Title: The Gender Games – The Problem with Men and Women, From Someone Who Has Been Both

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Two Roads

The Blurb

‘It’s a boy!’ or ‘It’s a girl!’ are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes – before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we’ve been getting it.

Gender isn’t just screwing over trans people, it’s messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can’t be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to ‘alt-right’ young men. From men who can’t cry to the women who think they shouldn’t. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society’s expectations of gender – and what we can do about it.

Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world in which everyone can truly be themselves.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Continuing with my reading of non-fiction about LGBT history and issues, I decided to read Juno Dawson’s The Gender Games.

The whole world of LGBT is diverse and multilayered that I do sympathise with both sides of the sexuality spectrum. The first is most obviously with the people who are in the LGBT community. They are still – 50 years after the Stonewall Riots – are having to fight for their rights. This is all kinds of wrong. Equally, I do sympathise with those who aren’t too familiar with the LGBT community. It can be difficult when you aren’t aware of correct labels and pronouns and I will admit to being scared of getting things wrong. However, what I have taken from reading The Gender Games is that it is ok to ask if you are confused.

It has also furthered my belief that LGBT history should be part of the curriculum. It will give people a safe space to ask questions and learn. Without this education, we are encouraging ignorance.

Part memoir – part advice guide, Juno Dawson gives harsh, beautiful, and realistic views of life living as a trans woman. Dawson’s ability to get to the nitty-gritty of the matter without making you, the reader, feel bad for not knowing everything (yet) is what makes The Gender Games so enjoyable t read.

The Gender Games – The Problem with Men and Women, From Someone Who Has Been Both by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

For more information regarding Two Roads Books (@TwoRoadsBooks) please visit www.tworoadsbooks.com.

Title: This Book is Gay

Author: Juno Dawson (as James Dawson)

Pages: 271 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

The Blurb

Lesbian. Bisexual. Queer. Transgender. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who’s ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU.

There’s a long-running joke that, after “coming out,” a lesbian, gay guy, bisexual, or trans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. THIS IS THAT INSTRUCTION MANUAL. You’re welcome.

Inside you’ll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask: from sex to politics, hooking up to stereotypes, coming out and more. This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it’s like to grow up LGBT also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations.

You will be entertained. You will be informed. But most importantly, you will know that however you identify (or don’t) and whomever you love, you are exceptional. You matter. And so does this book.

The Review

This Book is Gay is the first book that I have ever seen that is marketed for teenagers to address LGBTQ+ issues that hasn’t been patronising or written by someone well meaning but clueless about what it is to live as an LGBTQ+ person. Juno Dawson, however, offers honest, witty, and entertaining information within her book This Book is Gay – those who are aware of Juno Dawson (if you haven’t then, seriously, where have you been?) you will know that she has a bit of experience living as an LGBTQ+ woman.

She discusses the often unavailable information about living in this community to an audience who have very limited experience. Those who are either taking tentative steps to understand their part in the LGBTQ+ community or friends and family who also have limited knowledge and want to be supportive.

Juno Dawson addresses the inadequacies in the school system – why is heteronormative sex the only thing taught in schools; she looks at dating and how difficult it can be. She also talks to people who are LGBTQ+ so we don’t feel that her writing is preachy. She is and has lived it and she knows what she is talking about but you don’t feel talked AT.

I firmly believe that This Book is Gay should be issued to schools. Young students who are struggling to find their place would find this book so comforting and feel that there is somewhere that they can feel included. That someone out there, beyond the microcosm of their small world knows what it feels like.

I was genuinely in awe of this book.

This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

For more information regarding Sourcebooks Fire (@SourcebooksFire) please visit www.firereads.com.

Title: Proud

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Stripes Publishing

The Blurb

A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.

A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.

Following A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, winner of the YA BOOK PRIZE SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2018

The Review

I love a collection of themed short stories. I find it completely captivating when several authors can hook a reader with their take on a contentious topic and completely engage the reader. Proud did this for me.

I came across writers that I have previously read works by and also some brand new authors; now I have the desire to read more of their work. Each unique story showed the struggles and the triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community. Proud really is a collection that should be shared and spread far and wide.

Proud by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

For more information regarding Stripes Publishing (@StripesBooks) please visit www.littletiger.co.uk.

CleanTitle: Clean

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group/Quercus Children’s Group

The Blurb

A razor-sharp, adrenaline rush of a novel from award-winning author Juno Dawson, Clean is Gossip Girl meets Girl, Interrupted.

‘I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter … it’s liquid gold.’

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.

She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.

As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all …

It’s a dirty business getting clean …

Addiction and redemption, love and despair. Clean will have you hooked from the first page.

The Review

Juno Dawson is one of those names that is synonymous with hard hitting YA genre and whilst I have a copy of every book that she has written they are all languishing away on my never ending TBR pile. Why? Because I am a hopeless bibliophile but that is beside the point. The actual point is that I recently read Clean, the latest book from Dawson which has her tackling the issue of drugs.

In what can be described as Junk for a Kardashian era, Dawson setting of an offshore rehab facility is the perfect place to have the drama of Lexi’s life unfold. Lexi is an upcoming IT girl. However, her privileged upbringing has landed her in trouble. She is, for want of a better word, an addict. Forced into rehab by her brother we watch as Lexi struggles to accept that she has a problem.

Dawson’s delivery in Clean is really clever. She manages to make the reader feel very detached from Lexi at the beginning of the book. You don’t go into the story rooting for her but gradually as Lexi comes to accept herself more, so does the reader. What is also fascinating is the way that Dawson doesn’t sugar coat the withdrawal process. Although Clean is a YA novel, she makes sure that you understand the horrific pain addicts go to when they are on the come down. It is reminiscent of A Million Little Pieces by James Frey but infinitely more – ironically – addictive to read.

I will be bumping up the other Juno Dawson books to a higher position on my TBR pile.

Clean by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.

For more information regarding Quercus Children’s Group (@QuercusKids) please visit their Twitter page.

4 Stars

I'll Be Home for ChristmasTitle: I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Author: Various

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Little Tiger Group/Stripes Publishing

The Blurb

The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.

Contributors include: Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon, Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah.

£1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity. To find out more about Crisis, see www.crisis.org.uk

The Review

I love Christmas. It is my favourite time of the year. I love the food, the trimmings, finding the perfect gift for the perfect person. I love wrapping presents. I love being warm inside with the Christmas tree twinkling in the background.

I sometimes forget that for some people Christmas is the worst thing in the world.

In a sense, the purpose of I’ll Be Home for Christmas is to make you remember those that don’t like Christmas or those that don’t have reasons to love Christmas the way others do. I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a collection of anti-Christmas stories. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t negative about Christmas; they highlight the pain, worry and anguish that can come with this time of year for others.

And is that essentially what Christmas is about? Thinking about others?

I implore you to buy and read this book. Not just because it will give you a fresh perspective to think about but because for every copy of this book that is purchased £1 will be donated to Crisis.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Various is available now.

For more information regarding Little Tiger Group (@LittleTigerUK) and Stripes Publishing (@stripesbooks) please visit www.littletiger.co.uk.

For more information regarding Crisis (@crisis_uk) please visit www.crisis.org.uk.

For more information regarding the various authors featured in this book please visit the websites listed below.

Benjamin Zephaniah (@BZephaniah) – www.benjaminzephaniah.com, Non Pratt (@NonPratt) www.nonpratt.com, Marcus Sedgwick (@marcussedgwick) www.marcussedgwick.com, Cat Clarke (@cat_clarke) www.catclarke.com, Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA) www.hollybourne.co.uk, Juno Dawson (@junodawson) www.junodawson.com, Sita Brahmachari (@SitaBrahmachari) www.sitabrahmachari.com, Tracy Darnton (@TracyDarnton), Tom Becker (@Tbeckerlegge), Katy Cannon (@KatyJCannon) www.KatyCannon.com, Melvin Burgess (@MelvinBurgess) www.melvinburgess.net, Julie Mayhew (@JulieMayhew) www.juliemayhew.co.uk, Lisa Williamson (@lisa_letters) www.lisawilliamsonauthor.com.

4 Stars