Hello everybody! So, at the start of June I shared my TBR for my friend Ross’s readathon, and while I deviated from it a fair bit, I’m really chuffed that I managed to fulfill almost all of the challenges, and that I had such a brilliant time reading all of these. These are sort of reviews and sort of not, but I hope I manage to convey how amazing I think all these books are because I honestly adored them. Enough rambling, onto the post!
Proud of Me by Sarah Hagger-Holt (free spot)
In her second book, Sarah Hagger Holt tells the story of almost-twins Becky and Josh (who have the same sperm donor dad, and live with their mums), who are both grappling with issues; Becky is questioning her sexuality after developing feelings for the new girl at school, and Josh desperately wants to find out the identity of their dad, even though he isn’t legally supposed to until he’s 18. The book is told in a dual narrative format and I found it really easy to tell who was talking even without checking as both Becky and Josh had distinctive voices, and I really liked them both as people. My heart honestly broke for Becky at a few points of this (I’m pretty sure you’ll know which scenes I’m talking about if you’ve read it), and although Josh makes some pretty daft choices, it was still impossible not to empathise with him. I thought the book’s climax with the Pride group at school was so wonderful, and I also liked the way Becky and Josh’s arcs are wrapped up in a very authentic way. I love that LGBTQIA+ characters are becoming more common in middle grade, and I hope to read many more from this author in the future.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (book by a QPOC author, set in the 20th century)
I hadn’t actually heard of this before Ross recommended it to me, but I’m so glad I picked it up because it was such a great read. It’s about Lily, a Chinese girl, and Kath’s love story in 1950s San Francisco, which is a very unsafe place for two girls to be together, especially as the Red Scare is having a huge impact on Lily’s life, since it means her father may be deported. I loved Lily and felt so much sympathy for her, having to hide her identity from almost everyone around her, and hearing people making derogatory comments about lesbians and gay people, which makes things even more difficult for her. I found the relationship between Lily and Shirley an interesting exploration of toxic friendship, even though Shirley’s attitude and behaviour made me livid a lot of the time, but in contrast, I thought Lily and Kath’s relationship was lovely, and they just fit perfectly together. The scenes at the Telegraph Club were brilliant, and I loved learning about the 1950s as it’s an era I know very little about. A moving historical YA that I recommend very highly indeed.
You’re the One That I Want by Simon James Green (a book with pink on the cover, a book I thought I would love)
If you know me at all, you’ll know how much I adore Simon James Green and his books, so you probably won’t be very shocked that this review is going to be GLOWING. In fact, I’m tempted to call this his best book yet, which is kind of a huge claim. Anyway, it’s about a boy named Freddie who is sick of everyone thinking he’s average and boring, which reaches fever pitch after he humiliate ps himself at a party for his TV producer mum’s new shows, and therefore decides he’s going to start saying “yes” to everything (apart from anything illegal). This is how he ends up involved in the school production of Grease and sort of dating the new guy at school Zach, and many other things I can’t tell you because they aren’t mentioned on the blurb and I had loads of fun discovering them as I read. Simon describes Freddie as a gay Bridget Jones and as somewhat of a Bridget myself. you genuinely couldn’t get a more apt description. I loved him and the mortifying situations he lands himself in and his narration so much, and I also really liked his friends Ruby and Sam. My feelings about Zach were complicated and too spoilery to explain, but I can tell you that the backstabbing and bitching of the drama group characters was hilarious and I loved it. Like I genuinely can’t tell you how much I laughed while I was reading this!! Now, I also can’t be very specific here, and I’m sorry for that, but the person and relationship Freddie ends the book with was both super unexpected and so amazing, and I absolutely loved the two of them together. You need this book in your life if you love romcoms, because it’s such a good one.
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar (a book with bisexual rep, set outside the UK/US)
Fake dating is basically my favourite trope of all time, so although I had originally planned to pick up the Henna Wars for this readathon, when I saw this in my local Waterstones and bought it , I couldn’t resist picking this up instead! It’s about overachieving loner Ishu Dey, who agrees to fake date Hani Khan, who has just come out to her friends as bisexual and is struggling with their doubtful reaction, to get closer to her goal of becoming head girl. I absolutely adored both Hani and Ishu as individuals; Ishu is delightfully blunt and the way she was so protective of Hani was beyond adorable, plus I felt so bad for Hani that her friends were such complete and utter horrors, because she didn’t deserve their behaviour at all. On that note, I loathed Aisling and Dee beyond words, because their treatment of Hani and Ishu was beyond unacceptable and they were such well written antagonists, but some other characters I loved with my whole heart were Nik (she’s lowkey a legend) and Hani’s parents were so cute. Hani and Ishu’s relationship was gorgeous and I loved them together so much that I couldn’t put this down till I made sure they ended up together. I also loved the Irish setting and learning more about the school system there, because I’m a geek like that, and it was so interesting to learn more about Bengali culture as well. Getting to the Henna Wars as soon as possible is definitely a new reading goal for me. I’m kicking myself for not bringing it on holiday with me!!
Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C Rosen (a book that’s been on my TBR for too long)
I’m pretty sure this came out in 2018, so it’s taken me three years to get to it, and after reading it I’m so annoyed with myself for taking so long. It’s about a gay teenager named Jack, who enjoys a lot of sex and isn’t ashamed of it, and how his life is completely changed when he starts writing a sex and relationships column for his friend’s blog, and he starts receiving anonymous, threatening notes from a stalker quickly termed “Pinky”. I loved Jack from pretty much the first sentence from his POV, and it was horrible to watch him become a shell of his former self, as Pinky’s notes and actions become more and more vile as the book progresses. I also absolutely bloody LOVED his friends, especially Jenna who is a supportive QUEEN, but also Ben who is adorable and some people who are looking out for Jack even though he doesn’t realise it. I also loved reading Jack’s columns, especially the one where he calls out straight girls for their fetishization of gay men, and I genuinely couldn’t put this down because I was so hooked. The reveal of who Pinky is was so great and unexpected too, and I thought the scene where Pinky and Jack come face to face was chilling, but also phenomenal. Think a really, really creepy version of Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda if Blue wasn’t adorable and instead resembled a slut-shaming version of A from Pretty Little Liars and you basically have this book. In other words, it’s incredibly intriguing and enjoyable, as well as communicating some really important things.
Also, I can’t really count it because I didn’t finish it during June, but I did read a bit of Ciara Smyth’s Not My Problem and I LOVE it so far, so I also highly recommend that.
Thank you so much for reading! Which books did you read during Pride Month? Do you have any thoughts on the books I’ve mentioned? I’d love to hear in the comments!
4 thoughts on “My LGBTQ Month Wrap-Up”
Ooh I just added Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating! It sounds so cute and I love the bisexual representation!
LikeLiked by 1 person
It’s AMAZING, I really hope you love it too x
SO glad you enjoyed LGBTQMonth, babe! I’m super excited to get around to Simon James Green’s new book as well as Last Night at the Telegraph Club! x
LikeLiked by 1 person
I loved it so much!!! Can’t wait for next year’s already ❤. Def think enjoy both of those books! Xx
LikeLiked by 1 person