Reviews

Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to WednesdayBooks and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Arlee Gold is anxious about spending the summer at the college prep Camp Rockaway—the same camp her mother attended years ago, which her mother insists will help give Arlee a “fresh start” and will “change her life.” Little does Arlee know that, once she steps foot on the manicured grounds, this will prove to be true in horrifying ways. Even though the girls in her cabin are awesome—and she’s developing a major crush on the girl who sleeps in the bunk above her—the other campers seem to be wary of Arlee, unwilling to talk to her or be near her, which only ramps up her paranoia. When she’s tapped to join a strange secret society, Arlee thinks this will be her shot at fitting in…until her new “sisters” ask her to do the unthinkable, putting her life, and the life of her new crush, in perilous danger.

With a cover like that, for a book about a summer camp that turns out to be a lot more horrifying than it seems, with a secret society that requires the unthinkable, and it’s sapphic, I was very, very eager to read it. It sounded like it was good to be weird and disturbing, and I love those kinds of books. Trigger warnings: blood, insects, gore, mentions of sexual assault/harassment

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Reviews

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Viking Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

School’s out, senior year is over, and Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where—despite his social anxiety—he’ll be left to make friends on his own. Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. The way it should be. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi—Isaac’s old crush—distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan. It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

I have heard such amazing things about Julian Winters books, and I’ve been so eager to read them. I will admit that I was drawn in by the cover of this one. I mean, look at it. It’s just so happy and so full of joy. It also sounded amazingly geeky, and I knew it was going to be queer, so I was really, really looking forward to reading it.

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Reviews

Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Feiwel & Friends and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Ophelia Rojas knows what she likes: her best friends, Cuban food, rose-gardening, and boys – way too many boys. Her friends and parents make fun of her endless stream of crushes, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She couldn’t change, even if she wanted to. So when she finds herself thinking more about cute, quiet Talia Sanchez than the loss of a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s firm image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and the fracturing of her once-solid friend group, and things are spiraling a little out of control. But the course of love–and sexuality–never did run smooth. As her secrets begin to unravel, Ophelia must make a choice between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she’s always imagined or upending everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.

With how much love I had seen for this book since it was announced, of course I was intrigued about it. I knew it would be a coming of age story, and that made me slightly nervous simply because coming of age stories and I have a rocky relationship. But, this one is queer, and if it’s queer, I want to read it. Plus, the cover is absolutely gorgeous, and Ophelia’s story, one of trying to find herself among people who have such a clear picture of her, sounded like an amazing one. Trigger warnings: mentions of racism, homophobia

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Reviews

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to WednesdayBooks and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressures of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet. On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to truly realize that they will never have the support of their management. How can they hold tight to each other when the whole world seems to want to come between them?

Sophie Gonzales had a hand in writing this book, so of course I wanted to read it. And it’s also queer. And about a boy band. And about two boys in that boy band who fall for each other and want to come out, but their management won’t let them. Yes, I was completely intrigued by this and I was incredibly eager to read it. Trigger warnings: emotional abuse, addiction, homophobia

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Reviews

A Lesson In Vengeance by Victoria Lee

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School. Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds. Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget. It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource. And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

I’ve been looking forward to this one since the deal announcement. I mean, a sapphic dark academia with magic around the edges was basically all I needed to know to be incredibly intrigued. Plus, the hype around this book has only continued to build online, so I couldn’t wait to see what I would think of it. Trigger warnings

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Reviews

She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Tor Books and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected. When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate. After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.

Before I even knew what this book was about, I had seen so much hype for it online. It seemed like everybody was excited for it! My excitement really kicked in when I found out that the two main characters were genderqueer, and then I found out the synopsis, and I was just a pumped about this book as everybody else. A girl who refuses to be nothing; she assumes the role of a boy and takes on her brother’s fate: greatness. Heck yeah, I really wanted to read this book. Trigger warnings

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Reviews

The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Dial and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He’s also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio. At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy’s soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans – he’s passing. So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him after he discovers the ‘F’ on Spencer’s birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone – including the guy he’s falling for. But when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even though it would mean coming out to everyone—including the guy he’s falling for.

I was ready for this book the second I found out that it featured a trans main character. And a trans character who is a soccer player no less! Spencer has to decide if he wants to stay stealth at his new school, or out himself so he can get off the bench and play for his new soccer team. Heck yeah, it sounded amazing and I was incredibly eager to read this book. Trigger warnings: transphobia

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Reviews

Fifteen Hundred Miles From The Sun by Jonny Garza Villa

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Skyscape and NetGalley for the e-ARC!

Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life. Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown—literally—out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his real self. Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable. But when Jules’s fears about coming out come true, the person he needs most is fifteen hundred miles away. Jules has to face them alone. Jules accidentally propelled himself into the life he’s always dreamed of. And now that he’s in control of it, what he does next is up to him.

I mean, a closeted teen drunkenly outs himself over Twitter. Truly, that’s all I needed to know to want to read this book. I also knew it would be a coming of age story and soccer would be involved. I mean, all those things sound like they’d make a great combination! Plus, there has been so much love for this book online, so I was super pumped to see what I would think of it! Trigger warnings: emotional and physical abuse, suicidal ideation, homophobia

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Reviews

May The Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Roaring Brook Press and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Jeremy Harkiss, cheer captain and student body president, won’t let coming out as a transgender boy ruin his senior year. Instead of bowing to the bigots and outdate school administration, Jeremy decides to make some noise—and how better than by challenging his all-star ex-boyfriend, Lukas for the title of Homecoming King? Lukas Rivers, football star and head of the Homecoming Committee, is just trying to find order in his life after his older brother’s funeral and the loss long-term girlfriend—who turned out to be a boy. But when Jeremy threatens to break his heart and steal his crown, Lukas kick starts a plot to sabotage Jeremy’s campaign. When both boys take their rivalry too far, the dance is on the verge of being canceled. To save Homecoming, they’ll have to face the hurt they’re both hiding—and the lingering butterflies they can’t deny.

I mean, when you find out that a book is about a trans boy competing with his ex-boyfriend for the title of homecoming king, how can you not want to scream? Because that is definitely how I felt when I found out about this book. I’m not sure exactly how long I’ve been excited about this book, but I do know I’ve been excited for as long as I’ve known about! It sounded like it would be absolutely amazing! Trigger warnings: transphobia, grief, homophobia, ableism

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Reviews

The Dead And The Dark by Courtney Gould

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to WednesdayBooks and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on. Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness. Courtney Gould’s thrilling debut The Dead and the Dark is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places—and people—you didn’t expect.

I mean, this book had me at ghost hunting lesbians. Really, it had me from the second I knew it was queer. Add ghosts to the mix, and I was basically chomping at the bit to read this book. And even on top of that, this book is about secrets in a small town, cheesy ghost hunting shows, missing teenagers, and it’s f/f enemies-to-lovers! Trigger warnings: homophobia, child death, murder, claustrophobia (buried alive), drowning, slurs

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