Proud of Me: a gorgeous LGBTQ+ middle grade that the world NEEDS
“Becky and Josh are almost-twins, with two mums and the same anonymous donor dad. Josh can’t wait until he’s eighteen, the legal age when he can finally contact his father, and he’ll do anything to find out more - even if it involves lying. Becky can’t stop thinking about her new friend, Carli. Could her feelings for Carli be a sign of something more? Becky and Josh both want their parents to be proud of them…but right now, they’re struggling to even accept themselves.”
Proud of Me tells the story of ‘almost-twins’ Becky and Josh. You learn about their situation in a very matter of fact way (because let’s be real, we need to give space for all kinds of families to be represented in the world… we don’t live in a society where there is only one kind of family make up). The twins are at an impasse about something important: Josh is desperate to know more about their dad and the fact there could be more people he is related to; Becky on the other hand, doesn’t really want to know about her dad, but she is trying to understand who she is. When Becky starts to develop feelings for someone at school, she’s not really sure what to do and how to feel about it. While going through all of this family hunting and feelings having, the twins can agree on one thing – their need for their parents to be proud of them (which let’s be honest is something we all want!)
I’m the biggest biggest fan of getting diverse books out into the world full stop, but to get them into the hands of children and to get our middle grade world more diversely represented means the absolute world to me. When Usborne reached out to me to ask if I wanted to read book billed as “stunning own voices coming-of-age story that proudly celebrates LGBTQ+ families” I couldn’t say no.
Proud of Me does exactly what it says on the tin. It hits you hard; it puts you in someone else’s shoes; it makes you think. It educates you without being overwhelming. Reading a book like this was like a breath of fresh air – we need more of this in the world. We need more own voices books. We need more LGBTQ+ representation. It definitely made me feel a lot of feelings (and yes, of course I cried). I think there’s something in this book that younger me would’ve absolutely loved (and adult me needed).
This book doesn’t ‘shy away’ from some things that we don’t normally meet in MG books (never mind MG, it’s not often in YA either!): same-sex parenting and fertility. It deals with finding yourself while trying not to lose yourself. We meet characters who are going through a lot; who are fighting a lot of battles and who we can all relate to. We’ve all felt the need to be ‘found’ or ‘find’ ourselves and we’ve all tried to make sure that the people we love are proud of us.
We need more books like this in the world – showing stories that don’t get told often. I loved learning about the dynamics of this family because it’s SO DIFFERENT to my own life, but I felt some of the things the characters felt… which for me makes it a book that much more special.
A massive thank you to Usborne for send me a copy of this book. It has firmly gone on my ‘favourites’ shelf. Please check out the rest of the blog tour – it promises to be brilliant!