as full-length novels or maybe even novellas.
20 authors from multicultural/multiracial backgrounds create 20 main characters who mirror their heritages. These young people are just moving through life trying to find meaning and to contribute in some way. But no matter their background, readers in junior high and high school will find a plethora of ways to connect to each character as they experience kids whose parents don’t understand, peers at school looking at them differently, losing a parent, not achieving a goal and so much more that is universal in the age group. However, there may be another connection for those who sometimes feel like they are split into two distinct parts because two cultures are represented around the kitchen table. And for those who do not have a kitchen table with widely varied skin tones, maybe these stories allow them to understand, just a bit, those who do and encourage them to think twice when potentially hurtful words are about to slip out. I found some of these stories to be uplifting and insightful while others made me uncomfortable and possibly a bit defensive. But no matter what, when I turned the last page, I found myself still thinking about some of those teens and I hope that all who come from diverse backgrounds will eventually come to the same conclusion as Lydia did in Tara Sim’s “Between Layers”: “I had to remember that I was formed from love, of maps being rewritten, of histories being merged. It’s all right to tell people what I am and remind them when I need to, because then it means I’m not passing—I’m embracing.” Maybe some will remember the closing of Rebecca Balcarecel’s short story: “Tell yourself you’re not a coconut-brown outside, white inside. You’re not a mash-up or a crash-up or a mix-up. You’re not parts. You’re a whole. Not a spark, but a fire. You’re not a piece of perfection, but the whole dang enchilada. You are one molten glow, light indivisible.”
Text is free of violence and sexual content is limited to only a few kisses, hand holding, etc. Profanity is present in several of the short stories with one having several f-bombs dropped and another using “effing” in place of the actual swear word. There are some milder words used periodically as well. In addition to diverse races and cultures, family groups range from traditional two parent/heterosexual to one parent homes and also include two parent/homosexual. Most of the main characters are cis but not all. Sexual orientation is varied among friend groups and family of main characters as well.
Likely audience: grade 8 and up
My favorites: Eric Smith’s “Irish Soda Bread” (adoptee), Rebecca Balcarcel’s “A Halfie’s Guide to Mexican Restaurants,” Aldi Alsaid’s “Between Visibilities.”
In a Nutshell: An anthology themed around the troubles of coming from multi-racial/multi-cultural origins. Great in terms of authentic rep. In terms of writing, well… it’s YA as advertised. So it will work better with the YA crowd.
This collection of twenty stories comes with an amazing theme. What happens when your identity crosses boundaries of race, culture, religion, or nationality? You are ‘boundless’; your identity cannot be contained within a single checkbox. Do you lean more towards one side of your parental ancestry? Can you keep one foot on each side of your cultural origin and do justice to both? Do your peers accept your holistic persona or see you only as you are visible to them, in terms of your facial features (or perhaps, I should say – racial features)?
Sounds like a relevant theme, right? In today’s world, where boundaries keep getting diluted and a “country” is nothing but a geo-political unit and citizens are more global than local, the number of people who come from multiracial and multicultural origins is at its peak. However, this doesn’t mean that they fit into their dual identities with ease, and the problem is as much because of their own split-personality feelings as because of others’ judgemental comments.
Each of the twenty stories in this collection features such a protagonist, and this should have hence led to a satisfying anthology experience. However, the hurdle I couldn’t jump over is the writing, which is adamantly YA in style. I was hoping that the powerful theme would be enough to push aside the shortcomings of the YA approach, but unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Most of the main adult characters in the stories are either idiots or ignoramuses. The emotional exploration of the protagonists is primarily at a surface level. The characters are typical young adults who feel that they know more than adults.
The biggest disappointment was that the theme is addressed with justice only in a few of the stories. In most of the stories, the protagonist deals with YA problems rather than cultural-identity issues, with the latter being the background than the prime focus. This makes the collection feel like a generic YA anthology, and also makes the stories feel repetitive after a while.
All in all, this might work better for YA readers and for readers who are fond of YA-style writing. If you are an adult reader who wants to try an anthology about a set of teenagers who go through life mortified at the ignorance of their peers and the adults in their lives, this will work for you. But if you are a reader who has a low threshold of tolerance of flat and/or opinionated young characters, avoid it regardless of the outstanding theme.
I rated the stories individually as I always do, but after a point, every story began to get the same rating – between 2 to 3 stars, with just a couple of exceptions. So I am just going to hit the halfway mark here, and round it up as I know a part of the displeasure is because of my inability to accept YA writing without rolling my eyes.
A shoutout to the cover designer - you did a wonderful job!
2.5 stars, rounding up.
My thanks to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the DRC of “Boundless: Twenty Voices Celebrating Multicultural and Multiracial Identities”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.
Even though I was only able to read the first few stories before my ARC of this expired, I absolutely loved them. I will absolutely be purchasing a copy for my classroom library and hope to incorporate at least one (if not more or all!) into my classes. I think they could be some great mentor texts especially in regards to writing about and exemplifying your experiences.
2.8/5 An anthology of mixed MCs, the first being about a Polynesian girl whose mom abandons the fam. Dialogue is a little too sentimental/psychologically self-aware to be realistic, espec with the young ages. It’s interesting how the MC is rocky w/ the dad when he’s not the one who left. All the food references are cute like the dad referring to their diverse fam as chop suey or the story of the MC as a toddler confusing desserts and crying about the bad taste later. The next story is called Hispanic Jewish Bingo about a Peruvian girl the biddies at her synagogue want to hook up w/ a sporty guy of vaguely similar background. It’s ironic how they speak in Spanish in front of the ignorant old ladies, saying random silly phrases they assume are romantic. This story is full of unique bits like her setting up a gambling charity for the temple—and it losing them money—and Javier making her drink soda-juice concoctions. Her introducing herself as wanting to be perfect is a bit off (he rightly checks her like, huh? But the next scene his dialogue is just as unnatural) and so is her jealousy of him being too comfortable in his skin (though the cheating outrage makes sense).
Third story is about an Alaskan native and has the cool imagery of wondering if her DNA is two-toned to show her heritage more starkly. The MC is a bigger girl on a debate team field trip, her speech about her Eskimo-inspired background though we don’t see much of it. Feels like assigned reading in middle school. The last paragraphs were okay w/ the braided natural hair metaphor, though the story was beyond predictable. Invisible by Emiko Jean is in 2nd person addressing their dentist asking about their Japanese heritage. It’s rather dramatic how she takes the questions when there must be more turmoil about why her mom ran out on her adorkable white Jewish dad. Expected the pain of braces comparisons to be more fleshed out. 20% in and this collection is quite redundant w/ the basic girl protagonists. Everything is so surface level with only a couple sentences about each culture versus the dreaded but light “Where are you from?” question. The next piece has more sound about a couple fighting over having a bluegrass or mariachi band play at their wedding (would’ve been better in the bride’s POV). Pretty names Vero and Paola. The dad running off w/ another man is a unique factor, the many characters and setting should just be unraveled faster. The second part seems so random that the mom is a TV star, honestly should’ve been the more exiting focus. Though it’s a little slow, the message is nicest and most original about how divorce divided up her cultures too.
I Am Not A Papaya is about a Jewish Mumbian girl crushing on a stereotypical jock but the tone is the right amount of sweetly analytical, the characters quirky in their cooking skills, clothing preferences, and jokes. It was going to be my favorite story but the end is weak/melodramatic and the stuff with her jealous gay friend is not rounded out well before or after their abrupt falling out. The papaya thing was likewise shoehorned in and just added to her date’s case that she’s “exotic/different” by her retort being “I’m not a a papaya” like anyone would know what that means. A third into the book and these are mostly just vague repetitive stories about teenage Jewish girls without any action. A book of nanoaggressions for a sixth grade audience does not make for interesting content.
Anthologies are great because there are so many new voices and stories in one place, but they can also be tricky since some stories can shine so much better than others. As a whole, this is a good collection, but some stories will likely bore you a little while others will captivate you. The voices here are unique, strong, resilient, and compelling. These are voices you need to hear… or, read. These are voices that I look forward to bringing I to my classroom in future years.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this novel. 4/5 stars.
I really enjoy anthologies, but I find it hard to write reviews for them. Some of the stories in here were meh and I was glad they were short, but some of them absolutely ripped at my heart. Some of the stories have absolutely beautiful quotes and stories and messages in them - all revolving about belonging when your identities do not match up. There is no right way to be who you are, but it also tells stories about making sure your voice is heard when others refuse to see who you are.
A lot of these stories will resonate with multicultual and multiethnic teenagers.
"...halving something could make it more intead of less." - From Effing Nico by Randy Ribay
I feel this on a personal level. I live in a very diverse, very rich with cultures and ethnicites country where it's common for us to be a halfie. I may not get those racism or out of place at times but I understand deeply how it feels.
To be decent enough for both but never mastering them. Learning different local languages. Not Javanese enough, not Bugis enough. Having to explain to people my family background. It's confusing and often meddled with unpleasant stretotyping.
This book opened a lot of struggles experienced by children of multicultural background. Mostly, they don't have it easy. As heartwarming as it could be, there are tries, and hopes here. And I guess lessons for everyone to remember.
I enjoy this beautiful work. My top 3 stories goes to:
- Hispanics Jewish Bingo by Goldy Moldavsky
(I WAS SO HOOKED WITH THE STORY. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT'LL HAPPEN NEXT TO JAVIER AND AMALIA'S LIFE.)
- Irish Soda Bread by Eric Smith (I got so hooked bcs the plot went so smoothly. And I'm a teacher. So yeah)
- CONFESSION by Erin Entrada Kelly
(We love a badass who punch someone in the face for being a bully, and a racist)
- A halfie's Guide to Mexican Restaurant
"You’re not a mash-up or a crash-up or a mix-up. You’re not parts. You’re a whole. Not a spark, but a fire . You’re not a piece of perfection, but the whole dang enchilada. You are one molten glow, girl, light indivisible."
In "I am not a papaya" by Veera Hiranandani, the protagonist Rani admitted to hating dances, but simply by going there, she would be able to:
"make people think harder, wonder about her, but also wonder about themselves, things she wished people did more of in general."
This is exactly what this anthology made me do. I wondered about and tried hard to understand why these characters feel and act the way they do as someone who isn't multiracial, and also began to wonder and reflect on my own experiences as an immigrant from East Asia living in North America.
This is a collection of stories centred around the experiences of teens and young adults dealing with their multiracial/multicultural identities, belonging and self-acceptance. Some stories explore more emotional topics like divorce of parents, abandonment and grief. Feels aside, most stories tend to be lighthearted and feel-good reads. Most stories take place in a contemporary and US-American middle or high school setting, but there are a few historical ones and a few that take place outside of the US.
As with any anthology, the stories can be a bit hit or miss for individual readers. The stories that did hit, hit me very hard. Some of my favourites are:
"Invisible" by Emiko Jean, which was told in a combination of second and first person POV, with the reader playing the role of the ignorant doctor, forcing the reader to examine their own biases and prejudices.
"Enough to be a real thing" by I. W. Gregorio, which is engaging, fun, and made me laugh out loud plenty of times with its humour.
"Searching" by Jasmine Warga, an emotional read in which the protagonist travels to the country her deceased father was from, in an attempt to understand his roots better, as well as to search... for what exactly, she can't say for sure, and while I have not had experiences like hers at all, I understood her sense of loss and desire for searching, even if aimlessly.
There are many stories in addition to the ones above that I highly enjoyed reading and I will be looking up other books by their authors.
I will recommend this anthology to any multiracial/multicultural young readers hoping to feel validated/represented, and anyone in general looking to discover authors who are multiracial/multicultural.
Many thanks to netgalley for providing the e-ARC!
Boundless is a collection of short stories about young people who are multicultural or multiracial. While I enjoyed some stories more than others, all the stories were compelling and keep me interested. I found a few that I would like to incorporate into my curriculum next year in my classroom.
•The Chair Far Away From the Table by Akemi Dawn Bowman- 4.5
•Hispanic Jewish Bingo by Goldy Moldavsky- 4
•The Perils of Beige by Nasugraq Rainey Hopson- 4
•Invisible by Emiko Jean- 4
•Mariachis vs. Bluegrass by Loriel Ryan- 3.5
•I Am Not a Papaya by Veera Hiranandani- 3.5
•Between Visibilities by Adi Alsaid- 3
•Enough to Be a Real Thing by I. W. Gregorio- 3
•Thicker Than Water by Ismee Williams- 3
•My Kinda Sorta Badass Move by Karen Yin- 4
•I Like to Be in America by Anika Fajardo- 3
•Michelle and Yvette in Kaiserslautern by Melina Mangal- 3
•Irish Soda Bread by Eric Smith- 4
•The Mortification by Shannon Gibney- 3.5
•Between Layers by Tara Sim- 4
•Different by Torrey Maldonado- 3
•Confessions by Erin Enthrada Kelly- 4
•A Halfie's Guide to Mexican Retaurants by Rebecca Balcarcel- 4
•Effing Nico by Randy Ribay- 4
•Searching by Jasmine Warga- 4