Title: What’s the T?

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Wren & Rook

The Blurb

Discover what it means to be a young transgender and/or non-binary person in the twenty-first century in this frank and funny guide for 14+ teens, from the author of This Book is Gay. In What’s the T?, Stonewall ambassador, bestselling trans author and former PSHE teacher Juno Dawson defines a myriad of labels and identities and offers uncensored advice on coming out, sex and relationships with her trademark humour and lightness of touch. Juno has also invited her trans and/or non-binary friends to make contributions, ensuring this inclusive book reflects as many experiences as possible, and features the likes of Travis Alabanza and Jay Hulme. 

The companion title to the This Book Is GayWhat’s the T? tackles the complex realities of growing up trans with honesty and humour, and is joyfully illustrated by gender non-conforming artist Soofiya.

The Review

Something I always worry about is whether or not I say something that could offend someone. If I do, it is a genuine mistake and never intentional. However, with so many marginalised people in society it is such an easy thing to do. And here is why: there just isn’t enough education out there. That is why I am so grateful for the non-fiction books that Juno Dawson has written. The Gender Games, Mind Your Head and This Book is Gay have widened my knowledge about topics that I don’t have the lived experience of. It is the same with her fantastic new release What’s the T?.

We are seeing more and more people – young people – realising that they can be their true selves and that there is help available for them to achieve that – both medical help and help for their mental health when dealing with huge life changes. What’s the T? is essential reading for anyone who works with children or teenagers for many reasons some basic ones being that they know what terms to use, what terminology is unacceptable and how to help and support someone who is questioning their gender.

In her inimitable no-nonesense style, Juno Dawson tells you straight how to be an ally and if you aren’t being an ally then you really are just a weenie (a term I personally feel we need to bring back into fashion.

What’s the T? by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

For more information regarding Wren & Rook (@wrenandrookbook) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: To Be A Gay Man

Author: Will Young

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

In To Be a Gay Man, Will Young speaks out about gay shame, revealing the impact it had on his own life, how he learned to deal with it, and how he can now truthfully say he is gay and happy.

We know Will as a multi-platinum recording artist, Olivier-nominee, and the first winner of the Idol franchise. But his story began long before his first audition. Looking back on a world where growing up being called gay was the ultimate insult and coming out after a lifetime of hiding his sexuality, Will explores the long-lasting impact repressing his true self has had.

As Will’s own story demonstrates, internalised shame in childhood increases the risk of developing low self-worth, and even self-disgust, leading to destructive behaviours in adult life. 

Will revisits the darkest extremes he has been to, sharing his vulnerabilities, his regrets, tracing his own navigation through it all and showing the way for others who might have felt alone in the same experience.

Here you will find a friend, champion and mentor, breaking taboos with frank honesty, and offering invaluable practical advice on overcoming the difficult issues too often faced within the LGBTQ+ community.

The Review

I always wonder with celebrities who write books how much of what they say is the truth and what is made up and – more importantly – what it kept back. For the first time they are in control of the narrative of their own story rather than being at the hands of headline grabbing journalists with questionable morals. With Will Young’s To Be A Gay Man I really feel that he has bled his life on to the pages of his book.

To Be A Gay Man shows Will Young at his most vulnerable. He talks about his sexuality, how the shame of this affected his mental health and his descent into needing to seek medical care because he lost control. The terrible thing about all of this is that they things that caused his distress are not things to be ashamed of and speaks volumes about how the society we live in still treats ‘the other’ with disdain that when you identify with this mythical ‘other’ you develop internal hatred. It really is heartbreaking.

Will Young should be congratulated on his candour in To Be A Gay Man. This is the kind of book that will help others.

To Be A Gay Man by Will Young is available now.

For more information regarding Will Young (@willyoung) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.

Genre: YA Fiction/LGBTQIA+

The Gist: A bunch of superstitious theatre students put on a performance of Les Miserables.

Short Review: A delightful young adult fiction that celebrates the love of theatre, falling in love and the growing up.

Long Review: Aspiring stage manager Melody McIntyre promises her crew that she won’t fall in love during their upcoming performance of Les Miserables because they are worried that it is bringing on a theatre curse. However, when popular student Odile Rose starts showing interest in Melody McIntyre her resolve begins to crumble. However, when strange and unusual things begin to happen during the performance rehearsals Melody starts to believe that the curse is real.

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre is a great read. It doesn’t try to be anything other than it is. A fun theatre romp that looks at the love lives of teenagers. One aspect of the novel that I really appreciated is that LGBTQIA+ relationships are central to the plot however Robin Talley does not emphasise this as an issue. I think more YA novels need to have non-heteronormative relationships at the heart of their stories without it being the main point. It shows that LGBTQIA+ relationships are the norm. By taking away what she my see as an issue Robin Talley has moved the goalposts to where they should be for other authors writing fiction with LGBTQIA+ relationships at the heart of it.  

A fantastic read. Be warned though, you will be singing the soundtrack to Les Miserables for days afterwards – I don’t see how that is a bad thing. 

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley is available now.

For more information regarding Robin Talley (@robin_talley) please visit www.robintalley.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQStories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

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.