Friday, I’m in Love by Camryn Garett Book Review

Book Description

Mahalia Harris wants.

She wants a big Sweet Sixteen like her best friend Naomi.
She wants the super cute new girl Siobhan to like her back.
She wants a break from worrying–about money, snide remarks from white classmates, pitying looks from church ladies . . . all of it.

Then inspiration strikes: It’s too late for a Sweet Sixteen, but what if she had a Coming Out Party? A singing, dancing, rainbow-cake-eating celebration of queerness on her own terms.

The idea lights a fire in her, and soon Mahalia is scrimping and saving, taking on extra hours at her afterschool job, trying on dresses, and awkwardly flirting with Siobhan, all in preparation for the Coming Out of her dreams. But it’s not long before she’s buried in a mountain of bills, unfinished schoolwork, and enough drama to make her English Lit teacher blush. With all the responsibility on her shoulders, will Mahalia’s party be over before it’s even begun?

A novel about finding yourself, falling in love, and celebrating what makes you you.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I will give any LGBTQ+ a try so when I saw this one I was happy to read it. I also have been trying to diversify the LGBTQ+ books that I read which means including more Sapphic books in that mix.

There is so much that happens in this book and I just really enjoy the way the author touches on each of these things. This book talks about socio economic class, queerness, religion, friendship, family, the concept of coming out, and so much more. I really liked the way each of these topics come about but also how much this book shows that it takes a village.

This book is one that I hugged, threw across the room, only to go grad it and hug it some more, this book made me laugh and then cry. This is one that just stuck with me for so many reasons and there was so much relatable material in this book that I just had to sit with it sometimes. This is one that I just wanted to immediately re-read once I finished it because of how much I related to what was going on in this book.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Mahalia. You get to meet her mother, her best friend, Naomi, the love interest, Siobhan, her dad, his new family, and several more characters. I really enjoyed each of the characters that are introduced throughout this book and the relationships that they have with Mahalia and with each other.

I loved the relationship between Mahalia and Siobhan, even if you suspect this is coming there are definitely moments in which you think Mahalia is in love with a straight girl. I loved that this wasn’t the case and how this all unravels and how their relationship comes to be.

I also loved the complexity behind the relationship of Mahalia and her mother. I love that the mom wants to support her and doesn’t always know how to. I love that they don’t always know how to communicate with each other and that this is called out. I also liked how their relationship contrasts with the relationship that Mahalia has with her father. I thought it was great to see that contrast and then also see how Mahalia’s father’s new wife can show up for Mahalia even when he can’t.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of Mahalia. I loved that everything was being told through Mahalia’s perspective because you got to know her feelings instantly. I think that being in her feelings really makes the book hit a lot harder and allows you to feel her pain. I also liked that everything was told in her perspective because there were so many moments that were beautiful because you didn’t see them coming.

Author Information

Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. In 2019, she was named one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 and a Glamour College Woman of the Year. Her first novel, Full Disclosure, received rave reviews from outlets such as Entertainment Weekly, the Today Show, and The Guardian, which called a “warm, funny and thoughtfully sex-positive, an impressive debut from a writer still in her teens.” Her second novel, Off the Record, will be released May 18, 2021. Camryn is also interested in film and is a student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. You can find her on Twitter @dancingofpens, tweeting from a laptop named Stevie.

The Rainbow Race By Cate Summers Book Review

Book Description

When seventeen-year-old Eleanor Willis arrives at Camp Sunshine, a camp secretly for LGBTQ+ girls, her mom’s beat-up old car can barely make it up the hill. She decides to walk the rest of the way and admires a black Rolls Royce, before noticing the pretty girl with the blue eyes in the back seat. She wonders if this could be the start of a summer romance until the girl scowls at her and promptly rolls up the window.

It’s just Eleanor’s luck that she’s fallen for Yvette Fleur, a half-French, rich, anti-social girl who wants one thing only: to leave camp as soon as possible. With Yvette’s dad constantly traveling for work and her mom passing away when she was little, she’s learned not to get attached to anyone. Eleanor wants to show her otherwise.

But Eleanor has her hands full as leader of Team Indigo in the lake crossing competition and must organize her team to build the fastest floating vessel for the big race. Unfortunately, she’s stuck with two competitive over-achievers, an aspiring fashion designer who is more focused on their uniforms than the watercraft, and Yvette, who disappears every chance she gets.

To win the race and to win Yvette’s heart, Eleanor must bring the girls together to work as a team. Maybe then Yvette will learn that not everyone leaves, if she’ll only let them into her heart.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I don’t remember why I originally got the e-book for this one but it was probably something I saw posted online and was interested in. I had someone pick out my next read and this was their choice which I’m glad that they picked it because this was a quick read and it was great.

This is a really short and quick read which means you don’t really have time to build much up. The romance aspect of this book comes on rather quickly but I keep reminding myself that these are teenagers and everything is so quick at that age. I actually like the pacing of this book when it comes to them building friendships with each other and crushing on one another.

Something else that I like about this book is just how normalized it is that this is the place for queer girls to meet each other. Like from the very start this is why Eleanor wants to go to this camp and they have a way to wear their wristbands that indicates to the others if they like girls. I thought it was great that even the adults that are at the camp are aware of this and don’t bat an eye to any of it.

Characters: In this story you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character. You get to meet Eleanor’s teammates, Regan, Bridget, Sylvia, and Yvette, and a few of the other people who are at camp as well.

Something else that I do enjoy about this book is that we get to see each of the girls grappling with their futures. I like that Eleanor talks about her struggles financially and how scared she is about college and her future. I like that we get to see Yvette struggle with allowing others to see her emotions. What I really liked though about getting to see all of this was reading how the girls helped each other through their doubts and fears. I liked the relationships that come from all of their struggling.

At first I wasn’t too big of a fan of the relationship that was going to inevitably happen between Eleanor and Yvette. I didn’t see how she could just instantly like her without knowing anything about her and then continue to pine after her after she was blowing her off. I slowly grew to like these two together though as we learn more about each of the girls and why they respond to each other in the manner that they do.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of Eleanor which I thought was great. I really liked that you don’t know how the other girls are feeling about what Eleanor is doing as a team captain or even regarding her feelings for Yvette. I like that we are following Eleanor and all we know is what is inside of her head and the conversations that take place out loud.

Author Information

CATE SUMMERS is a bestselling author, who knows that anything is possible with friendships, adventure and love. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Be sure to sign up for her newsletter at catesummers.com

Cool. Awkward. Black. stories edited by Karen Strong

Book Description

A multi-genre YA anthology of bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors challenging the concept of the geek, featuring contributions from Amerie, Kalynn Bayron, Terry J. Benton-Walker, Roseanne A. Brown, Elise Bryant, Tracy Deonn, Desiree S. Evans, Isaac Fitzsimons, Lamar Giles, Jordan Ifueko, Leah Johnson, Amanda Joy, Kwame Mbalia, Tochi Onyebuchi, Shari B. Pennant, K. Arsenault Rivera, Julian Winters, and Ibi Zoboi.

A girl who believes in UFOs; a boy who might have finally found his Prince Charming; a hopeful performer who dreams of being cast in her school’s production of The Sound of Music; a misunderstood magician of sorts with a power she doesn’t quite understand.

These plotlines and many more compose the eclectic stories found within the pages of this dynamic, exciting, and expansive collection featuring exclusively Black characters. From contemporary to historical, fantasy to sci-fi, magical to realistic, and with contributions from a powerhouse list of self-proclaimed geeks and bestselling, award-winning authors, this life-affirming anthology celebrates and redefines the many facets of Blackness and geekiness–both in the real world and those imagined.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This was an anthology of eighteen stories centered around nerdy Black young adult characters. Due to this I am going to do this review a bit differently than provide you with my thoughts on the characters and writing style seperately. I am going to focus on the whole anthology then give you a brief review of my favorite stories in the book.

I really enjoyed each of the stories that are included in this anthology and how they all were connected by the theme of our main characters being nerds. I liked that the stories all varied in genre even if most of them were sci-fi or fantasy. I liked that some of the stories included a romantic subplot for our main characters.

One of the stories that captivated me was Roseanne A. Brown’s “Wolf Tracks” in which the men in a particular family transform into were wolves. What I really enjoyed about this story was how the transformation includes trans men and the brief explanation that is given as to how they are included. I have found most stories in which powers are assigned to a gender, the author tends to give the trans people the powers that would be given based on their sex assigned at birth or it is a battle for the person to get the powers that align with their gender identity. I not only liked this aspect but I also really liked how this story plays out and why we get to see our main character transform into this wolf and the conversation that happens with his dad as a result.

Another short story that I really enjoyed in this anthology is Corner Booth by Leah Johnson. I loved You Should See me in a Crown and Rise to the Sun so I wasn’t surprised that I enjoyed this story by the same author. I really enjoyed the two main characters in this story and the interactions that they have with one another. I like how we slowly get to learn their secrets and what drew them to speak with each other.

I loved that this anthology introduced me to new authors that I haven’t read before and that I also got to read things from authors that I love. I think each of the stories that were included had something to like about them and what is great is that you can skip around and read them in any order that you wish.

Author Information

Karen Strong is the author of critically acclaimed middle grade novels Just South of Home, which was chosen for several Best of Year lists including Kirkus Reviews, and Eden’s Everdark, a Junior Library Guild and BCCB Blue Ribbon selection.

Karen is the editor of the young adult anthology Cool. Awkward. Black. She is also a Star Wars contributor featured in From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back and Stories of Jedi and Sith. Her speculative short fiction appears in the award-winning anthology A Phoenix First Must Burn.

Born and raised in the rural South, Karen is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and an avid lover of strong coffee, yellow flowers, and night skies. You can find her online at karen-strong.com.

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz Book Review

Book Description

Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I loved this author when I was a teenager and her books were what got me into writing so when I saw she was coming out with a new book I knew I had to read it. I had my physical copy in my room but hadn’t gotten a chance to read it so I grabbed the audiobook from the library and am so glad that I did.

There’s things that you know from the start but you so much like Jane want to believe the things that she does. This kind of makes it hard to follow along with the story because you are unsure of what is actually happening and what is just Jane’s recollection of things. I do think that this adds so many layers to the story and makes it really good.

Characters: In this book you get to meet a few characters through what Jane remembers of them. You get to meet Mason who is someone trapped in the house with Jane, Jack who is a friend of hers from before and after she was abducted, her parents, a few therapists, and more.

I really liked all the characters that you get to meet throughout this story and how we are meeting them through Jane’s memory of them. I think getting to meet them through Jane adds a layer to the story because you are seeing people as she sees them. You can make your own opinions of them through these descriptions but even that is difficult because all we know is what she remembers.

Writing Style: This story goes back and forth between telling the story of current times in which Jane is back at home after escaping, and then when Jane was trapped in the place her abductor held her. I actually really enjoyed that this story goes back and forth between both of these times because we get to see how much Jane has changed in the course of this time. I also think that the change in time allows us to question the way that Jane remembers things up until the very end of the story.

Author Information

Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been named on various awards list.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas Book Review

Book Description

As each new decade begins, the Sun’s power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Ten semidioses between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are selected by Sol himself as the most worthy to compete in The Sunbearer Trials. The winner carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, but the loser has the greatest honor of all―they will be sacrificed to Sol, their body used to fuel the Sun Stones that will protect the people of Reino del Sol for the next ten years.

Teo, a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, has never worried about the Trials…or rather, he’s only worried for others. His best friend Niya―daughter of Tierra, the god of earth―is one of the strongest heroes of their generation and is much too likely to be chosen this year. He also can’t help but worry (reluctantly, and under protest) for Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidiós and Teo’s friend-turned-rival who is a shoo-in for the Trials. Teo wouldn’t mind taking Aurelio down a notch or two, but a one-in-ten chance of death is a bit too close for Teo’s taste.

But then, for the first time in over a century, Sol chooses a semidiós who isn’t a Gold. In fact, he chooses two: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, god of bad luck, and…Teo. Now they must compete in five mysterious trials, against opponents who are both more powerful and better trained, for fame, glory, and their own survival.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This is a book that I knew I wanted to read before it even was on the shelves. Aiden Thomas is one of my must-buy authors since I read Cemetery Boys and each of his books have been amazing. I don’t typically listen to fantasy on audio because I can’t always follow along but I decided to listen to this one and follow along on e-book and that was a great experience.

There were so many aspects about this book that I enjoyed, from the world building, to the characters, and the plot. This book grabs your attention from page one and then it never lets you go even after you finish the book and close it. I can’t wait to know what happens next for all of our characters, and this world that I have grown to love.

I liked that this book takes some time in the beginning to build up the world for us and explain how things came to be and what they are now. I also like the brief conversations that occur about gender identity and being Trans between Teo and Xio and think that this not only makes sense throughout the book but makes certain parts hit harder as you read.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters and don’t worry they all have distinct qualities so that you can tell them apart. You are introduced to our main character, Teo as well as the people that he is competing against in the Sun Bearer Trials, which are Xio, Aurelio, Auristela, Niya, Dezi, Xochi, Marino, and Ocelo.

Throughout the book you get to know some characters a lot more than others but each of them play an important role in moving the story along. I really enjoyed getting to learn about each of the characters but especially love how the website has the character cards so I can keep them separated in my head. It was minor details that I would forget about each character so I did love that each of them had distinct voices and you could tell who was who just by their actions and words.

I love the tension that we get between the characters because of who they are and the rankings that exist in the world. I also like the tension that we see just based on who their parents are and the impressions that they have made because of this. I really enjoy the role that the parents play in this book and how tensions seem to arise more when they are around.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person with a narrator that follows each of the characters with a particular focus on Teo. I liked that the narrator wasn’t first person because there were points that I wanted to know what others were thinking and/or doing and we were allowed those moments. I also did like the focus on Teo as our main character because of the relationships that each character has with him.

Author Information

Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans, Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.

Their debut novel, CEMETERY BOYS, was published on September 1st, 2020.

As You Walk on By by Julian Winters Book Review

Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Theo Wright has it all figured out. His plan (well, more like his dad’s plan) is a foolproof strategy that involves exceling at his magnet school, getting scouted by college recruiters, and going to Duke on athletic scholarship. But for now, all Theo wants is a perfect prom night. After his best friend Jay dares Theo to prompose to his crush at Chloe Campbell’s party, Theo’s ready to throw caution to the wind and take his chances.

But when the promposal goes epically wrong, Theo seeks refuge in an empty bedroom while the party rages on downstairs. Having an existential crisis about who he really is with and without his so-called best friend wasn’t on tonight’s agenda. Though, as the night goes on, Theo finds he’s not as alone as he thinks when, one by one, new classmates join him to avoid who they’re supposed be outside the bedroom door. Among them, a familiar acquaintance, a quiet outsider, an old friend, and a new flame . . .

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed reading Right Where I Left You and because of how much I enjoyed that one I really wanted to read this one. I ended up getting through this one really quickly and could’ve sworn I wrote the review but I guess I didn’t I must have written it in my head or something.

There was a lot that I really did enjoy about this book and one of those things is how quickly everything occurs. This book definitely feels like much more than one night where the majority of the story takes place with everything that is unpacked in that one night. I really do like how everything does occur in such a short time span because it just shows how time changes things.

I love the messages this book sends especially about friendship and what that means. I like how Theo needs to learn to share himself with others and how to move forward from the friendships that were causing him harm. I like that we have to first see him struggle with the loss and things aren’t perfect at the end but you see him be surrounded by loved ones because of who he is now.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Theo, as well as their interactions with each other. We get to meet his friend group, Jay and Darren, Theo’s dad, and a few people Theo meets while seeking refuge in a random room at a party, River, Makayla, Luca, and Aleah, his ex-best friend.

I really loved all of the relationships that are shown throughout this book and how complex they all are. I like how we see friends happen out of convenience and then friends happening because you let them into your life. I really liked watching the group from the room bond with each other throughout the night and watch how that all unfolds. I like how that bond strengthens throughout the book and how they know each other’s truth.

Writing Style: This book is told through first person through the perspective of Theo which is something that I really enjoyed. I liked this aspect of the story because when bad things happen we only know how Theo feels and not anyone else. We rarely get to know other people’s feelings unless they outwardly express them and I think this adds a layer to the story.

Author Information

Julian Winters is the author of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award-winning Running With Lions; the Junior Library Guild Selections How to Be Remy Cameron and The Summer of Everything; and the forthcoming Right Where I Left You. A self-proclaimed comic book geek, Julian currently lives outside of Atlanta, where he can be found reading or watching the only two sports he can follow—volleyball and soccer..

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Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales Book Review

Book Description

It’s been two years since Maya’s ex-boyfriend cheated on her, and she still can’t escape him: his sister married the crown prince of a minor European country and he captured hearts as her charming younger brother. If the world only knew the real Jordy, the manipulative liar who broke Maya’s heart.

Skye Kaplan was always cautious with her heart until Jordy said all the right things and earned her trust. Now his face is all over the media and Skye is still wondering why he stopped calling.

When Maya and Skye are invited to star on the reality dating show Second-Chance Romance, they’re whisked away to a beautiful mansion—along with four more of Jordy’s exes— to compete for his affections while the whole world watches. Skye wonders if she and Jordy can recapture the spark she knows they had, but Maya has other plans: exposing Jordy and getting revenge. As they navigate the competition, Skye and Maya discover that their real happily ever after is nothing they could have scripted.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: So I was prolonging reading this one because here I was thinking it was some straight romance. Don’t let that part fool you and just keep reading through the book, trust me this isn’t straight at all. I kept thinking oh no this is going to be a second chance romance and I just am not a big fan of those especially when the guy didn’t even redeem himself. I was quite surprised how wrong I was in thinking this and loved the way things ended up for all of our characters.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was how their is almost no character growth for Jordy and for a while you are led to believe it will be the same case for Maya. You hope that she gets her act together and just lets this feud with Jordy go because as Skye points out, he really is living rent-free in her mind so technically he is winning. I love the character growth that we get to see with Maya from the start of the book to the end so don’t worry if you don’t like her too much immediately.

Characters: In this book you get introduced to the the two main characters, Maya and Skye along with several others that they interact with. You get to meet Jordy who is the star of the reality TV show that all the girls are starring in, you get to meet some of Maya and Skye’s friends from back home, and their family members.

I love so many of the relationships in this book even the ones that Jordy is involved with but that isn’t because of him but because of the girls. I really liked the relationship that develops between all of the girls who are staying together for the sake of the filming of the reality TV show. I like how their dynamics shift throughout the book and how we see competition changing their attitudes towards each other but then how they join together when truth is revealed.

The other great thing about this book is watching as the relationship between Maya and Skye develops. I really love an enemies to friends to lovers trope when its done well. I also liked that the miscommunication piece in this was all due to lies that were pushed by Jordy and the messaging that it sent across when this was revealed.

Writing Style: This book is told through dual point of views going back and forth between Maya and Skye’s perspectives. I really liked that we get to be inside both of their heads as this story unravels and this becomes a huge part of the story as time goes on. Something that I did keep forgetting while reading this book was the age of the characters but I do not think this matters much beyond knowing that they are young adults.

Author Information

Sophie Gonzales writes young adult queer contemporary fiction with memorable characters, biting wit and endless heart.

She is the author of THE LAW OF INERTIA, ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED and PERFECT ON PAPER. IF THIS GETS (co-written with Cale Dietrich) is forthcoming in Fall 2021 from Wednesday Books / Macmillan.

When she isn’t writing, Sophie can be found ice skating, performing in musical theatre, and practicing the piano. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia where she works as a psychologist.

She is represented by Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency.

99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass Book Review

Book Description

Will Boy 100 be the One?

Micah is rich, dreamy, and charming. As the “Prince of Chicago,”—the son of local celebrity sports radio host known as the King of Chicago—he has everything going for him. Unfortunately, he’s also the prince of imaginary meet-cutes, since he’s too nervous to actually ask boys out.

Instead, Micah draws each crush to share on Instagram with a post about their imaginary dates. Ninety-nine “boyfriends” later, his account is hugely popular, and everyone is eagerly awaiting Boy 100. So is Micah. He’s determined that Boy 100 will be different. This time, Micah will sweep the boy off his feet, for real!

So when Micah flirts with a hot boy on the L who’s wearing a vegan leather jacket and lugging a ton of library books, he is sure this is Boy 100. But right before he can make his move and ask for the boy’s number, the guy rushes off the train, leaving behind his pumpkin-embroidered jacket. The jacket holds clues to the boy’s identity, so Micah and his friends set off on a quest to return it. Along the way, Micah will discover that the best relationships aren’t fairy tales. In fact, the perfect fit—and true love—might be closer than he thinks.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This is another one that I am so glad to have waited to listen to the audiobook but also be able to follow along using the e-book/physical book. The images really add to the story so if you listen to the audiobook make sure you have a way to access the images included.

There are so many moments throughout this book that I highlighted because I resonated with the things being said by the characters. The whole time as I was listening to this book I found myself yelling at Micah because as the reader you know something that he isn’t picking up on.

There are so many moments that broke my heart but I can’t tell you about them all without running the story. Just have some tissues near you and be careful to not throw whatever device you are reading on across the room.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Michah Summers. You get to meet his friends, Elliot and Hannah, his parents, his sister, his boyfriend, Grant, and a few side characters.

I really enjoyed all of the relationships that you get to see throughout this book because each of them adds something different to Micah’s life. When I first started reading this one I really didn’t understand the point of Grant being introduced and was quite frustrated with him. It really isn’t until the ending that you understand why he needed to be included into this story. I really enjoyed the relationship that Micah and Grant have especially closer to the end of this book. I think he needed to be included in the story for there to have been any character growth for Micah.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Micah and Elliot, this was actually my favorite throughout the whole book. The friendship between these two is wholesome and this is what I really enjoy about their relationship. I really like how the two of them bring out the best in each other and how they just know what the other needs.

Something else that I really enjoyed about this book was the relationship that each of the characters have with their family members. I love how supportive their families are of them and how we get to see how those dynamics play out. I especially like how involved Micah’s parents are in his life and even how his sister gets involved.

Writing Style: This book is told in first person through the perspective of Micah. I really enjoyed having the story be told in his perspective because it doesn’t let us know how others are feeling. I liked that people had to directly tell Micah anything for him to understand what was going on.

Author Information

ADAM SASS

writes pop-as-hell stories with queer characters in the driver’s seat. In his books, he strives to capture the three “H’s” of the queer experience:

HUMOR.

HEART.

HORROR.

He is the award-winning author of the conversion camp escape thriller SURRENDER YOUR SONS and THE 99 BOYFRIENDS OF MICAH SUMMERS, a romantic comedy about imaginary boyfriends and missed connections. His forthcoming novel, YOUR LONELY NIGHTS ARE OVER, is about two popular gay best friends who must stop the slasher who’s been stalking their school’s LGBTQ Club. It will release in Fall 2023 from Viking.

The Edge of Being by James Brandon Book Review

Book Description

Isaac Griffin has always felt something was missing from his life. And for good reason: he’s never met his dad. He’d started to believe he’d never belong in this world, that the scattered missing pieces of his life would never come together, when he discovers a box hidden deep in the attic with his father’s name on it.

When the first clue points him to San Francisco, he sets off with his boyfriend to find the answers, and the person he’s been waiting his whole life for. But when his vintage station wagon breaks down (and possibly his relationship too) they are forced to rely on an unusual girl who goes by Max—and has her own familial pain—to take them the rest of the way.

As his family history is revealed, Isaac finds himself drawing closer to Max. Using notes his dad had written decades ago, the two of them retrace his father’s steps during the weeks leading up to the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco, a precursor to the Stonewall Riots a few years later. Only to discover, as he learns about the past that perhaps the missing pieces of his life weren’t ever missing at all.

Review

TW: Self Harm, Suicide Attempt, alcohol, abuse, drugs, hospitalization

Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed Ziggy, Stardust, and Me so when I saw the author had come out with another book I knew I had to read it. When I found out the audiobook is read by the author I decided I wanted to listen to the book rather than read the e-book version.

Something that I really enjoy about this book is the way that it integrates Queer history throughout the story. There were a lot of pieces that I knew about briefly but not extensively and these pieces sparked interest in learning more. I really like this aspect because this is meant for Queer youth to read so it’s nice knowing they would learn history along with reading this story.

Something else that I really enjoyed about this book was that while it is a coming of age story, it isn’t a coming out story. I like how all three of the main characters are trying to figure out their lives and the missing pieces in each of them. I also like how each of them are trying to use other people to fill that void, and how this doesn’t turn out how they planned.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to our main character, Fig, his boyfriend, Christopher, a friend of his, Charlie, and a girl that they met along their journey, Max. You are also introduced to several characters that Fig comes into contact with on his journey to find his dad.

I really liked all of the characters that you are introduced to throughout this book. I liked the relationship between Fig and Christopher and how this changes throughout the book. I liked how real their relationship is and how messy they are with each other. I like how you see them both trying to hold onto something that isn’t there, and while you hope for the best for them you also hope they find themselves without the other one.

I also really enjoyed the relationship that develops between Max and Fig and how this shifts throughout the story. I liked seeing how each of them understands the other and how they just clicked right from meeting each other. I just like how easy it was for Fig to trust Max, and how she just takes it all in and vice versa.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of Fig. I really enjoyed this being told through his perspective because you don’t get a chance to see how other people feel. I like that we are inside of Fig’s head as he is figuring out things for himself especially when he locks others out.

Author Information

James Brandon produced and played the central role of Joshua in the international tour of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi for a decade, and is Co-Director of the documentary film based on their journey: Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. He’s Co-Founder of the I AM Love Campaign, an arts-based initiative bridging the faith-based and LGBTQ2+ communities, and serves on the Board, as well as the Powwow Steering Committee, for Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) in San Francisco. He’s also a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, spent a summer at Deer Park Monastery studying Zen Buddhism, and deepened his yogic practice in Rishikesh, India. Brandon is a contributing writer for Huffington PostBelieve Out Loud, and Spirituality and Health MagazineZiggy, Stardust, and Me is his first novel.

Youngblood by Sasha Laurens Book Review

Book Description

Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive, as nearly all of humanity has been infected by a virus that’s fatal to vampires. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change.

Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values—especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. She only has to suffer through a two more years of Harcote before she’s free. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well.

When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote—secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I heard about a sapphic vampire book I knew I had to read it because most of the vampire books that I have read are all straight, cis, and white. I am glad that I decided to wait and listen to this one on audio because it really adds to the story. I loved the narrator of the book as there is a clear distinction between which character is speaking.

I really like how so much of what happens in this book is based on miscommunication or just the lack of communication between people. I thought this was very realistic for teenagers and loved seeing that even supernatural creatures come across these problems. Then there are so many things you discover closer to the end of the book that just make the book so much better. Please stick around to you get to this point because it really does get good, it pretty much speeds up half way through as everything unravels itself.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to our two main characters, Kat and Taylor, along with several of the people who are in their lives. You get to meet Lucy and Evangeline who are friends of Kat, along with Galen who all the girls are interested in. You also get to meet a few of the professors that are at the school in which Kat and Taylor are attending.

I really like the relationships that develop throughout this whole book and how attached this book makes you get with each character that you meet. I like the conversations that occur between Kat and Taylor and how they explain themselves to each other. I love how these two go from best friends to enemies to lovers.

Writing Style: This book is told from a dual point of view going back and forth from Kat and Taylor’s perspectives in first person. I do like that we get both points of view because the girls are very different from each other. I liked getting to know about them separately from each other especially since they start off being ex-best friends. I also liked how this plays out when the two aren’t in the same place because you get to see the way both stories unfold.

Author Information

Sasha Laurens is the author of A Wicked Magic and Youngblood. She is originally from Northern California and has lived in Michigan, New York, and St. Petersburg, Russia. She has a PhD in political science and lives in Brooklyn.