YA-LGBT

Simon vs The Homo Sapien agenda review

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“Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.”- summary from Amazon

Becky Albertalli has done an amazing job with her first novel (Soon to be film) Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. A coming of age novel where we get to follow the protagonist, Simon, as he deals with the daily affairs of being a high school student. One of the major things I liked about Simon’s voice is that it’s one of the most accurate depictions of what many gay teens think and say. From the constant curiosity of whom is this person he’s been ha01oreo_large.jpgving an online connection with for so long, to the internal –

simon_spier_by_readlikemad-d975adl.jpgconflict of wanting to tell the people close to you, but not being sure how they would take it. The true happiness Simon has it from this mystery person Blue. Who he chats with through email. A good bit of the book is almost like a game of sorts. We, along with Simon are trying to figure out who exactly is it he is emailing back and fourth. We get introduced to several likable, and unlikable characters who could be his potential bae, or at least the person he has been sending emails back and fourth with.

The way Becky Albertalli, ( who said she loved my youtube review of this book) writes her characters is simplistic enough to were you want can easily follow along but allows for along of dynamical differences and complexities to interwove into how the characters operate with each other. The characters in this book ALL play a role in how Simon views the world. ALL. OF. THEM. Many times authors have a few characters they place just because, or as fillers,  or to kill off. With no true catharsis, or emotional connection to the protagonist. That however, is not the case with this novel.

Now this book wasn’t a walk in the park for me. There were a few things I wasn’timg_0623.jpg a fan of. In particular, this notion that LGBT+ individuals shouldn’t have to come out, its like wishful thinking from an individual who probably doesn’t understand what it means to live in a heteronormative society. And much of our lively hood dominated by heterosexism. However, I digress, back to Simon Vs… One key moment he has with his parents, which don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil. Is probably the most relevant thing in this book to my life.

The book itself has earned a spot on my shelf as one of the best LGBT novels of 2015 (Yes,I know this post has been uploaded in 2016, I blame vacation) From the smooth talking best friend who I wish had her own book, to drama class performing Oliver! To every twist and turn this book throws at you. I give four stars out of five.

 

 

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HERO review

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I just finished reading HERO by Perry Moore. My Goodreads Said it took me five days but it actually took me roughly two days. Okay, first off. One of the major things I loved about this book is that the main character (Thom) Identified as gay. And throughout this novel he struggled with acceptance and understanding how to be himself. – However this is NOT the main plot.

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The main plot follows Thom and a few new friends he meets a long the way as they attempt to make it as members of the League superheros (Think Justice League), equipped with their own unique set of powers and skills. What I liked most about his friends is the humanizing quality they have. Each character for the most part has some flaw, but its not like an attitude problem or a weakness to peanut butter. Its an actual flaw.

The writing itself wasn’t the best, a lot of unconnected plots. For example: Thom’s superpower is he has the ability to heal people and things. However, one supporting character struggles with her own issue i’m not spoiling, that I kept me wondering why doesn’t Thom just heal her, Or when there is a random attack that we dont know much about, why it happened, where it came from, or what it was exactly.

The main antagonist isn’t “revealed” until the final fight, but it doesn’t make any sense. The lack of back story for the antagonist did not help me connect the dots. I mean I understand what was happening, I guess. But the why wasn’t there. The where did this come from wasn’t answered. It was like BAM! now im evil and I hate everything.

Ultimately, I’d recommend this book, it made me ugly cry. There is a cute love story in it. And  a honest conflict between A father and a son who just wants acceptance. A lot of people say they won’t read it because the reviews say the writing sucks, but honestly, the story is amazing! DONT. SKIP. OVER. THIS. BOOK.

The rest has spoilers in it, scroll with caution.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mosquitoland review

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So before I get into a Spoiler-free review of Mosquitoland I have to share a funny story: I wasn’t going to buy this book.

tumblr_nqr87wD2bV1tezf1qo1_1280This book, along with We Were Liars  had been sitting in my amazon cart for a few weeks…and I had every intention to buy them but at the last minute I decided not to. So I put them in my wishlist. Well, one day I went inside a bookstore and saw this book. I decided “you know what, this is a sign from the book gods to buy this book. So I bought it (along with The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood)

Okay so that wasnt funny.

Here is a quick, one line synopsis of the book before I share my thoughts:

Mim Malone embarks on a journey to get to her mother.

Things I loved about the book.

  1. I loved the journal entries. I really enjoy when authors incorporate journal entries into their books from the POV of the main Character. I also loved the surprise involved with the journal. The Journal entries allowed for us to see a different side of Mim. We got to reach a very personal, intimate level with her. Which is important for readers to be able to get attached to character.
  2.  I love how it wasn’t a love story? And by that I mean (in the most vague way ever), she did what she had to do.
  3. I love the symbolism of the lipstick + her mother + her journey. I liked how she had something that gave her the strength and courage at times. When times got tough she had something to remind her of her mother, ultimately reminding her of the reason she was on this journey.
  4. The way David Arnold handled Mental health in this book was so honest.
  5. I loved the supporting characters: like Arlene, Glenda, Caleb, uncle Phil, Walt Aunt Isabel. I also loved the diversity in the people she met (Except poncho guy)
  6. Walt. I loved Walt.
  7. The relationship she had with her father was so authentic and toooooooo over the top. The family dynamics as a whole were spot on in my opinion, especially since dealing with divorce and death.
  8. The experiences she made while on the journey never felt forced, (Except for…) I felt like that is what my trip might have been like  if I went in search for my mother.
  9. I love how Mim Malone doesn’t allow her illness to define her and ho she was so relatable.

Okay, now FOR THE SAKE OF SPACE, on to the things I didn’t favor to much

  1. The actual execution of the lipstick. There has been a discussion about whether it was appropration/wrong for him to have Mim us it in the manner that she did. I’m not familiar with how warpaint works but like I Said I loved the symbolism it gave us but I think it could have been a little less appropriating?
  2. At points it seemed like Walt was fading into the background of everything. (Which thinking about it that might have been his intention.)but there were moments when we’d go pages without hearing from Walt and its like…they’re in a vehicle where is he.
  3. I’m not sure why, but I feel like her (and others) story isnt finished.And it makes me upset because I just want to know more. and more. and more. and more.
  4. Sometimes, it got a little confusing as to if we were in the present or past (Not really sometimes just one time in particular which I think is because of how I stopped reading)
  5. I wish I got to know more about Walt.
  6. I wish they didn’t refer to him as a pet.
  7. I wish this book were longer.

Personally, Id recommend this book to everyone. It was a very smooth read (I recommending reading it with Say it out loud by Cinema Cycle playing in the background or Ed Sheeran radio The A team.

“I am a collection of Oddities.”

“Be curious, but contempt. Be loyal, but independent. Be Kind. To everyone. Treat every day like you’re making waffles. Don’t settle for the first guy (or girl) unless he’s the right guy (or girl). Live your effing life. Do so with gusto, because my god, thers nothing sorrier than a gusto-less existence. Know yourself. Love yourself. Be a good friend. Be a kid of hope an substance” (Page 342)

More Happy…review

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MORE HAPPY THAN NOT is Adam Silvera’s debut novel that has taken the internet, and myself by storm. ( If you haven’t already seen my dream movie casting o51XS1ZfTVLL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgf this novel click here)

This month I unintentionally filled a lot of my reading with books that centered around gay-protagonist. ( Simon vs The homo sapiens Agenda, Grasshopper Jungle, I’ll give You The Sun, Giovanni’s room and, More Happy Than Not) This wasn’t my intent. I tend to be a more harsh critic of YA -lgbt novels. Because they, unlike their hetero counterparts play a more important role because of the lack of representation…With that being said every novel I read for the first time this month (Which is all minus Giovanni’s room) Has impressed me.

Time for the Actual review (Non-spoiler):

Halfway through the book I thought I knew the plot twist. I was reading and expected for what I thought would happen to happen and it never did. MHTN is a beautiful novel that takes you on this journey that tackles serious issues like homophobia, depression, and suicide. But in a way that’s not to heavy-handed or over political. This book follows Aaron as he discovers a new happiness when his girlfriend Genevieve leaves him for a couple of weeks. This new happiness takes shape in a guy named Thomas he meets by chance while hiding. We get to be apart of this evolving friendship, and his relationship with his old friends that takes us by the hand and doesn’t let us go. All while exploring the interrelation awkwardness he maintains with his brother and mother.

Now most people would probably consider this book to be slow. Which, I guess if you’re reading only in a rush to reach the twist and finish it then yeah, you’re gonna think its slow. You’re expecting to reach the end instead of smelling the roses that Silvera has written for you.This book is super diverse, which I love. I love diverse LGBT books that take the narrative off coming of age novels about a white cis males.

I give this book four dog ears out of five. What makes this book not another coming-out-novel is, like the other books I read this month, they all added an element or a twist to them that took an unconventional approach to them. A lot of time people complain (Straight people)  that they’re tired of reading coming out novels, or they wished the characters could be gay without having to deal with the added benefit of coming out. Like being gay in theory (As I wrote about in an earlier post) However, this book gives a voice to those who don’t feel the need to speak. Its been a long time coming of reading about the Manic Pixie dream girls and the ridiculous love hetero-sexist love triangles. I’m glad that the coming-of-age novels are emerging in the YA section. I’m glad they’re not cliche. I’m glad we have authors like Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli, Jandy Nelson, David Leviathan, Alex London and so many more who aren’t afraid to take risk. And I’m glad we have the publishing companies and editors willing to work and back these amazing books despite the content and backlash that might follow suit.

This following month I won’t be reading as much, or posting. (Gonna back log and Queue) Will be working on finishing my Novel for NaNoWiMo. If you wanna get updates or give words of encouragement, jusssst let me know.

As always,

Read books because you can. Read books because you want too. Read books that inspire you. Read books that you WANT to read, how you WANT to read, and WHERE you want to read.

Aristotle and Dante review

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the secrets of the Universe is a novel written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

  • Goodreads blurb

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

  • Thoughts

I recently went on a LGBT-YA reading marathon and finished it off with A&D with high expectations. This is one of the books that many book bloggers raved about lthoving. For the most part we get to follow Ari (Aristotle) as he struggles with being a very shy person and not having a close relationship with his parents. They both keep a lot of secrets from each other, which makes the family’s dynamic, less than average. This, however is the complete opposite for Dante’s family. They show affection. Tell each other everything; If there were to be a spectrum of how families should be, on one end would be Aristotle’s family. On the other end would be Dante’s family. We, the readers, get to follow them as they foster a relationship: stemming from events I wont spoil. I walked into this book expecting to fall in love.  (I had just finished reading

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MORE HAPPY THAN NOT so I was still on the high of that great book) Sadly, my expectations from the high of the community was met. This book was extremely slow. It has a really great beginning and an amazing ending but the author lost me many times in the middle. To many of the moments that happened after Dante left felt like filler placed in with no true value or additive to the novel. Just forcing the reader wait for what we already know is going to happen. Nothing made this book standout to me the way others raved about. From the cliche moments, to the plot lines that didn’t seem legit. The way the history of Ari’s brother unravels is kind of cool though.

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The complexity of Aristotle and Dante’s characters lacked, big time. They felt like nothing more than quirky teenagers who read poetry and make weird quotes.  Almost like a Manic-pixie novel. They seemed to be 3-dimensional for the most part, coming to life with their own conflicts (both internally, and externally). The writing of this novel is easy to follow, but like I said earlier it’s slow. Which I’m not sure if its slow because I was expecting things to happen or because nothing was generally happening. While this might not be one of the favorite novels I understand the importance of this novel, and how it is playing a role bigger than it expects

Ultimately, I have to give this book a two out of five stars. At face value it was a good book, but it lacked the depth needed for me personally to really enjoy the characters and story line.