Book Recs: Wear Your Identity Like Armour

Hello friends! How are you all? I hope you’re doing wonderfully and that you’re having a lovely day.

This is my second scheduled post while I’m on hiatus, and today’s post is all about identity. I have chosen this theme because although I’m going on holiday, I’ll be rediscovering (or reconnecting?) with my cultural roots. I was born in New Zealand, but hold my heritage very close to my heart. Having two cultural identities is a wonderful thing that took me many years to accept and love, and I am blessed to have the best of two worlds.

Though I am talking specifically about cultural identity, I would love to share some books that explore the many other facets of identity too. Identity is something that is unique to all of us, and it is a both a process and project, and the many differences are beautiful and something to celebrate.

Lastly, I invite you all to share your thoughts and your own book recommendations with me, if you have any!

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – I loved this book and am taking the opportunity to rave about it again! Though More Happy Than Not explores many, many different themes, the one that stands out is his exploration of being gay in a poor community where homosexuality is misunderstood and not accepted. Aaron’s exploration of his own identity is excellently written and wonderfully done – a must read for everyone. (Goodreads, my review)

For Today I’m a Boy by Kim Fu – Another of my 2015 favourites, this profound and unforgettable book explores the life of Peter Huang – a Chinese trans woman, an incredibly invisible narrative, which is why For Today I Am a Boy is so so necessary and important. Whilst also addressing and exploring Peter’s process of discovering her identity, this book also offers a raw and honest exploration of the difficulties of growing up in a patriarchal and traditional Chinese home. (Goodreads, my review)

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Aside from being the most adorable and sweetest romances, this gorgeous gem is about Simon, a gay character, who develops an unorthodox relationship with another boy – though his identity is unknown. Simon also features wonderful platonic relationships, the tribulations of high school, and a lot of warm, happy feels. (Goodreads)


Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman – I read this in high school, and this book really changed my perspective in race and identity. In a world where Crosses, dark-skinned individuals, are the ruling class and Noughts, the ‘colourless’ underclass, were formerly slaves to the Crosses, this book is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but also explores the racial identity and the essence of social constructions. (Goodreads)

The Arrival by Shaun Tan – Probably one of my favourite illustrated books of all time, The Arrival tells an emotional, profound, and deep story through incredible illustrations – and no words. Featuring a heartfelt narrative of immigration and family, it also explores the beautiful and important elements of who we are and what makes us human. (Goodreads)

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok – This book is the immigrant experience story that people ought to read. It follows Kimberly’s emigration to the United States, where she and her mother begin their new journey and life. Fraught with obstacles, including language barriers, working underpaid in a factory, and struggling in her new school as an immigrant, Girl in Translation is an earnest portrayal of finding one’s identity in a new place. (Goodreads)


Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – If you haven’t read this book already, add it to your to-reads! Beauty Queens is about a plane-full of beauty pageant contestants who survive after a plane crashes on an island – killing everyone but them. Absolutely hilarious, silly and fun, but it’s also – surprisingly – a satire of a range of social issues, including white supremacy, feminism, consumerism, and corporatism. (Goodreads)

Black Iris by Leah Raeder/Elliot Wake – Dark, gritty, and not for the faint of heart, Black Iris may be a revenge tale that promises no redemption, but it also explores Laney’s identity – something she has yet to figure out and fully understand. (Goodreads, my review)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – A fantastic dystopia and impactful book, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a world where women have become objects and tools for an extreme religious and patriarchal society. Centred on Offred, the story explores the new world created by Republic of Gilead, but also examines how her identity is influenced by her past, present, and future, showing that society plays a big part in shaping who we are. (Goodreads, my review)

I am sure I am missing many, many books that explore identity, so what are some books on your mind? What are some books that explore identity? Any recommendations? Were there any books that made a big impact for you, or shaped your own identity?

Let me know in the comments! Have a wonderful day everyone, and thank you again for visiting!


10 thoughts on “Book Recs: Wear Your Identity Like Armour

  1. This was a nice twist on the typical ‘Book recommendations’ post and was very nice to read! Many of these books are on my TBR so hopefully I can get to them soon. One book that deals with identity well I think is The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson. It’s about a boy who is transgender.

  2. I absolutely adore Beauty Queens, I don’t hear about much on the blogosphere so I’m glad to see it getting some love! A friend actually recommended Noughts and Crosses to me yesterday, and it’s such an intriguing premise and I want to read it soon. Very nice recommendations!

  3. Oh Handmaid’s Tale…how I have a love/hate relationship with you because of the arduous academic study of your literary merits. It was fun though, I guess, though the ending was kinda a bit derp fest because prepubescent me wanted finality LOL.

  4. Black Iris–not for the faint of heart…YES! I love the dark reads. I’ve had Black Iris on my iBooks for a while, but I haven’t had a chance to get to it. I’ve heard that Leah Raeder is an amazing author and I’m excited to check out her books!

  5. Wonderful post, Chooi! (And I hope you’re properly enjoying your break from the blogopshere. :) ) I feel ashamed to admit I’ve only read one book from this list (Simon) but thank you for the recommendations! I hope to read MHTN, Girl in Translation, and The Handmaid’s Tale (you rave about that one all the time) someday. But I love books that explore identity. It’s pretty late in the night/early in the morning depending how you look at it so I can’t really think of any books that explore identity at the moment. However, I recently watched the animation, Wolf Children, after countless of recommendations from others… and it does explore identity (in a coming of age way)!

  6. These books all sound really good but the only one I’ve read is Noughts and Crosses. I think identity is a theme often found in YA novels as that’s often the point in people’s lives when they really start to discover who they are. Lots of those books look really interesting, so I’ll have to go and check them out!

  7. That is a really good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurate information… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read article!

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