HAPPY RELEASE DAY | We Are Lost & Found

43298077A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting, story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming-of-age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Source Books Fire

Happy release day to Helene Dunbar’s We Are Lost and Found! I have an entire spoiler free review for this book that you can find here.

If any of you remember, We Are Lost and Found was actually one of my ON MY RADAR picks and I’m so happy for it to finally be out in the world!

Find We Are Lost & Found at your local bookstore!

 

Are you looking forward to this book now as well? Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads to help the hype!

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ON MY RADAR → Only Mostly Devastated

On My Radar is a series I’ve been doing since I started blogging in 2016. I share with you books that may not have as much hype that I’m excited to read. I like sharing debut novels or books I just don’t think enough people are talking about. I usually find these books on Edelweiss and try to provide a review closer to the release date. I love doing these posts so I can boost some great books and help others find their next read!

 

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease.

Summer love…gone so fast.

Ollie and Will were meant to be a summer fling—casual, fun, and done. But when Ollie’s aunt’s health takes a turn for the worse and his family decides to stay in North Carolina to take care of her, Ollie lets himself hope this fling can grow to something more. Dreams that are crushed when he sees Will at a school party and finds that the sweet and affectionate (and comfortably queer) guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High.

Will is more than a little shocked to see Ollie the evening of that first day of school. While his summer was spent being very much himself, back at school he’s simply known as one of the varsity basketball guys. Now Will is faced with the biggest challenge of his life: follow his heart and risk his friendships, or stay firmly in the closet and lose what he loves most.”

Release Date:  March 3, 2020
ISBN: 9781250315892, 1250315891
Edition: Hardcover
Page Count: 288 pages
I recently found this on Edelweiss and it looks so CUTE. Grease and Clueless? Hand it over.

Pre-order this book at your local bookstore! Pre-orders help books out IMMENSELY.

We Are Lost and Found [REVIEW]

43298077A poignant, heartbreaking, and uplifting, story in the tradition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower about three friends coming-of-age in the early 1980s as they struggle to forge their own paths in the face of fear of the unknown.

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: September 3rd, 2019

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Source Books Fire

My Rating:  stars 5 ★★★★★ out of ★★★★★ stars (5/5)

 

I was kindly sent a physical copy of this book by Source Books Fire  in exchange for a review. Thank you, Source Books! Any opinion is my own.

 

This review is SPOILER FREE!

TW: homophobia (unaccepting parents)

We Are Lost and Found is one of the rare books that I found the day it was posted to Edelweiss and emailed the publisher immediately. It had everything that I love in the description — it was compared to Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, it’s a coming-of-age story, it’s set in the 80s and it follows LGBT+ teens during the AIDs epidemic. Not to mention, the cover is stunning.

Coming-of-age is one of my favorite genres for so many different reasons but I love how real the stories feel even if it’s fiction. There’s so much character development and personality throughout these types of stories. We Are Lost and Found was no different. As the reader, you follow Michael and his two best friends as they grow up in the middle of New York during the 1980s. Michael goes to this club often that’s called the Echo, where he finds himself always dancing and forgetting. He’s always hanging out with either Jamie — the performer and artist or he’s with Becky, an strong female character who’s going through a lot at home.

Helene Dunbar was able to write such an interesting and fully developed cast of characters in about 300 pages. I loved all of them — Michael, Jamie and Becky. They each had their own backstories and were nowhere near being flat side characters. They also felt incredibly realistic. I find that sometimes,  in YA specifically, friend groups just seem so unrealistic and have me thinking “these people would NEVER be friends in real life” but this set of characters makes perfect sense. Jamie and Becky are never toxic and are so supportive. They’re the most unproblematic side characters ever and I ADORE them.

Not only are the friendships in this book fantastic, but family is such a huge theme in this book. Michael’s relationship with his parents and his brother plays a big part in this book. His brother is such a great character and I feel as if I relate to both of them. A lot of the times in YA books, families are often nowhere to be seen or also just incredibly unrealistic. It was a joy to see his family play a part in this book, even if it wasn’t exactly for the best reason. I really enjoyed seeing Michael’s relationship with his brother. Seeing them grow and have a healthier relationship near the end of this book is so rewarding and refreshing. On the other hand, Michael has a tough relationship with his parents and he never knows where he stands with them after knowing what they did to his brother. He feels trapped and it’s so hard to read but it’s so well done. I think a lot of readers, especially LGBT+ and closeted readers, will appreciate this.

Since this was the first ever book I’ve read by Helene Dunbar, I had no idea what to expect in terms of her writing style. I opened this book and quickly realized, “There’s no quotations marks.” I had been buddy reading this with Amber and I texted her about it immediately because to be completely honest, I think this might be one of the first non-classic books I’ve read with no quotation marks. I love dialogue and I’m not going to lie, I find myself skimming pages and just reading dialogue. Since this had no quotation marks, I obviously couldn’t do that. This story is written in beautiful vignettes and yes, there’s no quotation marks but DAMN, is it wonderful. I quickly fell in love her way of writing. I ended up marking up my review copy with pencil everywhere. I underlined anything I found funny or lyrical. I have so many quotes that I adored from this book and can’t wait to like them all on Goodreads. Let me share some little quotes I underlined:

(please note that this is from an unfinished copy and that some of these quotes may be taken out, edited, or completely changed)

  • “Happy. And that’s the odd thing. Not being happy, but realizing it. Because how often, when you’re happy, do you have the chance to step back and notice?”
  • “Becky says to stay away. That sometimes wanting is better than having — Whatever that means”
  • In this scene, he’s talking about playing guitar. “Somehow, everything I play sounds like the same thing: longing.”
  • “It’s like I left some important part of myself at Pride, and I don’t know how to get it back.”

Also, if you’re wondering why she wrote her book this way, this is a great interview!

Now to talk about a significant part of this book, We Are Lost and Found is set during the 80s and the AIDs epidemic. I’m usually hesitant when it comes to books set during real life events that are as heavy and difficult to talk about like the AIDs epidemic. Let me just say this: This is such a well researched YA novel set during this time. Since I got to read this book so early, I’ve been able to talk to Helene Dunbar herself and she’s truly so passionate about this subject and the book itself. I strongly suggest you read both the Afterword and Acknowledgements when finishing this book. Also, read the interview I linked above. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know much about the AIDs epidemic besides the fact that it certainly did happen. This book exposes the most difficult and uneasy events that took place during the epidemic. There’s a few scenes in this book that I marked because they were truly excellent and captured the experience of a young, LGBT+ boy in the 80s. One of the scenes is near the beginning of the book when Michael is reading the newspaper and reading the statistics and result of AIDs. Throughout the entire book, Michael is so utterly scared of AIDs — whether it be him somehow obtaining it or his friends and brother. Another heartbreaking scene that captures the pure fear of the AIDs epidemic is when another side character ends up getting AIDs and his family doesn’t even visit him even though he’s dying because they’re scared they’ll get sick. These are such poignant scenes but they truly set the reader up for an eye opening read.

I’m planning to read more books about the AIDs epidemic since this one. I loved it even more than I thought I would. The writing was absolutely beautiful. Helene Dunbar wrote a book on such a complex topic and did it while being both poetic and light hearted at the same time. Don’t get me wrong — this book is a heavy read but it’s well worth it. There’s so much depth within this book that I didn’t quite expect but I really enjoyed it.

On a more random note, I think this would make the perfect book club book. I really love reading this along with Amber. It gives you so much to talk about and makes for incredibly interesting conversations! As a reader, you also learn so much about the AIDs epidemic from the point of view of an LGBT+ teen. Truly remarkable!

I can’t wait for this book to be released (I pre-ordered it right when I finished) so all of you can read it and hopefully love it as much as me! The description of this book seems quite accurate. I think this book has all of the things Perks of Being a Wallflower has so if you are a fan of that book, don’t hesitate to pick this one up! You might love it as much as I did.

Find We Are Lost & Found at your local bookstore! It comes out September 3rd, 2019.

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

ON MY RADAR → Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

On My Radar is a series I’ve been doing since I started blogging in 2016. I share with you books that may not have as much hype that I’m excited to read. I like sharing debut novels or books I just don’t think enough people are talking about. I usually find these books on Edelweiss and try to provide a review closer to the release date. I love doing these posts so I can boost some great books and help others find their next read!

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A gutsy, queer coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Nina LaCour, Rainbow Rowell, and Elizabeth Acevedo.

Juliet Milagros Palante is a self-proclaimed closeted Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx.

Only, she’s not so closeted anymore. Not after coming out to her family the night before flying to Portland, Oregon to intern with her favorite feminist writer—what’s sure to be a life changing experience. And when Juliet’s coming out crashes and burns, she’s not sure her mom will ever speak to her again.

But Juliet has a plan—sort of. Her internship with legendary author Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff is sure to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. Except Harlowe’s white. And not from the Bronx. And she definitely doesn’t have all the answers…

In a summer bursting with queer brown dance parties, a sexy fling with a motorcycling librarian, and intense explorations of race and identity, Juliet learns what it means to come out—to the world, to her family, to herself.”

Edition: Hardcover, E-book

Release Date: September 17th, 2019

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

 

Are you looking forward to this book now as well? Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads to help the hype!

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Pre-order this book at your local bookstore! Pre-orders help books out IMMENSELY.

Where I End & You Begin [MINI REVIEW]

41736961“Ezra Slevin is an anxious, neurotic insomniac who spends his nights questioning his place in the universe and his days obsessing over Imogen, a nerdy girl with gigantic eyebrows and a heart of gold.

For weeks, Ezra has been working up the courage to invite Imogen to prom. The only problem is Imogen’s protective best friend, Wynonna Jones. Wynonna has blue hair, jams to ’80s rock, and has made a career out of tormenting Ezra for as long as he can remember.

Then, on the night of a total solar eclipse, something strange happens to Ezra and Wynonna–and they wake up in each other’s bodies. Not only that, they begin randomly swapping back and forth every day! Ezra soon discovers Wynonna’s huge crush on his best friend, Holden, a five-foot-nothing girl magnet with anger management problems. With no end to their curse in sight, Ezra makes Wynonna a proposition: while swapping bodies, he will help her win Holden’s heart…but only if she helps him woo Imogen.

Forming an uneasy alliance, Ezra and Wynonna embark on a collision course of mistaken identity, hurt feelings, embarassing bodily functions, and a positively byzantine production of Twelfth Night. Ezra wishes he could be more like Wynonna’s badass version of Ezra–but he also realizes he feels more like himself while being Wynonna than he has in a long time…

Wildly entertaining and deeply heartfelt, Where I End and You Begin is a brilliant, unapologetic exploration of what it means to be your best self.”

Edition: Hardcover

Release Date: June 4th, 2019

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

My Rating:  stars 4 ★★★★ out of ★★★★★ stars (4/5)

 

I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. The opinion is my own.

This review is SPOILER FREE!

I requested Where I End and You Begin by Preston North solely because the description got me immediately. Except, I don’t really know what I was expecting. I just know it wasn’t this. This book was so interesting, quirky and hilarious while also tackling things like depression and finding yourself when you have no idea who you are.

While mimicking Twelfth Night and Freaky Friday at the same time, it deals with the main character, Ezra, being completely confused about his identity. Not only is Ezra lost, but he also is dealing with his mental health and his situation in which he never sleeps. I think this book could’ve felt much heavier than it was but since it was still able to be humorous, it became a much lighter read.

I loved the author’s writing style because he gave his characters SO much personality. It was so fun reading Ezra’s constant thoughts even if they weren’t the happiest sometimes. I especially found it unique whenever the book finally hits the play. I think this type of writing is almost lyrical in sense that it’s so quotable. I highlighted so many lines on my kindle and it sucks I can’t share them all!

The only problem I had with this book was the mention of Johnny Depp’s abuse case. As of now, Johnny Depp has laid out endless evidence about how he was abused by his ex wife. I understand that while the author was writing this, he might’ve felt the need to mention that since Ezra was a huge Johnny Depp fan. I just don’t think it fit well within fiction. It disconnected me a bit but I still enjoyed the book nonetheless.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a hilarious yet meaningful read like Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Their writing is reminiscent of each other! Also, if anyone’s looking for a book about identity exploration, this book covered is so well.

 

Find Where I End and You Begin at your local bookstore!

 

To hear my thoughts elsewhere, follow me on social media: Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

 

 

 

** I wanna note I wrote this LONG after reading it so it’s probably messy. I just needed to get a review back to NetGalley. I meant to write it after I read it but life got too crazy.**

LGBT+ Book Recommendation — Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

32768522 “Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On – The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.”

As many of you know, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell has been one of my favorite books from the beginning. In Fangirl, you get to read the fanfiction that Cath is writing in parts. She writes about Simon & Baz, a couple of students attending Watford, a school for magic.

Eventually, Rainbow Rowell realized how much she loved these characters and decided to write a full book of their own story called Carry On.

I bought Carry On the minute it came out and read it in one sitting. I remember the night I finished it, I called my boyfriend crying because of the ending. He obviously had no idea what was going on but I needed someone to talk to about it.

I love this book because it’s emotional, it follows a group of friends (kinda lol) and remains funny through it all. It’s very reminiscent of Harry Potter but in the best way. I love the chosen one trope in this book but more importantly, I love the relationship of Simon & Baz.

I remember waiting for the chapter where Baz finally comes into the book. I love their banter and how obvious it is that they love each other. This book is one of my favorite and it probably always will be. I cannot wait for more Simon & Baz in Wayward Son.

So, if you’re looking for an m/m book to read during Pride or in general, I would definitely recommend Carry On!

I also often get asked whether or not you need to read Fangirl first to read Carry On. I don’t think you have to because the book is an entire work by itself but reading Fangirl makes it more exciting. You feel more familiar with them.

 

Have you guys read Carry On? Let me know!

What If It’s Us [REVIEW]

This is an archived review. For the original post, here’s a link to Goodreads post.

36260157Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?”

Edition: ARC e-book
Page Count: 488 pages
Publish Date: October 9th, 2018
Publisher: Harper Teen
ISBN13: 9780062795243

Rating: ★★★★/★★★★★ (4.5/5 stars)

 

I was so kindly sent an early copy of this book by Harper Teen in exchange for a review.

“I don’t know if we’re a love story or a story about love.”

I am so excited for this book to be shared with the rest of the world! I got the honour to read and review this book early and as always, these authors didn’t disappoint me. While I don’t read many contemporary books anymore, I always end up reading both Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera’s books. They both write quite differently as Adam Silvera writes incredibly deep and emotional books and Becky’s books can get emotional but are usually pretty lighthearted. This book is a perfect combination of what real love feels like when it hurts and when it’s the only thing you can think about.

It all begins with two teenagers named Arthur and Ben meet in a New York post office on accident. It’s definitely a bitter sweet meet-cute considering they flirt but don’t exchange any contact information, not even a name, so all they do is think about each other afterwards. They search craigslist, have a friend internet stalk one another, etc. and soon enough, they’re together again on their first date. As the expectations are high, things start to disappoint when their multiple dates don’t end up as planned. But, they keep trying anyway to make their story as picture perfect as possible. Unfortunately, love isn’t always that simple. Was the universe helping them or not?

I have to admit: Arthur and Ben’s messy love story was hard to read at times but it’s definitely worth it. It shows that not all relationships are perfect and there’s definitely struggles whenever it comes to love but it’s the ride that counts. They did over their first date in attempt to have the perfect one but it never seemed to work out. Arthur was jealous and insecure at times and Ben didn’t quite understand. They were troubled and made many mistakes but that’s the reality of it all. It wasn’t insta-love or perfect like they wished but it was real. That’s what makes this story so genuine and heartfelt.

The characters alone didn’t need each other to be interesting because of how descriptive and intriguing their personalities were. Becky Albertalli wrote Arthur, a broad-way obsessed teen who’s living in New York over the summer. The mentions of Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen were an excellent plus. Adam Silvera wrote Ben, a New Yorker who just got out of a relationship and is struggling with summer school. Not only are these characters both gay but Arthur is a Jewish boy with ADHD and Ben is Puerto Rican. As readers, we explore Ben’s struggle with his racial identity because he doesn’t exactly look Puerto Rican. Not only that, but we get insight on Arthur’s personal struggle living with ADHD. As we get introduced to both Ben and Arthur, we meet several side characters who play important roles in their lives and are diverse. We meet their closest friends, their significant others and their families but it’s still crucial to the plot. We experience their families meeting at Arthur’s home and their world’s colliding. It was so wholesome seeing their parents talk about each other as a couple.

The only problem I found while reading was that Arthur and Ben felt a lot older than they were (I believe they’re like 15-16?). They felt much older, like college students but it might’ve been the fact they’re living in NYC and they were quite independent. Also, some of the conversations were just weird (those roommates?? lol).

It was so refreshing to read a LGBT+ love story that was genuine and normalized. It was a bitter sweet romance during the Summer in New York. I could see the ending clearly but I didn’t want to believe it. What’s better than a realistic romance in New York with two incredibly diverse characters with outstanding personalities? Not to mention, I fell in love at all of the broadway references and how they mentioned real bookstores like Books of Wonder. It was like the icing on top of the cake (cliche, I know) but I loved everything about this book.

I sincerely cannot wait for it to be released so everyone else can understand how lovely it is as well. I think we all need a good LGBT+ love story by the king and queen of YA contemporary.

Have you read this book? Are you planning to? Let me know!

If you would like, here’s a little button to add it to Goodreads:Related image

 

Buy this book at your local bookstore