PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Tag: LGBT (Page 1 of 6)

Book Review: From Dust, A Flame

book cover black with red and gold rose and petals

 

From Dust, A Flame

– Rebecca Podos –

Balzer + Bray

Published 8 February 2022

♥♥♥♥

 

From Dust, A Flame is a Jewish-legend inspired paranormal, historical, mystery YA fiction genre-mash-up that is as entrancing as it is unique.

A slow and confusing beginning had me questioning why I had picked this book up and checking the synopsis to make sure I had the right book. But by a quarter of the way in I was hooked. It’s a great book, strong characters, a strong sense of identity and unique. It’s also rooted in legends and mythology that is not often brought to the page – and it’s about time it was.

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Book Review: Here’s To Us

Here's to us book cover - two boys sitting at a table in front of city skyline

 

Here’s To Us

– Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera –

Quill Tree Books

Published 28 December 2021

♥♥♥♥♥

 

Here’s To Us is the long awaited (okay, it’s only been a couple of years, but it feels like forever) sequel to What If It’s Us. If you have read What If It’s Us, then you will know that if you wanted a happily ever after ending it desperately needed a sequel. And finally, finally, we have been gifted with a glorious, funny, delightful sequel. And that happily ever after? Oh yeah, there’s definitely a few of them this time around. A couple weddings, a few proposals, best friends forever – this book just seeps romance, love and heartwarming moments.

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Book Review: Game On

 

Game On: 15 Stories of Wins, Losses, and Everything in Between

– Laura Silverman (ed.) –

Viking Books for Young Readers 

Published 18 January 2022

♥♥♥/♥

 

Game on is a collection of 15 short stories that span a range of genres that all mention, in some way or form, competition.

I was expecting a sports fiction anthology. This is not a collection of sports fiction short stories. Instead, this is a collection of short stories that span a range of genres, from horror and paranormal to realistic and mystery. Actually, there are only a few stories where sport is mentioned at all and only one where it was the focus (admittedly, that was my favourite story, so maybe that tells you something about my reaction to this collection). The rest use games or competition as a backdrop to the main story of racial discrimination, revenge, disappearing people and houses, or going after the guy you love. There are mentions of some board games, but the game theme is actually pretty loose. The first story is about a game of spin the bottle at a party.

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Book Review: Serendipity

 

Serendipity

– Marissa Meyer (ed.) –

Feiwel Friends

Published 4 January 2022

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Do you have a favourite romantic trope? If you ask most romance fans, they might have one or two tropes in mind. This book is for those readers. It’s such a great idea and such a great collection of romantic YA short stories, each one written by a well known YA author and each one featuring some of our favourite romantic tropes.

From fake dating to one shared bed, matchmaking to the grand romantic gesture, this collection of short stories has many of your favourite tropes but also a few you may not have thought of.

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Book Review: Icebreaker

 

Icebreaker

– A.L. Graziadei –

Henry, Holt and Co.

Published 18 January 2022

♥♥♥♥♥

 

Icebreaker is an addictive sports fiction novel, about LGBT+ identity in sports, mental health, family and romance.

I think I start every sports book review with a statement about how much I love sport fiction. And I stand by that statement. I love sports novels. Icebreaker is a mix of YA and new adult, with our main characters in their first year of college but with less sexually explicit content that what one might expect from a new adult novel.

Mickey James the Third is ice hockey royalty. Ever since he was born, it’s been ordained that he will follow in his father and grandfather’s skates. He just has to survive his first year of college before he is drafted as the top pick and then he will have fulfilled that destiny. But when his draft ranking rival is placed on the same team, Mickey knows he will have to work harder than ever to prove he is worth all the hype. And when he starts to fall for that rival, despite also arguing and fighting non stop with him, Mickey will have to chose – destiny or a chance at a future he might finally, actually care about.

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Book Review: The Helheim Princess

 

The Helheim Princess

– Tiana Warner –

Entangled Teen

Published 4 January 2022

♥♥♥♥

 

Norse mythology, a main character determined to prove herself and fantasy action in a journey to the underworld. The Helheim Princess is sure to please readers who love mythology-driven fantasy.

Sigrid might have been born in the Valkyrie ward but she’s not a Valkyrie. The Junior Valkyries in training and the General make sure she knows her true place in life. A stable hand, with a Midguard horse and no future in the Valkyrie ranks. Sigrid is determined to prove them wrong. She knows her horse is fast and that the secret training they’ve been doing makes them an asset to the army, even if it’s only from the ground. But when an army of Night Elves invade and steal a precious relic, Sigrid takes her chance to fulfil her destiny. Joining with an enemy Valkyrie, Sigrid travels to the Underworld. But more than just destiny awaits her there.

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Book Review: Anything But Fine

 

Anything But Fine

– Tobias Madden –

Penguin Random House Australia

Published 31 August 2021

♥♥♥♥

Ballet is everything for Luca. It’s his future, his time, all his effort and his friendships. So when he falls down the stairs at his ballet studio and breaks his leg, it changes everything. When the doctors say he will never dance again, Luca isn’t sure what that means for his future. Who is he without ballet. When he loses his scholarship and has to move school and he shuts out his friends, the only bright side is seeing Jordan at OT. Jordan is the school captain and rowing champion at Luca’s new school. Luca thinks there might be something between them but Jordan is apparently straight. And has a girlfriend.

Anything But Fine is authentically Australia, from the Ballarat setting, to the slang and high school culture. #LoveOzYA

One of the things I most enjoyed about this book was Luca’s friendship with Amina. Amina is nerdy, talks a lot and isn’t who Luca thought he would be spending time with. She’s also as different from his old friends as possible. Amina is Indonesian-Australian and Muslim. She is absolutely fantastic and just what Luca needs. Luca also learns to be a better friend to Amina and more deserving of her. He makes some pretty lousy mistakes in this book, both towards Amina and his old friends, as well as to his dad and other adults who have been there for him. But Luca isn’t afraid to own up to these mistakes and learn from them.

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Book Review: Sidelined

 

Sidelined

– Kara Bietz –

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Published 21 September 2021

♥♥♥♥

Football, friendship, romance? What’s not to love.

Julian Jackson and Elijah Vance. Once childhood best friends. Now…. Three years after Elijah and his family left town, he has returned. Julian isn’t sure what to think. Does Elijah know it was Julian who called the police and told them Elijah broke the Coach’s window and was going to steal the money? Is Elijah the same boy he remembers? And does he remember that moment before he left? Elijah knows Julian isn’t happy to see him again – he makes that pretty clear. But is there any chance of fixing what was once between them and becoming friends again or something more?

This book is so American and so Texan it’s not funny (though it is delightful). It’s a setting that just jumps from the pages and gives the perfect backdrop to this football-loving romance.

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Book Review: Like Other Girls

Like Other Girls – Britta Lundin – Disney-Hyperion – Published 3 August 2021

♥♥♥♥♥

 

Synopsis

After getting kicked off the basketball team for a fight that was absolutely totally not her fault (okay maybe a little her fault), Mara is dying to find a new sport to play to prove to her coach that she can be a team player. A lifelong football fan, Mara decides to hit the gridiron with her brother, Noah, and best friend, Quinn-and she turns out to be a natural. But joining the team sets off a chain of events in her small Oregon town-and within her family-that she never could have predicted.

Inspired by what they see as Mara’s political statement, four other girls join the team. Now Mara’s lumped in as one of the girls-one of the girls who can’t throw, can’t kick, and doesn’t know a fullback from a linebacker. Complicating matters is the fact that Valentina, Mara’s crush, is one of the new players, as is Carly, Mara’s nemesis-the girl Mara fought with when she was kicked off the basketball team. What results is a coming-of-age story that is at once tear-jerking and funny, thought-provoking and real, as Mara’s preconceived notions about gender, sports, sexuality, and friendship are turned upside down.

My thoughts

What does it mean to be a girl? For Mara, growing up in a small, traditional town, being a girl means she has strict guidelines for how a girl looks and behaves and it’s everything Mara is not and hates. Like Other Girls is a novel about accepting yourself, accepting others and learning that there is no one right way to be a girl or to stand up for that right to be a girl in your own way.

This is not a book where the girl joins the football team and is accepted by the team. Just the opposite happens in Like Other Girls. When Mara joins the football team her relationship with her brother (the team captain) which was already unsteady, deteriorates even more. She has a massive fight with her best friend Quinn who initially encouraged her to join the team but who is now one of her greatest opponents. And her mother is no longer speaking to her or attending football games. That’s not to mention all the other responses from the other guys on the team, the coach or the other teams. When four other girls join the football team, Mara is determined that she won’t be cast as similar to them. She deserves to be there while they do not. But the reaction from the team and the sheer determination from the girls starts to prove to Mara that being a girl doesn’t have just one definition.

Alongside the story of rights, sexual harassment and equality, this is also a sexual orientation discovery story. Mara knows she is gay and has a plan for how she is going to come out – when she’s in college and far away from her conservative town. She could never be like Carly who is openly out and champions for LGBT+ rights. When Mara meets Jupiter and Jupiter hires her to do some work on her farm, Mara sees someone who is comfortable in their skin and clothes and who they are, someone in an LGBT+ relationship and Mara envies every bit of that comfort.
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Book Review: Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades – Faridah Abike-Iyimide – Feiwel Friends – Published 1 June 2021

♥♥♥♥/♥

 

Synopsis

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

My thoughts

Ace of Spades is heartbreakingly devastatingly yet as I was reading I knew that this is the reality for so many people and young people. It is thrilling, twisty and kept me guess right up until the last page. My main concern was how on earth the author could give me a satisfactory ending that was still realistic and boy, did Faridah deliver. Absolutely superb.

I was on the edge of my seat while reading this and often had my head in my hands and heart in my mouth. All the emotions and all the feels. Honestly, it wasn’t an easy book to read but oh my gosh it is such a powerful and reflective book of our current political and social landscapes.

Ace of Spades is a thriller, a mystery and realistic novel all in one. It’s #Diverse #OwnVoices #ReadWoke and every other on trend hashtag you could want. It’s gut punching and shows just how much resilience and strength it requires for people to survive in a society that seeks to destroy them. Ace of Spades is a debut novel and my gosh it is impressive.

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