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: Notes to Self

Author: Emily Pine

Pages: 183 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

‘I am afraid of being the disruptive woman. And of not being disruptive enough. I am afraid. But I am doing it anyway.’

In this dazzling debut, Emilie Pine speaks to the business of living as a woman in the 21st century – its extraordinary pain and its extraordinary joy. Courageous, humane and uncompromising, she writes with radical honesty on birth and death, on the grief of infertility, on caring for her alcoholic father, on taboos around female bodies and female pain, on sexual violence and violence against the self. Devastatingly poignant and profoundly wise – and joyful against the odds – Notes to Self offers a portrait not just of its author but of a whole generation.

The Review

Emily Pine’s collection of essays Notes to Self is candid, raw and full of emotions. Within this small collection she talks about many subjects but the ones that stick out are her desperation for a baby and the ones about dealing with her father’s battle with alcoholism.

You cannot help but ache along with Pine and hope that everything works out for her. Whilst the topics are very sad and – at times – heartbreaking there is an overall sense of optimism that you have once you have turned the final page.

Notes to Self is a very good but difficult read.

Notes to Self by Emily Pine is available now.

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

Title: It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (and Other Lies)

Author: Scarlett Curtis (ed.)

Pages: 576 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

It’s OK if everything might feel a bit overwhelming.
It’s OK to talk about it.
It’s OK to not want to talk about it.
It’s OK to find it funny.
It’s OK to be human.

Over 70 people have shared their powerful, funny and moving stories exploring their own mental health, including Sam Smith, Emilia Clarke, Candice Carty-Williams and Adam Kay.

One in four of us will experience a mental health issue. This book is here to tell you, or someone you care about, it’s OK.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

In these uncertain times that we live in people are beginning to own their own mental health. None of us, even those we consider to be superhuman, are exempt from sometimes suffering with their mental wellbeing. What is great about this collection edited by Scarlett Curtis is that those people that we often put on a pedestal and see as a hero also have their own demons that they are dealing with.

This is a great collection to dip in an out of when you need that morale boost and when you need to see that other people are dealing with things too. The more our mental health is normalised and seen as something we should be protecting the less stigma there will be around the issue.

It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (and Other Lies) by Scarlett Curtis is available now.

For more information regarding Scarlett Curtis (@sarcurtis) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: The Fifth Letter

Author: Nicola Moriarty

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Four friends. Five Letters. One Secret.

The scandalous breakthrough novel from Nicola Moriarty that will leave you asking, how well do I really know my friends?

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

The Review

I love friendship novels, especially when the friendship has gone awry.

That is the case with the four friends in Nicola Moriarty’s The Fifth Letter. Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden have all met up for their annual get together; the one time of year where they can all be together and rekindle their friendship. As everyone knows, sustaining a friendship as you get older can be difficult but these four are trying their hardest.

When it is revealed that they all have dark secrets the girls begin to wonder if you can ever really truly know someone, even when that person is your best friend.

The Fifth Letter is a truly gripping novel of the complexities of friendship and how sometimes things cannot be sustainable. It is creepy in parts and a genuine entertaining mystery. Just when you think you have it all figured out Nicola Moriarty pulls the rug from beneath your feet.

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty is available now.

For more information regarding Nicola Moriarty (@NikkiM3) please visit www.nicolamoriarty.co.au.

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