YA: Sexual trauma, the patriarchy, the blind spots we all have, and the choice to still love someone after they do an unforgivable thing. A bit trope-y, a bit rushed, and with teenagers who don’t seem quite real, this is nevertheless a well-written book about important issues.
It was an easy read and it had a happy ending. It dragged a bit in the middle and the end… but that might be just my impatience with predictable books. And this book was predictable. The main conflict was set up early on, hammered away for what felt like an eternity, and then resolved in time for the credits. There was no room for symbolism, subtlety, or nuance.
It is extremely well written and well plotted… and that means that the pace is perfect. It moves along quickly and you never feel like reading it is a burden. There is something here for most readers: romance, counter-culture, glamour, self-empowerment, tragedy, life lessons, and an ending that is bittersweet but perfect.
I love Red! She has a prosthetic leg and therefore gets to be a strong (in body and mind) character who is differently-abled. She is also Black. And queer! HOORAY!
The schtick of the chorus works better at the end than the beginning and while I appreciate wheat Levithan is doing, and I think he does it well, it is still a lot and it makes the book sadder and more fraught than his other works.
The book manages to evoke crushing despair while still being a beautiful love story… because it is… it is a beautiful love story, not just between the two boys, but a love story about life and how we need to suck the joy from our lives with every damn breath we are privileged to get to take.
This book has stuff for everyone… it is not just a “gay” book even though, yes, it is hella gay. I would highly recommend it for the story, the writing, and the universal truths. And again… That ending… /chef’s kiss.
It’s still #Pride month and I am still reading queer literature to celebrate. Back to the comforting well of speculative fiction… and unlike my last foray into that land, this time I was very glad for the journey.
Take out the very superficial puzzlement about identity that one character *almost* has, and this is a very tired, very cliche, very poorly written book about two people falling for one another in the most boring ways possible.
I should have loved this book. Lesbian dealing with alien invasion and mind control issues coupled with thoughts about aging, letting, go, accepting change, and can you be human without struggle? Sign me up!