Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Book Description

Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Publishing Date: September 27, 2022

Synopsis:

Fans of The Girl Who Drank the MoonPaola Santiago and the River of Tears, and Disney’s Encanto will be captivated by this fantastical novel about a girl who must learn to trust her ancestral powers when she comes face-to-face with the Mexican legend La Lechuza. 

Omega Morales’s family has been practicing magic for centuries in Noche Buena. But over the years, the town’s reputation for the supernatural is no longer one the people carry with pride. So Omega’s family keeps to themselves, and in private, they’re Empaths—diviners who can read and manipulate the emotions of people and objects around them. But Omega’s powers don’t quite work, and it leaves her feeling like an outsider in her own family.

When a witch with the power to transform herself into an owl—known in Mexican folklore as La Lechuza—shows up unannounced, Omega, her best friend Clau (who happens to be a ghost), and her cousin Carlitos must conduct a séance under a full moon in order to unravel the mystery of the legend.

Suddenly Omega’s magic begins to change, and the key to understanding her powers is more complicated than she thought. Omega will have to decide what’s more important—trusting the instincts of others or learning to trust in herself.

Content Warning: bullying and grief

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60021190-omega-morales-and-the-legend-of-la-lechuza

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316304166/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/omega-morales-and-the-legend-of-la-lechuza-laekan-zea-kemp/1140835397

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Omega-Morales-Legend-La-Lechuza-Laekan-Z-Kemp/9780316304160

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/omega-morales-and-the-legend/9780316304160-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316304160

Review

Thoughts and Themes: My first thought is that I keep reading Lechuza as Lechuga and was really confused about there being a legend regarding lettuce that I hadn’t heard about. I am glad to tell you all that this story is not about lettuce at all but that would have been funny. But also prior to this thought, I was so happy to see that the author had now written a middle grade book since I loved her two young adult books so much.

I am happy to say that I loved this book as much as the young adult books if not more. This is a perfect read for second graders and up especially during this spooky season. I love that this book is spooky but not too scary to frighten the younger audience. I loved the references to Mexican folklore that this book includes because so much of these tales were things that I grew up hearing about.

Something that I really enjoy about this book is the added images within chapters. I like how these images bring the story to life and it works really well for me since I have a hard time picturing what I am reading.

Characters: In this story you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Omega. You get to meet her family, her best friend Carlitos, and a ghost that lives alongside them, Clau. Right off the bat it is hard not to fall in love with each of the characters that you are introduced to in this story.

I really loved the relationship that each of the characters that are introduce have with our main character, Omega. I love how supportive each of the characters are of her and how they are supportive regardless of her differences. I love that you can feel the amount of love everyone has for each other seeping out of this book.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Omega. I really enjoyed the story being told through her perspective as it makes you remember the age of our main character. The voice of our narrator really made it hard to put down this book because I just wanted to hear more about the magic and everything going on in her world.

Author Information

Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. Her debut novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet was a 2021 Pura Belpré Honor Recipient. In addition to writing she’s also the creator and host of the Author Pep Talks podcast, as well as a contributor to the Las Musas podcast. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicane grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health.

Author Links

Website: http://www.laekanzeakemp.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaekanZeaKemp

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laekanzeakemp/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6577467.Laekan_Zea_Kemp

Tour Schedule

Lord of the Fly Fest By Goldy Moldavsky Book Review

Book Description

Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Publishing Date: August 30, 2022

Synopsis:

One of Us Is Lying meets Lord of the Flies meets Fyre Fest in this wickedly addictive and funny YA thriller.

Rafi Francisco needs something really special to put her true crime podcast on the map. She sets her sights on River Stone, the hearthrob musician who rose to stardom after the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend. Rafi lands herself a ticket to the exclusive Fly Fest, where River will be the headliner.

But when Rafi arrives on the Caribbean island location of Fly Fest with hundreds of other influencers and (very minor) celebrities, they quickly discover that the dream trip is more of a nightmare. And it’s not just confronting beauty gurus-gone-wild and spotty WiFi. Soon, Rafi goes from fighting for an interview to fighting for her life. And, as she gets closer to River, she discovers that he might be hiding even darker secrets than she suspected . . .

Content Warning: violence, missing persons, and bodily functions

Book Links

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54267774-lord-of-the-fly-fest

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250230128

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lord-of-the-fly-fest-goldy-moldavsky/1139790471

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Lord-Fly-Fest-Goldy-Moldavsky/9781250230126

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/lord-of-the-fly-fest/9781250230126-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250230126

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This one took me quite a while to finish but not because of a lack of interest, I was trying to savor every moment of this book. I wanted to take things slowly because I was enjoying the world-building in this book and the dystopian aspects. I really liked the way the author describes this island and how things slowly build. So once I finished this book I read some reviews and they all mentioned this being a satirical telling of Lord of the Flies I got this from the title but because I haven’t read that book I wasn’t able to make the connection myself.

I was skeptical about reading this one because I had recently read books similar to it and didn’t really care for them. I am glad that I decided to read this anyway because of how much I enjoyed the book. I liked how this story plays out and how we begin to see our main character as a bad guy because she put them in this situation longer than they had to be. I really like the way this book pokes fun at influencer culture and the people who feed into this. I liked that this book made commentary on our current lives.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Rafi. You get to meet several people who are on the Island with Rafi, such as Peggy, River, Jack, Ryan and Paul, and much more.

I really liked reading as the relationship between River and Rafi develops and how this shifts throughout the book. I liked seeing them both when they are together and seeing how River trusts Rafi but this also makes you skeptical of River just like Rafi is. I like that we never know who the bad person is in this story and that the narrator is removed adds to this mystery.

Writing Style: This story is told in the third person with a narrator who follows different characters around yet it is told mostly from Rafi’s perspective. I really enjoy that this story was told in the third person because we seem to know everything going on with each of the characters. What I really like is that this isn’t an all-knowing narrator though so the mysteries aren’t automatically solved.

This book also includes snippets of the podcast Rafi is recording, which I really enjoyed. I liked getting to see a different side of Rafi through the recording of the podcast and I liked to see the other’s responses to this podcast. I thought the podcast episodes being included added a good portion to the book because it shows us what Rafi is thinking about everything that we are reading.

Author Information

Goldy Moldavsky was born in Lima, Peru, and grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives. Her novels include the New York Times bestseller, KILL THE BOY BAND, NO GOOD DEED (Scholastic), and THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB (Henry Holt). Her books have appeared on numerous Best-Books lists and have been translated to other languages. Her love of 80s movies, 90s boy bands, and horror flicks hugely influences her work. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @goldywrites.

She is represented by Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency.

Author Links

Website: https://goldymoldavsky.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/goldywrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/goldywrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13682584.Goldy_Moldavsky

Tour Schedule

It Sounds LIke This by Anna Mariano Book Review

Book Description

A sweet and nerdy contemporary YA novel set in the world of marching band perfect for fans of Late to the Party and Kate in Waiting.

Yasmín Treviño didn’t have much of a freshman year thanks to Hurricane Humphrey, but she’s ready to take sophomore year by storm. That means mastering the marching side of marching band—fast!—so she can outshine her BFF Sofia as top of the flute section, earn first chair, and impress both her future college admission boards and her comfortably unattainable drum major crush Gilberto Reyes.

But Yasmín steps off on the wrong foot when she reports an anonymous gossip Instagram account harassing new band members and accidentally gets the entire low brass section suspended from extracurriculars. With no low brass section, the band is doomed, so Yasmín decides to take things into her own hands, learn to play the tuba, and lead a gaggle of rowdy freshman boys who are just as green to marching and playing as she is. She’ll happily wrestle an ancient school tuba if it means fixing the mess she might have caused.

But when the secret gossip Instagram escalates their campaign of harassment and the end-of-semester band competition grows near, things at school might be too hard to bear. Luckily, the support of Yasmín’s new section—especially new section leader Bloom, a sweet and shy ace boy who might be a better match for her than Gilberto—might just turn things around.

Review

Thoughts and Theme: I really enjoyed reading Anna Meriano’s other book, This is How We Fly, so I was quite excited to get a chance to read this one.

I really like how so many things are all new to Yasmin and how this makes it so that she doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of the high school band kids. I really liked this because there’s a stereotype of the band kids and you would expect that Yasmin would fit in perfectly with them.

Something that I liked about this book is the ways in which religion is mixed into the story. I like how Yasmin thinks that a lot of her feelings have to do with religion and I like how they include these conversations there. I also really enjoy how this book includes conversations on sexuality throughout.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to a few characters through their interactions with a main character, Yasmin. You get to meet her best friend, Sofia, a few of the kids on the brass team, Sophia’s boyfriend, and Yasmin’s mom.

Something that I really loved about this book was how supportive the brass section is of Yasmin over time. I really like how they try to cheer her up when things go wrong and they all trust her. I like how she slowly starts to let them care about her even if at first she was disappointed in switching to this section.

I really liked getting to see Yasmin’s friendships with several of the band members and how these friendships develop throughout the book. I also like getting to see the shift in her friendship with Sophia and love how that wraps up. I liked that this book wasn’t neat and perfect because it felt real.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Yasmin. I like things being in her point of view because all we know is how she feels and the things people are telling her. I really liked that we got to see things through only Yasmin’s perspective because we don’t see what others are saying about her. We don’t see her as selfish and mean, and we don’t know things about her that she doesn’t know.

Author Information

From Anna Meriano’s website

I grew up in Houston with an older brother and a younger brother and a large but close-knit network of aunts, uncles, and cousins spreading across the state of Texas. I graduated from Rice University with a degree in English, and earned my MFA in creative writing with an emphasis in writing for children from the New School in New York. There I was lucky to meet CAKE Literary founders Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, who started me on the

Love Sugar Magic journey.

I live in Houston with my dog Cisco. I have taught creative writing and high school English and currently work as a tutor for students of all ages across Houston. In my free time I love knitting, playing full-contact quidditch, and singing along to songs in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.

For information about events or school visits, you can contact me at annaemeriano@gmail.com

I am represented by Patricia Nelson, Patricia@marsallyonliteraryagency.com 

For information about my YA books, contact my publicist Tessa Meischeid,
tmeischeid@penguinrandomhouse.com

Let it Rain by Marcela Mariz Book Review

Book Description

The funniest and most charming novel about finding yourself you’ll read this year.

Mandy Olsen lives and breathes the Eighties: an era of great music, questionable fashion choices, and endless possibilities. It was also the only time Mandy was truly happy in her life.

Now working at the school she used to attend, Mandy’s fixation with the past is starting to attract attention. Jessy, the office mean girl, whispers that “Mental Mandy” is going off the deep end. Principal Weber prefers to call her confused. And to make matters worse, the mysterious hot new teacher has developed a knack for popping up at the most embarrassing moments possible.

If Mandy wants to keep her job, she knows she needs to face the grief that turned her world upside down. But can you grasp at a second chance if your best years are behind you?

Perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary and Sophie Kinsella, Let it Rain is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about friendship, rebellion, and finding the courage to love and laugh again.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was so happy when I started reading this book since there were so many parts of this story that I found relatable. There were so many moments in which I saw myself in our main character.

I really like the way this book deals with grief and how it shows grief affecting our main character, Mandy in a unique way. I liked that we get to see Mandy dealing with social anxiety and how we get to see her visit a therapist and how that helps her through different moments of her life.

I like the way certain things unravel in this book as these were things that I wasn’t expecting. I liked how our main character, has to figure out how to navigate the news that she has now after trying to move past this loss. I liked seeing her try to fit this person back into her new life and the way that those around her embrace her.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Mandy . You get to meet her mother and best friend, who are only visible to her, several work colleagues, and her therapist.

I really like the friendship that develops between our main character, Mandy, Zack, and Kim. I like the things that each of them add into her life and how they each help her deal with difficult emotions and trauma. I also really enjoyed the way that the romance develops between Manday and Zack including the twist and turns that they go through.

I also really liked seeing the relationship that Mandy has with her mother and with her best friend, Joshua. I like how we get to see the way she pictures them in her life and the impact she believes they have as ghosts. I like getting a chance to see how she feels about the relationship that she had with both her mother and Joshua prior to their deaths.

Writing Style: This book is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Mandy. I liked that this whole story is told through Mandy’s perspective as we are getting a chance to see how things are like for her. I like that we aren’t seeing how anyone else is feeling throughout this book or how things are playing out for others until Mady finds things out.

Author Information

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Marcela Mariz discovered her passion for storytelling on the stage. She produced her first play at sixteen and went on to complete more than twenty theater-commissioned plays.

Nate Plus One By Kevin van Whye Book Review

Book Description

Two boys. Two bands. Two worlds colliding.

Nate Hargraves – stage-shy singer-songwriter – is totally stoked for his cousin’s wedding in South Africa, an all-expenses-paid trip of a lifetime. Until he finds out his sleazeball ex-boyfriend is also on the guest list.

Jai Patel – hot-as-hell high school rock-god – has troubles too. His band’s lead singer has quit, just weeks before the gig that was meant to be their big break.

When Nate saves the day by agreeing to sing with Jai’s band, Jai volunteers to be Nate’s plus-one to the wedding, and the stage is set for a summer of music, self-discovery, and simmering romantic tension. What could possibly go wrong . . . ?

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I first started listening to this book I was quite worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it but I decided to keep listening since it was such a short book and I am so glad that I did. There were several moments in which I was listening to this book that I had to stop to take in what was being said.

This book is a cute rom com but it is so much more than that. I really enjoy how this ook talks about coming out, being a Queer Person of Color, Racism, and more. I like the way that this book puts all these things together and still manages to tell a cute best friends to lovers story. I also really enjoyed how this book takes place in South Africa for the majority of the story and how we get to see this portion of Nate’s family and life.

Characters: In this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Nate. You get to meet some of his family members, the love interest, Jai, his ex-boyfriend, Tommy, and more.

I really enjoyed the relationship that Nate has with Ouma Lettie who is his grandmother. I love the way she accepts him for who he is and also how she explains how her past affects her attitudes towards Nate being gay. There are so many moments that Nate has with Ouma Lettie that I highlighted in the book because of how impactful they are to the story.

I also really enjoyed the relationship that Nate has with Jai and how that differs from the relationship that he describes with Tommy. I like how we see Nate describe a relationship in which he was closeted and how that differs from this relationship. I also like how Jai is immediately immersed into Nate’s family and how he just seems to fit in.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Nate. I really enjoyed that everything was told from Nate’s perspective because there were moments that we needed to be inside of his head. I really enjoyed that we got a chance to hear what Nate thought about everything and then when things fell apart we only get to see his thoughts and actions.

Author Information

Kevin van Whye was born and raised in South Africa, where his love for storytelling started at a young age. Kevin is the author of Date Me, Bryson Keller. He lives in Johannesburg, and when he’s not reading, he’s writing stories that give his characters the happy rom-com endings they deserve. Find him at KevinvanWhye.com.

Santiago by Eduardo Rios Lasso Book Tour Post-Spotlight

Book Description


Fresh out of college, 26-year-old Santiago has always longed to see the world, but his anxiety gets in the way. How can he possibly travel abroad if he feels sometimes heart-pounding pressure by simply riding a bus? But one day, after years of saving, Santiago courageously buys a ticket around the world. His parents think he’s crazy, but he takes a leap of faith and sets out alone. However, the world he had imagined was far from reality.
Meanwhile, Santiago finds out his best friend Laura, who could not join him on the trip, battles a recently diagnosed autoimmune disease. Will he regret his decision to leave her behind? Will their friendship survive or blossom into something more? On his journeys from New York to Lisbon, Paris to Sarajevo, and Istanbul to Bali, Santiago must overcome his shyness and open up his heart despite facing challenges, such as scams, and confronting complex issues like human trafficking. Join Santiago on a journey of self-discovery and adventure like no other.

Author Information

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Eduardo Rios Lasso emerged as a writer during his career as a medical doctor. Born and raised in Panama City, Panama, his journey has taken him around the globe to dozens of countries.
Along the way, he found a passion for travel writing that seeks out positive life experiences while also sharing the common interests and challenges that bring different cultures together. Eduardo currently resides in Germany, where he is completing his training in Internal Medicine.

SANTIAGO – Chronicles of a Young Traveler is his first book.
Website: http://www.zibarna.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/e.rioslasso

Author Marketing Experts tags for social media:
Twitter: @Bookgal
Instagram: @therealbookgal
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3NTV3pk
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61134991-santiago-chronicles-of-a-young-traveler

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson Book Review

Book Description

In this complex and emotionally resonant novel, debut author Jen Ferguson serves up a powerful story about rage, secrets, and all the spectrums that make up a person—and the sweetness that can still live alongside the bitterest truth.

Lou has enough confusion in front of her this summer. She’ll be working in her family’s ice cream shack with her newly ex-boyfriend—whose kisses never made her feel desire, only discomfort—and her former best friend, King, who is back in their Canadian prairie town after disappearing three years ago without a word.

But when she gets a letter from her biological father—a man she hoped would stay behind bars for the rest of his life—Lou immediately knows that she cannot meet him, no matter how much he insists.

While King’s friendship makes Lou feel safer and warmer than she would have thought possible, when her family’s business comes under threat, she soon realizes that she can’t ignore her father forever. 

Review

TWs: mentions of sexual harassment and violence, racism, self harm, alcohol, addiction, gaslighting, fire, abortion, rape

This is not an exhaustive list of all the trigger warnings in this book, please see other reviews for things I may not have caught.

Thoughts and Themes: This is one that it took me a little bit to get into and I wonder if I would’ve had a different experience if I had read it instead of listened to it. Once we got to the author’s note and I head more about why the story was written and about some of the choices that were made I enjoyed the story more than when I was reading it.

This book has a lot going on at once which is what made it hard to get into at first but I think that it needed to have everything for the book to wrap up the way that it did. Lou has way too much to deal with for a girl her age but I liked how it all felt real for a teenager. She’s dealing with her dad trying to come back into the picture and take from her, family secrets revealing themselves, and questioning her sexuality.

I have yet to read a book in which the character labels themselves as demisexual on the page. I’ve read books in which it is implied or the character is asexual but never is the term demisexual used which made this book so important to me. I loved that we get to see how Louisa comes to this determination even if it seems to wrap up quickly towards the end of the book. The rest of the book is leading to this decision and we get to see her question her sexuality and wonder if something is wrong with her.

Something else that I found important in this book and that spoke to me both throughout the story and then again when the author spoke about it was the notion of whiteness being safe. Louisa for a while pretends that she is white and has several friends and family members angry at her because of this. This idea of whiteness as safety is something that I understand and also find frustrating. It’s one of those things that yes there is privilege in passing as white but also Louisa is denying her culture and removing herself from the things around her that make up her home.

Characters: Throughout this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Louisa. You get to meet her mother, her uncles, several of her friends, her dad, and more.

I really liked several of the characters that you get to meet throughout this book especially King. I liked the relationship between Louisa and King and how he just understood her. I liked how they eased easily back into their friendship and how that gradually changed into a relationship. I really appreciated how everything between them was on Louisa’s terms and how much of a shift that was from her ex.

Something that threw me off with the characters through was Louisa’s relationship with her best friend, Flourence. I really didn’t like the way that this character was treated and how the book seemed to dismiss that she was bipolar. I think that more could have been done with this friendship and also the way that Flourence’s mental health issues were handled. I didn’t like that Louisa seemed to make everything about her even when her best friend needed her.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of the main character, Louisa. I think it is important that the story was told through Louisa’s point of view because we get to see her feelings about each situation as they arise. The story also includes letters from Louisa’s father which are give to her by different people. I think those letters are also important pieces of the story and give you a glimpse into who this man is.

Author Information

Jen Ferguson (she/her/hers) Métis (on her father’s side) and Canadian settler (on her mother’s side) is an activist, a feminist, an auntie, and an accomplice armed with a PhD. She believes writing, teaching and beading are political acts. She is represented by Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Her debut young adult novel, THE SUMMER OF BITTER AND SWEET, is forthcoming from Heartdrum / Harper Collins in the summer of 2022. Her first book for adults, Border Markers, a collection of interrelated flash fiction stories, is out now with NeWest Press.

She lives and works in Los Angeles.


Visit her website to subscribe to News from the Michif Creamery, an occasional (seasonally or less) newsletter, for a chance to win The Summer of Bitter and Sweet themed prizes!

Open international, prizes will be drawn from among all subscribers when we reach 200, 300, 400, and 500 subscribers respectively. Grand prize is a Scream Pretty dinosaur-themed necklace or set of earrings in gold or silver (winner’s choice). Other prizes will support BIPOC, queer, trans, and otherly marginalized creators. Sign up for News from the Michif Creamery today for a chance to win (and get very occasional news from Jen)! 

I Love You Just the Way You Are by Riley Rian Book Review

Book Description

Kellan, star quarterback and secret manga artist, has fallen hard for Maddie, a trans-girl and Twitch streamer. They’ve gone to school together for years, but Kellan never noticed her until she started presenting as her authentic self. Now she’s all he can think about, even as the rest of his world is crumbling.

But she’s terrified that he’s deluded, not seeing her for who she really is. Will she take a chance and let him in? Will they be able to overcome a cruel society that would rather erase Maddie than accept her? Or will Kellan walk away when the pressure becomes too much?

Written by #OwnVoices transgender author Riley Rian, “I Love You Just the Way You Are” is a timely coming-of-age novel about opening your heart and discovering the power and magic of love.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was so excited to get a chance to read this book and review it since I hardly find any books with Trans girls in them. I was a bit intimidated when it first showed up on my doorstep though because of how long the book is. I am so glad that I deided to give it a chance though because once I picked it up it was hard to put down, there was just so much to love about this book.

I really enjoyed how in this book you get to see different reactions to Maddie being Trans and we get to see what people say when she isn’t in the room. I liked that we get to see the ways in which Kellan is treated for having interest in a Trans girl by his friends, parents, and coach. I thought it was great to see how Maddie apologizes for this but Kellan recognizes that what people are saying to him is nothing in comparison to how Maddie is treated.

I really liked that this book also included Maddie being a streamer and how that played a large role in her life. I liked the pieces that described her playing games and the throwback to older games and consoles. I liked that streaming is how we get to see another side of Maddie along with Kellan which makes you like her as a character.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several people through their interactions with Kellan and Maddie. You get to meet Maddie’s family, Kellan’s mom and dad, and both of their friends. I really liked the relationships that are shown throughout this book with all of the characters that are included.

I love the relationship between Kellan and Maddie even though there are times when they both annoy me and there are times that the relationship is toxic. I thought it was very accurate to a teenage relationship and both of their reactions to things were genuine. As a Trans person, Kellan is all I want in someone who loves me, just someone who sees me for me and I love that Maddie gets this. It’s always great to get to see Trans people find love in books and someone who genuinely loves who they are beyond their Trans identity.

While I did love the relationship between Kellan and Maddie at times, it is important to note that there are some issues with it. Kellan pursued Maddie after she consistently rejected him and he even pretended to be someone else to speak to her on her stream. Kellan also then stalks Maddie throughout the summer and stands up for her countless times even when she is uncomfortable with all of this behavior. We know that part of the rejection on Maddie’s end was out of fear but I also think its important to not show men that just being pushy and begging will eventually get you the girl. I also thought it was a bit problematic that Kellan was throwing away a lot of his hobbies, friends, and money to get this girl and I understand that some of these were a matter of his values not aligning with the others but I think there was a better way to go about showing how much he cared for Maddie.

I also really loved the relationship that Hugh has both with Maddie and Kellan. I love that we get to see him be supportive of his daughter and also be able to support Kellan in the way he needs. I liked that we get to see the big difference in Hugh and Kellan’s dad and the reason as to why Kellan may have been the way he was before meeting Maddie.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Maddie and Kellan as it goes back and forth between each of them telling the story. I really liked getting a chance to watch this story unfold through both of their perspectives. I thought this was a great way to tell the story because it allows you to be inside each of their heads and see how they are processing these events. I also like that we get to see both of their concerns before they get together and even during.

Felix Ever After By Kacen Callender Book Review

Book Description

Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….

But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.

Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognizing the love you deserve.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I am so glad that this was the book I chose for stealing a book from someone’s TBR on the Read Your Own Adventure Challenge. I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while but have barely got to it and decided to listen to it on audio. I wish I would have read this book sooner because of how much I loved it. This is one of those books that I wound up tabbing a bunch because so much of it spoke to me.

There is so much that is included in this book that I really enjoyed. I love how throughout this book Felix is questioning their gender and we get to see how that affects him and the feelings that he has regarding love. I also really like how we get to see how Felix feels about relationships and being in love, and how much he wishes that he could have this experience.

Characters: In this book you meet several characters through their interactions with our main character, Felix. You get to meet Felix’s best friend, Ezra, his nemesis/person he is catfishing, Declan, some classmates, and his dad. Each of the characters that are included in this story are lovable and you can’t help but want to know more about them.

I really enjoyed the relationships that Felix has with each of the people that are included in this story. I really liked the relationship that Lucky and Declan have because they get to learn about each other when Declan doesn’t know that Lucky is Felix. I like how this is the way that we get to learn more about Declan.

I really like the friendship between Ezra and Felix and how oblivious Felix is to Ezra’s feelings which everyone else can see. I liked watching their relationship develops throughout the course of the book and how they eventually reveal their feelings for each other. I also liked how someone had to bring up the possibility to Felix before he even considers Ezra in that manner.

Writing Style: This story is told in the first person from Felix’s perspective. I like that we get to see the unsent emails that Felix is writing to his mom in hopes of having a relationship with her. I like that we also get to see Declan’s feelings regarding his father kicking him out of the house for being gay. I love that we get to see this idea of found family and chosen family through both of these characters and we also get a glimpse of this with Ezra as well.

Author Information

Kacen Callender is a Saint Thomian author of children’s fiction and fantasy, best known for their Stonewall Book Award and Lambda Literary Award-winning middle grade debut Hurricane Child. Their fantasy novel, Queen of the Conquered, is the 2020 winner of the World Fantasy Award and King and the Dragonflies won the 2020 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Callender is Black, queer, trans, and uses they/them and he/him pronouns. Callender debuted their new name when announcing their next young adult novel Felix Ever After in May 2019. 

Kings of B’More by R. Eric Thomas Book Review

Book Description

Two Black, queer best friends face their last day together with an epic journey through Baltimore in this magnetic YA debut by celebrated cultural critic and bestselling Here For It author R. Eric Thomas.

With junior year starting in the fall, Harrison feels like he’s on the precipice of, well, everything. Standardized testing, college, and the terrifying unknowns and looming pressures of adulthood after that–it’s like the future wants to eat him alive. Which is why Harrison is grateful that he and his best friend Linus will face these things together. But at the end of a shift at their summer job, Linus invites Harrison to their special spot overlooking the city to deliver devastating news: he’s moving out of state at the end of the week.

To keep from completely losing it–and partially inspired by a cheesy movie-night pick by his Dad–Harrison plans a send-off � la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that’s worthy of his favorite person. If they won’t be having all the life-expanding experiences they thought they would, Harrison will squeeze them all into their last day. They end up on a mini road trip, their first Pride, and a rooftop dance party, all while keeping their respective parents, who track them on a family location app, off their trail. Harrison and Linus make a pact to do all the things–big and small–they’ve been too scared to do. But nothing feels scarier than saying goodbye to someone you love.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was quite pleased when Penguin teen provided me with a copy of this book so that I could provide a review. While I haven’t seen the movie Ferris Bueller, I was intrigued because this book centered around two Queer, Black males, and their friendship which is something that I rarely see in books.

I tend to find Queer books focus so much on the romance that they leave the friendship piece out, or that if there’s another Queer person in the book it’s an automatic relationship so I loved that this book didn’t go that route. Throughout the whole time of reading this book, I was waiting for there to be some romantic gesture made and I just didn’t feel that spark between the two guys so I was happy that they didn’t have any romantic feelings toward each other. I do really love that this book talks about how this is different from a typical friendship and the love that they have for each other that is platonic but still so important and valid.

I love how this book was a take on Ferris Bueller and how the characters point out how different it is because they aren’t white, straight guys. I thought it was important that this was pointed out because some of the events that take place throughout this story are because they are Black, Gay guys.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Harrison. You get to meet his best friend, Linus, his sister Corrine, his parents, and Linus’s dad, as well as some of their friends, Aparna.

I really loved the friendship between Harrison and Linus and how we see it develop throughout this book. I love that we get a chance to see how this friendship started and how they both feel about their friendship. I really enjoyed how they both didn’t have to say anything to just understand each other. This whole friendship reminded me of me and my best friend and how space and time don’t change things for us, it’s more than words can describe but this book put that friendship into words.

I also really enjoyed the relationship that Harrison has with each of his family members and how we see this throughout the book. I like how his parents explain why they are so protective of him and I like how close his sister is with him. I like that we also get to see her being protective of him throughout the book and how she also understands him.

Writing Style: This story is told in the third person through an outside narrator, and you also get some show notes from Aparna that are written in the first person. I really liked getting the chance to see both what Harrison and Linus were up to and what Aparna was getting into to keep their travels a secret.

I loved the pieces that were written by Aparna as I felt like she was the actual narrator for this whole story and she was retelling that day. I know that this isn’t the case but it’s nice to think that she just knows all because it fits her character.

I also really liked that this was told in the third person because we got to see what each person was thinking or what each of them was doing at different moments in time. While the majority of the book was focused on Harrison, you did get glimpses of Linus and his thoughts.

Author Information

R. Eric Thomas is a national bestselling author, playwright, and screenwriter. His books include, Here for It, or How to Save Your Soul in America, which was featured as a Read with Jenna pick on NBC’s Today, Reclaiming Her Time: The Power of Maxine Waters, co-authored with Helena Andrews-Dyer, and the YA novel Kings of B’more. For four years, he wrote “Eric Reads the News” a wildly popular daily humor column covering pop culture and politics on ELLE.com.

He has written on the Peabody Award-winning series Dickinson on AppleTV+ and Better Things on FX. Off the page, Eric is also the long-running host of The Moth StorySlams in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and has been heard multiple times on The Moth Radio Hour, NPR’s All Things Considered and It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders. Website: rericthomas.com