Genre: YA Fiction/LGBTQIA+

The Gist: A group of friends head off to university. Whilst they begin to lose each other, they also begin to find themselves.  

Short Review: Loveless is the story of friendship that falls apart when they all discover themselves at university. Love, new social groups and dealing with sexuality are all things that impact this story.

Long Review: Georgia and her friends Pip and Jason are off to Durham University. Whilst her friends are off meeting people and having new adventures Georgia realises that she doesn’t feel the same as they do when it comes to new relationships. 

Whilst everyone is pairing off Georgia struggles to find anyone. She starts to question her sexuality. She doesn’t think that she is a lesbian like her best friend Pip; she tries to go out with other best friend Jason but that relationship repulses her. Georgia doesn’t know why she is feeling this way and it is making her miserable. 

I absolutely loved Loveless. For me, Alice Oseman really is the leading voice in talking to teens about sexuality. I learned so much from this book and I know that when I was a teenager my friends and I would have appreciated a book like this that answers questions that we didn’t even know we had.

Loveless is a brilliant book, one that has friendship at the heart and one that is ironically full of love. It was fantastic.

Loveless by Alice Oseman is available now.

For more information regarding Alice Oseman (@AliceOseman) please visit www.aliceoseman.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins UK (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Sidelined

Author: Jo Cox

Pages: 27 Pages

Publisher: Self Published

The Blurb

At thirty-two, Georgie should be past behaving like a hormonal adolescent, especially when the woman who’s reducing her to lower brain function is the mother of a surly teenager from the football team she coaches. 

Find out if she can conquer her nerves in this short lesbian romance.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

It is always a weird one when you read something released by someone you know. There is always the potential that you won’t like what they have written or even worse that their writing is just plain awful. Fortunately for me, I really enjoyed Sidelined by Jo Cox (I should really have prefaced this by saying that I used to write for More than the Music – a music website that Jo and her wife Lisa created).

Sidelined tells the story of Georgie, a football coach who is a little bit infatuated with one of her player’s mum, Pippa. In this short story we see the bourgeoning relationship between the two whilst dealing with the struggle of not rocking the proverbial boat with daughter Tabitha. 

What Cox does really well is build up the sexual tension between Pippa and Georgie. It is a slow build that explodes on the page and it really does make you think back to the beginning part of any relationship that you have been in, when you just desperately want to be connected somehow, whether it be a cheeky kiss, hand holding or something more. 

You really get the sense that the two characters have more to give and whilst Sidelined is a short story it has the potential to be much more especially when you factor in coaching jobs, teenage daughters, ex-partners. There is potential for Cox to explore more.

Sidelined by Jo Cox is available now.

For more information regarding Jo Cox (@jocoxbooks) please visit www.jocoxbooks.co.uk.

Title: Rick

Author: Alex Gino

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Scholastic

The Blurb

From the award-winning author of George, the story of a boy named Rick who needs to explore his own identity apart from his jerk of a best friend.

Rick’s never questioned much. He’s gone along with his best friend Jeff even when Jeff’s acted like a bully and a jerk. He’s let his father joke with him about which hot girls he might want to date even though that kind of talk always makes him uncomfortable. And he hasn’t given his own identity much thought, because everyone else around him seemed to have figured it out.

But now Rick’s gotten to middle school, and new doors are opening. One of them leads to the school’s Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities congregate, including Melissa, the girl who sits in front of Rick in class and seems to have her life together. Rick wants his own life to be that … understood. Even if it means breaking some old friendships and making some new ones.

As they did in their groundbreaking novel George, in Rick, award-winning author Alex Gino explores what it means to search for your own place in the world … and all the steps you and the people around you need to take in order to get where you need to be. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Set a few years after George, Rick focuses on a different character – our eponymous character, Rick.

In George, Rick comes across a little boy. He follows the crowd and hasn’t quite figured out who he is yet. He makes poor decisions but we see a kindness in him. Therefore, he is the perfect tertiary character to focus the follow on story about.

In the sequel, we see just how much he has grown. We see him start to question his actions, the actions of others and what (and who) is important in life. More than that we see him realise how his actions impact others.

Rick is a beautiful story which, unlike George, is more about relationships with others rather than acceptance of oneself. It is the relationships that he cultivates in this novel that make his life better.

Alex Gino is brilliant at creating LGBTQIA+ stories and a community of middle grade readers will be the richer for reading Rick and George.

Rick by Alex Gino is available now.

For more information regarding Alex Gino (@lxgino) please visit www.alexgino.com.

For more information regarding Scholastic (@scholasticuk) please visit www.scholastic.co.uk.

Title: The House of Impossible Beauties

Author: Joseph Cassara

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

The Blurb

Inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza in the seminal documentary Paris is Burning, and set in New York City from the late 70s–early 90s against the backdrop of the impending AIDS crisis, The House of Impossible Beauties follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene and the Christopher Street Pier as they flee their traumatic pasts and band together to form the city’s first all-Latino House.

Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family and the resilience of the human spirit.

The Review

I think my heart is a little bit broken. The House of Impossible Beauties centres on the trans community in New York during the 1970s onwards. It looks at the lack of understanding outside of the LGBTQIA+ community. It navigates familial breakdown and looks at how a person can create their own family – they may not be blood but it shows that you don’t need to be related by arbitrary blood types to look out for one another. 

The House of Impossible Beauties couldn’t exist in this time period without looking at the AIDS crisis. The story shows how it ravaged those who were infected and how the negativity surrounding sexuality was juxtaposed to the narrative of the day. 

Mainly it looks at loss. That comes in the form of loss of innocence but mainly through the loss of those that you love. The House of Impossible Beauties was in fact a beautiful, heartbreaking story.

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara is available now.

For more information regarding Joseph Cassara (@josephbcassara) please visit www.josephcassara.com.

For more information regarding Oneworld Publications (@OneworldNews) please visit www.oneworld-publications.com.

Title: Camp

Author: LC Rosen

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.

This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.

But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

What do you do when you are sixteen, you have met the dude of your dreams but you just aren’t his type? You change absolutely everything about yourself, obvs! Okay, well not really but changing aspects of yourself to be more ‘desirable’ is part of the story of Camp. Randy, our protagonist has had a major crush on Hudson for years. They bo9th attend a summer camp for LGBTQIA+ teens but Randy knows that he isn’t the kind of guy that Hudson usually goes for or would give a second glance to. So he sets himself off on the charm offensive and becomes someone new – Randy version 2.0. He is slightly different and this year he is determined to win over Hudson once and for all.

Camp is a wonderfully story from the author who gave us Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts). It is one of self discovery and of finding your own self worth. It shows us that the greatest way to make others love us is by loving ourselves. It has the feel good factor and makes you want to sprinkle kindness all over the places. It reminds us that if you celebrate all aspects of yourself then son will others. It reminds us all that we are worthy and if others cannot see that then they are not worth your time.

I love that YA fiction is leading the way with the LGBTQIA+ genre. These stories are relevant, important and, most of all they are providing a comfort to young adults who are finally being represented in a positive way in literature.

Camp by LC Rosen is available now.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.