Queer Middle Grade Coming Out in 2021 I’m Excited About

So, for the past couple of years, usually in December, I like to talk about the queer middle grade books I know about coming out that year. Just for fun, really. You can see my 2019 list here, and my 2020 list here. It’s a little late this year because 2020.

As I’ve said before, I use a fairly loose definition for “Queer MG” that I wouldn’t necessarily use for YA or Adult books. When talking about middle grade, I include books where the main character isn’t queer, but someone in their life is, like a best friend or sibling, or an adult like a parent or teacher.

I believe all kids should see their lives reflected in books, including those with queer families and I don’t want kids to think queer people disappear after the age of 18. Queer kids seeing queer adults as role models is super important.

These are not final numbers of the year, but in December 2018 I found 10 upcoming books. In December 2019, I found 21. This December, 26. It is very encouraging to see more and more queer middle grade each year. And I’m sure more will be announced as 2021 progresses, and probably I will find out about more that exist that I just don’t know.

I’m not all-seeing, after all 😛

Also, thanks to Luce for making this picure for me. You’re my fave.

Let’s talk books!

Meow or Never by Jazz Taylor

Release date: January 5th, 2020 which means you can buy it now!

Summary (from goodreads): Avery Williams can sing, but that doesn’t mean she can sing in front of people. She likes to stay backstage at her new school, which is where, to her surprise, she finds a cat tucked away into a nook. Avery names the stray Phantom and visits any time she’s feeling stressed (which is a lot these days).

As she sings to Phantom one day, her crush, Nic, overhears her and ropes Avery into auditioning for the school’s musical. Despite her nerves, Avery lands the lead role!

She knows she should be excited, but mostly Avery is terrified. Can Phantom help her through her stage fright? And what will happen if anyone finds out about her secret pet?

The part where I talk: Okay this one is REALLY cool to me for several reasons. One, KITTY. Two, this is a popular line of books that a lot of kid probably read. Three, there is nothing on the summary that explicitly says this is queer. Therefore, if it’s the same on the book, then four, this is a book very likely to be in school libraries and Scholastic book orders and kids who may not have a lot of access to queer books could read it. And, five, this looks like the audience is pretty young and there’s just not a lot of queer middle grade aimed at the younger middle grade crowd.

This is really cool. 

Proud of Me by Sarah Hagger-Holt

Release date: February 4th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Becky and Josh are almost-twins, with two mums and the same anonymous donor dad.

Josh can’t wait until he’s eighteen, the legal age when he can finally contact his father, and he’ll do anything to find out more ­­­- even if it involves lying.

Becky can’t stop thinking about her new friend, Carli. Could her feelings for Carli be a sign of something more?

Becky and Josh both want their parents to be proud of them…but right now, they’re struggling to even accept themselves.

Spin With Me by Ami Polonsky

Release date: February 16th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Essie is a thirteen-year-old girl feeling glum about starting a new school after her professor dad takes a temporary teaching position in a different town. She has 110 days here and can’t wait for them to end. Then she meets Ollie: delicate, blue eyes, short hair, easy smile. At first, Essie thinks she has a typical crush on a beautiful boy. But as her crush blossoms, she soon realizes that Ollie is not a boy or a girl, but gender non-binary.

Meanwhile, Ollie is experiencing a crush of their own . . . on Essie. As Ollie struggles to balance their passion for queer advocacy with their other interests, they slowly find themselves falling for a girl whose stay is about to come to an end. Can the two unwind their merry-go-round of feelings before it’s too late?

All You Knead is Love by Tanya Guerrero

Release date: March 30th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Twelve-year-old Alba doesn’t want to live with her estranged grandmother in Barcelona.

But her mother needs her to be far, far away from their home in New York City. Because this is the year that her mother is going to leave Alba’s abusive father. Hopefully. If she’s strong enough to finally, finally do it.

Alba is surprised to find that she loves Barcelona, forming a close relationship with her grandmother, meeting a supportive father figure, and making new friends. Most of all, she discovers a passion and talent for bread baking. When her beloved bakery is threatened with closure, Alba is determined to find a way to save it—and at the same time, she may just come up with a plan to make their family whole again.

The part where I talk: I don’t have a ton of information about this one, but I am very into the punny title.

Middletown by Sarah Moon

Release date: April 6th, 2021 

Summary (from goodreads): Thirteen-year-old Eli likes baggy clothes, baseball caps, and one girl in particular. Her seventeen-year-old sister Anna is more traditionally feminine; she loves boys and staying out late. They are sisters, and they are also the only family each can count on. Their dad has long been out of the picture, and their mom lives at the mercy of her next drink. When their mom lands herself in enforced rehab, Anna and Eli are left to fend for themselves. With no legal guardian to keep them out of foster care, they take matters into their own hands: Anna masquerades as Aunt Lisa, and together she and Eli hoard whatever money they can find. But their plans begin to unravel as quickly as they were made, and they are always way too close to getting caught.

Eli and Anna have each gotten used to telling lies as a means of survival, but as they navigate a world without their mother, they must learn how to accept help, and let other people in.

The part where I talk: This was also on my 2020 releases list – it was originally slated for 2020.

The Anti-Book by Raphael Simon

Release date: April 6th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads):  Mickey is angry all the time: at his divorced parents, at his sister, and at his two new stepmoms, both named Charlie. And so he can’t resist the ad inside his pack of gum: “Do you ever wish everyone would go away? Buy The Anti-Book! Satisfaction guaranteed.” He orders the book, but when it arrives, it’s blank–except for one line of instruction: To erase it, write it. He fills the pages with all the things and people he dislikes . . .

Next thing he knows, he’s wandering an anti-world, one in which everything and everyone familiar is gone. Or are they? His sister soon reappears–but she’s only four inches tall. A tiny talking house with wings looks strangely familiar, as does the mysterious half-invisible boy who seems to think that he and Mickey are best buds. The boy persuades Mickey to go find the Bubble Gum King–the king, who resides at the top of a mountain, is the only one who might be able help Mickey fix the mess he’s made.

The part where I talk: Okay so this one isn’t obvious at first, but one, two steomoms means almost certainly queer parents, and two, check out this post by the author.

Too Bright To See by Kyle Lukoff

Release date: April 20th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): It’s the summer before middle school and eleven-year-old Bug’s best friend Moira has decided the two of them need to use the next few months to prepare. For Moira, this means figuring out the right clothes to wear, learning how to put on makeup, and deciding which boys are cuter in their yearbook photos than in real life. But none of this is all that appealing to Bug, who doesn’t particularly want to spend more time trying to understand how to be a girl. Besides, there’s something more important to worry about: A ghost is haunting Bug’s eerie old house in rural Vermont…and maybe haunting Bug in particular. As Bug begins to untangle the mystery of who this ghost is and what they’re trying to say, an altogether different truth comes to light–Bug is transgender.

Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden

Release date: May 4th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Libby comes from a long line of bullies. She wants to be different, but sometimes that doesn’t work out. Now she’s suspended again.

On the opposite side of the country lives Vincent, a kid who loves the mathematician Katherine Johnson and being a non-conformist, who’s trying hard not to get stuffed into lockers at his new school. But that’s not working out too well either.  

Nearby is T, who couldn’t take living at home anymore and is determined to survive on a rainy sidewalk.

And then there’s Jack, a big-hearted kid so engaged in the fight to keep his small rural school open that he’s lost focus on the ones who need him most.

Four kids. Four different lives. And then… one card with a message of hope takes flight and starts a chain reaction, helping each kid summon the thing they need, whether it’s bravery, empathy, or understanding. But best of all, it makes each one realize they matter — and that they’re not flying solo anymore.

The part where I talk: After reading like 900 goodreads reviews BECAUSE NO ONE WILL JUST COME OUT AND SAY IT, it seems T is nonbinary.

Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas

Release date: May 11th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Brian has always been anxious, whether at home, or in class, or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed in foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn’t know if things will ever be “normal” again . . . Ezra’s always been popular. He’s friends with most of the kids on his basketball team—even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he’s too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him . . .

But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they’re willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they’d rather hide. But if they can be brave, they might just find the best in themselves—and each other.

Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake

Release date: May 25, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Hazel Bly used to live in the perfect house with the perfect family in sunny California. But when a kayaking trip goes horribly wrong, Mum is suddenly gone forever and Hazel is left with crippling anxiety and a jagged scar on her face. After Mum’s death, Hazel, her other mother, Mama, and her little sister, Peach, needed a fresh start. So for the last two years, the Bly girls have lived all over the country, never settling anywhere for more than a few months.

When the family arrives in Rose Harbor, Maine, there’s a wildness to the small town that feels like magic. But when Mama runs into an old childhood friend—Claire—suddenly Hazel’s tight-knit world is infiltrated. To make it worse, she has a daughter Hazel’s age, Lemon, who can’t stop rambling on and on about the Rose Maid, a local 150-year-old mermaid myth.

Soon, Hazel finds herself just as obsessed with the Rose Maid as Lemon is—because what if magic were real? What if grief really could change you so much, you weren’t even yourself anymore? And what if instead you emerged from the darkness stronger than before? 

The part where I talk: I actually thought this one was on my 2020 list, too, but I guess I must have caught it being pushed back just before I made my list. 

Anyway, QUEER MERMAID BOOKS ARE KIND OF MY THING

How to Become a Planet by Nicole Melleby

Release date: May 25th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): For Pluto, summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium. It’s the launch to her favorite season, which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible.

A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything.

Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again.

She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her

The part where I talk: The new cute friend mentioned is nonbinary.

Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow

Release date: June 8th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Would-be amusement park aficionado Dalia only has two items on her summer bucket list: (1) finally ride a roller coaster and (2) figure out how to make a new best friend. But when her dad suddenly announces that he’s engaged, Dalia’s schemes come to a screeching halt. With Dalia’s future stepsister Alexa heading back to college soon, the grown-ups want the girls to spend the last weeks of summer bonding–meaning Alexa has to cancel the amusement park road trip she’s been planning for months.

Luckily Dalia comes up with a new plan: If she joins Alexa on her trip and brings Rani, the new girl from her swim team, along maybe she can have the perfect summer after all. But what starts out as a week of funnel cakes and Lazy River rides goes off the rails when Dalia discovers that Alexa’s girlfriend is joining the trip. And keeping Alexa’s secret makes Dalia realize one of her own: She might have more-than-friend feelings for Rani.

Both Can Be True by Jules Machias

Release date: June 8th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Ash is no stranger to feeling like an outcast. For someone who cycles through genders, it’s a daily struggle to feel in control of how people perceive you. Some days Ash is undoubtedly girl, but other times, 100 percent guy. Daniel lacks control too—of his emotions. He’s been told he’s overly sensitive more times than he can count. He can’t help the way he is, and he sure wishes someone would accept him for it.

So when Daniel’s big heart leads him to rescue a dog that’s about to be euthanized, he’s relieved to find Ash willing to help. The two bond over their four-legged secret. When they start catching feelings for each other, however, things go from cute to complicated. Daniel thinks Ash is all girl . . . what happens when he finds out there’s more to Ash’s story?

With so much on the line—truth, identity, acceptance, and the life of an adorable pup named Chewbarka—will Ash and Daniel forever feel at war with themselves because they don’t fit into the world’s binaries? Or will their friendship help them embrace the beauty of living in between?

Other Boys by Damien Alexander

Release date: September 7th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Damian is the new kid at school, and he has a foolproof plan to avoid the bullying that’s plagued him his whole childhood: he’s going to stop talking. Starting on the first day seventh grade, he won’t utter a word. If he keeps his mouth shut, the bullies will have nothing to tease him about—right?

But Damian’s vow of silence doesn’t work—his classmates can tell there’s something different about him. His family doesn’t look like the kind on TV: his mother is dead, his father is gone, and he’s being raised by his grandparents in a low-income household. And Damian does things that boys aren’t supposed do, like play with Barbies instead of GI Joe. Kids have teased him about this his whole like, the especially other boys. But if boys can be so cruel, why does Damian have a crush on one?

The part where I talk: This is a middle grade graphic mermoir.

A Touch of Ruckus by Ash Van Otterloo

Release date: September 7th, 2020

Summary (from goodreads): TENNESSEE LANCASTER HAS A HIDDEN GIFT.

She can pry into folks’ memories with just a touch of their belongings. It’s something she’s always kept hidden-especially from her big, chaotic family. Their lives are already chock-full of worries about Daddy’s job and Mama’s blues without Tennie rocking the boat.

But when the Lancasters move to the mountains for a fresh start, Tennie’s gift does something new. Instead of just memories, her touch releases a ghost with a terrifying message: Trouble is coming. Tennie wants to ignore it. Except her new friend Fox-scratch that, her only friend, Fox-is desperate to go ghost hunting deep in the forest. And when Tennie frees even more of the spirits, trouble is exactly what she gets…and it hits close to home. The ghosts will be heard, and now Tennie must choose between keeping secrets or naming an ugly truth that could tear her family apart.

A-Okay by Jarad Green

Release date: Sptember 7th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): A semi-autobiographical story featuring Jay, a 13-year-old with severe bouts of acne who’s battling his skin, the side effects of a potent acne prescription, and his understanding of being ace, all while trying to survive eighth grade.

The part where I talk: ACE MIDDLE GRADE, ACE MIDDLE GRADE, ACE MIDDLE GRADE. I am so happy about this. We’ve got like 3 now! Three whole books!

Also, September 7th is going to be a cool day.

The Insiders by Mark Oshiro

Release date: September 21st, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): HarperCollins has bought middle grade novel The Insiders by Mark Oshiro.

The book features a queer boy who, fleeing from bullies, discovers a magical closet that not only provides him sanctuary, but also unites him with two other kids facing persecution at their own schools across the country, helping them find friendship and strength in one another.


Candidly Cline by Kathryn Ormsbee

Release date: November 9th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Stephanie Stein at HarperCollins has bought, at auction, world English rights to Kathryn Ormsbee’s Candidly Cline.

The middle grade contemporary novel features an aspiring country singer-songwriter trying to find her voice as she navigates her family’s money troubles, a changing relationship with her grandmother, a difficult friendship breakup, and her first crush on a girl, while dreaming of her big break from her small Kentucky town.

Publication is set for fall 2021; Beth Phelan at Gallt and Zacker Literary brokered the deal. 

The Devouring Wolf by Natalie C. Parker

Release date: An unknown date in 2021

Summary (from goodreads): In this queer take on werewolf mythology, a young werewolf is distraught when she doesn’t transform into a wolf the summer following her 12th birthday, like everyone else in her community. To get to the bottom of the mystery, she’ll need to unearth her community’s deepest secrets and face a terrifying creature from legend.

The part where I talk: So a movie came out recently called Wolfwalkers that I really want to watch soon and I’m kind of hoping this has a similar vibe. 

Queer werewolves just seems like a naural match.

The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Deya Muniz

Release date: An unknown date in 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Little, Brown has acquired Deya Muniz’s debut middle-grade graphic novel, The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich, in which Lady Camembert, a denizen of the Kingdom of Fromage, must disguise herself as a man in order to inherit her father’s estate, but her secret becomes difficult to keep once she falls in love with the royal Princess Brie. Publication will begin in spring 2021. 

The part where I talk: I can’t tell if the cheese puns here are killing me or giving me life but I find this concept hilarious.


Tidesong by Wendy Zu

Release date: Sometime in 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Features an ambitious 12-year-old who moves to a seaside town with her aunts for an apprenticeship in magic and realizes that it may be more than she bargained for.


The One Who Loves You Most by medina

Release date: Fall 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Nick Thomas at Levine Querido has bought, in a preempt, The One Who Loves You the Most by medina, founder and executive director of inQluded and 2019 SCBWI Emerging Voices winner.

The middle grade novel follows 1-year-old Gabriela who lives at the intersection of multiple identities as they long to find their place in the world, but a school project, new trans and queer friends, and a YouTube channel help Gabriela find purpose in their journey and find community. Publication is set for fall 2021; Marietta Zacker at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency brokered the deal for North American English and world Dutch rights.


This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us edited by Katherin Locke

Release date: Sometime in 2021

Summary (from goodreads): The middle grade fiction anthology collects short stories, poetry, and comics about LGBTQIA+ characters and experiences by contributors Locke, Melleby, Eric Bell, Lisa Jenn Bigelow, Ashley Herring Blake, Lisa Bunker, Alex Gino, Justina Ireland, Shing Yin Khor, Mariama Lockington, Marieke Nijkamp, Claribel Ortega, Mark Oshiro, Molly Knox Ostertag, Aida Salazar, and A.J. Sass. Publication is slated for fall 2021.


The Lock Eater by Zack Loran Clar

Release date: Sometime in 2021

No goodreads summary available.


Obie is Man Enough by Schuyler Bailar

Release date: Sometime in 2021

No goodreads summary available.


Ellen Outside the Lines by A. J. Sass

Release date: Sometime in 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Lisa Yoskowitz at Little, Brown has bought Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass (Ana on the Edge), a middle grade novel in which Ellen, an autistic 13-year-old, travels to Barcelona on a class trip and finds herself navigating a new city, shifting friendships, a growing crush, and her queer and Jewish identities. Publication is slated for fall 2021; Jordan Hamessley at New Leaf Literary negotiated the deal for world English rights. 


Hopefully I didn’t break the formating of this post too badly. This one is always tricky.

So this was fun! Did I miss any you know about? Let me know!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

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Can’t Wait Wednesday (122): Some awesome fat books + a middle grade moment

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

So. Do I technically need this many books in this post? Buuuuuut I want to talk about all these books + I have a new feature I want to introduce.

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado 

Release date: February 2nd, 2021 

Summary (from goodreads): Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

The part where I talk: I love how this sounds. I like the idea of a story showing someone who wants to love her fat body but that explores the complex relationship a person can have with their body, especially because of social factors. I’m really excited about this.

I HAVE to talk about this one too.

Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson

Release date: Also February 2nd, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): When Nala Robertson reluctantly agrees to attend an open mic night for her cousin-sister-friend Imani’s birthday, she finds herself falling in instant love with Tye Brown, the MC. He’s perfect, except . . . Tye is an activist and is spending the summer putting on events for the community when Nala would rather watch movies and try out the new seasonal flavors at the local creamery.

In order to impress Tye, Nala tells a few tiny lies to have enough in common with him. As they spend more time together, sharing more of themselves, some of those lies get harder to keep up. As Nala falls deeper into keeping up her lies and into love, she’ll learn all the ways love is hard, and how self-love is revolutionary.

The part where I talk: Conversely, I love that this sounds like the plot and conflict of book doesn’t have anything to do with the MC’s body! Also, one of my goodreads friends reviewed this and their review made it sound really fun and great. 

And now, our new feature: A Middle Grade Moment

Once a month, I want to talk about an upcoming middle grade book that I’m excited about. And this month, since I’m so excited about it and since it fits the theme so well, I’m picking:

Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Release date: March 9th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules–like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space–her swimming pool–where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world.

In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life–by unapologetically being her own fabulous self. 

The part where I talk: We need so much more fat representation in middle grade. YA can be pretty skimpy when it comes to fat rep, but middle grade is so much more so. I can only think of maybe three or four others myself. There’s so few. 

And it’s so, so needed. It would have been amazing to read this as a kid.

So this was fun! What books are you excited about this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

I read and reviewed 7 romance novels in the first 7 days of 2021 and this is what happened

Nothing really happened, I’m assuming, but it’s a really good click-baity title.

Now why did I decide to do this to myself? I dunno, it seemed like a good idea when I was sitting with a box of books in my closet deciding what to read in 2021.

So let’s get into it!

A Winter Scandal by Candance Camp

Published: October 25th, 2011 by Pocket Star Books which is a division of Simon and Schuster
Genre: Adult Romance
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 431 plus some ads for other books
Part of a series? This is in fact the first of a trilogy.
Got via: Discount sale maybe? There are no store stickers and it’s not a library reject. Really don’t know.

Summary (from goodreads): When plain and proper Thea Bainbridge stumbles upon a baby in the manger of her church’s nativity, she is understandably shocked. Discovering a brooch bearing the insignia of Gabriel, Lord Morecombe, hidden among the child’s clothing, she is certain the dissolute rake is to blame. Incensed, Thea sets out to reproach the arrogant lord—only to find herself utterly swept away.

Gabriel is intrigued by the vivacity in Thea’s flashing gray eyes when she accuses him of fathering the orphan, even as he adamantly maintains his innocence. The brooch is one he remembers all too well, however, and Gabriel is determined to find the mother of the missing child. As the mystery around the baby deepens, Gabriel is continually thrown together with Thea—and finds himself growing more entranced every day.

Even with whispers of winter scandal swirling around them, they cannot deny the longing in their hearts. A longing which promises the best gift of all: a shelter from the storm . . . in each other’s arms.

Thoughts: This was pretty good. It’s cute. If you’ve ever read an Accidental Baby Acquisition fanfic, this is an Accidental Baby Acquisition romance novel. It’s quite cute and it’s set at Christmas which was unexpected because I didn’t really read that back, but was pretty fun.

I unfortunately know just enough about history to be annoying and got super stuck on this tiny, tiny detail where the characters are said to be drinking a broth/soup, but they describe it having “negus added to it” with Madeira added to THAT, but negus a mulled wine drink. You wouldn’t put it in soup. I could be completely wrong, but I think the author may have found this Regency-era White Soup recipe and read that it was “Served with negus” and misunderstood that? I just can’t figure it out.

And, you know. That was on page three. I told you I’m annoying.

But overall, this one was fun to read. Very light, not a ton of substance. Not my favourite in the world, but also did not take altogether too much brainpower to read, either, which was nice because my brain is still on holiday.

Representation: Nope.

Content notes: Just typical historical romance mild violence. Some fights, some bumps on the noggin. Nothing major.

Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie

Published: Originally released March 18th, 1996, this edition was released in I think 2006 by Mira Books… in the UK? There’s no dollar prices on the back. How odd.
Genre: Adult Romance
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 251 plus some ads and whatnot
Part of a series? I do not think so.
Got via: I bought it from a local store. In Canada. Why it’s the UK edition, I truly don’t know.

Summary (from goodreads): Dumped by her boyfriend and demoted from WBBB’s prime-time spot, radio producer Allie McGuffey has nowhere to go but up. She plans to make her comeback by turning temporary DJ Charlie Tenniel into a household name. And if he’s willing to help cure her breakup blues with a rebound fling, that’s an added bonus.

Charlie just wants to kick back, play good tunes and eat Chinese food. He’s not interested in becoming famous. But he is interested in Allie. And after all, what harm is a little chemistry between friends?

But suddenly their one-night stand has become a four-week addiction. Night after night on the airwaves, his voice seduces her…and all the other women in town. He’s a hit. It looks as if Charlie’s solved all Allie’s problems…except one. What is she going to do when he leaves?

Thoughts: This was pretty cute, too. I didn’t realize at first how old this was since I was reading the copy that was published in 2005 and also was probably bought a year or two after that. I wonder how many houses this book has moved with me.

Overall, besides being about radio which I can’t imagine looks the same in 2020, this has aged fairly well. The attitude about how bad pot is seems really outdated (I can’t imagine anyone believing a rich white man would face serious jail time for pot) and the feminism talks are pretty late-90s feminism. A bit like what you’d see on something like Boy Meets World, but overall it’s not too badly dated. 

And it’s mostly just cute and fluffy. I liked her voice pretty well, and there were some parts I laughed at. I don’t think I’m going to keep this one because I don’t see myself rereading it, but it was fun enough. 

Representation: There is actually a queer character! Allie’s roommate and best friend is a gay man who’s actually treated like a non-stereotype human being with a life! Allie and Charlie double date with him and his date/possible boyfriend. For 1996, I was honestly kind of impressed.

A Little Fate by Nora Roberts

Published: Originally published in 2004, this edition was released August 29th, 2006 by Jove Books
Genre: Fantasy Romance anthology
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 292 plus some ads for other books
Part of a series? Nope
Got via: Secondhand sale or some sort

Summary (from goodreads): In The Witching Hour, a kingdom is plagued by tragedy until a wizard-god’s spell brings forth a courageous and beautiful young woman who must follow her heart in love–and follow her destiny in battle.

On a remote island cursed with eternal winter, a young queen heals a wounded soldier–and warms her heart with the joys of true love in Winter Rose.

In A World Apart, a ravishing medieval Demon Slayer arrives in 20th-century New York to brave a strange new world–and a man who is her destiny.

Thoughts: This was weird. I’ve read a lot of Nora Roberts books over the years, but honestly I think this is the first thing I’ve read from her with such a fantasy setting. Like whole different worlds and such. And it might just be what I’ve encountered, but I don’t think that’s particularly the most common subgenre of romance novel either? I could be wrong, obviously, it’s been a few years since I used to read it regularly.

Anyways, I was not a particularly big fan of any of these. They didn’t feel like Nora Roberts stories, and there was so, so much cissexism and heteronormativity. Like I expect some in romance, but this was kind of obnoxious. And things were a lot rapier than most Nora Roberts books I’ve read. Consent didn’t seem to super important to the heroes of these stories, none of whom I was particularly fond of.

Also the last story is really random compared to the other two. You have a fantasy kingdom at war, a fairy tale-type story in a fantasy kingdom… and then a demon hunting story set in modern-day New York. Yes, the heroine comes from a fantasy world… but it’s an odd mix.

Just not a fan of this at all. Much better Nora Roberts books out there.

Representation: Nada

Content notes: Mild violence. There’s a lot of like fighting monsters/war stuff but it’s all very glossed over. A character is threatened with sexual assault at one point. 

Courting Susannah by Linda Lael Miller

Published: October 1st, 2000 by Pocket Star Books
Genre: Adult historical romance
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 325 plus an excerpt of an upcoming book
Part of a series? Goodreads says yes, but there doesn’t seem to be anything linking the two books.
Got via: Library reject

Summary (from goodreads): When Susannah McKittrick leaves Nantucket for the boomtown of Seattle, she is hardly looking to strike it rich; she is headed west to care for a newborn left motherless after Susannah’s cousin died. Although the rigorous trip depletes all of her savings, Susannah is certain she is doing the right thing. She is less sure when she meets the infant’s father, wealthy businessman Aubrey Fairgrieve—who seems embittered toward love and marriage, and indifferent toward the precious baby Susannah is so eager to care for.

Gradually, Susannah discovers that Aubrey’s marriage to her cousin was far from perfect—and she comes to see the brusque but handsome man in a new light. But when Aubrey makes her a most practical offer, it is a far cry from the heartfelt proposal Susannah desires. If he truly wants to win her hand, he will have to learn to trust once more—and sweep her away with the bold passion of a man in love. 

Thoughts: So the summary on goodreads is the same one as on the back of the book – and both have a mistake? The baby’s mother isn’t Susannah’s cousin. They were best friends, raised in the same orphanage. Weird no one caught that.

Anyways, this is another baby romance novel and it’s also, despite the very spring-looking cover, set in the winter. Not a purposeful theme, but there you go. This was pretty cute and the characters were quite likeable. There’s a really nice moment in the beginning of the book where the heroine is embarassed about something and the hero is really gentle and kind to her in a moment when a lot of books would have had him be rude or dismissive. It’s a small thing but it’s a really nice way to show his character.

I wouldn’t, like, recommend you run out right now and get this one, but it was good. I like Miller’s writing – it’s very easy to read. They’re still writing a lot of cowboy books, if that’s your thing. Also this book was actually really good about consent which, um. Has not always been the case with these books.

Representation: There’s really none. Chinese people exist, I guess.

Content notes: There is some racist language. It’s set in 1906 but I honestly think this kind of thing was just seen as “okay” in romance novels of the time, and not a big deal. Mild violence again as is pretty typical in romance. The MC is threatened with sexual assault at one point, but nothing happens.

When Lightning Strikes by Kristin Hannah

Published: Sometime in 1994 by Fawcett Books
Genre: Adult romance… fantasy? I guess? There’s magical time travel.
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 371 plus some ads for other books.
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: Library reject

Summary (from goodreads): During a magical storm, romance writer Alaina Costanza is hurled back in time, into the Western world of her latest novel. There she is kidnapped by her own character, a ruthless outlaw known only as Killian. Thrown together by fate, Alaina and Killian will discover a love too magnificent to last a single lifetime.

But even magic has a price, and time is running out. For the sake of Alaina’s child, they must risk it all and fight for a future than depends on lightning striking . . . twice.

Thoughts: I’m kind of sick of thinking about this book. This was… pretty bad. On the whole it’s incredibly dated in so many ways. The book name drops celebrities constantly, and some of them I didn’t even recognize. 

And I really, really disliked the romance. He’s super violent towards her, including causing her physical injury, threatens her constantly, lets her get groped by a group of men, and she has to beg him not to let her be gangraped at one point. Then, later, knowing she has a history of rape, he constantly steps all over her boundaries when it comes to sex, including kissing and touching her when she is clearly saying she doesn’t want him to. But don’t worry, all her trauma is solved by a MAN. Years of therapy hasn’t done that, but a man loving her sure does!

It’s also weirdly invested in the main character believing in God again. And it’s weirdly fetishizing about virginity? The main character, again, has a child and has a solid sexual history, but she’s all “virginal” because it wasn’t sex with love or whatever and it’s really weird. 

It’s so weird and it was not fun to read. Would not recommend this one at all. I’m sure this author has written a lot better things, but this one is so bad.

Representation: Well, there’s an incredibly racist depiction of a Black woman. I’m sure y’all really were excited about that.

Content notes: There’s a LOT of rape talk, both as an active threat and a part of the MC’s backstory. Her trauma is not handled particularly well. As stated, the hero allows her to be sexually assaulted at one point until she begs him not to let her be gangraped. Thee’s also a decent amount of gun violence and I think they worked a horse to death?? Also, transmisogyny is just a fun joke at one point. Oh, and the main character makes a Hitler joke.

Light in Shadow by Jayne Ann Krentz

Published: December 30th, 2002 by Putnam Adult
Genre: Romantic Suspense with paranormal elements
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 357 plus an excerpt from her next book and a handful of ads for other books by her
Part of a series? This is actually a duology
Got via: Library reject

Summary (from goodreads): Zoe Luce is a successful interior designer in the Arizona town of Whispering Springs who has developed a useful knack for giving her clients exactly what they want–usually to completely redesign their homes, to help them forget the past and start anew. But sometimes not even she can meet a client’s demands, and Zoe has learned the hard way that there are some things that can’t be covered up with a coat of paint. When she senses that one of her clients may be hiding a dark secret, she enlists P.I. Ethan Truax to find the truth.

But Ethan’s exquisite detection skills are starting to backfire on Zoe: she never wanted to let him find out about her former life; she never wanted to reveal her powerful, inexplicable psychic gift; she never wanted him to know that “Zoe Luce” doesn’t really exist. She never wanted to fall in love with him.

Now, no matter how much Zoe resists, Ethan may be her only hope–because the people she’s been running from have found her. Just when Zoe dares to dream of a normal life and a future with Ethan, her own past starts to shadow her every move. If Zoe can’t stay one step ahead, she risks being trapped once again in a waking nightmare–this time for life.

Thoughts: This was actually pretty good? I like Krentz’s writing a lot when I was younger and I’m surprised by how well this has held up, considering it’s old enough to vote. Honestly, the characters were pretty good and I liked the mystery in the story. 

I probably could have found a picture of Daphne wearing a pantsuit but I will never return to the horrors of the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo.

It is ever so slightly dated, mostly in regards to how much phonebooks play a role in the plot, but also especially in Zoe’s clothes. At one point she’s described as wearing a purple pantsuit and carrying a lime green tote bag/purse. And she has red hair. So she is full-on Daphne Blake at that point.

But overall I liked it. Also Zoe has a very close female friend and the love interest asks if they’re a couple and it’s handled respectfully? And it’s not amisic? The idea that two peopl who are very close might have an intimate relationship is just treated as a possibility and no one is rude or gets offended? I’m kind of shocked.

I did think that Zoe’s powers were a little underused, but overall I had a good time with this one. There’s a sequel and I think I would actually like to check it out from the libary. This is on kindle so if you see it on sale or something, I would actually recommend this one.

Representation: None.

Content notes: There’s a bit of violence, as you’d expect from the subgenre. A character has a backstory of being threatened rape and it’s implied to happen due to the corruption of the hospital Zoe was in, but nothing is shown on screen. There is a small amount of non-graphic gun violence.

Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens

Published: August 30th, 2011 by Avon Books
Genre: Adult Historical Romance with some paranormal elements, which sounds super random
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 427 plus an excerpt from the next book and some extras.
Part of a series? So this is actually part of two series. There’s the larger “Cynster Family” series, which has been going on as a series since the late 90s, and then this is the start of the “Cynster Sisters” trilogy. Essentially these three books standalone as a trilogy within a larger universe of this whole family.
Got via: No clue – some secondhand sale, I think?

Summary (from goodreads): Determined to hunt down her very own hero, one who will sweep her off her feet and into wedded bliss, and despairing of finding him in London’s staid ballrooms, Heather Cynster steps out of her safe world and boldly attends a racy soiree.

But her promising hunt is ruined by the supremely interfering Viscount Breckenridge, who whisks her out of scandal-and straight into danger when a mysterious enemy seizes her, bundles her into a coach, and conveys her out of London.

Now it’s up to the notorious Breckenridge to prove himself the hero she’s been searching for all along…

Thoughts: This was a blast, actually. The premise is great – the main character gets kidnapped, and could totally escape, but she’s like “Yeah, no, I should stick around a while longer and learn what’s up” and the love interest is like “…you make a good point. I shall help you in this endeavor.” 

Also, I imagine if you’ve read the entire series, knowing these characters and essentially watching them grow up (the series starts at least one generation back, I believe) and having seen them in other stories would be really fun. For me, not having that background, I just thought that it was really fun that Heather and Breckenridge already knew each other. My first note is “they PRE-hate each other”, though it’s more complicated than that when you read a bit further in. 

This trilogy has an overall plot that stretches across all three books, and honestly I think I might grab the other two from the library. It’s a really fun book and probably my favourite of the set.

Representation: Nah.

Content notes: The heroine gets kidnapped but she’s never harmed. The hero suffers a serious stab wound, but obviously recovers.

So, what did we learn from this experiment? Honestly I learned a few things.

One, I don’t own as many romance novels as I thought I did! My mom used to read a ton of them so we always had a million in the house, but she’s stopped recently and I’ve gotten rid of a lot of them.

Like at one point I took this picture:

And now I mostly just own Nora Roberts books.

Two, this was fun? I do actually like romance novels, and I haven’t read a lot of them lately. I think I’m going to see about incorporating more into my reading. Also, I think I realized I like historical romance, especially Regency books, and romantic suspense the best.

So, what did y’all think about this post? Do you like romance novels? What are some of your favourites?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (121)

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

Release date: February 2nd, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Eleanor has not seen or spoken with her family in years, not since they sent her away to Saint Brigid’s boarding school. She knows them only as vague memories: her grandfather’s tremendous fanged snout, the barrel full of water her mother always soaked in, and strange hunting trips in a dark wood with her sister and cousins. And she remembers the way they looked at her, like she was the freak.

When Eleanor finally finds the courage to confront her family and return to their ancestral home on the rainy coast of Maine, she finds them already gathered in wait, seemingly ready to welcome her back with open arms. “I read this in the cards,” her grandmother tells her. However, Grandma Persephone doesn’t see all, for just as Eleanor is beginning to readjust to the life she always longed for, a strange and sudden death rocks the family, leaving Eleanor to manage this difficult new dynamic without help.

In order to keep the family that abandoned her from falling apart, Eleanor calls upon her mysterious other grandmother, Grandmere, from across the sea. Grandmere brings order to the chaotic household, but that order soon turns to tyranny. If any of them are to survive, Eleanor must embrace her strange family and join forces with the ghost of Grandma Persephone to confront the monstrousness lurking deep within her Grandmere-and herself.

The part where I talk: What is even going on in this summary? So much and I don’t even know but I love it??? I really want to read more horror this year and I’m so glad that it seems like more YA and MG horror is being released??? I’m just. So into it.

Also I, no joke, want this cover as a print for my wall. I want this in my life.

So, it’s 2021. What books are you excited about?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

2020 Reading Challenges Wrap Up + What I Read This Year + What I’m Doing in 2021

Wow, this post has a lot going on. Which I guess is very apropos of 2020. So let’s talk about some stuff that happened.

First of all, I broke my spine! And then grew it back into one piece! So that happened.

Generally, I did complete my goodreads reading goal and you can see my Year In Books here because I think that’s cool.

I also did the FOLD 2020 reading challenge

And the books I read for that were:

And that’s what I read for the FOLD Challenge in 2020! I like how red the middle is.

I also did The Pond’s #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge!

I personally chose to use this challenge to read only books I already owned – no library books or ebooks or anything. So what I read was:

  1. Cold Blooded by Lisa Jackson
  2. Mandie and the Missing Schoolmarm by Lois Gladys Leppard
  3. Caddie Woodlawn Carol Ryrie Brink
  4. The War Within by Carol Matas
  5. Tree by Leaf by Cynthia Voigt
  6. Generation Green by Linda and Tosh Sivertsen
  7. The Book of Lists for Teens by Sandra and Harry Choron
  8. Does This Book Make Me Look Fat? edited by Marissa Walsh
  9. Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta
  10. Witching Moon by Rebecca York
  11. Strictly for Laughs by Ellen Conford
  12. The Year Without Michael by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  13. Losing Joe’s Place and Gordon Korman
  14. Jackaoo by Cynthia Voigt
  15. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  16. The River Knows by Amanda Quick
  17. Black Apple by Jane Crate

I am, honestly, perfectly happy with that.

And here is my starmap.

His name is Charles and I love him.

This year again I threw all the books I read that I owned into my clost and collected them in one spot, and that looks like this:

The left stack in the first picture are books I read and I’m keeping, and the stack on the right is books I read and I’m going to give away. Minus one book because I had it in the wrong spot. In the second picture are the only three books I decided not to read before giving away, or tried to read and couldn’t get into.

So 6 books kept, and 14 given away. Not bad! (Also sometimes I declutter books and don’t show them in this post because keeping a ton of books in my closet all year is a little annoying and I should probably just… not. Just FYI.)

Is it pie chart time? I think it’s pie chart time.

And here are the last couple years

Click to enlarge because we already have a lot of large images in this post. The adult book and non-fiction book section sure came to play this year! And I sure read a ton of comics this year. I think that, uh, reflects the year we had. I think I also would like to read more middle grade in 2021. I miss it and there’s so much good stuff out there.

SHALL WE TALK ABOUT 2021 GOALS?

First, I want to do the FOLD Reading Challenge again because I do think it’s helpful for me both in motivation and in expanding what I read. I tend to stick to a very limited selection of books and it helps. That hasn’t been released yet, so I’ll be waiting on that.

I also am going to set my goodreads goal to 52 again. A book a week is a good round number for me.

I will probably be doing the Shelfathon again when it updates – I know things are hapening behind the scenes, but nothing has been released yet.

And then just for fun, I’m going to try a new one, actually. The Nerd Daily has one that looks fun!

Now for this one, I will allow crossover from my other challenges. Anything that fits from, say, the FOLD Challenge books, can go on this one. I just think seems like a lot of fun.

BLOGGING GOALS

I don’t really have a ton, but I think I have an idea of what I want to do in 2020. I want to keep doing Can’t Wait Wednesday posts because I do really like talking about upcoming books that I’m excited about. But I think I’m going to step away from Book Blogger Hop. I don’t think I’m enjoying it right now. Maybe I’ll do them once a month or something if there are questions I really like, but it’s a bit too much right now.

We’ll just see on that.

I also want to do more #LainaReadsAnne stuff, and just… be gentle on myself. 2020 was really hard, and I want to take care of myself this year. I’m not a “New Year New Me” person. I am the only me, and I want to take care of me.

So we’ll see.

I think that’s everything I wanted to talk about. I am very tired and very hungry and I think we’ve covered everything. I read a bunch of stuff, yay.

Let’s end this year.

Peace and cookies,

Laina

Reading Challenge 2020 Update: Basically just the rest of the year

This year I’m doing the Fold’s annual reading challenge because it really helps me with motivation, switching up some things I read, and making sure I’m being thoughtful about the books I’m seeking out. You can read my first mid-year update here.

I will not be taking questions about the order of months in thes posts at this time.

March’s challenge was to read a book by a FOLD 2020 author and I always find that one a bit hard to find a book for honestly? But they suggested:

My Summer of Love and Misfortune by Lindsay Wong

Published: June 2nd, 2020 by Simon Pulse
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 274 plus acknowledgments
Part of a series? Nope
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Iris Wang is having a bit of a rough start to her summer. In an attempt to snap her out of her funk, Iris’s parents send her away to visit family in Beijing, with the hopes that Iris will “reconnect with her culture” and “find herself.” Iris resents her parents’ high-handedness, but even she admits that this might be a good opportunity to hit the reset button.

Iris expects to eat a few dumplings, meet some of her family, and visit a tourist hotspot or two. What she doesn’t expect is to meet a handsome Mandarin-language tutor named Frank and to be swept up in the ridiculous, opulent world of Beijing’s wealthy elite, leading her to unexpected and extraordinary discoveries about her family, her future, and herself.

The part where I talk: I really didn’t like this. Like at all. 

June’s challenge was to read a book by an author from Asia and I chose:

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Published: March 7th, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Fantasy
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 407 plus some extras like an excerpt
Part of a series? It is the first book of a trilogy.
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price.When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community.

But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles and make a powerful choice. 

The part where I talk: This was good! I enjoyed it a lot and that’s really great as someone who isn’t a big fantasy reader. Will review this at some point.

July’s original challenge was a beach read by an author from a marginalized community, but then the pandemic happened so they changed it to a “Quarantine Read” challenge. For their definition of that, see the July post here.

So I read:

Black Apple by Joan Crate

Published: March 1st, 2016 by Simon and Schuster
Genre: Adult Historical
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 322 plus acknowledgements and such
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: I won it from a Goodreads contest.

Summary (from goodreads): Torn from her home and delivered to St. Mark’s Residential School for Girls by government decree, young Rose Marie finds herself in an alien universe where nothing of her previous life is tolerated, not even her Blackfoot name. For she has entered into the world of the Sisters of Brotherly Love, an order of nuns dedicated to saving the Indigenous children from damnation. Life under the sharp eye of Mother Grace, the Mother General, becomes an endless series of torments, from daily recitations and obligations to chronic sickness and inedible food. And then there are the beatings.

All the feisty Rose Marie wants to do is escape from St. Mark’s. How her imagination soars as she dreams about her lost family on the Reserve, finding in her visions a healing spirit that touches her heart. But all too soon she starts to see other shapes in her dreams as well, shapes that warn her of unspoken dangers and mysteries that threaten to engulf her. And she has seen the rows of plain wooden crosses behind the school, reminding her that many students have never left here alive.

The part where I talk: I liked this! I’m gonna talk about it later but it was good. Also, I owned it, and when the library was closed, that was really important lol.

September’s challenge was a book banned or challenged in the country where you were born. I chose:

We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier

Published: Originally published September 1991, this is a remarkably well-preserved copy from October 1991
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 193 plus an about the author
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: The library.

Summary (from goodreads): Buddy Walker is troubled by his parent’s recent divorce, and when Harry Flowers suggests a prank, he goes along, just for opportunity to do something different. He doesn’t realize that someone is watching. 

When Jane Jerome’s house is trashed, and sister brutally injured in a home invasion, she struggles to continue with her life as her family falls apart. 

The Avenger has witnessed reckless evil. He has killed before and knows that he just needs to wait until the time is right before he can take his revenge. 

The part where I talk: I don’t think I really… got this. I’ll talk about it in a blog post soon.

October was a work of nonfiction that explores mental health, and I chose:

I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder by Sarah Kurchak

Published: April 2nd, 2020 by Douglas McIntyre
Genre: Memoir
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 225 plus acknowledgments
Part of a series? Nooo?
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Sarah Kurchak is autistic. She hasn’t let that get in the way of pursuing her dream to become a writer, or to find love, but she has let it get in the way of being in the same room with someone chewing food loudly, and of cleaning her bathroom sink. In I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder, Kurchak examines the Byzantine steps she took to become “an autistic success story,” how the process almost ruined her life and how she is now trying to recover.

Tackling everything from autism parenting culture to love, sex, alcohol, obsessions and professional pillow fighting, Kurchak’s enlightening memoir challenges stereotypes and preconceptions about autism and considers what might really make the lives of autistic people healthier, happier and more fulfilling.

The part where I talk: This was great. Really enjoyed it.

November’s challenge was fiction by a Writer of Colour and I chose:

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

Published: May 22nd, 2018 by Katherine Tegan Books
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 435 plus acknowledgements
Part of a series? Nope 
Got via: The libarary

Summary (from goodreads): Monday Charles is missing, and only Claudia seems to notice. Claudia and Monday have always been inseparable—more sisters than friends. So when Monday doesn’t turn up for the first day of school, Claudia’s worried. When she doesn’t show for the second day, or second week, Claudia knows that something is wrong. Monday wouldn’t just leave her to endure tests and bullies alone. Not after last year’s rumors and not with her grades on the line. Now Claudia needs her best—and only—friend more than ever. But Monday’s mother refuses to give Claudia a straight answer, and Monday’s sister April is even less help.

As Claudia digs deeper into her friend’s disappearance, she discovers that no one seems to remember the last time they saw Monday. How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone? 

The part where I talk: This was so good. Like so, so good. 

December’s theme was Nonfiction by a Disabled Writer and I read:

Agatha Christie: An Autobiography by Agatha Christie

Published: Originally published in 1975, this edition was released in 2011 by HarperCollins with a CD with voice recordings of Christie.
Genre: Adult Non-Fiction
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 542 including the index
Part of a series? Nope
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): When Agatha Christie died on 12 January 1976, she was known throughout the world as the Queen of Crime, unrivalled as the best-selling novelist of all time with two billion books sold in more than 100 languages. Though she kept her private life a mystery, for some years Agatha had secretly written her autobiography, and when it was published after her death, millions of her fans agreed – this was her best story!

From early childhood at the end of the 19th century, through two marriages and two World Wars, and her experiences both as a writer and on archaeological expeditions with her second husband, Max Mallowan, this book reveals the true genius of her legendary success with real passion and openness.

The part where I talk: This was recommended to me on Twitter (Christie had dysgraphia and possibly dyslexia) when I asked about books for this challenge and it sounded interesting so I went with it. Is this maybe cheating a little? Ehh. Maybe a bit. But 2020 has been a very long year and I was running out of motivation. So I went with it.

I liked this, though. Will talk about it later.

Okay, so. 

I’m going to do a full wrap-up post in another post just because this is getting really long. Check in tomorrow for that!

Peace and cookies,

Laina

#LainaReadsAnne Fashion in the 1934 Adaptation

Editing Laina: In my initial thread on Twitter, I said I’d do adaptation fashion all in one, but I think that might both get too long for Twitter and be hard to navigate on my blog, so each adaptation will get its own post instead.

I find this time period of clothing a bit harder to date/figure out, but I think most of this is pretty solidly 30s clothes. Maybe some stuff has a bit of a 20ish vibe, but it kinda just seem like they used anything they could get their hands on.

Like, Mrs Blewitt’s dress here looks very 30s to me, as do this kid’s.

This picture could practically be a screencap of the movie.

And the kids clothes also read 1930s to me.

Anne 23

Comparing this shot of the class and this actual photo from 1934… yeah, those are very similar, right?

Like maybe in the early scenes, they’re trying to make it look kind of old-fashioned or kind of rustic, but it honestly doesn’t seem that way to me, not really. Mostly they just seem kind of boring, lol.

Jumping ahead a little, I think one of the biggest things that looks super 30s is the outfit she wears as “adult” Anne. (It also has a floor-length skirt.)

I found some sewing patterns from the 30s that really remind me of it.

I was going to mention her hair but honestly that pattern with the green dress – the hair is almost exactly the same. It’s 30s hair, completely.

Now, we’re going to be talking about Anne’s Christmas dress. As a reminder, you can read about Anne’s dress here. I personally picture it something very much like this

(I stole this picture from Dr. Kate Strasdin’s twitter – please don’t sue me. It’s just so perfect.)

Now, puffed sleeves did actually make a comeback in the 1930s! So it’s not impossible to do have those on a dress and for Anne to want them. Let’s compare Anne’s dress, and some patterns with puffed sleeves.

It’s incredibly underwhelming, frankly. It looks like a normal everyday dress, not a party dress. Frankly I think this is the thing I was most disappointed in from the 1934 one. Overall, the costuming in this is just very bland.

Shout out again to Library and Archives Canada and the Vintage Patterns wiki.

#LainaReadsAnne but make it fashion, Part 3

Original thread found here. Are you ready to talk more about Anne of Green Gables fashion?

Cool! Let’s talk about Crimson Peak!

Wait, no, come back, I promise it’s going to swing back to being about Anne. …eventually.

This post will have some spoilers for Crimson Peak so if you haven’t seen it, maybe skip this one because it’s a great movie and I highly recommend it. Just keep in mind it’s a Gothic Romance story, not a true modern horror movie. I specifically want to talk about the costumes, but the plot influences the costumes so there are some aspects I can’t talk about without some spoilers. But do come back after you’ve watched it.

Just trust me on this one. I know it’s a leap, but you’ll understand in the end.

Crimson Peak is set in 1901 which I personally think is a nudge early for the aesthetic they’re going for but since they only establish that through one props, I just pretend it’s set in 1904.

The aesthetic of the movie is big Gibson Girl hair and even bigger puffed sleeves, and I personally just don’t think that fits 1901 perfectly. But you know, I’m not a fashion expert and the person working on the movie is, so I just pretend it’s set in 1904 lol.

Now this is a movie that overall has amazing costumes but I’m going to focus on two of the main characters, Edith and Lucille, Edith being played by Mia Wasikowska, and Lucille by Jessica Chastain.

The movie uses a lot of silhouttes that are authentic to the time period, but it plays with colours and fabrics in a way that may not be as historically accurate, but is honestly kind of stunning. The costumes really tell you a lot about the characters.

Edith, for instance, is a young, rich heiress wearing very fashionabl clothes. They also use the puffed sleeve to add to the butterfly motiff she has throughout the movie. She also wears a lot of yellow for plot reasons (seriously, watch the movie) and I love it. The first outfit we see her in is this amazing mustard/golden coloured walking dress, and the shape and structure of it is so good

I also love her hat.

Later she takes off the jacket and her sleeves are delicate and beautful and the light comes through them and I die a little.

One of my favourite things this movie does is it has the characters repeat outfits so you see them in different light and settings.

Also, remember when I went on that ramble the other week in the middle of the night about Victorian/Edwardian hair jewelry and I showed you a bracelet with clasped hands? Edith’s belt here was inspired by that bracelet.

I think this dress is my favourite though. The colour is again amazing, as is the shape. She stands out so much against the dark, gloomy, cold environment surrounding her.

Also small detail – these buttons being down the front show this is a dress that Edith would be dressing herself in, as at this point she wouldn’t have a personal maid or anyone to help her get dress. I just think that’s neat.

Shout out to this dress that I just really like, also. I just think it’s gorgeous.

Now let’s talk about Lucille. Lucille is Edith’s foil in the movie, and they use the wardrobe choices to paint a picture of how very different they are. Edith is bright and fresh and full of life.

Lucille is darker and stuck in the past.

The first time you see Lucille, she’s wearing this amazing red dress with an amazing train. Red, also, is a very important colour in this movie, and it is used very sparingly. This is a statement by the movie and it’s very effective.

Her hair is also much different from Edith’s. Edith is doing much more of the elegant bird’s nest Gibson Girl type of hairstyles. Lucille’s is a pretty harsh middle part and overall rather old-fashioned for the time period of the movie.

(My screencaps are really getting into some spoilers here but some of this stuff you don’t see til the end, so, sorry. I warned you.) Lucille’s hair is also significantly longer than Edith’s, which also reflects an old-fashioned vibe.

Lucille’s dresses are beautiful. They are expensive, very well made, and that red one is a work of art.

But they are at least a decade out of date – deliberately. I would put them at… early 1880s? Personally? They do not fit the time period, and she would stand out a lot at parties. People would notice.

(Big spoiler) It’s implied that the dresses Lucille wears are possibly her mother’s, or otherwise secondhand from a source I won’t say because BIG spoiler, but they’re all dated by a lot. It’s a character informing quality, just like Edith’s dresses, and that’s such a clever way to show that the character is both strapped for cash and stuck in the past (as women back then would often take old gowns and have them remade into new ones).

Side note, I really like that they both wear corsets. You get a glimpse of Edith’s at one point, and you can find behind the scene pictures of Jessica Chastain in one if you google, but it’s just a good touch because it just looks so much more accurate. Foundation garments make a huge difference in getting the silhouette of a time period right, especially one like this.

And one really neat thing is they have Edith and Lucille in different styles of corsets. Corset shapes and styles change over time, and that changes how your clothes look. It’s like the difference between a T-shirt bra and a bullet bra.

So, how does this relate to Anne of Green Gables? (Bet you thought I wasn’t getting back to this?)

The difference between Edith and Lucille’s clothes is actually very similar to the difference between Anne and her peers.

Look at the contrast between Edith and Lucille.

They DON’T look like they’re from the same time period. I want to see that kind of difference in Anne movies, because I think the dresses Marilla makes for Anne are very much in the 1880s style, versus the early to mid 1890s style that I think is current in Anne.

You should be able to see a difference between Anne and her peers, and I think Crimson Peak is a great example of how to do that. And the costumes are so great and serve such a purpose in the storytelling.

Also, Crimson Peak is just underappreciated and I wanted to talk about it.

YA Review: It’s My Life

It’s My Life by Stacie Ramey

Published: January 1st, 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: eARC
Page Count: Goodreads says 336 pages
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: Edelweiss

Summary (from goodreads): Jenna’s never let her cerebral palsy get her down. But when she discovers that her condition was actually caused by an injury at birth, she’s furious with her parents, who withheld the truth. And as they push her to get yet another difficult procedure, Jenna feels her control over her life starting to slip.

Enter Julian, Jenna’s childhood crush. He’s just moved back to town, and he’s struggling in school, so Jenna reaches out to him—anonymously— to help. Soon, their conversations are about so much more than class. She’s falling for him all over again, hard and fast. But would Julian still be interested in her if he knew who she really was? And can she find a way to take back her own narrative before she pushes away everyone she loves?

Review: I liked about three quarters of this book, but it really fell down at the end for me. I am not a person who thinks that every book about a marginalized person needs to be ownvoices, but I think in some cases it does make a difference and honestly? I think this book is an example of a time when working with (/in a position of power over) people with a disability is not the same as fully understanding their experience.

Oh, for context – I don’t have cerebral palsy. Earlier this year I had a serious spine injury that has caused me to have some limited mobility and chronic pain, so that’s my deal. I obviously don’t speak for all disabled people here.

I think a lot of the book actually gets a lot right. Things like annoying, kinda ableist school aides that no one likes (my high school had one that NO ONE liked too – she constantly touched people on the shoulders and stuff and like can you not), Jenna’s appreciation when people ask her if she needs help instead of just doing things for her, quite a few things are well done. 

But it falls flat on the idea that Jenna should have autonomy over her medical decisions. Basically her father says “Stop it, you’re not going to be medically emancipated” and she goes “Oh, okay”. They decide what’s best for her and she realizes they’re right. They never really address any of the issues that she had in the first place.

Spoilers ahead.

Jenna’s parents and doctor basically decide that she’s going to have a baclofen pump implanted and she talks to one person who had a good experience with it so she does. And obviously it works out perfectly and her mobility is super increased and her disability is super minimized. The narrative never seems to address the idea that her parents might be wrong about the choices they’re making for her. Jenna asks, “What if this is the best it gets?” and her mom says, “I know it’s not.”

But what if it was? Same with her academics – Jenna has gone from AP classes to Gen Ed classes and her parents are like “you can do better” but what if she can’t? What if that’s too much? She says, “It’s not that I can’t do this stuff. It’s just that I don’t want to have to reliably do it.” And what if reliably doing All The Things is just too much for her? 

And what happens when Jenna turns eighteen and her parents can’t make medical decisions for her anymore? They haven’t taught her how to make informed decisions. Her father thinks she’s “just a kid” and that the idea that painful, invasive medical procedures that barely cause any improvement and may cause regression or even worse side effects might not be worth it is basically seen as an impossible thing.

I watch Jessica Kellgren-Fozard and she has a couple of videos about how hard school was for her, and I kept thinking about Jenna going to college and what might happen if she was suddenly thrown into an enviroment where suddenly she’s alone to make all these decisions by herself in a way that she never has before – medical ones and also social ones. How is she going to make good choices coming from a background where she shows up to doctor’s appointments, they talk around her, and decisions are made for her? Or even social ones – Jenna is going to have to manage her own spoons and how much she can take on. How many classes you take and clubs you join can make a really big difference in your quality of life and the narrative never seems to acknowledge that.

I also found it weird that Jenna apparently doesn’t know any other disabled people. She mentions, like, blogs from teens with CP but she doesn’t have a single disabled friend.

Otherwise – the romance was cute enough. I liked Jenna’s relationships with her family, but most of the characters didn’t actually have character arcs outside of Jenna. Her best friend Ben especially seemed to only exist to be Jenna’s gay best friend. The writing was really easy to read and flowed well, and there was a lot of realism to the story. I liked it a lot right up until the end.

And I actually liked the message that not telling your kid a big element of their identity until their teens is a bad idea and will probably lead to them reacting badly, like not telling a kid they’re adopted until they’re a teen. It’s not the kind of thing you should find out from a google search. I thought it was interesting that Jenna wasn’t so much mad at the idea that she was disabled, but at the idea that it could be someone’s fault and that she could have been had such a different life. I think that’s actually relateable – I kind of wonder what my life would be like right now if I’d crossed the road at a different spot in January and that was nobody’s choice but mine.

I just don’t really like some of the underlying messages. It felt it was butting up almost against inspiration porn. Especially when you combine that with the only other, only very briefly mentioned, disabled character saying she doesn’t like the word “disabled” and prefers “differently abled”. While I know they must be out there, I don’t actually know a disabled person who prefers “differently abled”. 

Wish I could have put my whole heart into loving this one, but I couldn’t.

Representation: Jenna has cerebral palsy (obviously) and she’s also Jewish. She’s a fairly spiritual person, too. It’s cool to see that done sort of casually? Like it’s not what the book is about, just a part of the character.

Her best friend Ben is queer – I think gay – and a male nurse she likes is said to have a boyfriend. They’re both kind of stereotypical and don’t really have story arcs outside of Jenna (which obviously makes sense with the nurse but shows badly with her best friend).

Content notes: Jenna is given like no medical autonomy and that’s really stifling. She also breaks a bone falling on ice and yes this is a very specific content warning. Leave me alone. She spends some time in the hospital for pneumonia. Jenna also faces some ableism, both from general things like old buildings and also an aggressive person hurling slurs at her. 

Alright, that’s my review! Let me know what you thought of this one!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Waiting on Wednesday Update (13)

This is a somewhat sporadic series where I look at my old Waiting on Wednesday posts and talk about if I actually ever did read the book, if I liked it if I did, and if I haven’t, would I or not. That kind of thing. I think it’s an interesting idea, and I hope you do, too.

WoWed October 27th, 2010:

So Shelly by Ty Roth

Release date: February 8th, 2011

Summary (from goodreads): Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.

After stealing Shelly’s ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly’s body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last “so Shelly” romantic quest. At least that’s what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly’s and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end.

Update: This is an interesting premise! But I don’t think I would seek it out. It doesn’t have great reviews and there’s nothing about it calling my name.

WoWed November 3rd, 2010:

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Release date: March 8th, 2011

Summary (from goodreads): Star basketball player Chelsea “Nitro” Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college–and everyone’s admiration in her hometown. But everything changed senior year, when she took a horrible fall during a game.

Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family. As a graduation present, Chelsea’s dad springs for a three-week summer “boot camp” program at a northern Minnesota lake resort. There, she’s immediately drawn to her trainer, Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player who’s haunted by his own traumatic past.

As they grow close, Chelsea is torn between her feelings for Clint and her loyalty to her devoted boyfriend back home. Will an unexpected romance just end up causing Chelsea and Clint more pain–or finally heal their heartbreak?

Thoughts: This does look cute, and I don’t think there’s a ton of sports YA out there, but I don’t really go searching for contemporary that much. I do wonder how the disability representation is, though.

Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach

Release date: March 31st, 2011

Summary (from goodreads): A haunted castle, a handsome young man dead for four hundred years, one heck of a scary portrait of a witch, and a treasure hunt — not to mention a princess for a roommate! — all await 15 year old American girl Caitlyn Monahan when she earns a scholarship to a French boarding school.

There are secrets behind the stone walls of Chateau de la Fortune, buried for centuries along with the mystery of who killed Raphael, the charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night. But as Caitlyn unearths the history of the castle, nothing scares her as badly as the secret she learns about herself, and the reason she was chosen to come to the Fortune School.

And nothing breaks her heart as badly as falling in love with a dead guy.

Update: This actually sounds really cute and like a lot of fun, but the cover is kind of terrible. That’s so cheesy! And what’s going on with her head??? What a shame.

WoWed November 10th, 2010:

See What I See by Gloria Whelan

Release date: April 2010, I think?

Summary (from goodreads): Kate Tapert sees her life in paintings. She makes sense of the world around her by relating it to what she adores—art. Armed with a suitcase, some canvases, and a scholarship to art school in Detroit, Kate is ready to leave home and fully immerse herself in painting. Sounds like heaven. All Kate needs is a place to stay.

That place is the home of her father, famous and reclusive artist Dalton Quinn, a father she hasn’t seen or heard from in nearly ten years. When Kate knocks on his door out of the blue, little does she realize what a life-altering move that will turn out to be. But Kate has a dream, and she will work her way into Dalton’s life, into his mind, into his heart . . . whether he likes it or not.

Update: Same thing with the contemporary YA where I don’t really seek it out unless it’s queer or something. The cover is cute, though.

Bitter Melon by Cara Chow

Release date: December 28th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Frances, a Chinese-American student at an academically competitive school in San Francisco, has always had it drilled into her to be obedient to her mother and to be a straight-A student so that she can go to Med school.

But is being a doctor what she wants? It has never even occurred to Frances to question her own feelings and desires until she accidentally winds up in speech class and finds herself with a hidden talent. Does she dare to challenge the mother who has sacrificed everything for her?

Update: Hey, this is one that I have read!! Egmont sent it to me for review consideration, and I reviewed it. I liked it. I’m not linking to it because the review is embarassingly old and I don’t want anyone to see that if they don’t have to. Trust me, you don’t want to.

WoWed November 17th, 2010:

Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Release date: January 25th, 2011

Summary (from goodreads): Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely—something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

Update: This sounds a little Manic Pixie Dream Girl hunting monsters and it’s kind of just not calling my name. I’m a pass on this one.

The False Princess by Ellis O’Neal

Release date: January 25th, 2011

Summary (from goodreads): Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia’s led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it’s revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she’s ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins – long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control – she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history, forever.

Update: I read and reviewed this!! I remember really liking it, too.

WoWed November 24th, 2010:

Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis

Release date: February 8th, 2011

Summary (from goodreads): Dumped with relatives in a small Minnesota town for the summer, Sadie Lester is relying on her mountain bike to save her from total boredom. Then she meets Allie, a spiky-haired off-road mountain biker who’s training for a major race. Allie leads Sadie and Joe, a cute fellow cyclist, up and down Mount Kato, and the three become close friends. But the exhilarating rush comes to a halt when they find a priest in the woods, badly beaten and near death. After calling for help, Allie disappears from their lives.

As they search for Allie and try to find out why she left so suddenly, Sadie and Joe discover more about Allie’s past, including her connection to the priest. Only on the day of the big race does Sadie finally learn the complete, startling truth about Allie–and the terrible secret that forced her into hiding.

Update: I haven’t read this, but I’m totally interested in. I’m sticking this one on my list.

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster

Release date: March 8th, 2011

Summary (from goodreads): Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.

Update: I read and reviewed this one too! Wow, I was doing well at this point in life.

WoWed December 8th, 2010:

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Release date: February 22nd, 2011

Summary (from goodreads): In the dim light of the darkroom, I’m alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her
legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.

Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused and confident in what she sees through her camera lens. Confident that she and Kate will be best friends forever.

But everything changes in one blurry night. Suddenly, Kate is avoiding her, and people are looking the other way when she passes in the halls. As the aftershocks from a startling accusation rip through Liz’s world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself shifts out of focus. What happens when the picture you see no longer makes sense? What do you do when you may lose everything you love most?

Update: I think it’s interesting that this is told in verse, but it’s not doing much for me.

Well, this was an interesting one. Three out of ten, and one I would still like to read.

What were you all excited about reading 10 years ago? Would you want to read any of these now?

Peace and cookies,
Laina