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LGBT YA Challenge End of Year Survey

LGBT YA Challenge End of Year Survey

Soooo for the LGBT YA Challenge our awesome host Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer gave us an end of year survey 🙂

#1 Number of YA LGBT books you have read in 2014
In the end I read 18 LGBT YA books, certainly more than I thought I would!

#2 Top 3 YA LGBT you read this year
Difficult question. There were five books I gave 5 stars, and I really loved a lot of the 4 star books too. The books I considered best and my favourites are different (as usual). I think, in the end, my top 3 is this:

  1. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
  2. More Than This by Patrick Ness
  3. Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

#3 YA LGBT book you recommended the most to other readers in 2014. (Had they read it?)
Several, actually! Ask the Passengers, but also Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Sadly only the latter seemed to have been read, d’aw. And I only recently finished More Than This and The Miseducation of Cameron Post and I will definitely recommend those too.

#4 YA LGBT book you are most likely to re-read (next year)
I don’t reread, but if I have to pick one: Ask the Passengers.

#5 YA LGBT that you keep meaning to read, but still haven’t… (because reasons…)
So many! Dutch YA LGBT series Een groene bloem by Floortje Zwigtman, but also Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi, Proxy by Alex London, Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, Every Day by David Levithan… I can go on and on and on.

#6 YA LGBT that totally surprised you, (in a good or bad way)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green. Everyone seemed to love it but it was a disappointment to me. I didn’t hate it, but it definitely didn’t live up to my expectations.

#7 Favorite debut or new to you YA LGBT author of 2014
Most authors were new-to-me’s, so let me highlight an awesome debut novel instead: Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis.

#8 Best YA LGBT cover(s) of 2014
I didn’t read many books published in 2014, but my favourite cover of 2014 publications overall is definitely Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, both covers!

Lies We Tell Ourselves Lies We Tell Ourselves

#9 Favorite YA LGBT review/post
I enjoyed the Rainbow Tag a lot 🙂

#10 2015 release(s) you are most excited about
I haven’t looked into 2015 releases yet at all! But Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli sounds good 🙂

LGBT YA Challenge: Favourite…..

LGBT YA Challenge: Favourite…..

LGBT Challenge This month in the LGBT YA Challenge was dubbed by Cayce as List Month. She has challenged us to make a list, any list, on your favourite LGBT YA… I LOVE LISTS. I made a list of favourite LGBT+ novels before for LGBT Month in April. This also (or actually, mostly) included non-YA and I definitely think it’s worth to check it out.

But this time, as per the challenge, I will stick with YA. So I am going with:

Favourite LGBT YA read so far

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Ask the Passengers How to Repair a Mechanical Heart Love in the Time of Global Warming Otherbound Stir-fry

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This story is so touching and just like pretty much everyone else on planet Earth I loved it.

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Contemporary, magical realism
Ask the Passengers was on my other list as well. I love the message this novel send and I enjoyed the magical realism aspect (although King could’ve taken it a bit further imho). See my review here.

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis
I won this book in the LGBT Challenge in April and it was the surprise of the year. I fell in love with it, it’s just so much fun! See my review here.

Love in the Time of Global Warming (Love in the Time of Global Warming, #1) by Francesca Lia Block
Fantasy, dystopia
This book’s story, based loosely on the Odyssey, takes place in a destroyed Los Angeles in the future. Block’s style is unusual (but a little while ago I read Weetzie Bat so I got used to it) and slightly all over the place, but I enjoy it.

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Otherbound has a) a really interesting story, b) great world building and c) diversity!

Stir-Fry by Emma Donoghue
This one never seems to appear on LGBT+ YA lists. And while it was definitely not the best I read, I really loved it. It’s cute! Also, Ireland.

[Review] Everything Changes, by Samantha Hale

[Review] Everything Changes, by Samantha Hale

[Review] Everything Changes, by Samantha Hale

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Everything Changes by Samantha Hale
Published by Bold Strokes Books Inc. on September 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT+, Young Adult
Pages: 264
Source: Netgalley

Seventeen-year-old Raven Walker has never had a boyfriend. She’s never really been interested in boys. But she was always too afraid to examine what that might mean. Until she meets Morgan O’Shea and finds herself inexplicably drawn to her.

As their friendship develops, Raven is forced to face the possibility that her interest in Morgan might actually be attraction and that she might be gay.

Acknowledging the possibility opens Raven’s world to the excitement of her first romance, but it also leaves her struggling to come to terms with her sexuality and the impact it will have on her relationships with her family and friends.

There are two kinds of truth. There is the truth we tell so, technically, we are not lying, and there is the deeper, fuller truth.

That’s how the book starts. And it was surprisingly amazing. I say ‘surprisingly’, because on page one the whole idea of the novel is revealed and I got worried it was going to be too standard. You see, this is a coming out story, and a rather straightforward one at that. There are no side stories to distract the reader, no plotlines besides the main plot, and no plot twists. Everything was wholly expected.

But there is nothing wrong with all of this. Because the book was a) cute and b) necessary.

The characters are completely believable. I mean, read that synopsis. On the whole this book may be the most realistic coming out story I’ve read so far. No fantastic elements, no this-would-never-happen-in-real-life events, no impossible characters. This was a book teens – and questioning teens most of all – can identify with. That they can read and feel understood.

And you know what? It’s actually quite refreshing.

Throw in likeable characters and good writing and you’ve got an excellent book. And as a bonus the romance in this was really sweet too!

LGBT YA Challenge: Rainbow Tag

LGBT YA Challenge: Rainbow Tag

Over at Fighting Dreamer Cayce has asked us some questions… I had a lot of fun filling out this tag so check it out (and the August link-up while you’re at it!)

Red – The color of passion & desire – If you could own (as in OWN a physical copy of it) only one LGBT YA for the rest of your life, what book would you choose and why? What makes you desire that particular book so much that you just have to have it on your shelf? (characters, story, author, cover, etc.)

Are you the devil? I have three contenders and choosing one is hard. But I think I’ll go with Ask the Passengers by A.S. King. I love that book so much.

Orange The color of creativity – If you were to create your perfect LGBT YA book in your mind, what would it look like? (Romance? Non-romance? Fantasy? Sci-fi? Some other genre/genre mix? Long? Short story? Lesbian?Gay?Bi?Trans?Intersex? Questioning? Asexual? Who would you want to write it? Would it have a happy or sad ending? Where would you set it? Series or standalone? Etc, etc.)

Ohohoho I’m already having too much fun with this. It’d be a dystopian – and I mean full-blown dystopia like Hunger Games or 1984, although something slightly more subtle like Never Let Me Go would do too. In what could be the now, or in a parallel universe, or in the near future. Definitely lesbian, only a little romance but mostly action and conspiracy and all that fun stuff. A trilogy maybe? With a semi-happy ending, but bittersweet would do. I would not be the one writing it, but after reading the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series I 100% want Laini Taylor to be the author. /excited just thinking about it

Yellow – The color of sunshine and sand – Let’s talk beach books! You are going to the beach with a friend and your friend is looking for some YA LGBT books to read there, which book(s) would you recommend?

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis because roadtrip and summer and easy read. The perfect summer/beach book!

Green – The color of money – If you could get any 5 YA LGBT books for free, which five would you choose?

So books that are not on my shelf/ordered yet… Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen, Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour, Obscura Burning by Suzanne Van Rooyen, Birds on a Wire by Ellen Mulholland, and Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills. (Although I preordered Lies we Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley and wouldn’t mind getting that for free instead of one of the others haha)

Blue – The color of longing – Which upcoming YA LGBT release(s) are you dying to get your hands on?

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley! And her novel after that, Unbreakable. They both just sound so good!

Indigo – The color of intuition – An LGBT YA book that you haven’t had the chance to read (yet), but have a good feeling about.

So many are waiting on my shelf as we speak! Pantomime by Laura Lam. Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden. Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin. Dutch Schijnbewegingen by Floortje Zwigtman. And I could go on and on.

Violet – The color of dreams – You are hosting a High Tea party. You can invite one LGBT YA author, two LGBT characters (from any YA book) and three non-LGBT characters (from any YA book) to any restaurant/place – real of fictional – you like. Who would you invite? Where would your party take place?

Malinda Lo, because while so far I have not absolutely loved her books, I think she is a very interesting author (and consistently writes LGBT). Amber from Adaptation and Astrid from Ask the Passengers. And then Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone… and then I was out of ideas so let’s just invite Akiva and Ziri too because I’m far too obsessed with Daughter of Smoke and Bone and it seems like a laugh to introduce an angel and a chimaera amirite. The party would take place in one of my three favourite cities in Europe: London, Vienna or Prague. Because they all scream High Tea party. I’ll let my visitors pick.

[Review] The Before Now and After Then, by Peter Monn

[Review] The Before Now and After Then, by Peter Monn

[Review] The Before Now and After Then, by Peter Monn

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Before Now and After Then by Peter Monn
Published by Pen Name Publishing on July 29, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT+, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley

Danny Goldstein has always lived in the shadow of his identical twin brother Sam. But when a hurricane of events forces him into the spotlight, he starts to realize that the only thing he’s truly afraid of is himself. With the help of his costume changing friend Cher, a famous gay uncle with a mysterious past of his own, two aging punk rocker parents and Rusty, the boy who will become his something to live for, Danny begins to realize that the music of the heart is truly the soundtrack for living.

I was really looking forward to this book when I first heard about it. The themes that it promises to cover are amazing. Young adult, LGBT, a character who is dealing with loss (and not just ‘any’ loss, but loss of a twin brother) and trying to find his identity, first love, and then some music… I’m digging it.

Did it deliver on all points? Not entirely, but… I really enjoyed it nonetheless.

To begin with, this book started off so well. I was sucked right into it from the start. The book pretty much steps on your heart before it even properly begins. And it only gets better from there. The plot develops relatively quickly but does not feel rushed – at least not in the beginning. The characters are introduced and I instantly fell in love. Danny, Cher, Rusty, the parents, uncle Alex, each of them loveable in their own way.

The setting and plot are relatively standard I suppose, but they work well. What I love about this book is that I’m sure so many people can identify. Teenagers and adults, LGBT and straight alike. It is first and foremost a book about a teenager, dealing with teenager-y things. And then some.

And then there’s the writing style: straightforward and fits the book perfectly. Really, there is a lot to love about this book!

But yes, there were a few things that bugged me. Insta-love makes me cringe every time, no excuses (sorry). Also some parts of the story deserved more attention, in my opinion. For example, Danny’s friend Cher had a lot going on but still seemed like a bland background character. It didn’t help that Danny didn’t seem to have any thoughts or feelings about some of the major things that were happening in other people’s lives (yes, I get it, he has things to worry about, but..). By the end of the book, I almost felt as if I liked everyone more than I liked Danny.

And I missed the music that was promised. Yes, there was music, but there could easily be more music. What can I say, reading about music in the synopsis made my heart beat faster so yes… More please. 😉

Oh. And that cover. It’s kind of hard to miss and I’m not a fan. A different shade of green would go a long way, for starters…

So overall: Recommended!