How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox Book Review

Book Description

Biz knows how to float. She has her people, her posse, her mom and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, who loves her so hard, and who shouldn’t be here but is. So Biz doesn’t tell anyone anything. Not about her dark, runaway thoughts, not about kissing Grace or noticing Jasper, the new boy. And she doesn’t tell anyone about her dad. Because her dad died when she was six. And Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface—normal okay regular fine.

But after what happens on the beach—first in the ocean, and then in the sand–the tethers that hold Biz steady come undone. Dad disappears, and with him, all comfort. It might be easier, better, sweeter to float all the way away? Or maybe stay a little longer, find her father, bring him back to her. Or maybe—maybe maybe maybe—there’s a third way Biz just can’t see yet.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I had this one on my shelves for a while without really knowing what it was about. It was available at my library on audiobook though so I decided why not give it a chance. From the minute I started listening to it, the narrator drew me in and I loved the characters. I was able to instantly relate to Biz even before the event that changes her happens.

There is so much in this book that I really enjoy as it covers so many topics. I liked the way this book deals with grief and different forms of grief as Biz lost her father but at some point she loses pieces of herself and who she used to be. I also liked how this book handled mental health and how that not only affects the person who is dealing with it but also those around them. I also really liked that we got to see what Bix thinks of the words that everyone is saying in an attempt to “fix her.”

I like the way we get to see Biz’s inner thoughts take over to convince her of negative things. I thought that was very realistic for mental illnesses and it reminded me of how hard it can be to tell the anxiety and depression that they are wrong. I thought that it was good that we also got to see some of the time in which Biz is in-patient treatment. I liked how it seemed that she is confused and things are happening around her but she doesn’t know why or how.

Characters: In this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with our main character, Biz. I liked seeing all of Biz’s interactions with the different people in her life. I liked seeing how each of them react to her being depressed differently, most of the people in her life don’t know how to respond and then others are just there for her.

I liked getting to see her relationship with her mom and how that shifts throughout the course of the book. I liked getting to see how they both are trying to help each other without knowing what the other person needs. I also like how we get to see how their emotions are affecting each other.

I also liked getting to see Biz’s relationship with Jasper and how that develops through the course of the book.

I also really enjoy getting to read about Biz’s relationship with her dad which is a ghost. I like how she relies on him a lot and doesn’t really know how to live without his presence there. I like how he seems to disappear when it seems that she doesn’t need him but she takes it differently.

Author Information

Helena Fox lives in Wollongong, Australia, where she runs creative writing workshops for young people. She’s a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.
She has travelled widely, living in Peru, Spain, the U.K, Samoa, and the US. Of all her adventures, Helena is proudest of the work she has done helping young people find and express their voice.


How It Feels To Float is her debut novel.

So This is Ever After by F.T. Lukens Book Review

Book Description

Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next.

As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.

With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: Once I finished reading In Deeper Waters, I knew I had to get my hands on this book so I pre-ordered it. Thankfully I winded up getting the chance to read an advanced reader’s copy through Netgalley because I didn’t want to have to wait for this book.

This book does have a slow start because they have to introduce the characters to you, the world, and the magic that is involved. This being said the slow start was perfectly fine with me as I loved learning about these characters, their magic, and the new kingdom that they are tasked with running.

The book does pick up around the 50% mark as you get to see a lot more action happening with fighting scenes and also scenes where the team is introduced to new people. I enjoyed reading the scenes in which the team was in danger as this made me want to continue reading to see if they got themselves out this time and how they managed to do this. I liked getting a chance to see them all in action as a team and see how their strengths work with each other to defeat anything/anyone they come across.

Something I really enjoyed about this book was the theme of found family, I just think that the book captured the feelings of this quite well. I really enjoyed seeing each of the character’s relationships with each other and how supportive they are of one another. I also really liked how they all felt like a family and it felt like they had known each other their whole lives.

I really enjoyed getting to learn about the magic that was involved in this new kingdom and how the magic affected the king. I liked learning alongside each of the characters because the reader’s reaction sometimes mirrors Arek’s reactions as he finds out more about what he got himself into.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters as they are the team that is working with King Arek to run this kingdom. You get to meet his best friend Matt, Sionna, Rion, Lila, and Bethany, each of which I winded up loving from the moment that you meet them. It’s really easy to see why King Arek keeps these people around and why he is so scared to lose them.

I loved all of the characters and their relationships with each other. I liked getting to see how Arek interacted with each of the people on his team and to see him stumble through trying to woo anyone. I really enjoyed getting a chance to see each of the characters on their own to see their traits, characteristics, and abilities shine on their own. I thought it was great to have moments in which each of them was able to provide Arek with something that another person wouldn’t be able to provide.

Something else I enjoyed about the characters was the number of Queer characters that were included in this book. I don’t believe any sexualities were ever named but you see who each of the characters end up dating and/or who they attempt to have relationships with.

Writing Style: This story is written in the first person through the perspective of King Arek which I thought was great. I really liked getting to see everything through his perspective even if there were times that I wanted to know what others thought about certain things that were happening. I really would’ve liked to see some of the stories unfold through Matt’s perspective but I think if that was included certain scenes wouldn’t have been as impactful to the reader.

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.

All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown Book Review

Book Description

When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he’s injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population, including everyone both boys have ever loved. And if this new world has taught them anything, it’s to be scared of what other desperate people will do . . . so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other?

After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But something isn’t adding up about Andrew’s story, and it could cost them everything. And Jamie has a secret, too. He’s starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey.

The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together. Only one thing feels certain: all that’s left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other. 

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was a bit wary about reading this book because I knew it would deal with our current pandemic, I knew that there would be commentary about it and I was worried about my feelings getting in the way of enjoying this book. I am glad that I decided to read it anyway because dystopian books are my favorite and I have yet to see a queer one.

This book is covered in sticky notes with my thoughts all over it and a lot of those are me just gushing about all of the characters and the slow burn romance. There is no part of this book that I do not love but there are moments in which I was worried for the boys.

Something that I really enjoy about this book is how this book makes commentary about how the Covid-19 pandemic was handled. I really appreciated these pieces but also enjoyed how it didn’t feel like I was just reliving the past two years of our pandemic. I liked that this book was about a pandemic but it was so much more than that, it had these boys figuring out who they are among this disaster of a world, it has people who were destroyed by this pandemic emotionally and mentally, it has loss and trying to come back from that loss, and it has love at the end of the world.

I liked how each place that the boys come across is described and we get to walk this trail with them. I felt like I was on this journey along with them and was scared every time they were scared. I also really liked how we got to meet several different groups of people along the way. I thought that was really reflective of the way that the C-19 pandemic has affected out world.

Characters: In this book you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with Andrew and Jamison. I really enjoyed so many of the characters that we meet throughout this story even the bad ones because of how developed they were.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Andrew and Jamison, and the way it develops throughout the story. I love that they start off as friends but also love how instant their trust for each other is. I liked the slow burn romance between them because when they finally admit their feelings to each other it makes it so worth it. I also really enjoyed how everyone who met them knew of their feelings for each other and while Andrew knew of his feelings, Jamison was still questioning his feelings and neither knew about the other’s feelings.

Writing Style: This book is written in dual point of view alternating between Andrew and Jamison throughout the book. I really enjoyed getting to be in both of their heads and see this pandemic through both of their eyes. I really liked that we get to go along the journey with Jamison as he questions his sexuality due to his feelings for Andrew. I thought it was great getting a chance to see how each of them feel not just about each other but also about the things that are happening in this story.

Author Information

Erik J. Brown is a writer based in Philadelphia, PA.

In 2009 he graduated from Temple University with a degree in Film and Media Arts with an emphasis in Writing for Media. When not writing, he enjoys traveling (pre-pandemic), collecting disco compilations on vinyl, remodelin

g his haunted house with his husband, and embarking on the relentless quest of appeasing his Shiba Inu, Charlie.

In 2021 he was selected as a Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Fellow.

His debut Young Adult novel, ALL THAT’S LEFT IN THE WORLD will be published in early 2022 by HarperColllins/Balzer+Bray.

You can find him on Twitter @WriterikJB, and Instagram @ErikJB

Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass Book Tour Post

Book Description

Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Publishing Date: March 22, 2022

Synopsis:

Rain Reign meets Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World in this heartfelt novel about a neurodivergent thirteen-year-old navigating changing friendships, a school trip, and expanding horizons.

Thirteen-year-old Ellen Katz feels most comfortable when her life is well planned out and people fit neatly into her predefined categories. She attends temple with Abba and Mom every Friday and Saturday. Ellen only gets crushes on girls, never boys, and she knows she can always rely on her best-and-only friend, Laurel, to help navigate social situations at their private Georgia middle school. Laurel has always made Ellen feel like being autistic is no big deal. But lately, Laurel has started making more friends, and cancelling more weekend plans with Ellen than she keeps. A school trip to Barcelona seems like the perfect place for Ellen to get their friendship back on track.  Except it doesn’t. Toss in a new nonbinary classmate whose identity has Ellen questioning her very binary way of seeing the world, homesickness, a scavenger hunt-style team project that takes the students through Barcelona to learn about Spanish culture and this trip is anything but what Ellen planned.

Making new friends and letting go of old ones is never easy, but Ellen might just find a comfortable new place for herself if she can learn to embrace the fact that life doesn’t always stick to a planned itinerary.

Book Links

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

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was so thrilled when I saw this book was coming out because it has an Autistic main character and a non-binary side character. I was so excited to sign up for the tour for this book and so happy that I was admitted onto the tour. This is a book that I winded up hugging when I was done with this book because of how much it made me feel seen.

I really liked how throughout this book Ellen is teaching others what it means to her to be Autistic and Isa is teaching others what it means for them to be non-binary. I liked how each of them breaks things down for each other, and how they both allow each other to have questions but are honest if the questions are too much.

Something else that I really enjoyed about this book is how Ellen is exploring who she is and how her teammates just allow for this exploration while Laurel seems to not be on board with these changes. I really loved how Ellen just freely said that she thought Meritzcell is cute without thinking what others would say but then we see how madison’s reaction changes how Ellen navigates these feelings.

There is so much that I could say about this book because of how much I really loved it and all the little pieces that make up this book. I liked that the book was about Ellen’s trip to Barcelona and we see how her being Autistic affects this trip but it isn’t completely centered on this part of who she is.

Characters: In this book, you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Ellen. You get to meet Ellen’s dad, her best friend, Laurel, and her teammates, Andy, Gibs, and Isa. You also get to briefly meet some of Laurel’s teammates and new friends, Madison and Sophie-Anne.

I really loved everyone on Ellen’s team and how they supported her throughout her time in Barcelona and how they just seemed to understand her. I was frustrated with Laurel throughout this book because it seemed that she didn’t really know Ellen or care about her since she had these new friends and Ellen didn’t really fit into that new life. I really enjoyed that Ellen’s teammates accepted her for who she is but still hold her accountable when she does something to hurt her teammates.

I really enjoyed Ellen’s relationship with her dad and how he is around but not really interfering in Ellen’s exploration of the city. I like that he treats her in the same manner that he treats the other students on the trip. I also really liked the conversations that they have about faith and how Ellen goes to her father to discuss what she did to potentially ruin her friendships.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of Ellen which I thought was great. I liked to see how she was experiencing this trip through her perspective rather than what others thought was happening. I thought it was great to know things based on what our main character actually thought was going on rather than have outside input.

Author Information

A. J. Sass (he/they) is an author, editor, and competitive figure skater who is interested in how intersections of identity, neurodiversity, and allyship can impact story narratives. He is the author of Ana on the Edge, a Booklist Editors’ Choice 2020 and ALA 2021 Rainbow Book List Top 10 for Young Readers selection, and Ellen Outside the Lines (Little, Brown, 2022), the co-author of Camp QUILTBAG* with Nicole Melleby (Algonquin, 2023), as well as a contributor to the This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us (Knopf) and Allies: Real Talk about Showing Up, Screwing Up, and Trying Again (DK US & UK) anthologies. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his boyfriend and two cats who act like dogs.

Author Links

Website ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters Book Review

Book Description

School’s out, senior year is over, and Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where—despite his social anxiety—he’ll be left to make friends on his own. Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. The way it should be. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi—Isaac’s old crush—distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan. It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac? 

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I first heard of this book and when I first started reading I thought it was going to be a romance book but I was pleasantly surprised. This book is about love but not just about a romantic relationship, it covers romantic love, familial love, and love between friends. There are a few easter eggs in this book from other LGBTQ+ books which I really enjoyed when I stumbled across the ones that were familiar to me.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was the way that familial relationships were handled throughout this book. I think the author did a great job depicting how difficult change can be, and how hard navigating emotions can be when you don’t share those with others. I liked that a lot of the issues between Isaac and others came down to him learning how to communicate his feelings and asking questions rather than assuming the worst. I really did enjoy that this book included the way that Isaac’s social anxiety was impacting his relationships with others without directly telling you that this is what was going on. I was able to relate to a lot in this book because of how his social anxiety was manifesting itself.

I highly recommend reading this one if you liked Encanto since I got a lot of similar vibes from this book in terms of familial love and relationships. The minute I read the first few pages of this book I said “this is me, this story is just me.” and it is rare that I find a book where I feel the author just gets me.

Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters and at first I thought it was going to be too many to remember them all but I winded up loving each and every one of them. You get to meet Isaac’s family members and friends, as well as some of Diego’s family members.

I loved getting to meet Diego’s mom, dad, and brother, Ollie. I loved seeing the relationship that Isaac had with each of Diego’s family members and how they served as a support system to him as well. I also really enjoyed the contrast that we get to see between Diego’s parents and Isaac’s parents, and how it isn’t only the reader noticing this but also Isaac pointing it out.

Then we also get to meet several of Isaac’s family members. I liked how Isaac had a different relationship with each of his family members and how that changed throughout the story. I really liked getting to learn more about Isaac’s family and why he has certain images of different people. I liked the moments that we get to see Isaac interact with Iggy and see those two finally opening up to each other. I really liked that we got to see Iggy explain why certain things happened the way they did and realize how he was just trying to protect the family just like Isaac was trying to protect his mom.

Then there are all of Diego’s friends who wind up becoming Isaac’s friends as well and their main friend group. I loved each of those characters and how unique each one of them is. I was so intrigued by them and loved each minute that we got to learn a little more about them. I liked how awkward Isaac was around this friend group yet how accepting they were of him. I really liked that this friend group was the first time that Isaac felt he was being included in conversations and they went out of their way to try and make sure he felt included.

Last but definitely not least, I loved the relationship between Diego and Isaac, both when they were friends and even after. I liked that throughout the whole book we get to see these characters be affectionate with each other as just friends. I feel that we oftentimes don’t see boys show affection towards each other and especially not queer boys of color unless they are in a romantic relationship. I was yelling at both of them to tell each other their feelings throughout this whole book because it was so obvious to the outside parties but not to them. I liked the amount of time it took for them to become a romantic pair though because it allowed this book to be much more than just about them.

Writing Style: This story is told in the first person through the perspective of Isaac. I liked that we get to see this story through his perspective because we get to feel all of his emotions as they are happening. I liked that this book lets each of the characters have feelings and be messy without always needing a solution immediately.

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..

Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram Book Review

Book Description

Hunter never expected to be a boy band star, but, well, here he is. He and his band Kiss & Tell are on their first major tour of North America, playing arenas all over the United States and Canada (and getting covered by the gossipy press all over North America as well). Hunter is the only gay member of the band, and he just had a very painful bre

akup with his first boyfriend–leaked sexts, public heartbreak, and all–and now everyone expects him to play the perfect queer role model for teens.

But Hunter isn’t really sure what being the perfect queer kid even means. Does it mean dressing up in whatever The Label tells him to wear for photo shoots and pretending never to have sex? (Unfortunately, yes.) Does it mean finding community among the queer kids at the meet-and-greets after K&T’s shows? (Fortunately, yes.) Does it include a new relationship with Kaivan, the star of the band opening for K&T on tour? (He hopes so.) But when The Label finds out about Hunter and Kaivan, it spells trouble—for their relationship, for the perfect gay boy Hunter plays for the cameras, and, most importantly, for Hunter himself. 

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I was so happy to receive an advanced copy of this on Netgalley and then have the publisher send me a physical advanced copy. I took a little bit to actually read if because I had just finished another boy band book and was worried that this would just be like that. I am so glad that I am wrong because I really enjoyed so much of the nuance in this book. This book covers a lot of themes and you would think that it would be overloaded but it isn’t, each theme flows with the other and they each wrap up well. This book touches on friendships, coming out, racism, fame, dating, queerness, and more.

Something I really enjoyed about this book was how Hunter has to navigate being gay and out while being famous. I think it was great to see how he navigates this and how he messes up with his relationships, friends, and more. Hunter spends a lot of time in this story figuring out what it means for him to be Gay vs what it means for the label. I thought this was a good thing that the book addresses in showing what the world’s expectations are of a famous out queer teen and what Hunter wanted.

Something else that I enjoyed that this book points out and Hunter struggles with throughout the book is Hunter is a White Gay male, Kaivan is a person of color and so are several of the band members. Hunter is so focused on him being Gay and how that affects his image and the things he has to do to preserve that image, that he fails to realize the racism that is affecting those around him. I think a lot of the conversations that Kaivan has with Hunter regarding this are so important to include and pause at to take in. I liked that Hunter just doesn’t get it and we know he won’t ever fully understand but I think its important that his friends call him out on this.

Characters: In this book you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Hunter. Something that I really enjoyed about this book was the diversity in the band and in the love interests. I thought that the diversity in race/ethnicities for the band members and Kaivan was something that was done well and a great addition as they interact with Hunter.

I really enjoyed all of the relationships in this story as I think they all showed different sides of Hunter. I liked getting to see his relationship with Kaivan develop even if I first thought that it was a little quick. I liked to see the way that Kaivan explained certain things to Hunter and didn’t let him get away with pitying himself and thinking that he was the only one going through things.

I also really enjoyed the relationship that Hunter has with his friends and most importantly his best friend, Ashton. I really would have liked to see more of their friendship as this seems to be affected every time Hunter gets into a relationship. I also would have liked to see more interactions between Hunter and Aiden since I think this is a huge part of the story.

Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Hunter which is something that I really enjoyed. I think that the story is much more impactful because we only get to see Hunter’s feelings throughout all of this. We don’t get to see the way the other band members feel about certain things he says and does unless they share that with him. We don’t get to see how Kaivan really feels if he doesn’t share that with Hunter.

Something else that I enjoyed about this book were the snippets of articles online, interviews, and emails from others. I liked that this was included because it adds to the story. There were things that the reader knew that Hunter still hadn’t discovered which made me want to read to see if he would ever find this information out. I thought that was an important piece because of the information that is revealed throughout the story.

Author Information

ADIB KHORRAM is the author of DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY, which earned the William C. Morris Debut Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature, and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor, as well as a multitude of other honors and accolades. His followup, DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER, received three starred reviews, was an Indie Bestseller, and received a Stonewall Honor. His debut picture book, SEVEN SPECIAL SOMETHINGS: A NOWRUZ STORY was released in 2021. When he isn’t writing, you can find him learning to do a Lutz jump, practicing his handstands, or steeping a cup of oolong. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where people don’t usually talk about themselves in the third person. You can find him on Twitter (@adibkhorram), Instagram (@adibkhorram), or on the web at adibkhorram.com.

Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore Book Review

Book Description

Title: Lakelore

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore 

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: March 8th, 2022 

Pages: 304

Genres: Young Adult fantasy 

Synopsis:

In this young adult novel by award-winning author Anna-Marie McLemore, two non-binary teens are pulled into a magical world under a lake – but can they keep their worlds above water intact?

Everyone who lives near the lake knows the stories about the world underneath it, an ethereal landscape rumored to be half-air, half-water. But Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia are the only ones who’ve been there. Bastián grew up both above the lake and in the otherworldly space beneath it. Lore’s only seen the world under the lake once, but that one encounter changed their life and their fate.

Then the lines between air and water begin to blur. The world under the lake drifts above the surface. If Bastián and Lore don’t want it bringing their secrets to the surface with it, they have to stop it and to do that, they have to work together. There’s just one problem: Bastián and Lore haven’t spoken in seven years, and working together means trusting each other with the very things they’re trying to hide.

Goodreads ~ Blackwells ~ Amazon ~ Book Depository ~ Barnes & Noble

Review

Thoughts and Themes: There is so much to love about this book and just from the first few pages I knew that I was going to enjoy this book. I love that in this book we get two Trans main characters and that they are both neurodivergent. Also, I loved that Bastian is a boy and non-binary, I wrote so like me?!!! because I rarely see that in books. I don’t see many non-binary boys anywhere and it’s so nice to see one in something I am reading.

I can’t speak much about the neurodivergent representation since it isn’t the same that I have experience with but I really enjoyed getting a chance to read two characters that have ADHD and are dyslexic. I liked getting a chance to see how their neurodivergence shapes how they interact with others and how they navigate their surroundings.

There are so many sentences in this book that I highlighted because they were just beautifully written or because they spoke to me. I related so much to each of the main characters in different ways and just loved the world under the sea. I really liked getting a chance to see how Bastian resorts to making alebrijes and where that all comes from.

Characters: In this book, you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Lore and Bastian. You mainly get to meet some of Bastian’s friends, and both of their families. I loved all of the relationships in this story and really enjoyed getting to see how things change throughout the book.

I loved the relationship between Bastian and Lore and how it goes from friendship to much more but loved that Bastian made it clear that it didn’t have to be more. I thought it was great to have Lore experience that and I liked that they talk about how boys feel entitled to someone but Bastian wasn’t like that. I liked getting a chance to see how they just understand each other on a level that others just don’t get.

I also really loved all of Bastian’s friends and how they all support him but also are there for Lore when they need them. I loved getting a glimpse into each of these characters and seeing what they are like. I also really liked getting a chance to learn about Bastian and Lore’s families and how they shaped them into who they are now.

Writing Style: This book is written in dual POV through the perspectives of Bastian and Lore which I really enjoyed. I liked getting to see the way they both navigated the world and also how they navigated relationships with others. I liked getting a chance to see them both have reasons for holding parts of themselves away from others and see what happens when those parts are revealed to each other.

Author Information

Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. They are the author of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award; 2017 Stonew

all Honor Book WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature; WILD BEAUTY, a Kirkus Best Book of 2017; and BLANCA & ROJA, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. DARK AND DEEPEST RED, a reimagining of The Red Shoes based on true medieval events, is forthcoming in January 2020.

Website ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Romance Recommendations 2022

I don’t read a lot of romance books but I realized that most of the books that I read have some romance in them. I wanted to give you all a few books you can get lost in this valentine’s day weekend in case you don’t have any plans.

Serendipity by Marissa Meyer (Editor)

Love is in the air in this is a collection of stories inspired by romantic tropes and edited by #1 New York Times-bestselling author Marissa Meyer.

The secret admirer.
The fake relationship.
The matchmaker.


From stories of first love, unrequited love, love that surprises, love that’s been there all along, ten of the brightest and award-winning authors writing YA have taken on some of your favorite romantic tropes, embracing them and turning them on their heads. Readers will swoon for this collection of stories that celebrate love at its most humorous, inclusive, heart-expanding, and serendipitous.

Contributors include Elise Bryant, Elizabeth Eulberg, Leah Johnson, Anna-Marie McLemore, Marissa Meyer, Sandhya Menon, Julie Murphy, Caleb Roehrig, Sarah Winifred Searle, and Abigail Hing Wen. 

The Love Hypothesis (Love Hypothesis #1) by Ali Hazelwood

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding… six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland 

A romance starring a Mexican American teen who discovers love and profound truths about the universe when she spends her summer on a road trip across the country.

When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible.

Most notable is her bunkmate and new nemesis, Santiago Phillips, who is grumpy, combative, and also the hottest guy Moon has ever seen.

Moon is certain she hates Santiago and that he hates her back. But as chance and destiny (and maybe, probably, close proximity) bring the two of them in each other’s perpetual paths, Moon starts to wonder if that’s really true. She even starts to question her destiny as the unnoticed, unloved wallflower she always thought she was.

Could this summer change Moon’s life as she knows it?

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk,Nicola Yoon 

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. 

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp

A story of first love, familial expectations, the power of food, and finding where you belong.

Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans—leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself.

Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that—a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself.

Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong in order to save the place they all call home.

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters

Kacen Callender meets Becky Albertalli in a deliciously geeky best friends-to lovers romance from award-winning author Julian Winters!

School’s out, senior year is over, and Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where—despite his social anxiety—he’ll be left to make friends on his own. Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. The way it should be. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi—Isaac’s old crush—distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan. It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

September Wrap-Up

I winded up reading a lot of books throughout the beginning of September but things slowed down once school picked up for me. Sorry that I’m bringing this to you all a bit late but I thought better late than never. I also didn’t wind up providing a review for a lot of these on here because they were so short.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell , Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrator)

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh

Kat Leyh’s Snapdragon is a magical realist graphic novel about a young girl who befriends her town’s witch and discovers the strange magic within herself.

Snap’s town had a witch.

At least, that’s how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a Crocs-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online. It’s creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it’s kind of cool, too.

Snap needs a favor from this old woman, though, so she begins helping Jacks with her strange work. Snap gets to know her and realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic—and an unlikely connection to Snap’s family’s past.

Love Is Love: A Comic Book Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of the Orlando Pulse Shooting by Marc Andreyko (Contributor), Gabriel Bautista (Illustrator), Teddy Tenenbaum, Mike Huddleston (Illustrator), Judd Winick, Jeff Jensen, David López (Illustrator), ETC.

The comic industry comes together in honor of those killed in Orlando. Co-published by two of the premiere publishers in comics—DC and IDW, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talent in comics, mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world. All material has been kindly donated by the writers, artists, and editors with all proceeds going to victims, survivors, and their families. Be a part of an historic comics event! It doesn’t matter who you love. All that matters is you love. 

The Infinite Noise (The Bright Sessions #1) by Lauren Shippen 

Lauren Shippen’s The Infinite Noise is a stunning, original debut novel based on her wildly popular and award-winning podcast The Bright Sessions.

Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”

Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.

Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it “a deadpan epic.”

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit. 

Fence, Vol. 1 (Fence #1-4) by C.S. Pacat , Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana LaFuente (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer)

Combines Issues #1-4.

Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama…

Through clashes, rivalries, and romance between teammates, Nicholas and the boys of Kings Row will discover there’s much more to fencing than just foils and lunges. From acclaimed writer C.S. Pacat (The Captive Prince) and fan-favorite artist Johanna the Mad.

Fence, Vol. 2 (Fence #5-8) by C.S. Pacat 

Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place on the Kings Row fencing team, alongside sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama, to win the right to go up against his golden-boy half-brother.

Tryouts are well underway at King’s Row for a spot on the prodigious fencing team, and scrappy fencer Nicholas isn’t sure he’s going to make the grade in the face of surly upperclassmen, nearly impossibly odds, and his seemingly unstoppable roommate, the surly, sullen Seiji Katayama. It’ll take more than sheer determination to overcome a challenge this big!

From the superstar team of C.S. Pacat (The Captive Prince) and fan-favorite artist Johanna the Mad comes the second volume of this acclaimed, dynamic series.

Fence, Vol. 3 (Fence #9-12) by C.S. Pacat , Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana LaFuente (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer) 

Combines Issues #9-12.

Scrappy fencer Nicholas Cox comes to the end of his path to prove himself worthy of a father he never knew in the face of surly upperclassmen, nearly impossible odds, and the talent of his rival, sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama.

Sparks fly white-hot on the pitch as Nicholas and Seiji finally face off once again in the halls of King’s Row. It’s a match that will change King’s Row (and both of them!) forever, and set the stage as the team journeys to face their bitter rivals and prove themselves once and for all. 

The third volume of the breakneck series from writer C.S. Pacat (The Captive Prince) and fan-favorite artist Johanna the Mad comes at you as fast as a parry and hits as hard as a strike. 

Rick and Morty, Vol. 1 (Rick and Morty (Collected Editions) #1) by Zac Gorman, C.J. Cannon (Contributor), Marc Ellerby (Contributor)

The hit comic book series based on Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s hilarious [adult swim] animated show Rick & Morty is now available in its first collection! Join the excitement as depraved genius Rick Sanchez embarks on insane adventures with his awkward grandson Morty across the universe and across time. Caught in the crossfire are his teenage granddaughter Summer, his veterinary surgeon daughter Beth, and his hapless son-in-law Jerry.

This collection features the first five issues of the comic book series, including “The Wubba Lubba Dub Dub of Wall Street,” “Mort-Balls!” and more, along with hilarious mini-comics showcasing the whole family.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed 

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez 

An unforgettable, torrential, and hopeful debut young adult novel-in-verse that redefines what it means to “make it,” for readers of Nicholasa Mohr and Elizabeth Acevedo.

Sarai is a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has been denied.

When We Make It is a love letter to anyone who was taught to believe that they would not make it. To those who feel their emotions before they can name them. To those who still may not have all the language but they have their story. Velasquez’ debut novel is sure to leave an indelible mark on all who read it.

You and Me at the End of the World by Brianna Bourne

This is no ordinary apocalypse…

Hannah Ashton wakes up to silence. The entire city around her is empty, except for one other person: Leo Sterling. Leo might be hottest boy ever (and not just because he’s the only one left), but he’s also too charming, too selfish, and too devastating for his own good, let alone Hannah’s.

Stuck with only each other, they explore a world with no parents, no friends, and no school and realize that they can be themselves instead of playing the parts everyone expects of them. Hannah doesn’t have to be just an overachieving, music-box-perfect ballerina, and Leo can be more than a slacker, 80s-glam-metal-obsessed guitarist. Leo is a burst of honesty and fun that draws Hannah out, and Hannah’s got Leo thinking about someone other than himself for the first time.

Together, they search for answers amid crushing isolation, but while their empty world may appear harmless . . . it’s not. Because nothing is quite as it seems, and if Hannah and Leo don’t figure out what’s going on, they might just be torn apart forever.

The Plain Janes (Janes #1-2 + Janes Attack Back) by Cecil Castellucci, Jim Rugg 

Meet the Plain Janes–artist activists on a mission to wake up their sleepy suburban town. This cult classic graphic novel is perfect for fans of The LumberJanes and Awkward.

When artsy misfit Jane Beckles is forced to leave her beloved city life behind for the boring suburb of Kent Waters, she thinks her life is over. But then she finds where she belongs: at the reject table in the cafeteria, along with fellow misfits Brain Jayne, Theater Jane, and sporty Polly Jane. United by only two things-a shared name and frustration with the adults around them–the girls form a secret club dedicated to fighting suburban apathy with guerrilla works of art scattered around their small town.

But for Main Jane, the group is more than simple teenaged rebellion; it’s an act of survival. She’s determined not to let fear rule her life like it does her parents’ and neighbors’ lives. Armed with her sketchbook and a mission of resistance, the PLAIN Janes are out to prove that passion, bravery, and a group of great friends can save anyone from the hell that is high school.

With each installment printed in its own distinct color, this volume includes the original two stories–The Plain Janes and Janes in Love–plus a never-before-seen third story, Janes Attack Back. The Janes are back, and better than ever.

Coo by Kaela Noel 

One young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart.

Ten years ago, an impossible thing happened: a flock of pigeons picked up a human baby who had been abandoned in an empty lot and carried her, bundled in blankets, to their roof. Coo has lived her entire life on the rooftop with the pigeons who saved her. It’s the only home she’s ever known. But then a hungry hawk nearly kills Burr, the pigeon she loves most, and leaves him gravely hurt.

Coo must make a perilous trip to the ground for the first time to find Tully, a retired postal worker who occasionally feeds Coo’s flock, and who can heal injured birds. Tully mends Burr’s broken wing and coaxes Coo from her isolated life. Living with Tully, Coo experiences warmth, safety, and human relationships for the first time. But just as Coo is beginning to blossom, she learns the human world is infinitely more complex – and cruel – than she could have imagined. 

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles 

From one of the brightest and most acclaimed new lights in YA fiction, a fantastic new novel about a bi Black boy finding first love . . . and facing the return of the mother who abandoned his preacher family when he was nine.

There’s always been a hole in Gio’s life. Not because he’s into both guys and girls. Not because his father has some drinking issues. Not because his friends are always bringing him their drama. No, the hole in Gio’s life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother, and his father when Gio was nine years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her . . . and now, just as he’s started to get his life together, she’s back.

It’s hard for Gio to know what to do. Can he forgive her like she wants to be forgiven? Or should he tell her she lost her chance to be in his life? Complicating things further, Gio’s started to hang out with David, a new guy on the basketball team. Are they friends? More than friends? At first, Gio’s not sure . . . especially because he’s not sure what he wants from anyone right now.

There are no easy answers to love — whether it’s family love or friend love or romantic love. In Things We Couldn’t Say, Jay Coles, acclaimed author of Tyler Johnson Was Here, shows us a guy trying to navigate love in all its ambiguity — hoping at the other end he’ll be able to figure out who is and who he should be.

 

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles Blog Tour Post

Book Description

Title: Things We Couldn’t Say 

Author: Jay Coles 

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: September 21st, 2021

Genres: Young Adult Contemporary 

Synopsis:

From one of the brightest and most acclaimed new lights in YA fiction, a fantastic new novel about a bi Black boy finding first love . . . and facing the return of the mother who abandoned his preacher family when he was nine.

There’s always been a hole in Gio’s life. Not because he’s into both guys and girls. Not because his father has some drinking issues. Not because his friends are always bringing him their drama. No, the hole in Gio’s life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother, and his father when Gio was nine years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her . . . and now, just as he’s started to get his life together, she’s back.

It’s hard for Gio to know what to do. Can he forgive her like she wants to be forgiven? Or should he tell her she lost her chance to be in his life? Complicating things further, Gio’s started to hang out with David, a new guy on the basketball team. Are they friends? More than friends? At first, Gio’s not sure . . . especially because he’s not sure what he wants from anyone right now.

There are no easy answers to love — whether it’s family love or friend love or romantic love. In Things We Couldn’t Say, Jay Coles, acclaimed author of Tyler Johnson Was Here, shows us a guy trying to navigate love in all its ambiguity — hoping at the other end he’ll be able to figure out who is and who he should be. 

Book links

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

Review

Thank You to Colored Pages Tours for having me on this blog tour for the book Things we Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles. Check our the tour schedule here.

Thoughts and Themes: There was so much that I really enjoyed about this story. There is not enough stories about bisexual boys and I loved that in this story both the main character and David are bisexual. This story handles a lot of different things, from Gio figuring out his sexuality to him dealing with his feelings about his mother abandoning him when he was younger.

I also really liked the different mental health issues that are brought up through this story. There was a lot going on for both Gio and his brother, Theo when it comes to their mental health and I liked how that was a part of the story. We got to see them have real emotions and I loved that everyone around them took those emotions seriously. I liked that Gio was given permission by those around him to be vulnerable with them and how important that vulnerability was for him to be able to cope with what was happening in his life.

Characters: In this story you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with Gio. You get to meet Gio’s younger brother, Theo, his best friends, Ayesha and Olly, the love interest, David, and Gio’s step mother, dad, and birth mom.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Gio and his younger brother and how protective he is of him. I also liked how Theo develops throughout this story and how essential he is to the development of Gio. I like how they discuss their feelings with each other and help each other navigate their mom trying to come back into their lives after abandoning them.

I really liked the friendship that Gio has with Ayesha and Olly, and then eventually develops with David. I like how they all keep things real with each other an dhow Gio feels like he can trust his friends with his feelings. I like how we get to see a friendship develop between Gio and David before a romance plot is even explored.

Writing Style: This story is written in first person through Gio’s perspective which was something that I enjoyed. I liked that the story allowed you to be inside of Gio’s head at every moment. This perspective allowed you to feel for Gio and also understand why he was acting certain ways with different people.

Author Information

JAY COLES is the author of critically acclaimed TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE, a composer with ASCAP, and a professional musician residing in Muncie, Indiana. He is a graduate of Vincennes University and Ball State University and holds degrees in English and Liberal Arts. When he’s not writing diverse books, he’s advocating for them, serving with The Revolution church, and composing music for various music publishers. Jay’s forthcoming novel THINGS WE COULDN’T SAY is set to be released 9.21.21 with Scholastic! His novels can be purchased at Barnes and Noble or at Amazon. 

Author Links

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