Reviews: Read with Pride

Hello everybody! Today, I’m doing another of my ridiculously sporadic review posts, this time focusing on books with LGBTQIA+ characters, and the name of it is stolen from one of the titles. Onto the post!

Nothing Ever Happens Here by Sarah Hagger-Holt

This is the only MG book included in this post, but it’s such a great read. It’s about a girl named Izzy, whose dad shakes up their small town by coming out as transgender and transitioning. This is obviously a huge shock for her family, but I loved that they all try their best to support her once they’ve digested the news for the most part as I really liked Danielle (who the children start calling “Dee”, in place of dad) and thought her journey was incredibly moving, there were definitely a few scenes that made me cry in here. The prejudiced attitudes she and the rest of the family face are so unfair, and I did really feel for Izzy as well because she just doesn’t want to have the spotlight on her at all, which is completely understandable as school bullies can be unbelievably cruel, and she’s dealing with drama because of friends too, which made me struggle to like some of said friends, if I’m honest! I basically just wanted to give every single person in their family a massive hug, and I loved Dee’s friend Vicky as well. A really important read about accepting people for who they are, and being kind to those who are different to you.

Read with Pride by Lucy Powrie

In the sequel to the wonderful Paper and Hearts Society, we follow Olivia, who is the most organised member of the teen book club, as her school library bans students from taking out LBGTQ books without parental permission and she sets up an underground book group to try and help students who aren’t in a position to ask their parents for this. It was really interesting to see things from her perspective as the last book was from her friend Tabby’s perspective, and it was so great to be reunited with the rest of the Paper and Hearts Society too- Ed in particular is one of my favourite characters in any book ever really and I couldn’t be more excited that the next book is from his perspective! Their relationship dynamics are also really interesting, and I loved the new additions to the cast in the form of the Read with Pride gang too. It was great seeing more of Olivia’s relationship with Cassie too, and I love that this book features demisexuality rep so prominently because it’s not something I see very often at all. The other thing I adore in this series is just how bookish it is, it’s very much a book FOR booklovers and the mentions of other books I love makes it feel even more cosy and lovely. That said, despite the book being incredibly feel good it does deal with some more serious topics- I found the pressure Olivia puts on herself about schoolwork incredibly relatable and I loved that it tackled censorship, although the attitudes of some of the parents and the school made me livid.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have been intrigued by the Taylor Jenkins Reid hype since this book came out, and I’m so happy I finally read it! It’s about a journalist who is contacted by enigmatic queen of the silver screen Evelyn Hugo to write her biography, despite her having seemingly no connection to the beloved actress, who has been married seven times. I’ve been so intrigued by this concept since I first heard about it and it really didn’t let me down- I loved how it was split into sections for all the husbands (and their nicknames!); my favourites were Rex North and lovely, lovely Harry Cameron. The ending was another huge highlight, I thought it was so clever and it made me cry loads. And if you’re wondering why it’s in this post, there is a female/female relationship in here that’s definitely the most romantic of the book, much more so than any of the husbands. If you’re looking for the kind of thing you won’t want to put down, this is perfect for you, because I swallowed it whole in a single afternoon! And I’m sorry this review is so short, but trust me, you’ll be glad you’ve went in not knowing much if you pick it up.

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

The minute I heard about this I knew this was something I’d enjoy, and I was totally right! It’s about an Irish girl named Saoirse, who has an incredibly complicated family life, agreeing to a summer fling with Ruby, who is visiting her cousin for the summer- skipping over all the hard parts of a relationship and just focusing on the “falling in love montage” section you’d see in a romcom, drawing inspiration for their dates from some absolute classics of the genre. I bloody love a good romcom so I thought it was brilliant that so many are included, and I loved seeing Saoirse’s reactions to them as she’s quite a softie in some ways and very cynical in others. Ruby was a best character as well, and I was also a massive fan of Oliver, Ruby’s cousin and Saoirse’s (sort of) friend. Saoirse was by far my favourite though, I think she was incredibly strong in dealing with what she does and on a lighter note, she’s absolutely hilarious as well and her narration made me cackle reading this! The romance is very cute too, and while I was expecting a different ending, I did like that it was so bittersweet yet hopeful.

Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

This romance is such an utter joy to read, it’s easily one of my favourite YAs recently! Its about a boy named Kai who asks out the school quarterback Bryson Keller, who has accepted a dare to date the first person in their school who asks him out each week, and never stipulated that it’s only girls who are allowed. I’m a big fan of the fake dating trope, and this does it so perfectly because the relationship is just the cutest! Kai and Bryson are both complete darlings, I couldn’t have loved them any more as individuals either. I also loved both their sisters who were so funny and lovely and supportive, and I wanted to have a very strong word with some of the less lovely characters. Kai’s parents aren’t the most supportive and there were points where they made me really angry, and there were some of their schoolmates who had disgusting, medieval attitudes as well; I felt so sorry for Kai and Bryson that they had to deal with them. The pacing was amazing too, I really just adored this and everything in it. If you want sunshine in book form, look no further!

Boy Meets Ghoul by Birdie Milano

I adored Boy Meets Hamster when I read it back in 2018, so I’ve no idea why it’s taken me such a disgraceful length of time to pick up the equally hilarious sequel! The book follows Dylan Kershaw, who is really into football and is trying to keep a long distance relationship with his new boyfriend Leo going, as he attends a football camp during October half term with his rather eccentric family and fabulous best friend Kayla in tow. The situations Dylan and his family find themselves in throughout the book made me laugh so much- there’s one scene in particular involving his little brother’s runaway hamster that I thought was hilarious, but it’s honestly hard to pick favourite scenes because I just enjoyed the whole thing really. The football camp provided plenty of humour as well, as did Kayla’s attempts to win a competition for tickets to see her favourite band, who just happen to be staying in the same hotel. The other main plotline was a bit more stressful because I was VERY worried about what Leo (Dylan’s boyfriend, who’s a dancer) was up to, but I did really enjoy the intriguing mystery of that as well. Perfect if you’re looking for some seasonally appropriate reading that’ll put a smile on your face rather than giving you the creeps!

Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

I am such a huge Simon James Green fan, and this is one of my absolute favourites of 2020 for sure. It is about Nate and Jack, who are both very publicly dumped at their prom, as they go on a road trip together despite not actually liking each other very much at all. The main thing I loved about this is how funny it was- I’m not exaggerating when I say I literally snorted in most chapters, and while I don’t want to give any spoilers the induction scene and the one with the man Jack angers at the campsite were some particular favourites. The characters were also amazing- Jack was definitely my fave because he just made me laugh so much and I loved how flamboyant and unapologetic he is, but I was incredibly fond of Nate and his family as well. The romance between the heartbreak boys is another huge highlight too. I was rooting for them getting together the whole way through even when it seemed impossible, and their road trip and hate to love type vibe are both the best. The little Noah Can’t Even reference brought me so much joy as well! I just can’t sing it’s praises highly enough, if you’ve never read one of Simon’s books then this is a fab place to start!

Loveless by Alice Oseman

I’ve been really looking forward to this since it first got announced, so I was super excited when it finally came out this summer after having its release pushed back a year! It’s the story of a girl called Georgia, and it’s about her moving away to Durham University and realising that she is asexual and aromantic. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with an aro-ace protagonist before, and this one is OwnVoices, so it was really interesting and I’m so pleased that there’s starting to be a bit more representation for asexuality; it’s definitely increased even from just three years ago when I started this blog. Georgia is a really likeable character for the most part, even though she definitely doesn’t always do the right thing, and I loved her friend group in this: Pip and Jason who are her best friends from school, her new roommate Rooney and Sunil, who is in charge of the LGBTQ+ Society and is really supportive of Georgia coming to terms with what her sexuality means for her going forward. Rooney was probably my favourite of them all, her speech to Georgia at the end made me cry and I found her really interesting as her own person as well because she’s trying to figure out a lot of things as well and work out who she really wants to be. I’d love a spinoff of her at some point! It’s also just great to see a book set at uni because there are hardly any and while mine is fairly different to Durham, seeing as it isn’t anywhere near as prestigious for a start, it’s really fun to see some things I do recognise. The Shakespeare Society plotline deserves a shoutout too, because I really enjoyed seeing them organise their play, and the references were really fun.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

This is one I’ve been excited for since I first heard of it, not least because it shares its title with one of my favourite Billie Eilish songs, but also because I just loved the sound of the plot. It’s about a girl named Liz, whose small Indiana town is completely obsessed with the traditions of prom, as she runs for prom queen in order to be able to afford college, and begins to have feelings for another girl in the race. I really liked Liz- her family have been through a lot in the past few years as the book begins and are still going through a fair bit during it, and I think she’s incredibly strong and supportive of them, especially her little brother. Her relationship with Mack, the new girl in school, was adorable, and I wanted them to end up together so much the whole time I was reading! The friendships Liz has were really interesting as well, I thought some of their decisions were a bit questionable but on the whole I really liked her friend group. I was especially fond of Jordan because he was such a darling. I was very invested in the prom court as well, it’s such a great idea for a book and it was fascinating to me as someone from the UK to learn how very seriously Americans take their prom, there were a few things that definitely took me by surprise a bit that people did! The book also tackles some more serious issues as well as having the romance and prom race within the plot, such as homophobic and racist behaviour from Liz’s peers and school, and the way some of them behave was just utterly atrocious. The way Liz handles these situations when she receives these comments was another reason why I thought she was amazing.

Thank you so much for reading! Which books have you been reading recently with LGBTQ+ characters? Do you have any recommendations for more middle grade ones seeing as this post is quite YA heavy? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: | she/her

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