Twelfth Grade Night by Molly Horton booth, Stephanie Kate Strohm, and Jamie Green Book Tour post

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the TWELFTH GRADE NIGHT by Molly Horton Booth, Stephanie Kate Strohm, & Jamie Green Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

Book Description

Title: TWELFTH GRADE NIGHT (Arden High #1)

Author: Molly Horton Booth, Stephanie Kate Strohm, & Jamie Green (Illustrator)

Pub. Date: October 11, 2022

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Pages: 160

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org

“Magical and full of queer joy―this book is such a dream!”―Alice Oseman, New York Times best-selling author of Heartstopper

The course of true love never did run smooth . . . and neither does high school in this new graphic novel series for fans of Heartstopper and The Prince and the Dressmaker.


Vi came to Arden High for a fresh start and a chance to wear beanies and button-ups instead of uniform skirts. And though doing it without her twin feels like being split in half, Vi finds her stride when she stumbles (literally!) into broody and beautiful poet-slash-influencer, Orsino. Soon Vi gets roped into helping plan the school’s Twelfth Grade Night dance, and she can’t stop dreaming about slow dancing with Orsino under the fairy lights in the gym.

The problem? All Vi’s new friends assume she’s not even into guys. And before Vi can ask Orsino to the dance, he recruits Vi to help woo his crush, Olivia. Who has a crush of her own . . . on Vi.

Star-crossed love abounds in this hilarious and romantic story of self-discovery, mistaken identities, and the magic that happens when we open our hearts to something new.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: Okay first things first, I just love the art style of this from the front cover. I was already squealing from the minute I started reading this book because of how cute the art is but also because there is magic involved. This is definitely a book that i would read over and over just for the pinning of each of the characters.

Characters: I love the characters that we are introduced to throughout this story and I love how many queer characters we get. I also love the diversity in each of the characters. I am dying of laughter at how noneof the people are realizing that the other has a crush on them. This is just so like high schoolers especially nerdy, artsy, queer kids.

Art Style: I really like how each of the characters are distinct and I am able to tell them apart from each other. I also liked how easy it is to follow the panels in this story and how short each act is. I love that there is no point in which you are lost while reading but it is easy to let yourself get lost within this book.

Author Information

About Molly Horton Booth:

Molly Horton Booth (they/she) is a writer, editor, and author of Young Adult fiction. Their next book is the graphic novel TWELFTH GRADE NIGHT, coming October 11th, 2022, book 1 in the ARDEN HIGH series co-written by the amazing Stephanie Kate Strohm and illustrated by the incredible Jamie Green. Book 2 in the series, KING CHEER, will be published Fall 2023. Molly is currently a copywriter for Wayfair.com, where she describes bookcases in exquisite detail. 

Molly grew up homeschooled, earned their BA in English from Marlboro College, and earned their MA in English from UMass Boston. She lives in Baltimore, MD where she spends a lot of time with her partner, family, and friends, and the rest doting on her pets. ​​

​Literary agent: Alexander Slater at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Tumblr | YouTube | Goodreads

About Stephanie Kate Strohm:

STEPHANIE KATE STROHM is the author of It’s Not Me, It’s YouThe Date to SaveThe Taming of the DrewPrince in DisguiseLove a la ModeThat’s Not What I HeardRestless Hearts (Katy Keene #1) and Once Upon a Tide: A Mermaid’s Tale.After graduating with a joint major in theater and history from Middlebury College, she acted her way around the country, performing in more than 25 states.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her son, and a dog named Lorelei Lee.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Pinterest | Goodreads | Bookbub

About Jamie Green:

Jamie Green is a maker and professional curious person living in Greenville (funny, right?), South Carolina. They graduated in 2020 from Ringling College of Art and Design with a BFA in Illustration. In 2019, they was recognized by the Society of Illustrators as the Zankel Scholar. Much like her hobbies, their work can be described as the feeling of being bundled up around a campfire or hiking through the autumn woods. It is a goal of theirs to both intrigue and educate, combining nature and whimsy and creating a space for curiosity (as well as a bit of magic). Jamie strives to create picture books, illustrated educational books, magazine covers, interactive materials, and chapter book covers/interiors. 

Website | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok | YouTube | Goodreads  

Giveaway Details

1 winner will receive a finished copy of TWELFTH GRADE NIGHT, US Only.

Ends November 5th, midnight EST.

Enter HERE

Tour Schedule

Week One:

10/1/2022Kait Plus BooksExcerpt/IG Post

Week Two:

10/2/2022A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt/IG Post
10/3/2022travelersguidetobooksIG Review
10/4/2022The Caffeinated ReaderReview/IG Post
10/5/2022Unconventional Quirky BibliophileReview/IG Post
10/6/2022A Backwards StoryReview/IG Post
10/7/2022Just Another Teen Reading BooksReview/IG Post
10/8/2022See Sadie ReadReview/IG Post

Week Three:

10/9/2022Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersReview/IG Post
10/10/2022@booksrn_rashiIG Review
10/11/2022WanderingwitchreadsTikTok Review/IG Post
10/12/2022MandaTheBiblioReview/IG Post
10/13/2022booksaremagictooReview/IG Post
10/14/2022Novel NoviceIG Spotlight
10/15/2022Nonbinary Knight ReadsReview/IG Post

Week Four:

10/16/2022The Book ViewReview/IG Post
10/17/2022Ya Books CentralExcerpt/IG Post
10/18/2022onemusedIG Spotlight
10/19/2022NerdophilesReview
10/20/2022A Blue Box Full of BooksIG Review
10/21/2022A Bookish DreamReview/IG Post
10/22/2022@jacleomik33IG Review

Week Five:

10/23/2022Celia’s ReadsReview/IG Post
10/24/2022OhyoureadIG Review
10/25/2022@thebookishfoxwitchIG Review
10/26/2022One More ExclamationReview/IG Post
10/27/2022Eli to the nthReview/IG Post
10/28/2022The Bookwyrm’s DenReview
10/29/2022PopTheButterfly ReadsReview/IG Post

Week Six:

10/30/2022The Momma SpotReview/IG Post
10/31/2022Brandi Danielle DavisIG Review

Something Great by Jeanette Bradley Book Tour Post

Book Description

Author/illustrator: Jeanette Bradley

ISBN: 9781646141715

Publisher: Levine Querido

Publication Date: September 20. 2022

Preorder: Bookshop, signed copies at Books on the Square

Voila! Quinn spent the morning in their workshop, and they emerged with Something Great! But what is it? 

No one seemed to understand that Something Great isn’t supposed to be anything. It was just itself… Something Great. 

Quietly profound, this sweet tale and its mixed-media illustrations are a delightful combination of elements blending STEM activities (for those inclined to catch them!) with casual nonconformity in a picture book that is, well, Something Great!

Review

Thoughts: Something Great is an easy-to-read picture book with images that will capture its audience. I love the way that this book is able to capture STEM topics without being too dense so that younger children wouldn’t understand. I love how just like something great in this story, this book can be about so many things depending on who is reading and who your audience is. I love that our main character is non-binary without that being the focus of this book, you just learn about this because Quinn uses they/them pronouns.

Author Information

Jeanette Bradley has been an urban planner, an apprentice pastry chef, and the artist-in-residence for a traveling art museum on a train. Now she writes, draws, and makes books for kids. Her books include Something Great;, No Voice Too Small; No World Too Big; Love, Mama; and When the Babies Came to Stay. Jeanette lives in Rhode Island with her wife and kids. jeanettebradley.com

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

Heat Wave (The Extraordinaries 3) by TJ Klune Book Review

Book Description

Nick, Seth, Gibby, and Jazz are back in action bringing justice, protection, and disaster energy to the people of Nova City.

An unexpected hero returns to Nova City and crash lands into Nick’s home, upturning his life, his family, and his understanding of what it means to be a hero in the explosive finale of the thrilling and hilarious Extraordinaries trilogy by New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed the first book in this series but the second one let me down. I was a bit worried about this one because of that and the reviews that I saw of this book. I’m glad I decided to listen to it on audio though since I don’t think I could’ve gotten through it otherwise. It isn’t because its bad but the second hand embarrassment is a lot.

There were moments in which I wanted to throw this book across the room or hide it under a pillow because of the terrible second hand embarrassment. These were moments that I thought were way too much but then I remembered being a teenager and a lot were just accurate. There were also moments in which I had to pause the book because I was laughing and not paying attention to what was being said. Books rarely make me laugh out loud especially when I am in public so this made for some fun moments.

I would skip this series if you are not a fan of second hand embarrassment, and a lot of mention about sex. There is also pro-cop sentiments in the first two books and the third book doesn’t really do a good job of handling the shift from pro-cop to anti-cop. It kind of attempts to make the reader give a pat on the back to Nick’s dad for quitting the force without addressing his prior actions as a cop or why this shift needed to happen.

One thing that I didn’t like about the book is the way in which it ends. I won’t give spoilers but it seemed rushed to me which is why I wasn’t a big fan of it. I also found it a little hard to follow and had to listen to it more than once to follow what was happening and why.

Characters: In this book, you continue following Nick and his group of friends, Seth, Gibby, and Jazz as they try to keep their city safe. You also get to continue learning about their families, mostly their dads, along with a new person, Burrito Jerry.

Just as I did in previous books, I will always love the relationship and support that Nick gets from each of his friends. I actually like the friendships much more than the relationship in this book. I love Nick and Seth as a couple but I value their friendship a lot more. I also really enjoyed the Dad squad in this book and how supportive they are in their own ways.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person through the perspective of Nick. I like that things are told through his perspective because we get a lot of his inner thoughts. I like that his thoughts aren’t linear because of his ADHD and how we get to see the way this affects him.

Author Information

TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

Devil’s Chew Toy by Rob Osler Book Review

Book Description

Seattle teacher and part-time blogger Hayden McCall wakes up in a stranger’s bed alone, half-naked and sporting one hell of a shiner. Then the police come knocking on the door. It seems that Latino dancer Camilo Rodriguez has gone missing and they suspect foul play. What happened the night before? And where is Camilo?

Determined to find answers, Hayden seeks out two of Camilo’s friends–Hollister and Burley–both lesbians and both fiercely devoted to their friend. From them, Hayden learns that Camilo is a “Dreamer” whose parents had been deported years earlier, and whose sister, Daniela, is presumed to have returned to Venezuela with them. Convinced that the cops won’t take a brown boy’s disappearance seriously, the girls join Hayden’s hunt for Camilo.

The first clues turn up at Barkingham Palace, a pet store where Camilo had taken a part-time job. The store’s owner, Della Rupert, claims ignorance, but Hayden knows something is up. And then there’s Camilo’s ex-boyfriend, Ryan, who’s suddenly grown inexplicably wealthy. When Hayden and Hollister follow Ryan to a secure airport warehouse, they make a shocking connection between him and Della–and uncover the twisted scheme that’s made both of them rich.

The trail of clues leads them to the grounds of a magnificent estate on an island in Puget Sound, where they’ll finally learn the truth about Camilo’s disappearance–and the fate of his family.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I was given the chance to read this book I decided I had to read it because I love LGBTQ+ books and this one has a mystery component to it. From the start of this book, I love that it opens with the main plot of the story and doesn’t take long to delve right into the story. I also really enjoyed that each of the chapters vary in length but they are all short and quick.

Something else that I really enjoyed about the book was the balance between dialogue and narration. I like that the majority of this story is told through dialogue between all of our characters and rarely is there narration. I also like that the story doesn’t spend a lot of time in Hayden’s head as things are playing out.

Something else that I liked about this book was how it pointed out why Camillo wouldn’t be the police’s first priority. I liked how it jsut got even more layered as we learn more about Camillo and why his friends believe that the police aren’t really searching for him.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Hayden. You get to meet some of the people who work at the club where Camillo was employed, his best friends, Hollister, and more.

I really liked the friendship that develops between Hayden and Hollister as they are looking for Camillo. I liked the dialogue that occurs between them and how funny moments are slipped in seamlessly.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of our main character, Hayden. Something that I really enjoyed about Hayden telling the story is that he is just as knowledgeable about Camillo as we are. I like that Hayden doesn’t know much and he finds out things as he interacts with the different people that run in Camillo’s circle.

This book also includes snippets from Hayden’s blog which is something that I really enjoyed. I like how we get to learn pieces about Hayden and his feelings about several different topics through these blog pieces. I also like that the blog allows for a different voice than what we get throughout the rest of the story.

Author Information

Rob’s debut mystery DEVIL’S CHEW TOY is the first book in the Hayden & Friends Series–traditional mysteries featuring a rainbow cast of amateur sleuths.

Rob’s debut mystery short story, ANALOGUE, published in 2021 in ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE won the Mystery Writers of America 2022 Robert L Fish Award for best debut short story by an American Author.

After many years of living in Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, he resides in southern California with his long-time partner and a tall, gray cat. Discover more at www.robosler.com 

Melt With Me by Jennifer Dugan Book Review

Book Description

Fallon and Chloe used to be best friends, but last summer they hooked up right before Chloe left for college, and after a series of misunderstandings they are now not speaking to one another. A year later, Chloe’s back home from school, and Fallon is doing everything in her power to avoid her–which is especially difficult because their moms own a business together, a gourmet ice cream truck where both girls work.

When their moms have the opportunity to make a presentation to some venture capitalists in Texas–something that could seriously expand their business and solve all their money problems to boot–it’s up to Fallon to work a series of food truck festivals across the country. But she can’t do it alone, and Chloe is the only one available to help. As tensions heat up again between the two, will Fallon be able to keep her cool?

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I have such mixed feelings with miscommunication as a trope because I get frustrated that they just don’t talk but then when its YA it reminds me that this is really what its like to be that age. The miscommunication trope is done well when it is with teenagers because it reminds me of what it was like to just keep everything to yourself rather than ruin anything between friends. But then again the whole time I am yelling at both characters because they both knew that a conversation needed to happen.

I’m glad that I listened to this one on audiobook because I don’t think I would have gotten through it otherwise. I really enjoy the moment these two finally have the conversation that they needed to have. I thought this part was done well and I love the honest response we get from the both of them. I like that they both were thinking of the worst when it came to the other but they both had different responses to this.

As this book carried on I was so worried that I was going to end up hating the book the closer we got to the ending of this book. I was quite surprised that we don’t get a generic ending which is what I was so worried about. I really enjoyed the way that this story wraps up and how things aren’t just great between everyone who was involved.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Fallon. You get to meet her ex best friend, Chloe, her friends, her mom and several people they meet on their road trip.

I really like the relationship that we get to see between Fallon and Chloe and how confusing it is for the both of them. I like that we get to see slices of their friendship through Fallon’s perspective before things fell apart. I also like that we get to see Chloe trying to fix this friendship even though she doesn’t know why Fallon is being cold to her.

Writing Style: This book is told in the first person through the perspective of our main character, Fallon. I really like that everything is told through her perspective because we have to wait until she talks to Chloe to know both sides. I also like that Fallon does occasionally break the fourth wall to let the reader know what she is thinking.

Author Information

Jennifer Dugan is a writer, geek, and romantic who writes the kinds of stories she wishes she had growing up. In addition to being a young adult novelist, she is also the writer/creator of two indie comics. She lives in New York with her family, dogs, and an evil cat that is no doubt planning to take over the world.

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.

Man O’ War by Cory McCarthy Book Review

Book Description

An achingly honest and frequently hilarious coming-of-age novel about an Arab American trans swimmer fighting to keep their head above water in a landlocked Midwestern town.
River McIntyre has grown up down the street from Sea Planet, an infamous marine life theme park slowly going out of business in small-town Ohio. When a chance encounter with a happy, healthy queer person on the annual field trip lands River literally in the shark tank, they must admit the truth: they don’t know who they are–only what they’ve been told to be. This sets off a wrenching journey of self-discovery, from internalized homophobia and gender dysphoria, through layers of coming out, affirmation surgery, and true freakin’ love.

Review

CWs: Acephobia, Transphobia, Alcohol, Homophobia, Biphobia, bullying, mental illness, outing

This is not an exhaustive list of content warnings, only the ones in which I was able to pick up on. Please see other reviews for more content warnings.

Thoughts and Themes: When I saw this book I was so excited to get a chance to read it since there is a Trans MC. I decided to listen to this one and follow along with the e-book which was a great choice. I really enjoyed the narrator in this story and felt that this was something I could listen to more than once.

As I listened to this book there were many times in which I had to pause the book so I could go to the e-book and highlight the portions that really spoke to me. There also were defintely moments in which I has to pause the book to highlight portions that made me angry because of the amount of Acephobia, Transphobia, and Homophobia are included.

I really enjoyed how we get to see River before they figure out who they are and how a lot of their thoughts and beliefs are in place due to the person that they are dating. I really enjoyed the role that Indy plays in this whole story as they introduce River to the concept of gender as a spectrum and help River learn about themselves.

I like how River’s journey to discovering themselves isn’t neat nor is it linear. I felt that their journey to find themselves was quite relatable and it reminded me of myself as a teenager figuring out gender and sexuality. I liked the way that emotions are portrayed in this book and how you get a range of emotions from each of the characters.

Characters: In this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with our main character, River. You get to meet their girlfriend/ex-girlfriend, their brother, their mom, Indy who is a new friend, and more.

I really enjoyed all of the characters that you get to meet throughout this story and each of their relationships with River. I really liked the relationship that River has with their brother and how you get to see more of this when their mom responds negatively to their brother coming out as Ace.

I also liked getting to see River’s relationship with their mother and how that impacts a lot of their journey. I also liked how we get to see Rivers mom’s relationship with being an Arab American and how she tries to get as close to whiteness as she can. I thought it was a good thing to point out when River talks about being in that in-between space when it comes to a lot of their identities.

I liked getting a chance to see River and Indy’s relationship change over the course of the book. I thought it was great to see how their first interaction years ago really informed their second meeting. I also liked how we get a chance to see how many of the things that River did and said in the past were all due to the people around them and how they had influenced River.

Writing Style: This story is written in first person through the perspective of River. I liked that everything was told in River’s perspective because we don’t get an image of how others feel about certain things. I also liked that we get to see River struggle through figuring things out for themselves since we are in their head throughout the whole story.

Author Information

CORY (previously Cori)
…earned degrees in poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. They have authored four acclaimed YA novels, with a middle grade series, young adult contemporary, and nonfiction picture book forthcoming. Cory coauthored the bestselling ONCE & FUTURE, a finalist for the New England Book Award, with their spouse A.R. Capetta. They live in the mountains of Vermont where they champion queer teens and raise a young maverick.

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala Book Tour Post

Book Description

TITLE: The Honeys

AUTHOR: Ryan La Sala 

PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press

RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2022

GENRES: Horror Young Adult LGBT Contemporary

Mystery Queer Thriller Fiction Mystery Thriller Boarding School

BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Honeys-Ryan-Sala/dp/133874531X

SYNOPSIS:

From Ryan La Sala, the wildly popular author of Reverie, comes a twisted and tantalizing horror novel set amidst the bucolic splendor of a secluded summer retreat.

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline’s radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who’d grown tragically distant.

Mars’s gender fluidity means he’s often excluded from the traditions — and expectations — of his politically connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister’s old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying — and Mars is certain they’re connected to Caroline’s death.
But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can’t find it soon, it will eat him alive.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I first heard about this book I really wanted to read it because I love YA horror. I rarely read it because I am always worried that I won’t understand the book or get a different ending than others do. I was so glad that I gave this book a try because it was so hard for me to put down once I got into the story.

There was so much that I really enjoyed throughout this book and the main portion that I liked about this book was how often I had to put it aside because I was scared. I really liked the camp setting for this book because I felt it lent itself well to the horror genre. I loved the portion where scary stories are being told and trying to figure out if these stories would play into the plot at some times. I also had to hide the book at this point because of how scared I was and how it made me think about the dark.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Mars. Throughout the book, you get to meet Wyatt, the Honeys, some other campers, and other staff members at camp.

I really liked the relationship that we see developed between Mars and Wyatt. I loved how they have a friendship that isn’t typical but also how we see that they have feelings for each other that aren’t said upfront. I like how while this story has a romance piece involved this isn’t what the center of the book is about.

I also really liked reading about the relationship that Mars develops with each of the honeys. This portion of the book isn’t seen too much and the relationships feel very superficial but they are important to Mars’ development. I really liked seeing how they added to the mystery of who Caroline was and how she got to be in the state she was when she died. I also like how hanging out with the Honeys changes the way that Mars feels about themselves and how we get to see a shift in how Wyatt views them when they are around the Honeys.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Mars. I really liked that this story was told through their perspective because we only know as much as he knows. We don’t know much more than the things that Mars is figuring out throughout the story therefore we are just as surprised as they are while reading.

Author Information

Ryan La Sala writes about surreal things happening to queer people.

Ryan resides in New York City, but only physically. Escapist to the core, he spends most of his time in the astral planes and only takes up corporeal form for special occasions, like brunch and to watch anime (which is banned on the astral planes).

Ryan is the author behind the riotously imaginative Reverie, and the brilliantly constructed Be Dazzled. He has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Tor.com, and one time Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race called him cute. Right in the middle of the road downtown! So. Pretty big deal all around, yes?

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)!