YA Pride: A round-up

Good morning everyone! 

How are you all doing? What’s happening this fine Monday morning? What are you reading at the minute? I’d love to know in the comments what you’re all reading… 

I’m here today to give you some mini reviews of some Queer YA books I’ve read recently! It wasn’t until I was looking at my list that I was like “OOH LOOK. QUEER BOOKS. LET’S REVIEW THEM TOGETHER!” so here we are… 

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Camp – L.C.Rosen

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“Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists. This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him. But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is.”

I was a MASSSIVE MASSSSIVE fan of Jack of Hearts and Other Parts by L.C.Rosen, so when I knew there was going to be a second story, I had HIGH HIGH hopes, and guys. I really loved it! This was blooming brilliant. It’s a gorgeous story filled to the brim with queer chraracters and there are some incredible lessons throughout about being yourself, accepting yourself and others for their own truths and some great messages about queer history and being queer in the world today. The characters are wonderful (is there some QUESTIONABLE choice making by Randy? Yes. It drove me SLIGHTLY insane… but it was part of the story building!) I wish there was more real life spaces like Camp Outland in the world – they are so needed and welcomed! 

You Should See Me In A Crown – Leah Johnson

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“Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?”

This was a book that I saw LITERALLY EVERYONE raving about, so I had to get my hands on it… and my gosh, my friends. This was just one of those books that took me by the heart and ran away with it. It made me laugh, it made me cry and I definitely fell a little bit in love with the whole thing. I absolutely adore Lighty. The relationships in the book made me so happy (my shipper heart TRULY PLAYED ITS GAMES). Whether it was the friendships, the romantic relationships or the family dynamics… I just adored them all. A massive shout out to her relationship with her grandmother – just love. This is such a gorgeous story of a black lesbian running for prom queen to get where she wants to be. We need more stories like this one for SO MANY REASONS. 

Heartbreak Boys – Simon James Green

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“Faking the best summer ever is a lot harder than it looks…
At the start of summer, Jack and Nate find themselves dumped as their respective exes, Dylan and Tariq, start up a new relationship together. Not only that, their exes start posting pics on social media, showing the whole world how fabulous their new life together is! Jack and Nate are reeling. Not to be outdone, they decide to create their own ‘highlights reel’ and show their exes that they’re having an even better time. But between the depressing motorway service station motels, damp campsites, and an ultimate showdown with the exes, something epic really is happening: Jack and Nate are learning to get over their heartache and open themselves up to new possibilities for love.”

Having absolutely adored Simon James Green’s other books (they are HILARIOUS, you should get on it!), I was very excited to hear about this one at the Scholastic Showcase. When the babes of Scholastic sent me this book, I knew I needed to dive into it INSTANTLY. Heartbreak Boys, like Simon’s other books, was a glorious romp of a story filled to the brim with love, laughter, finding your truth and being yourself. The two boys have been dumped and then go on a road trip together and what you get is a a hilarious, brilliant, summer trip filled with laughter, love and learning. This follows the boys’ ups and downs of watching your ex on Instagram (because we have ALL done that and know how it feels!) and trying to out-do them with your fake relationship. I just loved it, so much. There’s loads of hilarious moments in this!

Loveless – Alice Oseman

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“Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day. As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight. But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever. Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?”

WHO DOESN’T LOVE ALICE OSEMAN’S BOOKS? If you’ve never read an Alice Oseman book, please get on it… it doesn’t matter where you start, they are all majestic. Alice truly doesn’t know how to write a bad book. Loveless tells the story of Georgia, who is going through a time figuring out who she is, how to live her truth, dealing with friendship troubles ALL WHILE moving away to/being at university. I thought the friendships in this book were brilliant and I’d definitely want to be friends with them. The kids in this book are all flawed, but my god, that makes them all the more loveable. There is some excellent representation in this book and some brilliant chat about identity, in particular being aromantic and asexual. More like this please. 

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And there you go! Living my best life reading all the queer YA and I can’t recommend them all enough. We need MORE happy stories with queer characters, of ALL of the identities. 

Have you read any of these books?
Can you recommend me any other queer YA books?
What are you reading at the minute?

Talk to me in the comments… I’d love to flail about these books! 

S x

4 thoughts on “YA Pride: A round-up

  1. erin from rinsreads says:

    I thought Camp was super cute, I’m glad you enjoyed it!! I have Loveless & You Should See Me in a Crown on my tbr and can’t wait to get to them, they both seem like they’re going to be great reads. This is the first time I’m hearing of Heartbreak Boys, but omg it looks SO good!!! Just added it to my TBR. Thanks for the recs! (:

    Like

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