Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: GLBTQ

They Both Die at the End
Silvera, Adam
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

They Both Die In The End is about two boys who find out they have one day left to live, and end up finding each other to spend their last day together. The book is very sad, yet really makes you think about what would you do if you only had one day left to live. This book has so many twists and turns, but in the end everything comes together and makes sense, which I loved. The author did a great job of having pieces from everyone's lives play a part in other peoples, but people don't know this only the reader sees these connections. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sad book that is very well written, and doesn't really touch on any hard subjects.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
We Are Okay
LaCour, Nina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

We are Okay is about a girl who goes through some tragic events in her life, and is now trying to deal with them. The book has quite a few twists and turns that can throw you off, but I really liked that. I did not like how short the book was though, and I felt the author could have added more in. The book ended off at a happy spot, but as a reader I wanted to know more about what happens after. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an easy read that you won't want to put down until it is over, which is fairly quick.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
Call Me By Your Name
Aciman, Andre
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Elio is an American-Italian Jewish seventeen-year-old living in 1980s Italy. Every summer, his father hosts an overseas guest to help with his books. And every summer, Elio pays little attention to the guests; until he meets Oliver, a charismatic, charming Jewish-American. During those few, precious weeks, Elio experiences a romance that lifts him above the clouds and anchors him in the sea all at once.

Above all, I loved the setting of the novel. I felt like I was in 1980s Italy with each reference to Italian culture and language. Elio, being an intellectual, describes the love between him and Oliver so profoundly it seems to become the perfect love story. Elio is funny, shy, smart, and romantic, and Oliver is his perfect foil. The book is a relatively short read (when compared to other novels), but there's so much detail in every sentence that it felt like I'd gone through an entire journey that had, ironically, ended too quickly.

The ending wasn't the happiest, but I still liked it. I like the questions left: What happens with Oliver and Elio? What happened to Elio's father? I'm ecstatic to read the sequel and have these questions answered.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Awards:
Genres:
Wilder Girls
Power, Rory
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Raxter School for Girls is located on a secluded island off mainland America. They have been under quarantine for over a year because of the "tox" that has infected the students and teachers there. The tox gives the girls strange mutations like a hand covered in scales, two hearts or two spines, but it can also kill them. There are few students or teachers left on the island, and with little food and dwindling supplies it's a struggle to survive. Hetty is just trying to keep herself and her friends alive long enough for someone to find a cure but when one of her friends, Byatt, go missing Hetty takes it upon herself to find her and learns that things on the island aren't all that they seem to be.
This book is mainly told in two perspectives, Hetty and Byatt. I like this because it gives more insight to other parts of the story. I enjoyed being in Hetty's head. It was interesting to see her look back at her time before Raxter and to see the reasoning behind the decisions she makes. I also liked reading about this new world the girls are living in.
The ending was left very open ended which was kinda annoying. I also think the characters could have more personality outside of how they have been affected by their circumstances. They often lacked depth

Reviewer's Name: Savannah
The Pros of Cons
Cherry, Alison & Ribar, Lindsay & Schusterman, Michelle
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Pros of Cons is a book about three girls at different conventions become friends. Vanessa Monotoya-O'Callaghan is going to a Fan Fiction convention with her friend Soleil. Pheobe Byrd is going to a Indoor Percussion Association convention with her percussion friends. Callie Buchannan is going to a Taxidermy convention with her dad as his assistant.

Vanessa and Soleil had never met but at the convention. They were online friends and they wrote fan fiction together, but they never met. It all started out great. The one issue is that Vanessa thought that Soleil was her girlfriend. On the first day Soleil read her own story in front of people instead of the one they worked on together. This made Vanessa angry but she kept it to herself. Then a few nights later Vanessa kissed her and that's when they fought. She had already met Callie. Soleil kicked her out of the
hotel room, and she went to stay with Callie. The the three friends decide to make a podcast for Vanessa's Creative Corner entry.

Pheobe runs into Callie while her and her friends where bringing percussion equipment places. They run into each other than Pheobe and Callie accidentally switch bags. In the group ensemble performance she realizes that she does'n't have her mallets. Then her friend Scott takes the mallets she was using for a solo. She ends up have to us scalpels from the solo and cuts up her hands. After the performance she has to put band aids on her hands. She gets in a fight with her best friend, Scott, and her roommate. The ends up in Callie's room.

Callie is with her dad and his turkeys. She is her dads assistant. On the first of the convention Callie meets her dads old assistant Jeremy. Jeremy is one of the judges, and Callie makes fun of her dad in front of him. After Jeremy leaves her dad yells at her for making fun of him in front of a judge. Callie is mad at her dad after this because he yelled at her and doesn't know she is even alive sometimes. Callie decides to sabotage her dads turkey seminar. During the seminar he deals with everything as if it was on purpose. Then Callie and her dad get in to a huge fight, because her mom left and court only gave Callie 4 weeks to live with her mom, but her mom offered full time. Her dad without even talking to Callie told her mom she didn't want to go. Callie was upset, but in the end they made up and are all good now.

I chose this book because of the clever title and how it was written in different point of views. I think the plot is excellent.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Sáenz, Benjamin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Aristotle is 15 and has no friends. One day at the pool Aristotle metDante, Dante offered to teach Aristotle how to swim. After swimming they became fast friends. They laughed and joked together. Then one day Dante saw a bird in the middle of the road with a broken wing then picked it up. Dante stood in the middle of the road and didn't notice the car coming. The next thing Aristotle remembered was waking up in the hospital. Then Aristotle's parents told him that he pushed Dante out of the way. After the accident
Aristotle learns that Dante's family is moving to Chicago for the school year, for Dante's dads job. They wrote and they called each other. In one letter Dante told Aristotle that Dante would rather kiss boys than girls. Aristotle didn't think much of it till 4 people beat up Dante so bad he has to go to the hospital. In the end they go out in the desert and Aristotle realizes something with help from his dad. The ending was quite different then what I expected. The book is happy and sad. I recommend this book to any one who likes to have a good cry. It is really good. I also recommend the authors other books.

Reviewer's Name: Jaime
Awards:
The Obsidian Tower
Caruso, Melissa
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Obsidian Tower still fills Readers with Mystery….and Dread…..

4 Stars. Bit dramatic for my taste.

This book is about a young woman living in a world of magic, where the world is divided up by people who have different kinds of magic. Ironically, she lives in the section of people with life magic, but she possesses the magic to kill… An outsider, rejected by her parents, she was made the warden of the Obsidian Tower by her grandmother, who saw promise in her. I loved this book for the magic, and the realistic fear of people passing her, afraid to touch her. Lonely she is, she keeps going because the Obsidian Tower needs her.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Genres:
I'll Give You The Sun
Nelson, Jandy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

When books have awards on the cover it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll enjoy the book because the reviewers/critics are often adults and have a different perspective on teen/YA books. However “I’ll give you the Sun” actually lives up to the awards and reviews. This book has a complex plotthat weaves between the perspectives of Noah and Jude. Noah and Jude are twins who were always inseparable until high school and their mother’s death. Noah’s portions of the story are from before their mother’s death at age 13 and Jude’s perspective is from 16. Between the three years they both change dramatically, and you can see why they changed, and how everything became different. I really liked the title of the book, it fits the story without giving away too much. The characters are amazing, they all have depth, complexity, and a unique background, which drives the plot. This also made it easy to relate to the characters because they felt very real and human. Noah has a very clear way of seeing the world through color, and art. Jude sees the world through a very physical sense. It is pretty easy to get into this book and I found it hard to put down. This book has a great message of love and its complexities as well.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie
My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen
Clawson, David
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book 'My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen' by David Clawson is a funny LGBT version of Cinderella. The main character Chris lives with his step-mother, step-sister, and step-brother who have recently lost their family wealth. The family wants to keep up with their rich lifestyle, and the best way to do that is to try to find his step-sister a wealthy boyfriend to marry, which they will do by attending a fancy ball. Chris's family does not buy him a ticket to the ball, but he meets a drag queen who helps him get into the ball. What happens when Chris meets the richest boy in the state and falls head over heels for him?
I thought this book was absolutely amazing! I would definitely give it five stars. It is very funny and entertaining, I spent hours reading this book without even moving because it was so captivating.

Reviewer's Name: Lillian L.
The Upside of Unrequited
Albertalli, Becky
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book 'The Upside of Unrequited' is by the popular author Becky Albertalli, who also wrote 'Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. This book follows Molly, a hopeless romantic who has never even had a boyfriend. When Molly introduces her twin sister, Cassie, to a new girl who Cassie may be developing a crush on, Molly realizes that she and her sister may be growing apart. This book goes through the journey where Molly struggles between her two new crushes, Will and Reid. The boys are very different... who will she end up with?
This book was absolutely amazing! A must-read for fans of 'Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda'. This book easily earns five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lillian L.
Book Cover
Levine, Laura
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Jaine Austen is relieved to receive a gift trip to the Haven, a luxury resort
along the California coast, from her flamboyantly gay neighbor Lance.
However, upon arriving there, she realizes that the Haven is a fat
farm in disguise run by Olga, the Diet Nazi (her words and not mine). She's
sharing her "luxury vacation" with Mallory Francis, a famous movie star, and
her staff. While gracing the big screens is Mallory's job, her true calling seems to
be making enemies with everyone she comes across. So when Mallory is found
strangled by a piece of kelp during a seaweed wrap, the suspect list is
longer than Rapunzel's hair with added extensions. Not wanting to spend any
longer in Diet Hell than necessary (and yes, she does call the Haven that),
Jaine puts on her detective slippers once again to catch a culprit once
again. However, this will prove to be Jaine's most challenging cases yet, and
her chase to catch the culprit will put her life on the line more than ever
before.

Let me just get this off my chest. I-love-this series! It's so well-written,
and never ceases to amuse me. I love how this series waits until later than
most for the murder to happen,making the reader make assumptions on who the
culprit is before the murder takes place. However, every book I've read from
this series so far has a major flaw. While the actual investigation for each
book is individually unique, the main climax always follows the same format.
It goes as follows:

1) Jaine is left with no clear culprit until she remembers a piece of
evidence she missed
2) The person who seems like the furthest thing from the culprit is always
the culprit
3) Just as Jaine finds the culprit, they try to kill her
4) Something saves Jaine last-minute
5) The culprit is arrested

This book is no different. I really wish Laura Levine would break away from
this format, as it makes the series very repetitive. However, I just hope she
does it in future mysteries. But overall, I'd highly recommend this mystery,
especially for a good laugh. The mystery kept me guessing while still keeping
me relaxed, Jaine Austen is the most relatable protagonist ever, the sub-plot
with her parents is hilarious in an "I really shouldn't be laughing at this"
kind of way, and Prozac is-well, Prozac! Just make sure to have something to
strangle with (noose, execution chain, chimichanga, whatever suits you),
because I assure you that no Jaine Austen mystery has made me want to
strangle Lance more than this one by the end. You have been warned.

Reviewer's Name: Naomi S.
Genres:
Book Review: Starry Eyes
Bennett, Jenn
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Zorie, a young girl who lives with her mother and father who are happily married; or so she thought they were happy. Zorie is suddenly struck with life altering information when her neighbor/ ex-best friend, Lennon hands her a manila envelope that had accidentally been delivered to the wrong house. Zorie is mortified when she opens it only to see photos of her dad with another woman, and is even more mortified that there was a possibility Lennon and his family had seen the photos too. Struggling to figure out what to do with the photos while juggling work and drama with friends, Zorie is all too happy to say yes when her best friend Reagan asks her to come on a camp trip. However, Zorie forgot about a previous commitment she made to go to the astronomy clubs stargazing party just one peak over from where Reagan's camp trip was. Wanting so badly to leave home for as long as possible and put her worries behind her Zorie decides she can do both, she will go on the camp trip and from there take a bus to Condor Peak for the star party. Zorie’s plans are turned a little upside down when Reagan picks her up for camping and Lennon is with her and some other familiar faces from school sitting in the back seat. Once they reach the campsite things take a turn for the worst when a fight between Reagan and Zorie ends up with Reagan and her other friends abandoning Zorie and Lennon in the middle of the night. Zorie and Lennon are then forced to talk about the past and all of the miscommunications that led them to hate each other as they hike their way to Condor Peak. This novel had a very intriguing plot, I loved the unpredictability of every page turn.

Reviewer's Name: Madison S.
The 57 Bus
Slater, Dashka
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book, The 57 Bus, by Dashka Slater, is quite the moving novel. The author does a great job of solidifying the main characters, Sasha and Richard, and develops there characters in a beautifully realistic way. The sudden transition for just normal everyday life to a calamity also flows well with the book. The fact that this story actually happens is also very interesting. Overall, The 57 Bus is a fantastic book and I would recommend it to anyone. The novel is a decent length but will have you engrossed in it until the end.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Immoral Code
Clark, Lillian
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Immoral Code" tells the tale of five seniors in high school planning something even bigger than Homecoming. When Bellamy's billionaire father refuses to pay her college tuition at MIT, the gang gathers together to right the wrong, her friend Nari in particular. Under the code name d0l0s, Nari and the rest of Bellamy's friends search for the much needed money- and revenge.

The story's plot circles around a small hiccup in their plan: to get the money, they'll have to sneak into the Foster Inc. building! This story is full of suspense, humor, and 3-dimensional characters each struggling through their own adolescence problems simultaneously. Lillian Clark does a fantastic job of weaving multiple view-points together to tell this memorable tale. I would recommend t it to anyone my age!

*Note: This story does contain a good amount of profanity. Definitely for older readers.* Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Adia R.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Saenz, Benjamin Alire
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is about a complicated relationship between two boys, in which one finds it difficult to accept himself and his family, which translates into him bring unable to understand or accept love from the other boy. It develops the ideas of self-criticism and self-acceptance, as well as the multiple forms that love can take on. Aristotle and Dante are the two main characters, who begin as friends and slowly fall in love. Aristotle, Ari for short, deals with a father with PTSD and a delinquent brother who is the black sheep of the family. Dante has a peaceful and accepting family, which causes tension between the boys; while Ari has learned to speak with his fists or remain silent, dante has learned to be diplomatic and express himself at all times.
The fact that they are total opposites is very interesting, because the plot then revolves around a complicated process of trying to understand each other. It is a good read if you are looking for something that is about mental health, love, and how relationships require compromise. It is also written in a nice style, in a sort of blocky, thought-like manner. I would give it four out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: Molly Q
All Out: the no-longer secret stories of queer teens throughout the ages
Mitchell, Saundra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

All Out is a collection of short stories from different times in history.
These short stories keep you on the edge of your seats with every page. Being a LGBTQ+ Short story book I was delighted with detailed stories keeping with historical values and cultures. Everything from Pirates to Runaway Brides this book has it. Lovely storylines and flow. Definitely a must read for teenagers.
Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Lizzy B
Awards:
In Other Lands
Rees Brennan, Sarah
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This books follows Elliot Schafer as he leaves behind the modern England and travels instead into a magical land where he enrolls in a sort of a school.

Students, called cadets at the camp/school, can choose between war training and council training, meaning fighting or diplomacy. He befriends Luke Sunborn, the fan favorite of the camp and a promising soldier, through a truce that they made regarding the third member of their group, Serene, the only elf who joined the human army and who they both try to help by offering extra lessons. Elliot’s mission slowly becomes peace in the Borderlands, the name of the magical place he now lives in, because he doesn’t like their dependency on war as a means of existence. The book then follows the three friends as they navigate treaties and violence and meet many magical creatures. This is by far the best book I’ve read this year. There is a sense of empathy for all the characters, realistic romances, delicate friendships, and other harsh realities that rarely appear in young adult literature, not to mention the reverse gender stereotypes and raging pacifism that become center points of the plot. I loved the detail in the story and how everything in the story in interconnected. I could barely put it down, and would highly recommend it. I would give it five stars out of five.

Reviewer's Name: Molly Q
Wild Beauty
McLemore, Anna-Marie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book Wild Beauty is a vibrant tale of the cursed Nomeolvides women who are able to grow plants using magic. Their curse is that they are unable to leave their home at La Pradera without dying. This book is a wonderful exploration of love, family, life, and lies. Wild Beauty includes exploration into sexuality and the bonds we share with our family. Wild Beauty is one of the best books I've read in a long time because of it's depth and true dive into the human soul. This book is great for readers who want to pick up a book for a colourful story and not have it continued in a series (I personally have gotten tired of every book being a series).

Reviewer's Name: Maddie K.
Awards:
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Albertalli, Becky
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda" is about a student named Simon who is 17 and is closeted. He emails his unknown friend that goes by the fake name Blue frequently and also goes the fake name Jacques. Everything is fine, until Martin sees Simon's email one day in the library. Martin uses the emails as a way to blackmail him. Simon is forced to do everything Martin asks in order to keep his sexual orientation a secret from the outside world. Martin does terrible things to get what he wants which is a chance with Simon's friend Abby. While this is happening Simon becomes closer with Blue and eventually develops a crush on the unknown boy who goes to the same school. Many things happen between Martin and Simon but everything ends when Martin takes things too far. As a result of Martin's extreme act, he is forced to come out to everyone. Simon becomes even closer with Blue and things escalate to them knowing each other's identity. Blue and Simon end up dating in real life and everything ends happily despite the many issues Simon had to face with coming out and Martin.

I read this book because I had heard good things about the movie Love, Simon and wanted to read the book it was based off of. "Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda" was an amazing book. I loved the LGBT+ representation. Simon's feelings were very real and relatable. I finished the book in a day because I enjoyed it that much. I would definitely recommend to anyone and I would definitely classify it as one of the top three books I have read this year.

Reviewer's Name: Oriana O.
Genres:
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Albertalli, Becky
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Have you ever felt out of place? Felt that you were hiding who you really were, or a big part of you? Incorporated with themes of self acceptance as well as humor, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is for you. This book tells the story of Simon, a junior growing up in a small, conservative town. He is gay, and has not shared it with anyone and is not ready to yet. Keeping up a relationship via email with a boy with the pen name Blue, he accidentally leaves his email logged on in the school they both go to. When a boy named Martin finds this email, he blackmails him. Help Martin win over his crush (one of Simon's closest friends), or get revealed on one of the most personal things a human can have, their identity and sexuality. Keeping up this correspondence with his crush, turning more flirtatious daily, while hiding from a close group of friends, is sure to cause all kinds of trouble.

I love this book, because it is full of heavy topics, along with humor and adorable romance. This is recommended to anyone learning about such controversial themes, and to a lower reading level audience, because it is a very easy read. However, the more mature the better, because many cuss words and descriptions of romance are used in this book along with imagery on underage drinking and more. If you have ever felt like you don't fit the description of the normal human being, check out simon vs the homo sapiens agenda today.

Reviewer's Name: Anna C.

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