Blog Tour Review: This Golden Flame

Title: This Golden Flame
Author: Emily Victoria
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Review:

Karis is an orphan who is learning to be a scribe in the Scriptorium, a group who are searching for the secret to unlock the magic of the automatons. When she was sent to that island after being orphaned, she was separated from her older brother. Now, seven years later, she will do anything to find him. One day, she finds a cave with an automaton inside, and she accidentally awakens it. The automaton is an intelligent creature named Alix. His final memories are from two hundred years in the past, and his father is now remembered as a traitor. Karis now has something the Scriptorium wants: Alix. She runs away with Alix, and her friend Dane, to find her brother and learn the secrets of Alix’s existence.

This story was set in a unique world. Many aspects seemed ancient, with the scribes and the old buildings with columns. At the same time, there were some futuristic aspects, such as the automatons. The automatons, that could come to life, were powered by runes, so even they seemed like a mix of ancient and future.

This was an own voices story with an asexual main character. This wasn’t a major part of the story, but Karis mentioned it a couple of times. Karis felt different from everyone else, and she had never even seen anyone kiss until the end of the book. I liked that this was part of her character but it wasn’t treated as an entire plot point in the story. I also liked that this was a fantasy story that didn’t have a romance for the main character. She had other important, meaningful relationships that didn’t involve a romantic partner. It’s important to have all kinds of representation in all genres of stories.

This was a great fantasy story!

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

What to read next:

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

Dark Shores by Danielle L. Jensen

About the author:

Emily Victoria lives on the Canadian prairies with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, works at her public library, and has just finished her Masters of Library and Information Studies.

Have you read This Golden Flame? What did you think of it?

Review: Juliet Takes a Breath

Title: Juliet Takes a Breath
Author: Gabby Rivera, Celia Moscote (illustrator)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Contemporary, LGBT
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 1, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL ADAPTATION OF THE BESTSELLING BOOK! Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But don’t worry, Juliet has something kinda resembling a plan that’ll help her figure out what it means to be Puerto Rican, lesbian and out. See, she’s going to intern with Harlowe Brisbane – her favorite feminist author, someone’s who’s the last work on feminism, self-love and lots of of ther things that will help Juliet find her ever elusive epiphany. There’s just one problem – Harlowe’s white, not from the Bronx and doesn’t have the answers. Okay, maybe that’s more than one problem but Juliet never said it was a perfect plan… Critically-acclaimed writer Gabby Rivera adapts her bestselling novel alongside artist Celia Moscote in an unforgettable queer coming-of-age story exploring race, idenrity and what it means to be true to your amazing self. even when the rest of the world doesn’t understand.

Review:

Juliet Palante leaves her home in the Bronx to do an internship in Portland. Her idol, the feminist author Harlowe Brisbane, has invited her to go work with her for the summer. Just before she leaves, Juliet comes out to her family, which they don’t take very well. Juliet can embrace her queer identity in Portland, but she has to learn that Harlowe isn’t the perfect idol that she expected.

This is a graphic novel adaptation of the novel Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera. I haven’t read the novel, but I loved this graphic novel. It is a beautiful queer coming of age story.

Juliet is discovering her own feelings and trying to find answers to all of her questions. Since Harlowe’s book explained feminist ideas to her in a new way, she thought that Harlowe was the best person to continue teaching her about feminism. However, Harlowe has flaws that her friends know, and Juliet has to learn the hard way.

I loved the art in this graphic novel. Most of the characters were curvy. Juliet felt self conscious about her body, but she learned to be comfortable with showing it off. There was great body positivity theme in this story that went along with Juliet discovering her sexuality.

This is a great graphic novel!

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

What to read next:

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Have you read Juliet Takes a Breath? What did you think of it?

Review: Heartstopper: Vol. 1

Title: Heartstopper: Vol. 1
Author: Alice Oseman
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Romance, LGBT
Publisher: Graphix
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

Review:

Charlie is an openly gay student at an all-boys school. He has a secret relationship with another boy at school, who is not openly gay. When the new school year begins, Charlie meets Nick, a boy who’s a year older than him. Charlie and Nick get closer and closer, with Charlie developing feelings for him. Charlie worries that he has a crush on a straight boy, but is Nick really straight?

This was such a sweet love story. There weren’t a lot of words on the pages, which let the actions speak for themselves. Their body language was shown in the illustrations, which told most of the story. My only critique of the illustrations is that Ben, the boy Charlie was with at the beginning of the story, and Nick looked alike. They were both tall, with blonde hair and a similar body structure. This shows that Charlie has a type, but it made it a little confusing to tell them apart at the beginning of the story.

There were scenes of bullying and a sexual assault. Charlie was bullied for being openly gay. He was even bullied by Ben, the boy he kissed at the beginning. For some reason, since Charlie was open with his sexuality, the other students thought they could treat him any way they wanted. These were disturbing and upsetting scenes, but they told an honest side to Charlie’s story.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel! I’m excited to read the next one.

What to read next:

Heartstopper: Vol. 2 by Alice Oseman

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks (illustrator)

Other books in the series:

  • Heartstopper: Vol. 2
  • Heartstopper: Vol. 3

Have you read Heartstopper: Vol. 1? What did you think of it?

Review: Miss Meteor

Title: Miss Meteor
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback ARC
Release Date: September 22, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.

Witty and heartfelt with characters that leap off the page, Miss Meteor is acclaimed authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s first book together.

Review:

Lita Perez has never felt like she fit in in her town of Meteor. Years ago, a meteor hit their town, giving it the name of Meteor. When it hit, Lita was created from the star dust. She grew up with the appearance of a human, but she’s from the stars. Now, that background is starting to affect Lita. She wants to fulfill her dream of becoming Miss Meteor by winning the beauty pageant in their town. She gets the help of her former best friend, Chicky, and Chicky’s older sisters who have competed in the pageant in the past. Chicky and Lita have never been the popular girls, and they’ve both been bullied, so they have to work extra hard to make Lita stand out in the competition.

This story had great queer representation. One of the characters was transgender. The way it was described by that character was that his family thought he was a girl when he was born, but they were wrong. This description takes the “blame” off the person who comes out as transgender, since they didn’t choose to be that way. Instead it shows that other people were wrong in assuming he was a girl as a child. I loved this description, since it takes the pressure off the person for being transgender and shows that it isn’t a choice.

There was a lot of bullying in this story, including transphobia, xenophobia, and homophobia. These acts and abuses were addressed. At first, I found it shocking that characters were saying these things to other characters in such a casual way. This shows how bullying can happen in casual ways, including by people who are closely related to you. Eventually it was addressed, but it was upsetting and shocking to read at some points.

The one thing that I would have liked to see more of is an explanation on how Lita came to be in Meteor. It wasn’t very clear how she was created from star dust. It was an interesting and fun science fiction storyline which left me with some questions.

I really enjoyed this original pageant story.

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

What to read next:

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

Have you read Miss Meteor? What did you think of it?

Review: Faith: Taking Flight (Faith Herbert Origin Story #1)

Title: Faith: Taking Flight (Faith Herbert Origin Story #1)
Author: Julie Murphy
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’, comes the first in a two-book origin story of Faith, a groundbreaking, plus-sized superhero from the Valiant Entertainment comics.

Faith Herbert is a pretty regular teen. When she’s not hanging out with her two best friends, Matt and Ches, she’s volunteering at the local animal shelter or obsessing over the long-running teen drama The Grove.

So far, her senior year has been spent trying to sort out her feelings for her maybe-crush Johnny and making plans to stay close to Grandma Lou after graduation. Of course, there’s also that small matter of recently discovering she can fly….

When the fictional world of The Grove crashes into Faith’s reality as the show relocates to her town, she can’t believe it when TV heroine Dakota Ash takes a romantic interest in her.

But her fandom-fueled daydreams aren’t enough to distract Faith from the fact that first animals, then people, have begun to vanish from the town. Only Faith seems able to connect the dots to a new designer drug infiltrating her high school.

But when her investigation puts the people she loves in danger, she will have to confront her hidden past and use her newfound gifts—risking everything to save her friends and beloved town.

Review:

Faith Herbert is an orphaned teenager who lives with her grandmother and works at an animal shelter. She also has a superpower: she can fly. One day, the cast of Faith’s favourite TV show, The Grove, moves to her hometown in Minnesota to film their series. Faith meets her dream crush and star of the show, Dakota Ash, and they instantly connect. At the animal shelter, dogs start going missing and coming in with mysterious illnesses. Then, people start to disappear too. At the same time, there is a new drug that is being distributed among students at schools. Faith is the only one who sees the connections between all of these events in her town, so it’s up to her to save everyone.

Faith is a wonderful, honest superhero. She doesn’t have the stereotypical look of a superhero, which is usually slim and muscular. Faith proudly displays her fat body. She is also discovering her romantic preferences. Faith doesn’t know if she likes boys or girls, but her friends are eager to support her no matter what.

The prologue for this book was very exciting and engaging. In the prologue, Faith was sent to a special camp where she could figure out if she had superpowers. However, after the prologue, the story didn’t mention her superpowers or what happened at the camp for a few chapters. I wanted to know more about what happened there. There seemed to be a lot of mystery surrounding it, since she went right back to her normal life after. I wish the superhero action had continued from the prologue into the beginning of the story.

This was a fun, modern superhero story!

What to read next:

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

In the Role of Brie Hutchens by Nicole Melleby

Have you read Faith: Taking Flight? What did you think of it?

Review: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea

Title: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
Author: Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian. 

Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself. 

Review:

Orphaned Flora changes her name to Florian to get off the streets and join a pirate ship with her brother. They take unsuspecting nobles on journeys to other lands, but then kidnap the passengers. Florian is given the task of guarding Lady Evelyn Hasegawa on her trip to meet her new husband. Florian ends up falling for Evelyn, and can’t stand the thought of having her kidnapped by the pirates onboard. Florian plans an escape for her and Evelyn that takes them on a long adventure.

There was a lot of diversity of the gender identities of the characters in this story. Florian was born a girl but presented as a boy to work on the ship. Evelyn had same-sex relationships. There were also some non-binary characters. I liked how natural it was for the characters to recognize non-binary gender identities. At one point, a character made a casual comment about their pronouns. It was nice to see the characters acknowledge these diverse gender identities.

There were great twists throughout the story. I love the unpredictability of pirate stories. There were battles and magical creatures which added to the suspense. I was surprised at the ending. I would love to see a sequel.

This was a fun pirate story!

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

What to read next:

Dark Shores (Dark Shores #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1) by Tara Sim

Have you read The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea? What did you think of it?

Review: The Black Flamingo

Title: The Black Flamingo
Author: Dean Atta
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.

Review:

Michael has always had a hard time fitting in. He doesn’t act like the other boys, who play with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and like to fight. He would rather play with Barbies and sing. He also doesn’t fit in at home, where he lives with his white mother, rather than his black father. When Michael begins university, he finds his identity as the drag queen The Black Flamingo.

This story is written in verse. This was such a great format to tell the story, since it takes place throughout Michael’s life from when he was a child to when he was a young adult. The verse format gives snapshots of important moments that affected his life. It also conveys more emotions in the short lyrical lines than it would have in prose.

There were many parts of the story that were so well written that I had to pause and read them over. Two scenes stood out to me and really made me think. When Michael was a child, he wanted a Barbie for his birthday, but he was given a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle because it is considered a “boy” toy. When his sister was a child, she was allowed to play with his ninja turtles and Barbies, and wasn’t criticized for playing with a “boy” toy the way he was when he wanted to play with a “girl” toy. Another part that stood out was when the characters were talking about what things they look for in a partner. When they talked about preferring people of certain races, a character brought up how racist that was. Race shouldn’t be a factor in finding a partner, but I have heard people say that before. I hadn’t thought of the racist implications of that, and the way it was explained in this story made so much sense.

I loved this book! I highly recommend it!

What to read next:

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Have you read The Black Flamingo? What did you think of it?

Review: Her Royal Highness (Royals #2)

Title: Her Royal Highness (Royals #2)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, LGBT
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

Review:

American Millie Quint was accepted into an elite Scottish boarding school, which is accepting female students for the first time, but she’s torn about whether she should attend. When she catches her girlfriend kissing someone else, she decides to escape from her broken heart and move to Scotland. Millie gets off to a bad start with her roommate, Flora, which is even more complicated when she discovers that Flora is actually Princess Flora of the Scottish Royal family. Flora and Millie don’t get along, until they realize they have feelings for each other.

When I first read the description for this book, I thought it was a completely different story from Royals, the first book in the series. At first, I was disappointed because I thought it wouldn’t have any of the same characters. Though the main characters are different from the ones in Royals, they are related. Flora is the younger sister of Prince Alex, whose engagement is in the story of Royals. I was glad to see some of the same characters I loved in Royals.

I loved the queer representation in this story. Millie is bi, and she owns her identity in Scotland. Though she doesn’t talk about it much in her home in Texas, her friends and family know she is bisexual. Flora is a queer member of the royal family, which isn’t often portrayed in stories or real life. It’s great to see characters like this who can love and be accepted for who they are.

I love these stories. They have actually inspired my current writing project about fictional Royals. I hope there will be more books in this series in the future.

What to read next:

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud

Other books in the series:

Have you read Her Royal Highness? What did you think of it?

Review: Date Me, Bryson Keller

Title: Date Me, Bryson Keller
Author: Kevin van Whye
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

What If It’s Us meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a ’90s rom-com! 

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before.

Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.

Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there’s more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he’s awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this “relationship” will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?

Kevin van Whye delivers an uplifting and poignant coming-out love story that will have readers rooting for these two teens to share their hearts with the world–and with each other.

Review:

At a New Year’s Eve party, Bryson Keller, the most popular boy in school, is dared to date a different person every week until Spring Break. The catch is that they have to ask him to date on Monday morning until Friday afternoon. When there are just a few weeks left to go in the dare, Kai Sheridan is paired up with Bryson for a drama project. On a whim, Kai asks Bryson to date that week. The rules said that a person had to ask him, not specifically a girl, though that was assumed. The problem is that no one knows that Kai is gay, so Bryson and Kai have to hide their fake dating for the week. Their new relationship becomes more than just a dare when they have to explore their identities.

I loved this story so much! Kai and Bryson were adorable together. The first two thirds of the story were filled with fun fake dating, where everyone was happy. In the last third, there was more conflict, but it was unavoidable with so many lies about the fake dating.

Kai and Bryson were so cute, but there was also a layer of lies since no one knew Kai was gay. He had to hide it from his friends and family, because he didn’t think they would accept him if they knew. He had a bad experience with a friend that he told when he was younger, so he was afraid to share his secret. The story addressed the way that everyone is automatically assumed to be heterosexual. Kai figures that any guy who he likes won’t like him back, because they are straight. Sexuality shouldn’t be assumed for anyone, but we often automatically make a decision based on how someone looks or who they date. Though Kai’s story is fictional and has a hopeful ending, it’s important to recognize that there are many people who don’t have such a positive life when coming out.

This is such a great story!

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

What to read next:

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Have you read Date Me, Bryson Keller? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: In the Role of Brie Hutchens…

Title: In the Role of Brie Hutchens…
Author: Nicole Melleby
Genre: Middle Grade, LGBT, Contemporary
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 30, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Introducing Brie Hutchens: soap opera super fan, aspiring actor, and so-so student at her small Catholic school. Brie has big plans for eighth grade. She’s going to be the star of the school play and convince her parents to let her go to the performing arts high school. But when Brie’s mom walks in on her accidentally looking at some possibly inappropriate photos of her favorite actress, Brie panics and blurts out that she’s been chosen to crown the Mary statue during her school’s May Crowning ceremony. Brie’s mom is distracted with pride—but Brie’s in big trouble: she has not been chosen. No one has. Worse, Brie has almost no chance to get the job, which always goes to a top student.

Desperate to make her lie become truth, Brie turns to Kennedy, the girl everyone expects to crown Mary. But sometimes just looking at Kennedy gives Brie butterflies. Juggling her confusing feelings with the rapidly approaching May Crowning, not to mention her hilarious non-star turn in the school play, Brie navigates truth and lies, expectations and identity, and how to—finally—make her mother really see her as she is.

Review:

When Brie’s mother almost catches her looking at photos of a naked woman, she tells her mom that she was chosen to crown the statue of Mary at the end of the school year. She told her mom that to distract her, but Brie wasn’t chosen to crown Mary, and she probably won’t be since that special role is given to one of the best students. After that moment, Brie realizes she may like girls more than boys, since she isn’t boy crazy like her best friend. Meanwhile, Brie really wants to be an actress. She wants to audition for the acting program at an arts high school, but her parents may not be able to afford the tuition. Brie is discovering herself and how to share her identity with her family and friends.

This story dealt with so many important topics in the life of a middle schooler. Brie’s family is going through changes. Her father lost his job, and got a job at her school to get a discount on tuition. The problem was that Brie was embarrassed for the other students to know he was her dad. Her father was also depressed, and Brie had a difficult time figuring out how to behave around him while he struggled. Brie also had some problems with her mother, who wasn’t completely supportive when she learned that Brie may like girls.

Brie was learning about her sexuality. She doesn’t like boys the way her friend does. She could relate to the queer characters in her soap operas, so she suspects that she is queer too. This was especially difficult because Brie’s family was religious and she went to catholic school. It was heartbreaking to see the way Brie acknowledged she had to hide her true identity because it wouldn’t be accepted at school or in her home.

This story was heartbreaking but also uplifting.

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby

George by Alex Gino

About the author:

Nicole Melleby is a born-and-bred Jersey girl with a passion for storytelling. She studied creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University and currently teaches creative writing and literature courses with a handful of local universities. When she’s not writing, she can be found browsing the shelves at her local comic shop or watching soap operas with a cup of tea.

Have you read In the Role of Brie Hutchens…? What did you think of it?