Review: Adrift (Minimal spoilers)

So its time for a change of pace here at NJB. We’re reviewing a lovely piece of science fiction today! Its still got a romance arc, so have no fear, but its been a lovely change of pace for us and I think you’ll like it. Its so unusual and awesome to see queer folks in sci fi that isn’t tokenizing or bad and Adrift by Isabelle Adler is a great example of it.

First, trigger and content warnings: Death, loss of parents, torture, mentioned rape but no description, boundary pushing that is resolved, near death experience, graphic physical assault resulting in wounds. 

We’ve got Matt, Tony and Val as our intrepid crew of amusing, mildly shady individuals with chips on their shoulder. A bit strapped for cash, they decide to take a job offered by the mysterious Mr. Ari that comes with their very own mystery pilot, Ryce Faine. Matt is pretty instantly intrigued by the lovely Mr. Faine and the book is off from there.

For those of you who liked Firefly, the feel of the space smugglers on the edge of things and taking slightly shady jobs will make you feel right at home. However, along with our intrepid band of misfits, we’ve got aliens, family politics, mysterious ancient civilizations and moral decisions! Its got everything you’re looking for, but its still fun and character based. I enjoyed the mysteries that cropped up in the book and found myself staying up reading it, because it was just so delightful and fun.

I loved the point of view of the books, since Matt is a snarky, vaguely self aware disaster. He’s always trying to do the right thing, even if he’s awful at self preservation. Like, seriously awful at it. Poor baby needs a bubble suit or something.

Ryce is interesting, mostly because he remains a mystery to Matt for much of the book and therefore to us. But he has a sweetness and an idealism that matches well with Matt and their bumbling courtship is hilarious to watch. I’m hopeful we’ll get to see more of them in future books, because I really want to know more about Ryce and his background. Also, I just want more information about the setting. Really just more. *makes grabby hands*

It is darker than most of the books I usually read, with a lot of violence. I will put that out as a caution. Matt is also pushy in the beginning and has to get put in his place about it by Ryce and others. He takes it well though and realizes what he’s doing. Ryce is more than a match for him and their back and forth is darling and realistic.

All in all, its a lovely sci fi romp, with mystery, odd gadgets, twists and turns and some very Indiana Jones delving into ancient ruins. Isabelle has a sequel out now, so I’m going to be digging around for it, because I love the characters, but I give this a very firm 5 stars. If you need a change of pace like me and don’t mind a bit of violence and mystery, I would definitely recommend picking it up.


Until next time,

Not Just a Buzzword

Why We’re Here

Who do you see in the mirror? Who am I to you?


Having found my first experience of feeling seen and represented in a book at the age of 28 in the Ms. Marvel series (G. Willow Wilson, if you are reading this, you’re my hero), I found myself intensely invested in diverse literature and representation within fiction.

I’ve been a bookworm since I could read at the tender age of 5 and they’ve always been my escape and my happy place. But only in the last 5 years have I finally been able to see people who look like me in these books without them being exoticized, lampooned or treated as some strange creature from another planet.

With that in mind, I’ve created this blog as a place to hold all the beautiful diverse works I come across and give in depth reviews on. After working in a library trying to find diverse books for children, I know how hard it can be sometimes to find something that really fits for what you need.

But I’m hoping this blog will begin to fill a space of collating a wide range of diverse works, with an anti-oppression lens added to illustrate some of what’s most important about representation.

If you’re looking to have your book reviewed or have an ARC you want an opinion on, send it my way! I love new works and new authors.


Here’s to new endeavors and new worlds where we are seen and can be seen.

-a few logistical notes

  1. Anything with spoilers will be noted. Any review with no note is spoiler free.
  2. I will endeavor to provide content warnings. If you are concerned about a particular trigger, feel free to contact me on twitter @ShivaniSWriting and I can provide information on whether the book might include something related.
  3. I receive no compensation other than ARC’s and kudos for this work. So please, don’t get upset when I take some time to get to books. I love this work too but bills exist.