I’m a little later posting my round-up this week due to being on the blog tour for the brilliant Ask No Questions. This week I’ve mostly been reading books with LGBTQ themes as part of the LGBTQ Month Readathon being organised by The Royal Bookshelf and Blue Eyed Demon X
Release by Patrick Ness
Every time I pick up a Patrick Ness book it slays me. Release is no exception to this. As the parent of a young boy, I found reading about how Adam’s parents treated him utterly heart-wrenching. They do not accept his sexuality, try to pray it away, and they clearly have conditions on their love for him. His dad saying to him “You have no idea how much I have to work to love you” brought a genuine tear to my eye; I cannot imagine ever feeling that way about my own son. The stark contrast between their treatment of him and of their heterosexual son, and his dad’s assumption that Adam is responsible for the despicable actions of his manager really emphasises their lack of care and support. Ness writes Adam’s story beautifully: “You could only instinctively trust someone who had been there, who had seen it first-hand“, and we see in this how the actions of his parents and brother impact his life: his inability to love the person who is kind to him, the assumption that he is not good enough and his doubts about his own sexuality: “A single red rose. Could he buy it? Was that something that was ok? That boys did?” The positive that I took away from it was that Adam had forged his own supportive and loving family with his friends, who clearly care deeply about him and accept him unconditionally, and I loved that the story ended with Adam being with this family and being happy. The story running alongside this has been criticised by some reviewers, but I loved it. I think it helped that I guessed quite early on what was going on, but the two types of release running alongside each other added another, very clever, dimension to an already outstanding novel. If you haven’t read this yet, I really cannot recommend it enough.
Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
Noah Can’t Even is laugh out loud from the very beginning. I started reading it at bedtime and finished it in one sitting it was THAT good. I read it, in bed, trying to laugh silently so as not to wake the rest of my household. Noah is adorable and clumsy, not at all one of the popular kids; he seems to have no idea of socially acceptable conversation which is awkward for him but hilarious for those reading. The characters in this novel are very colourful. Noah’s mum and her Beyonce tribute act nearly killed me laughing. Harry is a lovely, warm-hearted character who wants to protect Noah, even as he faces his own social challenge of publicly acknowledging his sexuality at school. Noah’s gran was probably my favourite: she is funny, wise and generally wonderful. When Noah is worried about what others will think of his changing relationship with his friend Harry, she gives him the best advice: “…ask yourself: in the grand scheme of things, in the total insignificance of our tiny lives in this massive universe, who gives a shit?” and I think it is her encouragement that gives Noah the confidence to be with Harry. I loved that the author didn’t put labels on this relationship: that is was just a relationship that happened and Noah accepted that he loved Harry without defining himself in any way, which really fit with his general aura of confusion and self-doubt. I hope that in the sequel, we get to see Noah grow into himself a bit more. This really is a wonderful book: not many drive me to sleep deprivation. I really recommend you read this if you haven’t already. It’s one of my new favourites and I am excited for the sequel!
All Things New by Lauren Miller
This one doesn’t fit into the LGBTQ Readathon, but I have been reading this review copy in readiness for it’s publication at the start of August. Keep an eye out for my review being posted on the blog when it’s released!
That’s my week in books. What have you been reading? Have you read any of these?