Title: Where We Go From Here

Author: Lucas Rocha

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: David Fickling Books

The Blurb

A touching, urgent #ownvoices LGBTQ+ debut novel from Brazilian author Lucas Rocha.

Ian has just been diagnosed with HIV. Victor, to his relief, has just tested negative. Henrique has been living with HIV for three years. 

Then, their worlds collide…

Where We Go From Here is an honest and compulsive novel which unveils the common misconceptions and prejudices surrounding HIV in the twenty-first century, showing how far we’ve come while shining a light on just how far we have to go. 

Heart-breaking, heart-warming and ultimately hopeful, it is a desperately needed and powerful piece of fiction.

The Review

It is going to sound strange and I admit I probably come off a little weird for this but I find that some of the stories that have made the biggest impact on me over the years are the ones that look at the AIDS epidemic.

Fiction or Non-Fiction, the heartbreaking stories of the late 70s to the 90s are so powerful and move me. Over the years, some writers have approached this topic in a positive way. Living with HIV. I think it is absolutely essential that these stories are told. About how HIV isn’t the equivalent of a death sentence like it was.

Where We Go From Here is the story of three friends who are all connected through HIV. Some have it and some do not. It is story about learning to love yourself and those around you without prejudice and being the found family that is often needed in times of crisis.

It was a lovely story with strong spiky characters. Part of me homes that Lucas Rocha writes a sequel in a few years time so we can catch up with Ian, Victor and Henrique.

Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha is available now.

For more information regarding Lucas Rocha (@lucasgsrocha) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding David Fickling Books (@DFB_storyhouse) please visit www.davidficklingbooks.com.

Title: When You Call My Name

Author: Tucker Shaw

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s UK

The Blurb

A heartrending novel about two gay teens coming of age in New York – perfect for fans of It’s a Sin and Adam Silvera.

It’s 1990 in New York City.

Adam is falling in love for the first time. Ben is leaving home for the last.

Drawn by the city’s irresistible energy, the boys are swept up into the queer scene, where the potential for life and love seems limitless.

But as the shadows of prejudice gather, Ben and Adam discover how their newfound community is facing the looming threat of AIDS, which will touch their lives more closely than they ever could have imagined. 

Heartbreaking yet hopeful, When You Call My Name tells the story of the moments that break our hearts and the people who make us whole – and shows how together we burn brightest in times of darkness.

The Review

Oh my wow. I loved When You Call My Name by Tucker Shaw.

Tucker Shaw’s novel tells the story of two young men living during the turn of the decade from the 80s into the 90s in New York. The AIDS pandemic was on the rise and emotions were running high within the LGBT+ community and outside of it. Ben and Adam met through a chance encounter and form an unusual friendship that is tested by the world around them. Can Adam and Ben maintain their friendship in a world that is constantly changing?

I read a lot of LGBT+ fiction. It is something that I am passionate about. As an ally, I feel the best way that I can educate myself of the LGBT+ community is by learning the stories – whether they be fiction or non-fiction – and opening myself up to knowing the history. When You Call My Name is a fictional story but it is not too far from the truth. There will have been Bens and Adams all over the world going through what they went through which is why stories like When You Call My Name are vital.

For me, the absolute power in this book comes from very certain moments. It is not what Tucker Shaw has had his characters say. The power comes in what was not said – the Pinter pauses that say so much whilst saying absolutely nothing at all. That was writing at its most perfect.

When You Call My Name had me in absolute bits. It has shot to the top spot in my books of 2022.

When You Call My Name by Tucker Shaw is available now.

For more information regarding Tucker Shaw (@tucker_shaw) please visit www.tuckershawwrites.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House Children’s UK (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.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.