I sat down with hybrid author, Bethany Hagen, whose tenure boasts a whopping 28 books under her pen name, Sierra Simone. She began as a… Read More »Fanfiction, Michael Fassbender, and Writing for Yourself: A conversation with Sierra Simone
Sonora Reyes delivers a clear, compelling, and hilarious narrative of protagonist Yamilet’s (Yami) high school experience as a mostly-closeted queer brown outsider in their debut novel, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School. During an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Reyes says, “In writing [my book], I wanted to explore what a happy ending could look like in Catholic school.”
Be prepared to get sucked into Yami’s perspective. With an opening line of “Seven years of bad luck can slurp my ass,” how could you not? Yami’s voice feels wry and charming, and with chapter titles like “Thou Shalt Not Trust a Two-Faced Bitch,” and “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Capitalism,” I found myself smiling and laughing often.
From the title, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, we already know this isn’t going to end well. However, the cover is misleading. We’re met with bright, springy pastels and Laura Dean and Freddy embracing each other. We are made to believe that Laura Dean and Freddy could possibly work it out, so why does Laura Dean keep dumping Freddy? According to author Mariko Tamaki, she “always liked the idea of an ex-ex-girlfriend story, about the girl that got away and then shows up a week later with a smile like nothing happened,” and her relationships when she was younger “weren’t fairy-tale girl-meets-girl, girl-finds-true-love-type things. They were a mess.” (https://www.latimes.com)
And we all know how messy teenage love can be—especially the break ups. Even if you haven’t been broken up with repeatedly by the same person, a breakup is a breakup, and you can’t help but obsess over that person you still love who doesn’t seem to love you anymore. And no one understands this better than Freddy, Laura Dean’s now ex-girlfriend.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune was unlike any story I’ve ever read before. Though there is a lot of Magical Realism sweeping through bookstores, this does something the others don’t. For one thing, the magic isn’t heavily focused. And two, the magic they are referring to is the youth who are beings or have powers we the reader are familiar with. Thus it isn’t such a stretch to imagine these magical beings in our world.
But what really works for this book is Linus Baker, a caseworker for the magical youth from the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, or DICOMY for short. DICOMY is a government agency that requires all magical beings to be registered, and any youth cast aside without a home were sent to orphanages. That’s where Linus comes in.
When I first saw Lindsey Roth Culli’s young adult novel, Say Yes Summer, I figured it was going to be something akin to Shonda Rhimes’ memoir, The Year of Yes, which encourages you to say “yes” to opportunity when it comes knocking. I could tell that Say Yes Summer would be predictable, but in a good way—sometimes you just want to read a feel-good, summer-y novel. And, I’m happy to report that Say Yes Summer is a book you should say “yes” to. It’s an excellent summer read that takes you back to high school without actually having to go back to high school.
Say Yes Summer centers around Rachel Walls, a girl who’s spent her entire life striving to achieve three goals: getting straight A’s, getting into the college of her dream, and getting an academic scholarship. In pursuit of these goals, she’s spent her whole high school existence saying “no” to everything: no dances, no parties, no boys, no anything fun. We meet Rachel on the night of her graduation and follow along as she celebrates this achievement by spending the summer before college, saying “yes” to everything that comes her way…including unexpected romance.Read More »Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli