Title: Tin Man

Author: Sarah Winman

Pages: 226 Pages

Publisher: Tinder Press

The Blurb

This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.

Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast-forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?

With beautiful prose and characters that are so real they jump off the page, Tin Man is a love letter to human kindness and friendship, and to loss and living.

The Review

I had heard a great many positive things about the book Tin Man by Sarah Winman. Personally, I feel that this was to the book’s detriment. I liked the story, don’t get me wrong, but I was expecting a spectacular story that would stay with me for years. And whilst it was a good story it really didn’t floor me.

It was the story of Ellis and his relationship with both men and women and how these relationships along with loss and tragedy shaped who he is and who he longs to be.

What I will say about Tin Man is that it is a quiet, reflective and subtle novel that looks at bisexuality in a very honest and endearing way. It is almost like it isn’t really part of the story but it is very much a focus. I think that is Winman’s power as a writer is that she doesn’t make the obvious seem bodacious, different or a point of focus.

If you like a good, reflective read then Tin Man by Sarah Winman is for you.

Tin Man by Sarah Winman is available now.

For more information regarding Tinder Press (@TinderPress) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

Title: I Hate Everyone But You

Author: Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

The Blurb

Perfect for fans of “Robin Talley’s What We Left Behind or Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl” (School Library Journal, Starred Review), Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin’s I Hate Everyone But You is a hilarious and heartfelt debut novel about new beginnings, love and heartbreak, and ultimately the power of friendship.

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely, 
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two of them document every wild and awkward moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

The Review

I always fine friendship stories really interesting. I think it is because the relationship between best friends can often transcend romantic relationships. It is this type of relationship that is at the heart of I Hate Everyone But You.

Ava and Gen have been best friends forever but when they both go to college on different sides of the country, their relationship is tested to the limits. Can their friendship survive the distance.

Dunn and Raskin have been really clever with this novel. They have used that time of persona self discovery – freshman year – to show how divides can grow.

Your heart breaks for these two girls – once connecting jigsaw pieces who are now virtual strangers.

Oddly, as someone who has struggled with friendship groups, I found this book comforting because it isn’t just me who has complicated friendships.

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin is available now.

For more information regarding Gaby Dunn (@gabydunn) and Allison Ruskin please visit www.gabyandallison.com.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit us.macmillan.com.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens AgendaTitle: Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Pages: 303 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s

The Blurb

Straight people should have to come out too. And the more awkward it is, the better. Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal . . . It’s a holy freaking huge awesome deal.

The Review

Ok, ok. I know I am a bit late to the party but OH.MY. DAYS. How awesome is Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda?

It was so lovely. I got completely invested in the characters lives. I searched through every character trying to figure out who the mysterious Blue was. I felt every single teen anguish that Simon went through. It was just so very very good.

What was so lovely about Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is that it dealt with the everyday lives of teenagers but added a whole element of being gay. It raised the question of why should it be so difficult in society to be gay. Having to “come out” and deal with the fall out. Heterosexuals don’t have to deal with that. It was just such a beautiful story of young love. It made me want to be a teenager again….and I wasn’t the most comfortable of teenagers so for me that is the biggest compliment that I can give Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

I cannot wait to see the movie.

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is available now.

For more information regarding Becky Albertalli (@beckyalbertalli) please visit www.beckyalbertalli.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House UK Children’s (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

5 Stars

Hold Me CloserThe Blurb

Larger-than-life character Tiny Cooper, from the bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, finally tells his own story the only way he knows how – as a stupendous musical.

This is the full script of Hold Me Closer, the musical written by and starring Tiny Cooper, from the New York Times bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, written by David Levithan and John Green.

Filled with humour, pain, and ‘big, lively, belty’ musical numbers, readers will finally learn the full story of Tiny Cooper from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen ex-boyfriends. David Levithan is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels for young readers including Every DayWill Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), Invisibility (with Andrea Cremer) and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn), which was turned into a feature film.

He’s the editorial director of Scholastic Press, and has edited hundreds of books including the mega-hits The Hunger Games and Shiver. David lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The Review

I was drawn to Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story – A Musical Novel (from no own it will be referred to as Hold Me Closer) because I adore David Levithan’s writing style – my favourite book of his being Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. What I have always liked about Levithan’s writing is that he isn’t scared to be different. Whether this comes in the form of multi-narrative perspective or dictionary definitions, Levithan is – for want of a better way to describe it – a brave writer.

Hold Me Closer is told entirely in script form. In fact, it is written like it is a musical script. Now, I broke my rule with this book and read Hold Me Closer first. Hold Me Closer is the companion novel for Will Grayson, Will Grayson and in my silliness I read them the wrong way round. It will be interesting for me to see the narrative format.

Tiny Cooper’s story is a sweet love story and what is interesting is that I have found with David Levithan is that he tends to write his LGBT characters in a way that is not stereotypical or clichéd way possible. Therefore, it is interesting to see that Levithan used the musical platform – one that tends to be associated with camp gay men – to tell a story of someone who doesn’t necessarily conform to that stereotype. Well done, David Levithan!

Overall, the story of Tiny Cooper is unashamedly lovely. It tells you to get your heart broken and enjoy it, grown from it and learn from it for the next time. Hold Me Closer is a story that will leave you with a big smile on your face.

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story – A Musical Novel by David Levithan is available now.

Follow David Levithan (@loversdiction) on Twitter.

Title: Two Boys Kissing

Author: David Levithan

Pages: 196 Pages

Publisher: Knopf Books

The Blurb

From the New York Times best-selling author of Every Day, another thoughtful and original perspective on the things we do for love.

The two boys kissing are Craig and Harry. Theyr’e hoping to set the world record for the longest kiss. They’re not a couple, but they used to be.

Peter and Neil are a couple. Their kisses are different. Avery and Ryan have only just met and are trying to figure out what happens next. Cooper is alone. He’s not sure how he feels.

As the marathon progresses, these boys, their friends and families evaluate the changing nature of feelings, behaviour and this crazy thing called love.

The Review

As far as LGBT YA fiction is going, it is undeniable that David Levithan is leading the charge. This is extremely evident in the novel Two Boys Kissing. The story shows the different aspects of daily life as someone who is gay. The good side of things such as burgeoning relationships, family acceptance and friendship; it is the bad aspects of life that are truly heartbreaking such as the bullying, the taunts, and the suicidal thoughts and the general ignorance that makes it difficult for people to live normal lives.

Although the separate stories in the novel are very telling it is the voice of omniscient narrator and the stories of the past that are truly heartbreaking. It is almost an oxymoron the way that the uplifting feeling you get from the progress of the LGBT community makes you angry that they needed to have progress. Why couldn’t things just be?

Two Boys Kissing is an important story. A story that shouldn’t have to be told but thankfully it is. Here is to an ignorance free future.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan is available now.

4 Stars