Books

Book 580: Freak Show – James St. James

Wow – there’s a lot to take in from this book and I’m glad I read it even though it definitely took me for a bit of a spin. And even though it took a while for me to get used to the writing, the characters, and the flamboyancy, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Unlike other young adult LGBT+ novels—emphasis on “G” (Out of the Pocket, Autoboyography, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Geography ClubBoy Meets Boy, Two Boys Kissing, etc.), this book has a character who doesn’t happen to be gay, who isn’t some jock that likes guys. Billy Boyd is loud and proud, even if he doesn’t quite know how to define himself just yet.

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Books

Book 579: Geography Club (Russel Middlebrook #1) – Brent Hartinger

This book is definitely a bit dated, but still worth the read. Basically if this book and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli were merged it’d be perfect. And really, to be fair, Simon is an updated version of this down to the meeting online and ultimately meeting in person.

I think this book hit me a little stronger than Simon because it was written back when I was just finishing high school and I could relate to so much of it more so than the tech heavy (hello school Tumblr) “reboot” of the story. I mean chatrooms? YES! I remember going to the public library with my best friend after school so we could use the computers to chat with strangers online. It was crazy.

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Books

Book 571: Just Julian (Romeo & Julian #2) – Markus Harwood-Jones

I started Romeo for Real the morning after I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and I finished before I got to work. That afternoon on the bus home I read this one and finished it before bed. Not only are these short works, but they are hi/lo novels that are designed for reluctant readers with easier language and fast paced as I found out when I got them from NetGalley*

It’s hard to separate this from Romeo for Real because they are the same story from opposite perspectives. I wouldn’t usually be mad at a decision to write like this, but the fact that they are separated into two books is frustrating. Neither book can stand on its own without leaving SO many questions unanswered and even together the two books don’t have enough character development to make them worth it.

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Book 570: Romeo for Real (Romeo & Julian #1) – Markus Harwood-Jones

This book and the next book are companion novels, so they are intertwined. They are also apparently hi/lo novels, novels “intended for reluctant and struggling readers. As such it is fast-paced, short, and uses high interest content with simple vocabulary to keep these readers engaged.” And even knowing this I’m not sure they hit the mark.

I grabbed copies of these from NetGalley last month and only just got around to reading them in early August* because who doesn’t love an LGBT retelling of a classic? I know I do. Unfortunately, this part of the story, at least to my memory, was at such a minimum and tangential level it didn’t really work for me. It mostly came across in the main character’s names, Romeo Montague and Julian Capulet, and the very short time frame of the book.

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Books

Book 558: Autoboyography – Christina Lauren

I can’t believe I binged this. I started it around 4 PM on my way home from work and was done by midnight. I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did, but it just hit all the right notes for me.

Books like this and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda make me sad that these weren’t around when I was a teenager, but also incredibly happy at how far we’ve (allegedly) come as a society and for the future LGBTQ+ teens out there. I have two more Freak Show and Geography Club that I picked up a few months ago and am excited to read in the next few weeks. Books like these and the more recent comics I read in No Straight Lines make me feel like those old LGBTQ+ individuals on YouTube who are in awe of the freedom we have today.

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Books

Book 552: The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For – Alison Bechdel

After reading No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, I knew I had to revisit Alison Bechdel’s work. I’ve previously talked about her autobiographical graphic memoirs Fun Home and Are You My Mother?, but the last time I read any of the “Dykes to Watch Out For” I wasn’t blogging yet. I must’ve read one of the earlier compilations because I was in undergrad and Houghton Mifflin published this one after I graduated. This was a collection of most of the strips from the 25 year run of the comic strip.

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Book 494: Sovereign (Nemesis #2) – April Daniels

When I read April Daniels’ debut novel, Dreadnought I lamented the length of time I had to wait until the second in the series came out. What I didn’t realize then or now was that it was only in January of this year that I read Dreadnaught and less than five months later I was able to request Sovereign, the sequel.*

Sovereign picks up not long after the events of Dreadnought and Danny is coming more to terms with her powers as Dreadnought and coming more to terms with her transition. As much as I enjoyed this book, it’s not as strong as the first. It really felt that Daniels got too heavy-handed with the queer politics, as fascinating as they were, and it distracted too much from the story for my taste. I get that it’s an integral part of the story, but it honestly just felt too much like a crutch.

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