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.

Title: The Truth about Keeping Secrets

Author: Savannah Brown

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A stunning coming-of-age tale from poet and writer Savannah Brown.

Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around in their small Ohio town.

He is also unexpectedly dead.

Sydney believes the crash was anything but an accident. And when the threatening texts begin, and June Copeland – homecoming queen and golden child – appears at his funeral out of nowhere, she’s sure of it.

But through Sydney’s newfound relationship with June, she’s given a glimpse of a life without the darkness of an unresolved grief and the chance, just maybe, of a fresh start.

Until it’s clear that the secrets won’t go away, and the truth might bring everything crashing down…

Imperfect friendships, the shadow of grief and the sweet pain of romance – this is a poetic, thrilling ode to being human.

The Review

Imagine you are dealing with the grief of losing a parent. Now imagine that within that grief you believe it wasn’t an accident but that his death was pre-meditated. Imagine you believed your parent was murdered. This is the reality for Sydney and she is determined to find out the truth.

The Truth about Keeping Secrets is a great LGBTQIA+ crime mystery novel. It keeps you guessing to the very last page but also it has a lot of heart so you genuinely do feel for the characters. You really care about them and about their survival.

The Truth about Keeping Secrets is a must read for mystery lovers but it is also a quite cathartic read that looks at grief and the mental health implications of losing someone you love.

The Truth about Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown is available now.

For more information regarding Savannah Brown (@savannahbrown) please visit www.savbrown.com.

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

Title: The Princess of Baker Street

Author: Mia Kerick

Pages: 180 Pages

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

The Blurb

When she was a child, Joey Kinkaid, assigned as a boy at birth—wearing Mom’s purple sundress and an imaginary crown—ruled the Baker Street neighbourhood with a flair and imagination that kept the other kids captivated. Day after day, she led them on fantastic after-school adventures, but those innocent childhood days are over, and the magic is gone. The princess is alone.

Even Eric Sinclair, the Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel, has turned his back on his former friend, watching in silence as Joey is tormented at school. Eric isn’t proud of it, but their enchanted youth is over, and they’ve been thrust into a dog-eat-dog world where those who conform survive and those who don’t… well, they don’t. Eric has enough to deal with at home, where his mother has abandoned him to live in isolation and poverty.

But Eric can’t stay on the sidelines forever. When Joey finally accepts her female gender and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies readily take the opportunity she hands them, driving Joey to attempt suicide and leaving Eric at a crossroads—one that will influence both their lives in not just the present, but the future.

Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?

The Review

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick is a book that surprised me in so many ways. If I am completely honest, I chose to read the book based on the cover. I had not read the blurb nor did I have any knowledge of Mia Kerick’s previous writing. I did not know it was an LGBTQIA+ story. Not that that would have mattered. In fact, it probably would have made me want to read it more.

What I loved about the story is that it was sensitive. Not only to Joey who is going through the agonising process of becoming the correct gender, but to Eric who is dealing with abandonment. Also to the school bully who is dealing with learned behaviour from his misogynistic father.

It is just a lovely yet heart-breaking story told with the utmost sensitivity and beauty that could have been lacking in somebody else’s hands. Mia Kerick has really worked magic in writing this story.

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick is available now.

For more information regarding Mia Kerick (@MiaKerick) please visit www.MiaKerickYA.com.

For more information regarding Harmony Ink Press (@HarmonyInkPress) please visit www.harmonyinkpress.com.

 

Title: The Stonewall Riots

Author: Gayle E. Pitman

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Abram Kids

The Blurb

This book is about the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous, often violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBTQ+) community in reaction to a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The Riots are attributed as the spark that ignited the LGBTQ+ movement.

The author describes American gay history leading up to the Riots, the Riots themselves, and the aftermath, and includes her interviews of people involved or witnesses, including a woman who was ten at the time. Profusely illustrated, the book includes contemporary photos, newspaper clippings, and other period objects. A timely and necessary read, The Stonewall Riots helps readers to understand the history and legacy of the LGBTQ+ movement.

The Review

I read a lot of LGBT fiction but one thing that I haven’t read enough about is the history of the LGBT community. I am seriously behind on my non-fiction. From what I have learned through research after reading things in fiction I have picked up bits and pieces but I really need to expand my knowledge of the LGBT+ community and the ongoing battle for equality. This year I plan to change this. My non-fiction reading journey has begun with The Stonewall Riots by Gayle E. Pitman.

I had heard the term ‘Stonewall’ but never quite understood what it meant and its root. After reading The Stonewall Riots I now see how hard the initial fights for rights were and just how institutionalised the homophobia was…and sadly still is.

Pitman’s easy style means that the book can be read and enjoyed by all. It is a book that should be a feature of every school library and be used in PSHE lessons when discussing LGBTQIA+ issues.

If, like me, you are new to the non-fiction element of the history of LGBTQIA+ rights then The Stonewall Riots is a great book to start you off on that journey.

The Stonewall Riots by Gayle E. Pitman is available now.

For more information regarding Abram Kids (@ABRAMSbooks) please visit www.abramsbooks.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.