Are You Listening? – Tillie Walden

42642082
Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: September 2019
Publisher: First Second Books
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, LGBTQIA+, Sexual Assault, Magic Realism, Death


REVIEW:

This is an odd graphic novel.

It’s one of those stories you read because they’re fast-paced, mysterious and atmospheric, but you have no actual idea what the hell you’re reading about and what the point of everything is. It takes a while to even understand the link between the two main characters, let alone the plot itself. Continue reading

The Last True Poets of the Sea – Julia Drake

43885689The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: HBG Canada
Published: October 1st, 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+. Romance, Mental Illness, Family, Friendship, Siblings, Summer


REVIEW:

Character-driven stories are tricky. It may take time to recognize them for what they are. In the beginning, we all expect some kind of plotline to unfurl. But slowly we realize that the story is the protagonists and that we better love them, otherwise we might just put the book down right away. Continue reading

The Infinite Noise – Lauren Shippen

43263239
The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: September 24th, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Romance, Fantasy, High School, Bullying, Mental Health


REVIEW:

This is a story that is centered on human emotion, and we all know that teenagers have a lot of them as they are struggling to figure out who they are and where they belong and who is a friend and an enemy. This book brought me back to being a high school student and unsure of anything but still trying hard to find myself and stand out from the crowd. Caleb and Adam are two such young souls who need guidance and whose presence helps the other tremendously. Watching them grow closer made me very happy. Continue reading

How It Feels to Float – Helena Fox

41454344How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Dial Books
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mental Health, LGBTQIA+, Family Death, Friendship


REVIEW:

I will not always remember what happened in this book but I will always remember how this book made me feel. It is so lyrical I can remember clearly how it increased my heartbeat during stressful scenes and reduced it during really comfortable moments between Biz and the new people she meets. Everything Biz felt, I felt, which was heavy at times because she is not in a right space of mind right now. Her father’s death affects her tremendously even if it was a while ago. I can relate to that because my own father passed away when I was a baby and even if my heart doesn’t squeeze when I think of him I still wonder oh so many times what it would have been like to get to know him. Yet this book never got too overwhelming. Biz is drowning in her own mind—or floating out of it rather—but has people in her life who help her stay grounded. But you can’t always depend on others to feel sane and so Biz is losing herself more and more. Continue reading

We Contain Multitudes – Sarah Henstra

41716953
We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Romance, Family, Friendship, Death, Abuse, Bullying


REVIEW:

That was an intense reading experience. A rollercoaster ride, really. A thorn to the heart and a sunrise of a thousand different colours. Let me tell you right from the start that if Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe did not work for you, you will probably hate this. If you dislike epistolary novels, you will probably hate this. If you prefer your LGBTQIA+ reads to be light and entertaining, kind of like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, you will hate this. Actually, it will hate you because this book deserves a reader who is ready for baggage and heartbreak and a hundred different conflicting emotions. Continue reading

A Ladder to the Sky – John Boyne

40400269
A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: 2018
Publisher: Hogarth Press
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Adult, Literary Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Historical Fiction, Books about Books, Writing, Family, Success


REVIEW:

I have never before genuinely despised an antihero. Antiheroes are hella fun. By that I mean that I love to root for them because they’re often unpredictable, unconventional and unusual and they don’t care to play the role of the good guy. They live by their own rules and that can be really entertaining to witness. Continue reading

Tell Me How You Really Feel – Aminah Mae Safi

41150474
Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: June 11th, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Romance, Filmmaking, Coming of Age, Family Dynamics, Enemies to Lovers


REVIEW:

This is a decent enemies-to-lovers story. I say ‘‘decent’’ because so many so-called love/hate relationships are so… tame. There’s no real hate, just annoyance. There’s also no real reason to hate the other person, just mild disagreements. But what I liked about this book is that it shows how two people—in this case two teen girls—can misjudge one another completely, assuming they have nothing in common and no way to connect, only to find themselves being drawn to one another almost unconsciously. Continue reading