Book Review: Heartstopper Volume 2

“Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t. But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.”

Heartstopper Volume 1 was one of my favourite reads of this year and then Volume 2 came along and cemented it. I’ve been a fan of Alice Oseman for a while – she’s a clearly a talented writer, but also seems like a lovely human being (I’m determined to get to a signing this year. Seeing as this is about Volume 2 it will contain some spoilers if you haven’t read the first book – so pop back once you have!

We start off with the aftermath of Charlie and Nick’s first kiss which I am ALL about and squealed when it happened, but was it the right thing to do? As both boys question what happened and how they feel about it I found myself rooting for them even harder than I had before.

Charlie and Nick are absolutely adorable but they also become real people and I feel in the second volume we get to know them much more. We meet their families, get to know their friends and how they feel about themselves and their sexuality.

I also appreciate the fact that Oseman doesn’t assume in this book. I’ve seen it before in novels were there is one kiss and suddenly the person is gay, there’s not thinking about it. For Nick especially there is a question mark, he does have to work himself out and there’s no pressure. Also there is fantastic representation of all those who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Also we had a short story at the back about Tara and Darcey. Can we please have more of that? Because I also love them and I would love to see more cute stories about f/f romance as well as m/m romance.

There’s no surprise that I gave this 5 stars. Alice Oseman knows how to write not only a love story but also a story about friendship which is rare. A truly wonderful and uplifting book and I can’t wait for Volume 3!

Have you read and of Alice Oseman’s books? Let me know what your favourites are in the comments below!

The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Emily M. Danforth

After the sudden death of her parents Cameron Posts life is shaken to its very core. One thing she doesn’t expect to feel is relief, her parents will never find out that she kissed her best friend the very same night they died. Left with her elderly grandmother and religious aunt Cameron has to navigate her sexuality in secret in her small town.

This novel was promoted quite a lot at YALC in the summer, I didn’t know that it was about to become a film. So, of course, I put in a request on Netgalley to see what the fuss was all about. I’m glad that I did. It was an interesting read that I’m not sure I would have picked up otherwise.

There are some tough topics dealt with within the novel. Of course, there is the pressure of a small town in the mid-nineties that Cameron faces isn’t comfortable to read. More so, the fact that ‘conversion therapy’ plays a big part in the second half of the novel can be tough to get through. That said, while you would imagine this to be totally horrific Danforth managed to spread a message of hope throughout Cameron’s forced stay.

What I will say about this novel is that the number of girls that Cameron finds that are Lesbian or Bisexual seemed a little unrealistic to me. She seemed to get a fair amount of experience in what was meant to be a small, very religious town. It’s the only thing that didn’t quite sit right with me.

I gave this novel 4 stars, I think it took quite a while for the pace to pick up and feel a lot of people would possibly put it down. Don’t! There is a beauty and connection in the second half of the novel that truly makes it worth it. Would I recommend this read? Yes, I would. It’s definitely an intriguing novel – that said I won’t be watching the film.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Allbertalli

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‘Dear Blue’

Sixteen-year-old Simon is gay, but the only person who knows is his online boyfriend, Blue. Neither of them uses their real names or know each other’s real identity but that’s about to end. After Simon is outed after being blackmailed the world is going to know.

Of course, this novel is everywhere at the moment the release of the film Love, Simon. It had been on my TBR pile for a while so I really wanted to read it before seeing the film. I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed. I don’t know if it’s because of all the hype but it just dragged for the first half. Don’t get me wrong the emails were adorable. The relationship with Blue was adorable but I felt like I needed more from Simon.

There were some important points such as the fact that people need to come out at all, how odd the concept is. I also loved the way that Simon had people who loved him and a supportive family after he was outed and that it showed the reality of what school could be like for someone who has come out. On that note, I think that it was important to show homophobia, because, in a small town that would happen, it wouldn’t just be ok, unfortunately. I also have to point out that I thought the relationship between Simon and Blue was absolutely adorable and I wish we’d seen more of it.

I thought long and hard about writing this review because I know it’s so loved, but it just fell a little flat for me. It’s because of this I gave it 3 stars, it was a good read but not standout and that’s just my opinion. I think in a lot of ways we could have had more development and a better idea of his friends, particularly Leah. So, overall I understand why people like it but it just didn’t live up to the hype for me.

 

Love is Love

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I’m writing this with a heavy heart, as a lot of people are around the world. You can’t have missed the terrible news that yesterday a gunman entered Pulse nightclub, murdered 49 people and injured 53. Pulse is a club for LGBT people, this was a planned attack on a community and has since been named the worst attack since 9/11 and the deadliest shooting in the United States. I could get into so much in this post, about my anger about the scum that did this, about my anger towards America’s gun laws but I won’t, because the last thing the world needs right now is more hatred. I refuse to think about him, his twisted ideas. Instead I want to know the names of those who died and those whose lives have changed forever.

I watched the coverage from the moment I got up, when I was first aware, to now. There’s still a tab open on my laptop with BBC updates. What I can say though, and something that hasn’t surprised me is the reaction from the LGBT community, because around the world they have stood together, they are mourning but they are strong. People will attempt to dismiss this, to take away from the fact that this was an attack on the community because of who they are, who they love, but they can’t. The LGBT community and all of us allies are going to follow their lead and do what they do best, we’re going to fight back with love and stand united.

fc07286ab26e248feba026f71c9b8c57I’ve never understood ‘homophobia’, which FYI isn’t a real thing, I’ve never understood people hating anyone for who they love. I have friends who are gay, know a lot of people in the LGBT society and you know what, they’re just people. So what if they don’t conform to some bullshit social norm, most of us don’t nowadays anyway! I sat yesterday and just tried to understand, asking my boyfriend why? Why would someone do this to innocent people?

We all need to stand up and be counted now, show our solidarity. Hatred will not silence the wonderful, brilliant community. We must stand up and give support to those affected and to every LGBT person, we need to show them we will do whatever they need so that they can feel safe again. We’ll attend Pride, we’ll write blog posts, we’ll tweet our love, we’ll support them and go against anyone who wants to take away their rights. We will be there for them.

Let’s not shy away from that this attack was. This was an attack on the LGBT community, call it what it WAS, unlike the Sky News presenters this morning.  I write while holding back the tears and thinking about each and every person lost in this tragedy, wishing I was in Orlando, that I could donate blood and that I could help. I will say though that you will not be forgotten, your deaths will not be in vain. I’ll continue to stand with the LGBT community, as I always have, defending their right to love whoever they want to. I stand with you. We’re all human and Love is Love.

 

 

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