• Reviews

    Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (2015)

    Rating: ★★★★½
    Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Drama
    Categories: M/M, hidden identity
    Content Warnings (highlight to read): Deals with homophobia & includes homophobic slurs.
    Buy it at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

    Description: Simon, a high schooler in a small town, is gay, and nobody should know except for the mysterious boy with whom he exchanges anonymous emails. Except someone else does know—and that person has decided to blackmail him for his help in hooking up with one of Simon’s friends. How can Simon keep his grades up, decide how to come out to his friends and family, act in the school play, deal with high school friend drama, try to track down the boy he’s pretty sure he’s falling in love with, and negotiate the shady territory of being blackmailed into manipulating his own besties, all at the same time?

  • Reviews

    Review: To Summon Nightmares by J.K. Pendragon (2014)

    “With the last sound, his mouth became unstopped like a bottle, and it was as if all sound hissed from the room. The candles blew out, the darkness expanded to envelop all. And then the darkness receded. The candles flickered back to light, and the sound came back into the room.

    In the middle of the circle stood a man.”

    To Summon Nightmares, J.K. Pendragon

    Rating: ★★★½
    Genre: Paranormal, contemporary, romance
    Categories: M/M, trans, demons

    Content Warnings (highlight to read): Transphobia. Graphic descriptions of dysphoria, self-harm attempts. References to torture, child abuse.

    Description: A gothic-horror contemporary story set in rural Ireland. Cohen, a Jewish trans writer, finds himself unexpectedly involved in the life of Niall—a gorgeous man suspected of murder, on the run from a haunting past involving demon summoning, and possessing incredible magic powers. There’s a secret organization and a very unpleasant ex-boyfriend involved. And all Cohen wanted was a quiet place to write…

    “When he inherits an old house in the country, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to escape the press and work on his new book. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in a small town murder mystery and falling for the primary suspect, a man whose reality makes Cohen’s fantasy books seem like child’s play…”

  • Reviews

    Review: Style

    4/5 stars. Buy at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

    Style by Chelsea Cameron is a super-cute teen romance where sexy cheerleader meets cute nerd—frenemies to lovers style!

    Stella is the hot cheerleader and ice queen. She’s the master of the resting bitch face and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Kyle is a nerd with big glasses, hair up in a bun, and a limp. The two have totally different social circles and no interest in each other—until one day, they start to notice each other and then can’t seem to stop noticing. This would probably be something they could ignore until they’re assigned to work together in AP English. From there, it’s a fast and furious rush into love and sexual awakenings, the tangled confusion of coming out to family and friends, trying to find terms for yourself and your relationship, all mixed with teenage concerns like what’s ok to do in your parents’ house and how you can juggle a relationship and upcoming college plans.

    Style was a very nostalgic read for me, because I came out at fourteen and was the nerdy teen with big glasses and a limp myself. I found myself relating to Kyle quite a bit and reflecting back on my own life while reading. It makes it hard to leave an objective review on the content in a lot of ways, but it makes it even more important to me that this exists. I know the author, in her acknowledgements, talked about how important this was to her to write and be able to reflect and honour her own realizations, and it was a story for her—but it felt, too, like it was a story for me. I think a lot of people will probably feel that way.

    Personal attachment aside—the writing is strong, the narration is sharp, and it’s a fun and uplifting read. The turns of phrase often had me laughing out loud, and beyond that, it’s an optimistic book. It believes in the best of people and does its best to uplift the characters, their relationships, and their choices—without undercutting their fear.

    One thing I did trip over while reading was that it alternates POVs and both are first-person POVs, but both have very, very similar sassy-teen-girl narrative voices. The POV is labelled whenever it switches, but I automatically skip over chapter headers when reading things in one sitting, so I’d sometimes get half a page into a new POV before it clicked that we switched, and it was occasionally difficult to remember who had what thought (though their lives are different enough that the events were easy to distinguish).

    Very cute story, very fun, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more ladies in love from this author!