The Prince and The Dressmaker by Jen Wang Book Review

Author Information

Photo by Sean Culligan

Jen Wang is the award-winning NYT Bestselling author and illustrator of several graphic novels for young readers including Stargazing, The Prince and The Dressmaker, In Real Life (co-written with Cory Doctorow), and Koko Be Good. She is also a co-founder and organizer for Comic Arts LA. She lives in Los Angeles.

Book Description

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart. 

Review

Thoughts and Themes: The minute that I opened this book and started reading it, I knew it was going to be one that I loved. When I finished reading it I cried and I’ll let you all read to see if those were happy or sad tears. I immediately wanted to re-read it over and over again but had to hold myself back because I have so many other books to get through.

There’s a scene in the book where the prince tells his mother “this is who I am. I’m a prince who likes dresses.” I paused when reading that and put the book down because this finally captured my gender perfectly. I’m a boy who likes dresses, like its that simple but also so complex for others to understand.

Characters: This story centers around two main characters, the prince and his dressmaker. I love each of the main characters and how supportive they are of each other’s dreams. There are some moments in which the way the prince treats Frances in a less than ideal manner and I both am annoyed with him but also sympathize with him.

Writing and Art Style: I loved the art style of this book and how clearly you can see the emotions on each of their faces. There is no need for words in some of the panels because the picture says it all. I liked seeing the difference in the prince and Lady Crystallia and how not only were they dressed differently but their personality, mannerisms, and feelings were different.

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfold, and Nicola Yoon Book Review

Book Description

Six critically acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning authors bring the glowing warmth and electricity of Black teen love to this interlinked novel of charming, hilarious, and heartwarming stories that shine a bright light through the dark.

A summer heatwave blankets New York City in darkness. But as the city is thrown into confusion, a different kind of electricity sparks…

A first meeting. 

Long-time friends. 

Bitter exes. 

And maybe the beginning of something new.

When the lights go out, people reveal hidden truths. Love blossoms, friendship transforms, and new possibilities take flight.

Beloved authors—Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon—celebrate the beauty of six couples and the unforgettable magic that can be found on a sweltering starry night in the city. Book Description

Review

Thoughts and Themes: Have you ever read a book that made you believe in love again? A book that made you feel like it was giving you a hug and telling you that everything will be okay. I’ve read several books that have felt like a hug, like someone telling me that it was going to be okay but none quite like this one. This book told me you can find love in the darkest places and that everyone deserves their chance at love even if it means getting that chance more than once.

It is hard for me to put into words how much I loved this book, right from finishing the first story in it, I knew I was going to want more when it was all done. I really enjoyed each of the short stories that were included in this book and how they built on each other. I really enjoyed how one story was split into different pieces with the other stories mixing with that one, it really tied everything together.

Everytime that I read a book about romance or love, I remember how much I really do enjoy this genre when I can get over how much I feel that it isn’t for me. The idea of love and romance feels so foreign to me now that it seems untouchable even if a book form. This book was different, it didn’t feel like it was far away or if it wasn’t for me, it felt like it was saying so much in so little words.

Characters: There are several characters in this book that you get to meet as each short story has their own set of characters. I loved each of the characters that you get to meet in the story as they are all unique from each other. There was nothing not to love about these characters and how they each fell in love. Throughout the whole book, you are just rooting for them to find happiness, with someone else or within themselves.

Writing Style: This book was quite different from the anthologies that I am used to reading but I enjoyed the way it was written. The main story centered around there being a blackout in New York City and the rest of the stories went from there. I liked how interconnected all of the stories are from one another. My only complaint is that there were stories I wanted to see more of, I mean they closed beautifully but I fell in love with the people in it and wanted more of them.

Author Information

Dhonielle Clayton

Born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Dhonielle spent much of her childhood hiding beneath her grandmother’s dining table with a stack of books. As an English teacher at a ballet academy, Clayton rediscovered her passion for children’s and young adult literature. To ground herself in the canon, she pursued her Masters in Children’s Literature from Hollins University before receiving her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. She is a former middle school librarian, where she pestered children to read and curated a diverse collection. An avid traveler, Dhonielle’s lived in several foreign countries, but she’s now settled in Harlem, where you’ll find her writing late into the night, lurking in libraries, and hunting for the best slice of New York pizza. She is the COO of We Need Diverse Books and the co-founder of Cake Literary. The co-author of the dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces, as well as the upcoming Rumor Game, Dhonielle is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA fantasy series The Belles. Find her on the web at DhonielleClayton.com or on Twitter @brownbookworm.

Tiffany D. Jackson

Tiffany D. Jackson is the New York Times Bestselling author of YA novels including the Coretta Scott King — John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning Monday’s Not Coming, the NAACP Image Award-nominated Allegedly, Let Me Hear A Rhyme, and her 2020 title GROWN. She received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University, her master of arts in media studies from the New School, and has over a decade in TV/Film experience. The Brooklyn native is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.

Nic Stone

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.

Stone lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @getnicced or on her website nicstone.info.

Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

Ashley Woodfolk

Ashley Woodfolk has loved reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated from Rutgers University and worked in children’s book publishing for over a decade. Now a full-time mom and writer, Ashley lives in a sunny Brooklyn apartment with her cute husband, her cuter dog, and the cutest kid in the world. Her books include The Beauty That Remains, When You Were Everything, and the Flyy Girls Series.

Nicola Yoon

Nicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Both her novels have been made into major motion pictures. Nicola grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, novelist David Yoon, and their family.

In Deeper Waters by F.T. Lukens Book Review

Author Information


F.T. Lukens is an award-winning author of Young Adult fiction. A sci fi enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Wars and Star Trek and is a longtime member of their college’s science-fiction club. F.T. holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with their spouse, three kids, three dogs, and three cats.

F.T.’s urban fantasy novel The Rules and Regulations For Mediating Myths & Magic won several awards including the 2017 Foreword INDIES Gold Award for Young Adult Fiction, the 2017 IPBA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award for Best Teen Fiction and the 2017 Bisexual Book Award for Speculative Fiction. It was also named to the 2019 ALA Rainbow Book List.

Book Description

A young prince must rely on a mysterious stranger to save him when he is kidnapped during his coming-of-age tour in this swoony adventure that is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Pirates of the Caribbean.

Prince Tal has long awaited his coming-of-age tour. After spending most of his life cloistered behind palace walls as he learns to keep his forbidden magic secret, he can finally see his family’s kingdom for the first time. His first taste of adventure comes just two days into the journey, when their crew discovers a mysterious prisoner on a burning derelict vessel.

Tasked with watching over the prisoner, Tal is surprised to feel an intense connection with the roguish Athlen. So when Athlen leaps overboard and disappears, Tal feels responsible and heartbroken, knowing Athlen could not have survived in the open ocean.

That is, until Tal runs into Athlen days later on dry land, very much alive, and as charming—and secretive—as ever. But before they can pursue anything further, Tal is kidnapped by pirates and held ransom in a plot to reveal his rumored powers and instigate a war. Tal must escape if he hopes to save his family and the kingdom. And Athlen might just be his only hope…

Review

I won this book in a giveaway from Turn the Page Tours so thanks to them and Netgalley I am able to provide a review for you all.

Thoughts and Themes: It took me quite a long time to be invested in this book as I kept going back and forth in my interest in it. The book starts off quite slowly which is the main reason as to why I wasn’t drawn in immediately to this story.

I really loved how this story is so much adventure and so much different layers kept getting added to this as I read more. I liked reading along as different things happen to Tal and trying to see what he would do next just to survive. I liked that this was a story about survival and the things that one is willing to do in order to survive.

I really enjoyed the world-building in this book and how that was part of the adventure in this story. I liked how there were things that Tal was figuring out about alongside the reader and liked how his family’s past played into the present times. I really enjoyed learning about the different types of magic that was in this book, not just the magic that Tal had but the mystical creatures that were involved and the powers that some of his family members possessed.

Characters: In this story you get introduced to quite a few characters through their interactions with Tal and each of them is unique in their own way. I loved all of the relationships that Tal has with each person who is important to him and I even liked the villains in this story.

I liked the way Tal and Athlen’s relationship develops and how it changes over time. I like how not only is Tal second guessing Athlen’s feelings throughout the whole story but as a reader you are questioning Athlen’s motives. This part was the best thing for me because I loved trying to figure out who was trustworthy in this story and who wasn’t. I felt like Tal who was also trying to figure this out for himself.

I also really enjoyed the relationships that Tal had with each of his family members and especially his siblings. I liked how supportive they are of Tal and how protective they are of him as their youngest sibling. I really liked the scenes in which we get to see all of them talking to him and getting upset with themselves for “allowing” him to have been harmed.

Writing Style: The story is told in third person point of view and follows Tal. I really liked the story being told in this way because it doesn’t seem to be an all knowing narrator. We still get Tal’s feelings and confusion even if he isn’t the one telling the story to us.

Fresh by Margot Wood Book Review

Author Information

Margot Wood is the founder of Epic Reads and has worked in marketing for more than a decade at publishing houses both big and small. Born and raised in Cincinnati, and a graduate of Emerson College, Wood now lives in Portland, Oregon and works in comic book publishing. She once appeared as an extra in the Love, Simon movie.

You can find her online at margotwood.com.

Book Description

A hilarious and vulnerable coming-of-age story about the thrilling new experiences––and missteps––of a girl’s freshman year of college

Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh is not one of those people. But picking a major is the last thing on Elliot’s mind when she’s too busy experiencing all that college has to offer—from dancing all night at off-campus parties, to testing her RA Rose’s patience, to making new friends, to having the best sex one can have on a twin-sized dorm room bed. But she may not be ready for the fallout when reality hits. When the sex she’s having isn’t that great. When finals creep up and smack her right in the face. Or when her roommate’s boyfriend turns out to be the biggest a-hole. Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she’s honest with herself (and with you, dear reader), she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process . . . Well, maybe.

Review

Thank you to Amulet Books for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thoughts and Themes: From the first look at the cover and the description this isn’t the typical book that I would pick up, but I am so glad that I gave it a try since I winded up loving this story. This was a book that I just couldn’t put down once I picked it up.

This book instantly transported me back to my first year of college and while I was nothing like Elliot, I could still relate to the characters in this story. It was fun returning to this time in my life and also remembering what student’s lives are like when they are in college now that I work as an academic advisor. I thought that this story really captured the feeling of going away to college really well and all that comes along with being alone for the first time.

Something else that I really liked about this book was how sex positive it was. As an a-spec person, I tend to stray away from books that feature sex as I can find it overwhelming but I found this book wasn’t too much. I liked that we got a range of different opinions on sex in this book and how no one was shamed for their thoughts on it.

I really love the ending of this story and just screamed so much in the last 50ish pages of this book. I can’t say much more about this without ruining it but it was just too cute for my heart to handle.

Characters: In this story you get to meet Elliot, and several of the people she interacts with on a regular basis and her family members. I really enjoyed getting to read the pieces between Elliot and her younger sister. I loved the way their relationship was easy but you can feel how much she cares about Elliot.

I also really like the friendship between Elliot and her roommate, Lucy. I love the different challenges that they face through their friendship and how they navigate those challenges. I really like how we get to see the reality of several students at a private school through Lucy when she points out the privileges’ that Elliot has. I also like how different they are from each other especially when it comes to relationship and sex. What I really appreciated was how Elliot and Lucy respected each others perspective on things and supported each other’s decisions.

Writing Style: The story is told in first person point of view through the main character, Elliot, and it includes footnotes throughout. I really enjoy the footnotes that are included because it makes the book feel like I’m reading Elliot’s diary. The footnotes allow you to get her innermost thoughts and it also gives a chance to explain things outside of the main story. I also like how we only get the story through Elliot’s perspective because it reads like a college freshman trying to figure out her life.

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass Book Review

Author Information

Ryan Douglass was born and raised in Atlanta, where he currently resides, cooking pasta and playing records. He enjoys wood wick candles, falling asleep on airplanes, and advocating for stronger media representation for queer Black people.

Book Description

Get Out meets Danielle Vega in this YA horror where survival is not a guarantee.

Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.

Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for the advanced reader’s copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Thoughts and Themes: I had only seen negative reviews on this book so I went into this one suspecting bad and I wish I had’t. I actually really enjoyed this book and the multiple things that were happening in the story. I usually don’t like for there to be many side plot lines because I worry that they will be left unresolved but I liked the side things happening in this story. I felt that the side things happening helped move the story forward and also allowed you to learn about the characters.

I liked how this book brought up the intersection of being Black and Gay and how that was very different than being just one or the other. I thought this was a important piece that was brought up. I can’t speak on the intersection of holding both of those identities so I suggest that you all read own voices reviews as well.

Something else that I enjoyed about this book was that there were moments in which I felt the characters were coming off the screen. I loved the scenes in which there are supernatural elements involved since I felt these features brought the book to life. It was like this book was a ghost in my own living room.

Characters: In this book you get introduced to quite a few characters through their interactions with Jake and through the journal entries that are provided from Sawyer. I liked the way that we get to meet the people who were in Sawyer’s life and get to understand Sawyer through the journal entries and not just his haunting of Jake.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book is that both Sawyer and Jake are gay males. I thought it was great to see how that identity played into their daily lives and also their interactions with each other. I thought that them both being gay added depth to the story and added more to the reason Sawyer was haunting Jake. I felt that this fact made Sawyer feel like he could relate with Jake, and slowly it felt like Jake was able to relate with Sawyer.

I also really enjoyed the brief romance that we got through this book between Jake and Allister. While the romance wasn’t front and center in this story, I liked the glimpses that we get of their relationship and how it develops.

Writing Style: This story is written in first person point of view through Jake’s perspective and it also includes some of the entries from Sawyer’s journal. I like that this book goes back and forth between Jake’s life and Sawyer’s journal entries. I liked getting to know who Sawyer was prior to the shooting and try to see why that event occurred. I also thought it was great to see that this journal was being read by Jake and it was informing him of why this ghost was now haunting him.

Girls at the Edge of the World by Laura Brooke Robson Book Review

Author Information

Laura Brooke Robson writes books about snarky girls and climate peril. She’s from Bend, Oregon, which means she’s contractually obligated to talk about the fact she’s from Bend, Oregon. As a college student, she did English shenanigans at Stanford, which some were known to describe as “a feat of daring” and “probably not going to make you as much money as CS.”

Her debut novel, GIRLS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, will come out on June 8, 2021 with Dial Books/Penguin Teen. Laura is represented by Danielle “Superhero” “Cheerleader” “I would literally be crying without her” Burby at Nelson Literary Agency.

Book Description

In a world bound for an epic flood, only a chosen few are guaranteed safe passage into the new world once the waters recede. The Kostrovian royal court will be saved, of course, along with their guards. But the fate of the court’s Royal Flyers, a lauded fleet of aerial silk performers, is less certain. Hell-bent on survival, Principal Flyer, Natasha Koskinen, will do anything to save the Flyers, who are the only family she’s ever known. Even if “anything” means molding herself into the type of girl who could be courted by Prince Nikolai. But unbeknownst to Natasha, her newest recruit, Ella Neves, is driven less by her desire to survive the floods than her thirst for revenge. And Ella’s mission could put everything Natasha has worked for in peril.

As the oceans rise, so too does an undeniable spark between the two flyers. With the end of the world looming, and dark secrets about the Kostrovian court coming to light, Ella and Natasha can either give in to despair . . . or find a new reason to live.

Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Random House for the advanced reader copy in exchange for my review.

Thoughts and Themes: The minute that I see a book is LGBT+, I know that I have to read it. I was so pleased with so many aspects of this book and really hope that there’s more to this story. I like that this story leaves me wanting more, wanting to know what happens next but also that it does close nicely for the reader.

I really liked how this book talks about Sirens and the original meaning for the term and how that term has shifted in their world. I liked the world-building that occurs throughout this story and how that world-building just was integrated into the plot.

I also really liked how we don’t know who the villain is throughout the story. You get glimpses at who it might be and the reason that Ella believes that they are the villain but never a confirmed answer. You don’t even get that answer at the end of the book which left me with so many questions. Like who was I supposed to believe, do we go with Ella’s point of view, or what Natasha knows?

Characters: This book introduces you to several people through their interactions with Natasha and Ella. You also get to meet both of these characters not only through each of their chapters but also in the moments in which they interact with each other.

Something that I really liked about the characters in this story was the friendships/relationships between each of the flyers. I loved how connected they were with each other and how we see this through the addition of Ella. I really liked seeing how even if they were skeptical of who she was, they still accepted her as one of them and made her feel like she had a family.

I really liked the slow burn romance that happens between Natasha and Ella. I liked that they tip toed around each other for the majority of the book and kept their feelings for each other to themselves. I liked how you know that the feelings are there and its going to happen but we don’t get the on page revelation of these feelings till near the end of the story.

Writing Style: This book goes back and forth between our two main characters, Natasha and Ella. I liked being able to see both of their perspectives on the events going on. I think that being able to see how they both felt allows us to understand their feelings and also feel sympathy for both of them.

Guest Post by The Seasonal Pages “5 Wonderful LGBTQ+ Graphic Novels to Read This Summer”

5 Wonderful LGBTQ+ Graphic Novels To Read This Summer

Hello readers of The Unconventional Quirky Bibliophile! I am Isaly, the owner of the stationery store The Seasonal Pages and I am guest blogging to tell you about a few books that I think you will love for this summer season. June is officially here and you know what means, it is PRIDE month. Pride Month is the perfect time to tell you about wonderful LGBTQ+ Graphic Novels to read this summer time. The books listed below are some of my personal favorites and I think you will enjoy them too!

Title: Bingo Love

Author: Tee Franklin

Genre: Romance

Synopsis: “When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.”

Bingo Love is one of my favorite books to read every couple of years when I am in the mood for romance and a graphic novel. The characters are fun to read and the illustrations captured my art soul so much. You will adore this book with humor and romance. I had to add Bingo Love to this list!

Title: The Prince & The Dressmaker

Author: Jen Wang

Genre: Graphic Novel

Synopsis: “Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!”

This adorable story about a person finding themselves is needed on your next to be read list. Sebastian is a character that you want to learn more about and see what happens at the end, I highly recommend this graphic novel.

Title: You Brought Me The Ocean

Author: Alex Sanchez

Illustrations: Julie Maroh

Genre: Teen & YA Romance Graphic Novel

Synopsis: “Jake Hyde doesn’t swim-not since his father drowned. Luckily, he lives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, which is in the middle of the desert, yet he yearns for the ocean and is determined to leave his hometown for a college on the coast. But his best friend, Maria, wants nothing more than to make a home in the desert, and Jake’s mother encourages him to always play it safe.

Yet there’s nothing “safe” about Jake’s future-not when he’s attracted to Kenny Liu, swim team captain and rebel against conformity. And certainly not when he secretly applies to Miami University. Jake’s life begins to outpace his small town’s namesake, which doesn’t make it any easier to come out to his mom, or Maria, or the world.

But Jake is full of secrets, including the strange blue markings on his skin that low when in contact with water. What power will he find when he searches for his identity, and will he turn his back to the current or dive head first into the waves?”

Between the ocean theme, the romance and the illustrations — You Brought Me The Ocean will not disappoint. It is a stunning story of self love, romance, and another world. I think that this graphic novel will leave you wanting more from the author and artist. This book introduced me to the author and the artist I have read before, so I recommend her books as well.

Title: The Banks

Author: Roxanne Gay Genre: LGBTQ+ Graphic Novel

Synopsis: “For fifty years the women of the Banks family have been the most successful thieves in Chicago by following one simple rule: never get greedy. But when the youngest Banks stumbles upon the heist of a lifetime, the potential windfall may be enough to bring three generations of thieves together for one incredible score and the chance to avenge a loved one taken too soon.”

Roxanne Gay is an author that I try to read more and more after reading some of her writing recently. I love the way she writes and how she tells such detailed plots that leave you on edge. The Banks is one of her newest books and it is a graphic novel that I think will be great for this spring season. The cover draws you in and the green tone makes you feel like you are going to enjoy a book that is fit for spring time.

Title: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me

Author: Mariko Tamaki Genre: LGBTQ+ Graphic Novel

Synopsis: “Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.

Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But

Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever.

Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.”

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is perfect for a fun read that will lighten your mood. I enjoyed this story for the self reflecting and the teen in love trope. I think this book will be a great read for the summer time!

Since it is the beginning of June, I plan on rereading this 5 books for Pride Month and enjoy even more books with a focus on POC LGBTQ+ characters and/or authors. What do you plan on reading in June? Do you have a book that you really want to read for Pride month? Thank you so much for reading about my 5 chosen LGBTQ+ graphic novels that I think you will love during Pride Month. You can find me at The Seasonal Pages Stationery Shop anytime by visiting my website theseasonalpages.com or my Instagram page: instagram.com/theseasonalpages. Happy Reading!

As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper Book Review

Author Information

Phil Stamper grew up in a rural village near Dayton, Ohio. He has a B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Publishing with Creative Writing. And, unsurprisingly, a lot of student debt. He works for a major book publisher in New York City and lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their dog.

THE GRAVITY OF US is his first novel, but he’s no stranger to writing. His self-insert Legend of Zelda fanfiction came with a disclaimer from the 14-year old author: “Please if you write a review don’t criticize my work.” He has since become more open to critique… sort of.

Book Description

Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he’s excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.

From the outside, Marty’s life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he’s made new friends, he’s getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he’s even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can’t keep up the facade. He hasn’t spoken to his parents since he arrived, he’s tearing through his meager savings, his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse, and he hasn’t even come close to landing the job of his dreams. Will Marty be able to find a place that feels like home?

You can get this book at:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indigo ~ IndieBound ~ Book Depository

Review

Thank you to netgalley for an advanced copy of the book in exchange for my review.

Thoughts and Themes: I knew that I had to read this one as soon as I saw that Phil Stamper came out with a new book since I really enjoyed The Gravity of Us. I winded up listening to this story on audiobook while following along with the e-book. I found that the audiobook of this story was great to listen to and easy to follow. This is one that I had to sit on before writing the review because there was so many different things going on in the story that I wanted to touch on.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was the anxiety representation, I rarely get to read books that show anxiety as part of the story but not the center of it. I really liked that Marty’s personality isn’t just his anxiety but that is a large part of his life. I liked getting to see how anxiety manifests itself in his daily life and how it contributed to his ability to travel.

Something else that I enjoyed about this book but also found hard to read was Marty’s parents homophobia and religious bigotry. I thought that this was done well and I know we would love to see them grow but I thought it was very real to include that they don’t grow. I liked that this book shows that sometimes people don’t change, and their views stay static.

Something that was unexpected and I had a hard time with was that Marty begins to develop body image issues and it leads to disordered eating. While I do think this is important to include and how it is something that needs to be brought up especially with the expectations for body types within the gay community, I do wish there had been some sort of warning.

One of the big things in this book that I really wanted to touch on was the forced outing that was done by Marty’s friend, Megan. I thought this was an important part of this story to include because of the impact it had on him. I thought it was well done because you get to see what Marty’s fears and concerns are about being out back home amongst people other than his close friends and family.

Characters: Through this story you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with Marty. I really enjoyed each of the characters that you get to meet throughout the interactions that Marty hash them.

I thought it was great to meet so many different characters and also get a chance to see how Marty’s relationship with each person differed. I thought it was great getting to see the contrast between Marty’s new friends and his old friends and how he changes through the development of these friendships.

I also really liked getting to see the contrast between the relationship that Marty has with his parents and his family in London. I thought it was great to see how either family reacted to his coming out and the difference that makes in his life. I really liked getting to know a little bit about the aunt and how she felt about the whole ordeal with Marty’s parents and him coming out. I thought it was important to show that he had some people who supported him regardless of his parent’s differing opinion.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through our main character, Marty’s perspective. The story goes back and forth between the present time and some diary entries that are a part of an assignment that Marty had to complete last summer.

As I listened to the audiobook, I also want to comment on the narrator of the story. The narrator does a great job with this story and is easy to listen to. I like the pace that this story keeps as it isn’t too quick but also not too slow. It’s something that you could listen to in a day while getting other things done.

Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl by Erin Grammer Book Review

Author Information

Erin Grammar writes about horrible things happening to good people—while looking as cute as humanly possible. When she isn’t working on her latest novel, she likes to hunt for gemstones and Hello Kitty collectibles, spend time with her family (including two real and very demanding cats), craft, watch horror movies, and style wigs big enough to hold tons of secrets.

She lives in Southern California because she’s an actual lizard, and without constant heat she’ll die. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @eringrammar

Book Description

Fight like a magical girl in this paperback original contemporary fantasy in which a Harajuku fashionista battles mutants—and social anxiety—by teaming up with an elite group of outcasts. Perfect for those obsessed with the technicolor worlds of Sailor MoonThe Umbrella Academy, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Book One of the Magic Mutants Trilogy.

Holly Roads uses Harajuku fashion to distract herself from tragedy. Her magical girl aesthetic makes her feel beautiful—and it keeps the world at arm’s length. She’s an island of one, until advice from an amateur psychic expands her universe. A midnight detour ends with her vs. exploding mutants in the heart of San Francisco.

Brush with destiny? Check. Waking up with blue blood, emotions gone haywire, and terrifying strength that starts ripping her wardrobe to shreds? Totally not cute. Hunting monsters with a hot new partner and his unlikely family of mad scientists?

Way more than she bargained for. 

You can find this book at:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ IndieBound ~ Book Depository

Review

Thank you to the author for providing me with a advanced copy of this book so that I could partake in the street team for this book.

Thoughts and Themes: I was so pleased to get to be a part of the street team for this book even prior to reading it and then was even happier once I finished reading the book. I really enjoyed getting the chance to read this book and it felt like I was getting a chance to be in this world. It was really nice to feel like I was a part of this world especially since I missed conventions, cosplay, etc. because of the pandemic.

This book manages to mix Sci-Fi elements with the contemporary world which had me hooked right from the start. It took me into a time in which the pandemic didn’t exist and I got to enjoy my favorite activities through immersion into Holly’s world. Similarly to how Holly now has people she would protect at all costs to her, this book gave me a character that I hate to love and would defend to the end. This book has the theme of found family all throughout it and that is something that I really enjoy especially when it comes to queer characters.

I really liked how the author gave us the trigger warnings for this book ahead of time so I knew what to expect in terms of that. One thing I really liked was how much of Holly’s social anxiety we see in the way she speaks to others and her actions. I really did like how that was displayed throughout the story because it felt so real to me. I can understand why others would not find Holly to be a likeable character but when you see so much of yourself in a character it’s hard not to like them.

The more I think about this book and the characters, the more I really love it. I can’t wait for my pre-order to arrive so that I can just go ahead and give the whole thing a re-read. I love the twist at the end of the story that really makes me unable to wait for the next book. I need to know what happens to my favorite character and new son who I will protect at all costs.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy Harajuku fashion, Lolita, Cosplay, science fiction, messy queer characters, and strong female protagonist.

Characters: Throughout this story you get to meet Holly, who is our main character and several of the other members of N.E.R.D. You also briefly get to meet Holly’s friend along with one of the mutants. Our main characters include Holly, Nunez, Brannon, Chi Ho, Kyle, and Dr. Laura. I really love that most of our main characters have some kind of queer identity and that we really get a diverse cast of characters.

I really want more of these character’s backstory and am hoping that we will get more of that in the next book. I liked that we got some of Nunez’s backstory and got to learn how he became a part of N.E.R.D. I felt that we also got a bit of that from Kyle and that really added to the whole story. I can’t tell you much about any of their backstory because it really would ruin parts of the plot so you’ll just have to read to find out.

I really enjoyed the way that the relationships between Holly and the others developed and liked the idea of a found family for her. I liked how that aspect was written into this story and how this new found family adds to her character development. I really want to read more to see how this found family helps Holly develop and if it eases her social anxiety at all.

Writing Style: The story is told in first person through Holly’s perspective which is something I really enjoyed. I liked how much of the story is taking place in her head and how we follow along with her thoughts. The way that this is written really allows the reader to see how anxiety driven her thoughts are and how her response is driven by those thoughts. I’m really hoping that we get to see more of the other characters throughout the other books and that we may get some of their thoughts too. I love seeing everything through Holly as a unreliable narrator but I need to know what the others feel about this whole situation.

Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Veldi Book Tour Post

I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by TBRandBeyondTours . Make sure you check out the rest of the posts that are a part of this tour by looking at the schedule for the tour found here. 

Author Information

Jessica Verdi is an author of books for kids and teens about identity, family, acceptance, and love.

Though she’s always been a bookworm (her childhood was basically defined by the philosophy that working your way through giant stacks of library books is far superior to playing outside), she remained convinced throughout high school and college that theatre and music were meant to be her creative outlets. After nearly ten years in the NYC theatre world, she got an idea for a novel. While that first attempt at a “book” will never see the light of day—nope, don’t ask—it was the book that started her love affair with writing. Now she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Jess received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School and is a freelance editor of romance and women’s fiction. She lives in New York with her family.

You can find Jessica at:

Website ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook

Book Description

Book Info:

Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Publishing Date: March 2, 2021

Synopsis:

For fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, this is a riveting and irresistible take on love, life, and identity — both online and off.

CeCe Ross is kind of a big deal. She and her girlfriend, Silvie, are social media influencers with zillions of fans and followers, known for their cute outfits and being #relationshipgoals.

So when Silvie breaks up with her, CeCe is devastated. She’s lost her first love, and now she can’t help but wonder if she’ll lose her followers as well.

Things get even messier when CeCe meets Josh, a new boy in town who is very much Not Online. CeCe isn’t surprised to be falling for a guy; she’s always known she’s bi. And Josh is sweet and smart and has excellent taste in donuts… but he has no idea that CeCe is internet-famous. And CeCe sort of wants to keep it that way.

But when CeCe’s secrets catch up to her, she finds herself in the middle of an online storm, where she’ll have to confront the blurriness of public vs. private life, and figure out what it really means to speak her truth. 

You can find the book at:

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Indigo ~ IndieBound

Review

Thoughts and Themes: Do you ever read something and think, am I reading my life?!

I don’t even know how to begin talking about this book. I can start by letting you all know that this book felt like I was reading about myself when I was a teenager. It was not only something teenage me needed but also something that current me still needs to hear. At the end, this book felt like a hug that I’ve needed since I came out to my parents as bisexual at 13 years old.

From the beginning of the story as Cece deals with her break up with Sylvie and struggles through that, to the end where she gives such as important speech to thousands of people, I saw myself in this story. I cried in the first few chapters as Cece dealt with her breakup the way that I dealt with the end of my first relationship, and than cheered her on through her confusion of having new feelings for someone else. I smiled and laughed when she mentions coming out at 13 years old, having 2 girlfriends, and is now dating a guy because that was my life.

Cece sharing how her relationship with her dad was turbulent felt so much like seeing my relationship with my dad. I cried for myself in those moments in which her dad said things that I have heard come out of my own dad’s mouth. It felt like a hug when Cece stood up for herself each time against him and walks away from him. I wish I could demand the respect that Cece demands from someone so important to me.

I am going to warn you all because there is a lot of biphobia in this book and those moments were hard to read through. These weren’t things I hadn’t seen before but it still hurts to be reminded that people think this way. The internet’s response to Cece dating a male put all of my fears onto a page, it reminded me of why I am so scared of catching feelings for a cisgender male. It also reminded me of how scared I am for the LGBTQ+ community to perceive me in a “straight relationship” because I don’t want to lose that community based off what they perceive. Cece’s response to this and the response of others on the internet when she stands up for bisexuals really resonated with me.

Characters: Throughout this story you meet several characters but it revolves around Cece’s life and the people in it. Through Cece you meet her ex, Sylvie, her new boyfriend, Josh, her internet family, and her mom.

I really liked how Cece’s relationship with Josh develops organically without the pressure of other’s weighing in. I thought it was nice to see them really getting to know each other and how unfiltered Cece was able to be with him. I did feel bad for both of them when the internet got involved in their relationship because they both were dealing with what it meant for each of them.

I loved how supportive Cece’s mom was of everything that Cece did and how she stepped in whenever she was needed. I loved watching the moments in which they watched television together or when Cece’s mom stepped in to take care of her. Her mom being supportive reminded me of staying in my mom’s bedroom shortly after getting my heart broken and how much I needed her in those moments.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Cece. I really liked that we got this story through her perspective and we don’t get to see how anyone else is feeling. I think it was great that we didn’t get Sylvie’s perspective on the breakup beyond what was posted online, and we don’t get to know Josh’s feelings when he isn’t with Cece.

There were some pieces of things on the app included in the story in a different color font which I thought was great to include. I really liked that we got to see these messages from others online and were not just told how Cece feels about it.