Blog Tour Review: We Didn’t Ask for This

Title: We Didn’t Ask for This
Author: Adi Alsaid
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Central International School’s annual lock-in is legendary. Bonds are made. Contests are fought. Stories are forged that will be passed down from student to student for years to come.

This year’s lock-in begins normally enough. Then a group of students led by Marisa Cuevas stage an ecoprotest and chain themselves to the doors, vowing to keep everyone trapped inside until their list of demands is met.

Some students rally to their cause…but others are aggrieved to watch their own plans fall apart.

Amira has trained all year to compete in the school decathlon on her own terms. Peejay intended to honor his brother by throwing the greatest party CIS has ever seen. Kenji was looking forward to making a splash at his improv showcase. Omar wanted to spend a little time with the boy he’s been crushing on. Celeste, adrift in a new country, was hoping to connect with someone—anyone. And Marisa, once so certain of her goals, must now decide how far she’ll go to attain them.

Every year, lock-in night changes lives. This year, it might just change the world.

Review:

At the Central International School, they have a lock in every year where the high school students spend the night together at the school. This year, one student, Marisa, plans a protest. She gets a few students to join her in chaining themselves to the doors, and literally locking everyone in the school. She does this to get a list of demands completed by the school, which involve preserving the environment and stopping the destruction of the oceans. Throughout the protest, students and teachers have to find a way to either comply with Marisa’s demands or find a way to escape the school.

This story was quite intense at times. There were some dangerous moments for the students locked in the school. Marisa had made provisions to make sure they would have food and supplies, and she had also removed all tools from the school so no one could break through the chains.

I was reminded of lockdowns at my former school while I was reading this book. Though the students weren’t dealing with an active dangerous threat like a shooter, they had to adjust to being held hostage by one of their peers. They were relatively safe, but there is always an element of fear in the unknown, when you don’t know how someone will react to certain things or any kind of accidents. There was loads of this kind of tension in this story.

I really enjoyed this book!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Brief Chronicle of Another Stupid Heartbreak by Adi Alsaid

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

Author Info:

Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City. He attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He’s now back in Mexico City, where he writes, coaches basketball, and makes every dish he eats as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he’s lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas and Monterey, California. His books include Let’s Get Lost, Never Always Sometimes, and North of Happy. Visit Adi online at http://www.SomewhereOverTheSun.com, or on Twitter: @AdiAlsaid.

Have you read We Didn’t Ask for This? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Music From Another World

Title: Music From Another World
Author: Robin Talley
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.

Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.

A master of award-winning queer historical fiction, New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley once again brings to life with heart and vivid detail an emotionally captivating story about the lives of two teen girls living in an age when just being yourself was an incredible act of bravery.

Review:

Tammy and Sharon were set up as penpals through their Catholic schools in 1977. Tammy lived in Orange County with a very religious family, while Sharon lived in San Francisco with her mother and brother. Sharon’s brother and Tammy are gay. Sharon and her brother help the gay community in San Francisco by supporting Harvey Milk’s campaign. When Tammy gets in trouble at her school, she runs away to the only person she knows who will support her, Sharon.

This story was devastating at times. Tammy’s aunt and uncle, who ran the church in her community, were so extreme and closed minded. They constantly bashed gay people, which Tammy had to listen to. She also had to work against the gay community to promote her aunt and uncle’s beliefs. It was so upsetting to see her go against herself in these ways.

One good thing about this story, is that the world is much more welcoming today. It isn’t a perfect situation for queer people today, but I think Tammy and Sharon would have a more positive place to live today. There are still people like Tammy’s aunt around today, but there is more positivity for queer people.

This was a great story!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

King, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

Author Info:

Robin Talley studied literature and communications at American University. She lives in Washington, DC, with her wife, but visits both Boston and New York regularly despite her moral opposition to Massachusetts winters and Times Square. Her first book was 2014’s Lies We Tell Ourselves. Visit her online at robintalley.com or on Twitter at @robin_talley.

Have you read Music From Another World? What did you think of it?

Review: Only Mostly Devastated

Title: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease

Summer love…gone so fast.

Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt’s health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.

Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most. 

Review:

Grease was one of my favourite movies as a kid, so I was so excited to read this retelling. This book broke my heart and put it back together again!

Ollie and Will had a summer romance while Ollie and his family were visiting his sick aunt. When his aunt was still sick after the summer, Ollie’s family ended up moving there to help her family. Ollie started school and mentioned to some new friends that he had a summer fling with Will. What he didn’t know was that Will went to that school, and no one knew he was gay.

This story had great representation. There were gay and bi characters. Some of the characters made comments that they thought were jokes in front of others, who they didn’t realize were gay. The guys who were friends with Will would make jokes about being feminine or liking guys, which just made him more uncomfortable with revealing his true self. At the same time, there were others who were more open and accepting.

I loved this story! I highly recommend it!

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Have you read Only Mostly Devastated? What did you think of it?

Review: Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past and Present!

Title: Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past and Present!
Author: Arabelle Sicardi, Sarah Tanat-Jones (illustrator)
Genre: Nonfiction, LGBTQ
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
Source: Publisher
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

This beautiful, bold book celebrates the achievements of LGBT people through history and from around the world. It features full-color portraits of a diverse selection of 52 inspirational role models accompanied by short biographies that focus on their incredible successes, from Freddie Mercury’s contribution to music to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Published to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, this title will show children that anything is possible. 

Review:

This book is a great collection of inspiring queer people.

All of the people featured in this book are queer. Some are gay or lesbians, while others are bisexual or transgender. I knew that a few of the people were queer, such as Alan Turing. There were some people that I didn’t know identified as queer, such as Virginia Woolf. Most of the people in this book I had never heard of, so I learned a lot about queer activists.

Many of the people featured in this book are from countries where being gay is illegal. These people had to defy their governments, and sometimes even family, to fight for the right to express their own identity. They had to be incredibly strong to stay true to their beliefs, despite what their family and country said.

I loved the art in this book. All of the images are done in vibrant colours which give a positive feeling to these stories, which did not always have a happy endings.

I really enjoyed this book!

Thanks Wide Eyed Editions for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer and Trans Identities by Mady G., J.R. Zuckerberg

Grease Bats by Archie Bongiovanni

Have you read Queer Heroes? What did you think of it?

Review: The Fever King (Feverwake #1)

Title: The Fever King (Feverwake #1)
Author: Victoria Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBTQ
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Review:

I had a hard time getting into this story at the beginning because it was very political. It takes place in the future, where the United States is divided up into separate countries. There were protests from the refugees who were being deported from the countries. There was also a virus going around that either killed people, or, for a few, gave them a magic power.

Once the story went from the broad political story to a plot about the main characters, I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t tell who was lying and what side people were on. It was especially tricky because some characters were telepathic, so they knew when others were lying to them.

This was an exciting story. I really enjoyed it!

Thank you Skyscape for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada

The Last Magician (The Last Magician #1) by Lisa Maxwell

Have you read The Fever King? What did you think of it?

Review: Grease Bats

Title: Grease Bats
Author: Archie Bongiovanni
Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBTQ
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

So, no one told you life was gonna be this gay! Grease Bats stars Andy, a trans genderqueer individual who is both tough and loving, and their BFF Scout, an all-feelings-all-the-time mistake-maker. 

Andy and Scout are best buds, roommates, and gay disasters. Along with their friends and plenty of beer, they’re just trying to make it through their 20s, survive late capitalism, and navigate the dating world. Tough and loving Andy is a genderqueer trans individual, who dates like there’s no tomorrow, while Scout, an all-feelings-all-the-time mistake-maker, is still languishing over her ex-girlfriend…from like two years ago.

Created by Archie Bongiovanni (The Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns) and originally published on Autostraddle, this edition collects all the best misadventures, internet dates, and bad decisions in one place!

Review:

This book is a collection of comics about two best friends, Andy and Scout. They are both genderqueer. Throughout the comics, they go through a few years of adventures. These include, holidays such as Halloween, lots of partying, and even camping.

These characters were so funny. Andy was overdramatic a lot of the time, but also funny. They wore message tanks all the time, and were always drinking and looking for a party. Scout was more serious, which balanced out Andy’s personality.

They also had some other friends who made appearances throughout the comics. Each of the friends were so different, though they identified as genderqueer. It shows that just because they have similar gender identities, they had different ways of expressing their feelings. They all had different ideas of how they should behave, so they had to figure out what they wanted in life.

I really enjoyed these comics!

Thank you BOOM! Studios for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni, Tristan Jimerson

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

Have you read Grease Bats? What did you think of it?

Review: Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Title: Ho’onani: Hula Warrior
Author: Heather Gale, Mika Song
Genre: Children’s, LGBT
Publisher: Tundra Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

An empowering celebration of identity, acceptance and Hawaiian culture based on the true story of a young girl in Hawaiʻi who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school.

Ho’onani feels in-between. She doesn’t see herself as wahine(girl) OR kane (boy). She’s happy to be in the middle. But not everyone sees it that way.

When Ho’onani finds out that there will be a school performance of a traditional kane hula chant, she wants to be part of it. But can a girl really lead the all-male troupe? Ho’onani has to try . . .

Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is a celebration of Hawaiian culture and an empowering story of a girl who learns to lead and learns to accept who she really is–and in doing so, gains the respect of all those around her.

Ho’onani’s story first appeared in the documentary A Place in the Middle by filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson.

Review:

This story is about a little girl, named Ho’onani, in Hawaii who identifies as being in between a boy and a girl. She refers to herself as a girl, but she wants to join the boys hula troupe at her school. After some convincing, she is allowed to join the boys and even lead them in a performance.

Ho’onani was a strong girl in the story. She wanted to be a hula warrior, so she kept trying to reach her dream. She received some backlash at home, when her sister didn’t approve of what Ho’onani was doing. Even through these harsh comments, she still kept her unique identity.

I really enjoyed this picture book about identity.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali, Hatem Aly

Have you read Ho’onani: Hula Warrior? What did you think of it?