Tag Archives: YA

5 Star Review for Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon #YA #Intersex @Liannesimon

CoverTitle: Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite
Author Name & Publisher: Lianne Simon (Faie Miss Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 18, 2012 – 234 pgs

Synopsis

From the heart of an intersex teen, one who must ultimately choose male or female—family or true love—comes the story of a deeply emotional and perilous journey home. This is a young adult novel unlike any other—an authentic portrayal of the issues faced by a child growing up with a sexually ambiguous body.

Jameson can be like other boys after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone Well, at least that’s what his parents always say. But Jamie sees an elfin princess in the mirror, and male hormones would only ruin her pretty face. For him to become the man his parents expect, Jameson must leave behind the hopes and dreams of a little girl. But what is so wrong with Jamie’s dreams that they can’t be her life?

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

I admit I was reluctant to read this. The title reads like Internet click-bait, and I was afraid it was going to try to be “edgy” (in a bad way) like so much of what’s out there with regards to gender-related literature. I ended up having to eat my words–I loved it, start to finish.

The first thing I noticed is that this book strikes that magical balance between being written for people with intersex conditions while also being educational for people who are not. The author is clearly very knowledgeable and spent considerable time and effort to create a sensitive and authentic emotional read.

The second thing is how much I adored Jamie. She starts off seeming immature, far younger than her sixteen years. As the story progresses, the reasons why become clear–from her homeschooling years to lack of puberty and a lengthy time spent living as a boy, her emotional reactions are understandable. She matures in leaps and bounds over the course of the novel, and she is someone I wish I knew in real life.

It’s probably a bit idealistic, being surrounded by such a large number of supportive people, but I loved the various people in and out of Jamie’s life. My own emotions ranged from cheering to tearing up at some of the things she goes through, all the way to the triumphant resolution.

I did struggle a bit with the very religious elements. I was worried about Jamie going from living her parents’ expectation to be a boy to simply being a submissive wife-mommy. But realistically, her personality is well-suited to a somewhat more “innocent” religious life, and I ended up feeling like she’ll be her own person regardless. It was a little tough to read, especially as an ex-evangelical, but that’s not really a flaw with the story; it’s more of a personal preference. I did appreciate the way faith was seamlessly woven into the story, even if it took a form I’m less keen on.

My own kids are a bit young yet, but this is a novel I hope to share with them as they mature. I think it will help them consider the complexities of humanity and learn more about intersex people. At the same time, I would not hesitate to recommend this one to young people who are themselves experiencing the things Jamie is in the story.

Beautifully written, absorbing, and sensitive; a win all the way around.

5 stars

~AmyM

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 5 Star, Amy, Intersex, Review

4 Stars for Tearing Us Apart by Amanda Clay #YA @aclaywrites

tearingusapart1400

Title: Tearing Us Apart
Author Name & Publisher: Amanda Clay (Torquere Books)
Publication Date & Length: October 21, 2015 – 50,000 Words

Synopsis

Julian Pham is surviving high school. Openly gay, flamboyantly goth, and Vietnamese-American, he’s just about as different as his Oklahoma City high school can tolerate. He has good friends and a supportive family, which helps, but lately his family is changing and his friends have troubles of their own. Julian is afraid he’s being left behind.

Then he meets Duncan. The star of the school basketball team, Duncan has never crossed Julian’s social path. A fateful encounter one cold night brings the two young men together, igniting a romance that neither of them expected, and that both can scarcely believe.

But Julian and Duncan are in different places. Julian is happily out, unconcerned with others’ opinions. And Duncan, while he knows who he is, isn’t ready to face the challenges of living out loud. Even as the two grow closer together, Julian begins to question whether he can live with Duncan’s desire for secrecy. And even if he can, does that mean he should?

When the crisis of their romance leads to a shocking betrayal, Julian must decide if he will fix this love or tear it apart.

Review

FourStars

Tearing Us Apart by Amanda Clay is a short and sweet book about first love. It’s the classic YA problem novel–Julian Pham is dealing with his crush while not dealing with his mom’s impending marriage. He’s likeably queer. Into fashion and make-up, into wit and charm. What I love about Julian is that he’s never cast as “other.” He’s never “different.” He has unique qualities, yes, he’s a minority, yes, but he’s integrated into his surroundings. He owns his purpose. He’s got good friends with problems of their own. Everyone’s eclectic, no one’s “weird.”
His paramour, Duncan, is also more likeable than stereotypical in his own gay exploration. There are moments of joy and romance, there are moments of heartbreak and growing up. Tearing Us Apart squeezes high school tropes so tightly that they transform into something refreshing.
I read this in a night, which is not a criticism. It was a fun, fast journey, neither bogged down in angst nor unrealistically perfect. I think people already into m/m YA will love it and people who are new to the genre will find it a satisfying read. For a good time, call Julian Pham.
C.E. Case

Excerpt

“So,” I say casually, “Have you been down here before?”

“I’ve never been in there!” He’s practically shouting. “I’ve never been any place like that.”

This outburst earns a little frown from me. “So, by ‘that’ I assume you mean a gay club. But I have to ask, just how can the interior of a homosexual establishment be sleazier than hanging out in the alley behind one?”

He doesn’t answer right away, is silent with his jaw clenched long enough for me to brace for a kick in the ribs. But when he speaks, his voice is a defeated whisper.

“I’ve driven down the street a few times. Once I parked but I couldn’t get out of my car.”

I nod, give him a little smile, trying to keep it all light and bubbly despite the shock, amusement, desire, and more shock all swirling around in my head. “Well, you made it out tonight, Duncan Fisher, so that’s a celebration right there. Shall we go into the Wreck together? Maybe dance a step or two?”

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 4 Star, C. E. Case, M/M, New Release, Review

5 and 3.5 Stars for Angels with Clipped Wings by Stephanie Rabig #MFM #Romance @LT3Press

1.5

Title: Angels with Clipped Wings
Author Name & Publisher: Stephanie Rabig (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: November 11, 2015

Synopsis

Eli is an angel sent on a routine assignment: help prevent a young woman with depression from taking her own life. But he’s received complaints about the way he’s dealt with previous cases, and so this time he has a supervisor, Adam, watching his every move.

Then they meet Samantha, the woman they’ve been assigned to help, and even Adam cannot easily say that rules should always be followed.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

Note: This contains content that may be triggering for some people (depression, talk of suicide, animal death, and a non-graphic scene of suicide attempt).

This was very definitely not at all what I was expecting. Normally, if I see a book tagged as MMF, I assume it’s probably going to have erotic content, which maybe says a lot about how I’m obviously stereotyping. This story had absolutely no erotic content, and I found it honestly refreshing to read.

Despite the premise (angels protecting a woman from suicide), this was actually cute, sweet, and funny. I loved how the author used humor to open up frank talk about some very real things experienced by bisexual people and those who have mental health needs. Samantha is probably one of my favorite characters, and I could read a whole novel just about her.

Eli and Adam were very sweet, and I liked their chemistry. Since it wasn’t an erotic story, I was okay with the fairly quick pacing of how they all sort of fell for each other. It’s probably the idealist in me, but I found the whole thing heartwarming and like sharing a hug with friends. I know the story was complete, but I would really like to revisit their world. It seems like the three of them could have some terrific adventures ahead of them, maybe helping others like Samantha.

The only thing I wasn’t fond of was that I thought this could have used some tighter editing. Sometimes it felt more like a bit of info-dump, and occasionally it seemed like there were words missing or things were oddly phrased. The end felt a bit rushed and full of explanations that didn’t quite hold together for me.

That said, this is proof that even with a few jagged edges, a great story and characters can overcome a lot. So I’m still giving this a high rating, and I definitely hope to read more from Ms. Rabig.

Amy M.

ThreeandHalfStars

This story was short and sweet.  There was not much heat or chemistry, but if you’re looking for a YA romance, just starting out, then this is the story for you.
You have Eli and Adam who have been sent to help Sam.  In the beginning, you don’t quite know why they are there, only that they are there to help.  Once everything comes to light, you not only have what Sam is struggling with, but also what Eli is struggling with.
There is a sweetness to this story, but overall, this story is not even really a romance.  I don’t quite know what I would categorize it as, other than young adult.
Also, then you don’t get to see anything evolve.  The story just ends kind of abruptly.
AvidReader

BuyTheBook
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 3.5 Stars, 5 Star, Amy, AvidReader, M/F/M, Menage, New Release, Review

5 stars for Mad About the Hatter by Dakota Chase #MM #YA #fantasy @HarmonyInk @Dreamspinners

25926238

Title: Mad About the Hatter
Author Name & Publisher: Dakota Chase (Harmony Ink Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 20th, 2015 — 190 pages

Synopsis

This isn’t his sister’s Wonderland….

Henry never believed his older sister, Alice’s, fantastic tales about the world down the rabbit hole. When he’s whisked away to the bizarre land, his best chance for escape is to ally himself with the person called the Mad Hatter. Hatter—an odd but strangely attractive fellow—just wants to avoid execution. If that means delivering “Boy Alice” to the Queen of Hearts at her Red Castle, Hatter will do what he has to do to stay alive. It doesn’t matter if Henry and Hatter find each other intolerable. They’re stuck with each other.

Along their journey, Henry and Hatter must confront what they’ve always accepted as truth. As dislike grows into tolerance and something like friendship, the young men see the chance for a closer relationship. But Wonderland is a dangerous place, and first they have to get away with their lives.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

Mad About the Hatter is the perfect story. It’s a Wonderland fantasy adventure, full of characters and riddles and Pastry Wars, and it just happens to have a gay love story in it. That’s what I’ve always wanted in mainstream fiction. Just a slightly queer angle, looking at things another way. This isn’t a gay YA problem novel, it’s a fantasy book with two guys I fell in love with.
Wonderland’s Hatter is either friend or foe, and he’s got a problem. The Red Queen wants him to find “Boy Alice” and bring him back to the Red Castle for execution. Straightforward, right?
“Boy Alice” is Henry, Alice’s little brother (in an updated, modern “real” world), who hates her stupid Wonderland stories and her stupid face. But he’s been dropped into Wonderland to find Hatter. So they meet. Wonderland ensues.
I am not a fan of Alice in Wonderland, but anyone who is a fan will sigh with relief and joy at a book that really gives life to Wonderland. All the beloved characters come alive, from Cheshire Cat to Tweedledee and Tweedledum, infused with energy. The world-building is fun, the scenes are funny, and Hatter and Henry’s romance is neither too rushed nor too subtle. Everything works.
In a world where everything’s topsy-turvy, Chase manages to get everything just right.
~C. E. Case

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 5 Star, C. E. Case, M/M, Review, Uncategorized

5 Stars for Fiery by Alyssa Astra #Trans #YA #FF @AlyssaAstra

1.5

Title: Fiery
Author Name & Publisher: Alyssa Astra (Torquere Books)
Publication Date & Length: September 23, 2015 – 70,000 Words

Synopsis

Aiden Adams, a transgender teen, begins writing in a journal when he moves to a new town named Ashmore and begins “passing.” He is counting on everyone to believe that he is the every bit the male he appears to be. Writing in his journal helps him unclog his brain as he writes about the daily struggles he faces as a transgender teenager, his painful past that he is trying to forget, the new friends he is making, and the beautiful girl named Abby whom he has fallen in love with. Aiden has already come out to his open-minded mother, but will Abby be just as understanding?

When Aiden loses his journal, he worries that the secret he is trying so desperately to keep will come out. And if it does, how will everyone react? Will Abby be able to cope with everyone knowing that he is transgender? Will his new friends accept Aiden for who he really is—a boy—or will everything fall apart?

goodreads add to

Review

FiveStars

This is an AWESOME book for transgendered females. Most of the trans books I’ve read were men who wanted to be women so this was a really nice change.
I have to admit, I had a few doubts going in because it is young adult and that’s not normally my thing, but I’m SO glad I picked this up. It was really really insightful and enlightening.
The struggles Aiden goes through are struggles I image every trans goes through no matter their gender or age when they are at this stage of transformation.
Finding love, keeping hidden, revealing their secret to those that are close to them, how parents handle the news… It’s all there in this book.
I really can’t rave enough about how great this book was to not just those who find themselves thinking they might be transgender, but anyone interested in it at all.
Renee

Excerpt

The beautiful eyes belong to the beautiful girl from the library. The one I notice every day for one reason or another. The one I sketched on a page in my journal. I’m such a creep.

“Hi,” she says loudly.

I take out my earbuds and turn off my radio that’s still in my pocket. “Hi,” I say back.

She’s on one knee to be eye-level with me, but she spins and sits down beside me, really close. Wait a minute…

SHE’S GOT ON THE COOLEST BOOTS!

They’re shiny black leather and they go up to her knees. The bottom of them is a three-inch platform, all clunky and sexy—I mean cool. She has black skinny jeans tucked into them.

“I just wanted to make sure you were alive,” the girl says. “Why are you all the way over here, by yourself?”

“I don’t know anyone,” I admit.

She holds out her right hand. “I’m Abby Abernathy.”

I grasp her hand. Handshakes are always awkward. Her hand is really warm or mine is really cold.

“I’m Aiden Adams.”

“Nice to meet you—now you know someone.” She smiles.

“I guess I do.”

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 5 Star, F/F, New Release, Renee, Review, Trans

4 Stars for Edge: Collected Stories by M.E. Kerr #YA #LGBT

1.5

Title: Edge: Collected Stories
Author Name & Publisher: M.E. Kerr (Open Road Media Teen & Tween)
Publication Date & Length: September 15, 2015 – 172 pgs

Synopsis

These 15 short stories by a writer the New York Times Book Review has called “one of the grand masters of young adult fiction” capture our fears, yearnings, loneliness, self-doubts, and universal need for love and acceptance

M. E. Kerr’s pioneering young adult literature has gained a devoted following for fearlessly breaking rules and confronting conformity. In Edge, her trademark gifts of pulling apart relationships, exposing real emotion, and conveying what it means to grow up are on full display. From handling a teenage girl’s coming out in “We Might as Well All Be Strangers” to asking philosophical questions about God, life, and death in “The Sweet Perfume of Goodbye” to parodying social norms in “Do You Want My Opinion?,” this is a funny, moving, and brave anthology about faith, friendship, family ties, prom night, an unusual act of heroism, and staying true to yourself.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FourStars

The author is totally new to me and it was not until I finished this collection of short stories that I realised that the person writing them was not a teenager. This author can portray with such potency and understanding  the inner workings of young peoples thoughts, and, with such accuracy and such perception I was sure the author was an extremely talented young person. I do not want my preconceptions to express any condescension, only utter respect for the author.
Such a wide range of emotions, feelings, ideals, fears and passions are characterized in this collection of emotive stories. I am sure young and old can identify with many of these stories.
I was also impressed with the detailed background information given at the end of the collection about the author and about other novels she has written.
Chris

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 4 Star, Chris, New Release, Review

5 Stars for Other Side of the Line by Marguerite Labbe #MM #Interracial @MargueriteLabbe

1.5

Title: Other Side of the Line
Author Name & Publisher: Marguerite Labbe (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 18, 2015 – 330 pgs

Synopsis

Caleb Hudson and Hal Zimmer became best friends the day they stood up against the schoolyard bully together. Life’s complicated enough with their friendship crossing racial lines in 1960s Charleston, South Carolina, but as time passes, they realize it’s more than their friendship that sets them apart from other kids. At first, Caleb denies his feelings for Hal could be more than companionship. He supports his friend when Hal admits he’s gay, but Caleb isn’t ready to face his own truth.

Hal becomes a staunch antiwar protester, and the divide between them widens after Caleb is drafted. But when Caleb returns from Vietnam, the time for denial is over. His homecoming sets off a series of events that force Caleb and Hal to confront their desires and what lines they’re willing to cross to get what they truly want out of life.

Add to GoodReads

Review

FiveStars

This book was so beautiful… It starts of with Caleb and Hal in the future 2023, then it goes to the past when they were children and spans all the years of them growing up together to when they first admitted their attraction to each other. Usually I am not a fan of books that have a lot of past scenes in them but this book was so good!
They go through so much hate together when they were growing up to people thinking their relationship was not right at all. But they pushed through all of it and just wow!!!
This book really brings to light how ignorant some people were back than and even, now also how hateful some people can be of things they just do not understand.
You start of with them reminiscing with their children and their family on how they started and I have to tell you I could not put this book down once I started.
I want to leave this review with this book was beautiful, heartbreaking at points and painful but also so very sweet!
All together I really loved this book!
I would definitely recommend this book!
Kara

BuyTheBook

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Publisher’s Website

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under 5 Star, Kara, M/M, New Release, Review