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[Review] Frenemy of the People, by Nora Olsen

[Review] Frenemy of the People, by Nora Olsen

[Review] Frenemy of the People, by Nora Olsen

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.

Frenemy of the People by Nora Olsen
Published by Bold Strokes Books Inc. on May 1st, 2014
Genres: LGBT+, Young Adult
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Told from the alternating viewpoints of Clarissa and Lexie, this story is about two girls who are each other's opposites. But despite their initial dislike for one another, opposites attract... In the mean time they have to deal with their life as teenagers.

I’m torn over this book. I didn’t absolutely hate it but it wasn’t spectacular.

My main issue with this book is that I was missing a lot of depth. Beginning with Clarissa’s realisation she’s bisexual, which happened within the first few pages. This was a rather simplistic “I like boys and girls, I am bisexual!” type of realisation… literally. Her coming out, her setting up the GSA. It was all rather hurried, no background, nothing. Same with Lexie, a vegan punk lesbian. Give me background! And then apparently the two girls have known each other for years and. That’s it. We never find out more.

Which is sad, because honestly. Despite being rather stereotypical, both Lexie and Clarissa COULD BE surprisingly likeable, believable characters with believable problems. Could be. But now they are just stereotypical and nothing more (and it’s making a lot of people cringe…).

So it’s all the more sad that many of the more serious topics raised in the book only seem to scratch the surface and the plot was weak. The coming out/sexuality bit was too simplistic, same with the foreclosure.

The simplicity is what makes it a light hearted novel I suppose, a nice quick read. It didn’t blow me away, yet I still wanted to keep reading. At the same time I feel there are so many YA+LGBT books out there that make me feel this way, but still manage to treat serious topics with a bit more depth. This book had so much potential but for me didn’t live up to it…

Anyway, no, I don’t love it but I definitely don’t hate it! If you enjoy YA+LGBT, and perhaps need a break from all the heavy books, it doesn’t hurt reading this.

April wrap-up

April wrap-up

brilliant monthsRead in April
In April Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer and Laura @ Laura Plus Books hosted LGBT Month. A very successful event if you ask me, and I’m sad it has ended! I had a lot of fun reading everyone’s posts, participating in the two Twitter parties (got lots of new recommendations, too!) and the read-along of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Because of this event, all my reading this month was LGBT-related.

I posted reviews for The Vintner’s Luck and How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, made lists for my favourite LGBT books so far and books that are on my radar, and I even wrote (stacked?) a poem!

I also managed to finish seven books. I read:

  1. How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis
  2. Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  3. Sock it to me, Santa! by Madison Parker
  4. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  5. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
  6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  7. Frenemy of the People by Nora Olsen

LGBT MonthI had planned to read more adult literature but ended up reading a lot of YA (5 out of 7). No regrets, though! I loved reading classics like Carmilla and Orlando (and I watched the movie for Orlando afterwards). I also started reading Mishima’s Forbidden Colours, which is more interesting than I expected, but I’ll take my time to finish it. But anyway, I really fell head over heels in love with some of the YA I read. Highlights of this event were definitely How to Repair a Mechanical Heart and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

Links to event posts:
My posts
Link-ups:
Week oneWeek twoWeek threeWeek fourWeek five

April haul
Do you remember my book buying ban? I managed to not buy a single book in March but… April was too tempting for me. Still, I only bought four books! And won one in a give-away, and got one for free, in that order:
April haul

Plans for May:
I will kick off May with a book for the Language Freak Summer Challenge: 难过的弗洛格 (Frog is Sad) by Max Velthuijs. My first book ever in Chinese! Starting with this because I just had my Chinese exam last week and the knowledge is still fresh 😉 I will also be travelling again in May, so that means lots of e-books. Recommendations welcome!

How was your reading month? 🙂

LGBT Month: Poem and read-along

LGBT Month: Poem and read-along

Firstly, the winner of The Vintner’s Luck give-away has been chosen and contacted. Thank you everyone for entering!

Then: I’m a little late to this one, but here I am with my book title poem in honour of LGBT Month! I’m by no means a poet but I tried 😉

LGBT Month PoemOpenly straight
Boy meets boy
Forbidden colors
Under the Poppy
Affinity
Two boys kissing
Oranges are not the only fruit

So. What else is up? I love to read what everyone else has to say during the event 🙂 Check it out:
Week one
Week two
Week three
Week four

And see my own posts here!

Personally, I’m five books into LGBT Month and enjoying it immensely. I’m currently reading (very slowly) Yukio Mishima’s Forbidden Colors (cloudy with a chance of rain…). I’ll finish it eventually… I’ve also just started Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which is also the read-along for the event!

Ari & Dante read-along
Cayce asked us some questions about the book. I haven’t read anything by Benjamin Alire Sáenz before. I ran into the book on Goodreads a while ago and it has been on my list ever since, so when I saw it was a contender for the read-along I just had to vote for it. I’m glad it won in the poll! My expectations are quite high though, so I hope that’s not going to bite me in the ass 😉

[Review] How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, by J.C. Lillis

[Review] How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, by J.C. Lillis

[Review] How to Repair a Mechanical Heart, by J.C. LillisHow to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis
on September 21st, 2012
Genres: LGBT+, Young Adult
Pages: 255
Goodreads
five-stars

It's summer. Abel and Brandon, Castaway Planet enthusiasts and vloggers, are off on a road-trip to follow the traveling convention for their favourite TV show. But their trip has a higher purpose: to proof 'Cadsim' fangirls wrong. Abel and Brandon do so enjoy ridiculing fanfiction for this pairing in their vlog. After all, space captain Cadmus and android Sim simply do not belong together and the Castaway Planet cast will confirm this, surely?

But what if... fictional Cadmus and Sim are not the only 'couple' with a fanbase? How will openly gay Abel and shy Brandon - struggling to combine his sexuality with his religion - deal with their sudden discovery?

I won this book during the Twitter party held for LGBT Month and I couldn’t be happier. Long story short: I loved it!

Long story long: this book is an interesting one in the LGBT young adult genre. Its theme of fandom is very relatable to many readers (young AND old if you ask me) and at the same time it makes the book stand out from other novels in the genre.

This book is funny (to the point I got my friends to put it on their to-read shelf because I was just laughing so much while reading the book in their presence), and it is ridiculously cute. My geeky self fell head over heels in love with Brandon and Abel, and with Bec. And with Castaway Planet and their silly fans and cast, even. I’ve grown really attached to everyone and finishing this book and saying farewell to everyone sucked haha (no, not farewell, just ‘see you later’ until I reread the book!)

I think fans – fans of anything, young fans, old fans – will recognise themselves at least partly in this book. More than a fun quirky romance story, it’s also a very enjoyable story about fandom. I definitely had some flashbacks to my own fandom/roadtripping days 😉 (that I really should be breathing some life into…). And I found myself wishing Castaway Planet was a thing. Can it be a thing, please?

Another theme in this book is religion. I usually step away from books with too much ‘oh no, gay and religion!’ themes. And while that was definitely a topic (an important one) in this book, it was very unlike what you’d expect. It really worked and wasn’t same-old same-old at all.

So. Anyone who has been involved in especially online fandom and is interested in LGBT/YA should go and pick this up.

LGBT Challenge LGBT MonthAnd if you are just interested in LGBT YA books, still go and pick this up. Don’t miss out on this one.

Seriously. Just go. Go ahead. Go out into the world Go onto the internet. Go out Stay inside and buy this e-book. Do it. *sends telepathic messages*

LGBT Month: Progress and books that have been on my radar…

LGBT Month: Progress and books that have been on my radar…

LGBT Month So we’re now more than a week into LGBT Month. How are you all doing? I must say I’m really enjoying the event. The Twitter party on Saturday was a success! Do join us for the next one on April 26th(iirc)! Also check out everyone’s posts:
Week one link-up
Week two link-up

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for The Vintner’s Luck!

Now, as for my progress… I haven’t gotten around to reading as much as I had hoped. I’ve started reading Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and am about 75% in. I love it! It’s very witty, the writing is beautiful and it’s really fascinating… If you’re into classics I absolutely recommend this one. Do try to get an edition that has footnotes, as there is so much going on that you would be missing out without them. I’ve got this edition (ISBN 9780141184272) and can recommend it!

I’ll be travelling this weekend (leaving tonight), so I am putting Orlando on hold and will be reading e-books while I’m away (IF I have time anyway). I will probably read Carmilla and/or How to Repair a Mechanical Heart (which I won during the Twitter party, many thanks also to author J.C. Lillis!)

Anyway, a few days ago I introduced you to five of my favourite LGBT books. It’s still quite early in the month, so I wanted to give you more ideas by introducing you to some books that have been on my radar (or even on my actual shelf) for a while and that I have high expectations of 😉 Some of these you might have seen on my TBR list…

Classics

Historical fiction

Science fiction & fantasy

Young adult