“La torre di Nerone”, in uscita con la Mondadori il 24 novembre 2020, segnerà la fine delle cronache del Campo Mezzosangue.
E poi graphic novels, un musical, Percy Jackson che avrà un live action con la Disney Plus. La fine di un’era. Avverto sin dall’inizio che sarò molto emotiva in questo articolo.
La saga de “Le sfide di Apollo” sarà l’ultima saga ambientata nel mondo creato da Rick Riordan e all’interno dell’ultimo libro Apollo, nel corpo mortale di Lester, dovrà affrontare nuove e intense sfide per riuscire a riconquistare il suo posto sul Monte Olimpo come dio.
Con l’aiuto del Campo Giove, Apollo e i suoi amici hanno sconfitto Tarquinio il Superbo, la sua armata di non morti, e sconfitto gli imperatori Caligola e Commodo. Ora, però, Apollo deve affrontare i suoi avversari più temibili: Nerone e Pitone. Sarà Apollo in grado di riconquistare il suo posto e la sua divinità? Potrà Meg affrontare il padre che l’ha ingannata e abusato di lei in passato? Come finirà questa saga e come staranno i nostri eroi?
Bisognerà solo attendere il 24 novembre.
Leggere la saga de “Le sfide di Apollo” è stato come essere sulle montagne russe, soggetta a colpi di scena, salvataggi in extremis, morti inaspettate, battute, momenti tragici, comici e tragicomici e momenti in cui avresti voluto sbatterti una mano in faccia e imprecare.
Se devo essere onesta, all’inizio non mi ero molto affezionata ad Apollo e Meg. Soprattutto Apollo mi infastidiva con il suo modo di fare e la sua presunzione e Meg…non so perché, ma non riuscivo a farmela piacere. Continuando a leggere, però, e lo si nota soprattutto perché la storia è raccontata da Apollo in prima persona, i personaggi crescono e maturano tantissimo. Con il senno di poi, ci si rende conto nel corso della saga di come Rick Riordan abbia inserito sia vecchi che nuovi personaggi, passando da un campo all’altro, coinvolgendo Percy, Leo, Frank e così via, quasi a voler salutarli uno ad uno, dando loro l’occasione di un “ultimo” viaggio.
L’autore tira le somme di ciò che ha creato e questo mi ha colpito e commosso tantissimo. All’interno della saga i nostri eroi hanno dovuto affrontare di tutto, tra profezie, non morti, labirinti, cruciverba, tunnel, dei, imperatori, pazzi e così via, ma la cosa che ho amato di più è come i personaggi siano cresciuti e maturati e quanto sia possibile identificarsi con loro, con le loro ansie, paure e desideri.
Apollo è cresciuto tantissimo. Da dio narcisista ed egoista è diventato più umano, e non nella connotazione negativa che lui intendeva in precedenza. Grazie alla compagnia di Meg e, nel corso della saga, di altri eroi, Apollo ha compreso cosa significhi il sacrificio, il voler proteggere la propria famiglia e i propri amici, l’assumersi le proprie responsabilità e maturare.
Meg è un personaggio che è cambiato tantissimo, nonostante mantenga il suo modo brusco di fare e il suo rapporto così particolare con Apollo, ma soprattutto lei dovrà fare i conti con Nerone, nell’ultimo libro, e affrontare la sua famiglia, prendendo coscienza di ciò che è vero e ciò che è falso e riconoscere gli abusi subiti in passato e le manipolazioni cui è stata soggetta.
Nel corso della saga l’autore ha fatto visita un po’ a Campo Giove e un po’ a Campo Mezzosangue, accompagnando il lettore in questo viaggio, ritrovando vecchi amici e conoscendone di nuovi. Con l’aiuto della profezia scoperta da Ella (e trovando, man mano) i suoi pezzi mancanti, Apollo è pronto ad affrontare Nerone e Pitone. Ci si avvicina allo scontro finale e, onestamente, sono combattuta perché da una parte non vedo l’ora di leggere l’ultimo libro della saga in italiano e dall’altra non sono pronta a salutare questi eroi che sono nel mio cuore da anni. Non credo lo sarò tanto presto.
Sono cresciuta con Percy Jackson e queste saghe. Ho imparato tantissimo da loro, dalle loro avventure e disavventure, dal loro coraggio, dai loro pregi e difetti. Ho riso, ho pianto, mi sono sentita emotivamente coinvolta (mi sto ancora riprendendo dalla morte di Jason, perché in questo libro Apollo dovrà comunicarla a NICO e io non sono pronta a leggere la sua reazione!)
Quest’avventura è durata 15 libri e 3 saghe e innumerevoli personaggi preferiti e non ringrazierò mai abbastanza zio Rick di aver creato questo mondo. Sono sempre stata, sin da bambina, appassionata alla mitologia greca e romana e leggerla in questa forma è stato sia istruttivo che estremamente divertente.
Mi mancheranno da morire e non vedo l’ora di leggere cosa succederà nell’ultimo libro.
Domare le fiamme di un labirinto infuocato dovrebbe essere un gioco da ragazzi per il dio del sole se soltanto Zeus non l’avesse trasformato in un adolescente imbranato e senza poteri! Armato di ukulele e di una logorroica freccia parlante, Lester Papadopoulos, in arte Apollo, non sembra avere molte speranze di riuscire nell’impresa, eppure è l’unico che può tentarla: dovrà attraversare l’abisso più rovente del globo per liberare la Sibilla Eritrea, l’Oracolo che vi è incatenato. Prima, però, sarà costretto ad affrontare Caligola, il terzo e più temibile membro del Triumvirato che ha fatto prigionieri i cinque Oracoli.
Dopo aver nominato senatore il suo cavallo, l’imperatore ha ora una nuova e più eccentrica ambizione: diventare dio del sole! E per realizzarla è deciso ad assorbire la forza del titano Helios e la poca essenza immortale rimasta nel povero Lester. Come sempre, il più vanitoso degli olimpi non potrà che confidare nell’aiuto degli amici e arrendersi al destino: per tornare a essere un dio, dovrà accettare la propria imbarazzante umanità!
“Il labirinto di fuoco” è il terzo volume della saga de “Le sfide di Apollo” e ho adorato leggerlo! In questo libro Apollo, come sempre intrappolato nel corpo di Lester è accompagnato da Meg all’interno de “Il labirinto di fuoco” per liberare la sua terza sibilla, la sibilla di Eritrea. Sono accompagnati dal nostro straordinario Grover. Ho trovato molto interessante come l’autore abbia collegato i fuochi di California agli eventi del suo libro, rendendo il tutto ancora più intenso e devastante. Abbiamo a che fare con una devastazione di animali e piante e la necessità di fermarla.
Oltre a ritrovare Grover, che io adoro da morire, all’interno del libro ci sono anche altri amati personaggi come il coach Hedge e sua moglie Mellie e il loro figlio Chuck, Piper e Jason. Le battute e le interazioni tra i personaggi mi sono piaciute da morire, Riordan ha un senso dell’umorismo straordinario, ma questo libro è colmo di situazioni che mi hanno fatto battere rapidamente il cuore, che mi hanno colto di sorpresa, sconvolto e tenuta sulle spine.
I nostri eroi devono affrontare Caligola, il cui obiettivo è diventare il dio del Sole cosa che, per ovvie ragioni, non sta bene né ad Apollo, né ai nostri amati personaggi. Caligola è crudele e spietato e le sue minacce non sono vuote, ma poi portate a termine, quindi ho avuto sempre paura (e a ragione) che succedesse qualcosa ai miei preferiti.
Come ogni libro di Riordan che si rispetti, anche questo è pieno di colpi di scena, profezie, pericoli, cruciverba, ma ciò che ho adorato è stato soprattutto notare quanto i personaggi siano maturati nel corso del tempo, in particolare Apollo. Amo il rapporto che ha instaurato con Meg che, se devo essere onesta, non è un personaggio cui mi sono subito affezionata, ma che adesso trovo straordinario.
Questo libro è intenso, soprattutto se si pensa ai fatti reali cui si riferisce, ai colpi di scena e alle morti inaspettate. Un libro dove si evince la costante crescita dei personaggi e il mondo creato da Riordan che è colmo di pericoli e avventure.
Trasformato in un adolescente mortale, bandito dall’Olimpo e privato della propria sfolgorante bellezza, Apollo deve ora affrontare la perdita più grave: quella di un amico, Jason Grace. Deciso a tributare all’eroe tutti gli onori, l’ex divinità lo conduce al Campo Giove per consegnarlo alla terra cui appartiene. Ma qui lo attende un’amara rivelazione: dopo aver approntato una disperata resistenza contro gli imperatori del Triumvirato, i semidei devono respingere un nemico ancora più spietato di Caligola, Commodo e Nerone messi insieme: Tarquinio il Superbo, l’ultimo re di Roma!
Presto attaccherà con le sue armate di non-morti e lo farà nel giorno più propizio, quando nel cielo scintillerà la luna di sangue e l’esercito di ossa sarà al culmine della ferocia. L’unica speranza di salvezza è trovare la tomba del tiranno, che si nasconde nel luogo più imprevedibile del mondo: sotto una luccicante, innocua giostra di cavallucci. Insieme alle amiche Meg, Hazel e Lavinia, Apollo è di nuovo pronto a una sfida.
“La tomba del tiranno” è il penultimo volume de “Le sfide di Apollo”, la nuova saga di Rick Riordan dedicata al dio Apollo, punito dal padre Zeus e costretto in un corpo mortale.
Dopo la devastante perdita di Jason Grace, Apollo e Meg si recano a Campo Giove non solo per comunicare la notizia della morte del giovane, ma anche per aiutare i semidei a sventare l’attacco combinato di Caligola e Commodo, che si sono alleati con lo spietato Tarquinio il Superbo.
Come in ogni suo libro che si rispetti, anche “La tomba del tiranno” è colmo di colpi di scena, momenti drammatici e comici, ma a impressionarmi è stata soprattutto la crescita dei personaggi. Apollo in particolare è tremendamente maturato, nel corso dei mesi, affrontando sfide su sfide, imparando a conoscere cosa significa realmente essere umano e la connotazione positiva dell’essere umano. Se devo essere onesta, Apollo non è mai stato il mio personaggio preferito, ma è stato un vero piacere notare quanto sia cambiato, mettendo da parte (almeno un po’) la sua arroganza e presunzione.
La morte di Jason è stata, secondo me, necessaria, (sfortunatamente per noi fan) la spinta a farlo maturare ancora di più. Apollo si sente in colpa, inizia a comprendere il senso del sacrificio, l’importanza delle relazioni umane. Devastante la scena del funerale e il tributo a Jason. La crescita di Apollo è chiara, considerando che il libro è dal suo punto di vista, nelle sue riflessioni, nel suo senso di colpa, nei suoi dubbi e paure.
All’interno del libro è stato, poi, un vero piacere ritrovare personaggi come Frank, Hazel, Reyna, Ella e Tyson, e conoscerne nuovi come Lavinia, che è un vulcano, con i suoi modi di fare, con la sua esuberanza. Ho sempre amato Frank e Hazel e vederli così cresciuti, più sicuri di se stessi (soprattutto Frank, che da sempre porta con se il peso del pezzo di legno cui è legata la sua vita) è stato fantastico. Ormai è come se fossimo imparentati, li considero di famiglia e sono tanto fiera dei progressi di ogni personaggio.
Ho amato leggere ancora di Reyna, che considero un personaggio straordinario, con la sua forza e il suo coraggio e vederla in questo libro è stato meraviglioso, soprattutto nelle sue interazioni con Apollo, con scene che mi hanno fatto morire dal ridere! Apollo imbarazzato? Mi offro volontaria per assistere all’evento!
Come ogni suo libro che si rispetti, tutto è condensato in pochi giorni, tra profezie, corse contro il tempo, viaggi, salvataggi in extremis, colpi di scena (non aggiungo altro perché è un libro che deve essere gustato, con tanto di palpitazioni!) si giunge quasi alla fine delle avventure di Apollo. Leggendo questo penultimo libro si comprende come l’autore stia, man mano, chiudendo il cerchio, dando finali ai vari personaggi e preparando le basi per il capitolo conclusivo della saga.
Non vedo l’ora di leggere l’ultimo libro, anche se per me sarà devastante dover dire addio a questo universo. Sono cresciuta con Percy Jackson e le sue avventure, ho amato i campi, i personaggi, i miti, gli dei, le profezie e mi mancheranno da morire.
WELCOME TO MY STOP FOR “I HOPE YOU ARE LISTENING” TBR AND BEYOND TOUR!
An huge thanks to Netgalley and Albert Whitman & Company for the chance to read this book and to Tbr and beyond for the opportunity of being part of this tour.
EVERY MISSING PERSON HAS A STORY.
In her small town, seventeen-year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.
At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way.
When another little girl in town goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much of her own story is she willing to reveal in order to uncover the truth?
TW: child kidnapping, cult, drug use, homophobia
“I hope you are listening” is a captivating YA mystery, with a cute queer romance, missing cases, guilt, friendships, intense characters, a story with many plot twists. I enjoyed reading it and my attention was captured right away!
Dee is a really interesting and lifelike character. Her guilt (even though she couldn’t have done anything) was very realistic and the way she found to “deal with it” and to help other people with her podcast is brilliant and moving. It was so eerie and sad reading how many people went missing every years and none knows nothing about them. I loved the way people were trying to solve cases, finding clues, contacting people, digging up and the importance of the Web, if used in the right way.
Dee doesn’t want to get involved directly, she doesn’t want to reveal her identity as the Seeker, but when another girl in her city is missing and there are similarities between this case and Sibby’s, she is forced to deal again with her best friend’s kidnapping. She decides it’s time to get some answers and she starts to investigate, helped by a new girl in town, Sarah.
“I hope you are listening” follows multiple mysteries, intertwining during the whole book: Layla’s disappereance, the kid missing, Sibby’s kidnapping and The Seeker’s cases for the podcast in a very interesting novel. I was captivated right away, following Dee and Sarah looking for clues and answers, investigating and uncovering. The queer romance is very sweet and I loved reading about them together, but even though it’s there, it doesn’t put aside the mysteries and how much Dee grows in her search for the truth, unraveling emotions and burdens she still has.
I really loved reading about Dee and her investigation. She’s stubborn, fierce, quiet and determined and the traumatic event affected her, her family and her friends, changing everything. Dee is not a perfect character, none in this book is and it’s one of the thing I liked the most. They fight, make mistakes, get angry and selfish and they are wonderfully human. Dee and her best friend Burke fight, there are misunderstandings, questions and it’s very natural.
I liked the characterization. As I wrote before, Dee is a wonderful character. Burke is another character I enjoyed reading about, supportive, stubborn and who was also hurt by Sibby’s disappearance. Dee’s parents are supportive and worried this new disappearance could bring their daughter painful memories, while Sarah, the new girl in town, is a welcome novelty in Dee’s life and she’s ready to be there for and help her in this mystery.
The mysteries, some small and some big, are interesting and they captured the reader’s attention, who wants to know what happened to Sibby, what will happen next, following these improvised dectives in their search for the truth and justice.
I really liked this book, I devoured it, but I found some parts a bit unrealistic, but I won’t spoiler anything.
Overall “I hope you are listening” is a 4 stars for me and I recommend this book to those who are looking for a captivating mystery (mysteries), intense and complex characters and a thrilling story.
“But take it from me, even a sad ending is better than no ending at all, and that’s always been my goal: to deliver an ending to as many unfinished stories as possible.”
“Listen up. Let’s try.”
“I just tell stories. I hope that telling them might make up for the story I wasn’t able to tell properly all those years ago. The story that never had an ending.”
“I’ve heard it said that everything good that happens to you wouldn’t have happened but for every bad thing that happened to you before it. But if that’s true, then doesn’t stand it stand to reason that the opposite is true as well?”
“It’s our story” she says. “We should tell it together.”
Ciao a tutti e benvenuti alla mia tappa per il review party dedicato al secondo volume di Falce, Thunderhead. Un enorme grazie alla Oscar Vault e ad Ambra, di Paranormal booklovers, per averlo organizzato ed avermi dato l’opportunità di farvi parte.
In un mondo che ha sconfitto fame, guerre e malattie, le falci decidono chi deve morire. Tutto il resto è gestito dal Thunderhead, una potentissima intelligenza artificiale che controlla ogni aspetto della vita e della società. Tranne, appunto, la Compagnia delle falci.
Dopo il loro comune apprendistato, Citra Terranova e Rowan Damisch si sono fatti idee opposte sulla Compagnia e hanno intrapreso strade divergenti.
Da ormai un anno Rowan si è ribellato ed è fuggito, diventando una vera leggenda: Maestro Lucifero, un vigilante che mette fine alle esistenze delle falci corrotte, indegne di occupare la loro posizione di privilegio. Di lui si sussurra in tutto il continente.
Ormai divenuta Madame Anastasia, Citra è una falce anomala, le sue spigolature sono sempre guidate dalla compassione e il suo operato sfida apertamente il nuovo ordine. Ma quando i suoi metodi vengono messi in discussione e la sua stessa vita minacciata, appare evidente che non tutti sono pronti al cambiamento.
Il Thunderhead osserva tutto, e non gli piace ciò che vede. Cosa farà? Interverrà? O starà semplicemente a guardare mentre il suo mondo perfetto si disgrega?
Sono innamorata da anni dello stile di Neal Shusterman e, in particolare, di questa trilogia e non ringrazierò mai abbastanza l’Oscar Vault per aver portato in Italia i primi due libri. Attenderò con ansia l’uscita del terzo!
Ambientato in un mondo dove l’umanità ha sconfitto fame, le guerre e, soprattutto, la morte non esiste, le Falci sono le uniche in grado di tenere la popolazione sotto controllo, spigolando con compassione e umiltà. O, almeno, così i fondatori della Compagnia avevano scelto di fare.
Nel corso del tempo un’estrema corruzione è iniziata a dilagare tra di loro, dividendo le Falci in nuovo e vecchio ordine, creando disarmonia e incertezze.
È in questo clima di pericolo, scontri e dubbi che continua la trilogia, con il secondo volume,Thunderhead, riprendendo mesi dopo la fine di Falce, che si era conclusa con la fuga di Rowan e Citra che veniva ordinata Falce sotto il nome di Madame Anastasia.
Ritroviamo Citra/Madame Anastasia, che si sta lentamente abituando al suo nuovo ruolo e compito, spigolando con compassione e utilizzando una metodologia che ha subito attirato le critiche della Compagnia. Infatti Madame Anastasia concede un mese di tempo alle persone che sono state scelte per la spigolatura, per sistemare i loro affari e salutare i loro cari e anche la possibilità di scegliere come morire.
Citra si ritrova, con la sua metologia, compassione e testardaggine, a rappresentare sia un esempio da seguire, le sue idee vicine a quelle del vecchio ordine, sia un pericolo e una minaccia per chi, come i seguaci di Goddard, appartengono al nuovo.
Il lettore ritrova una Citra cresciuta e più matura, che, nel corso del libro, lotta tra le sue identità, fino a comprendere appieno il suo ruolo e il suo nuovo nome.
Rowan, dopo la fine del suo apprendistato, ha deciso di assumersi la responsabilità di ripulire la Compagnia da Falci corrotte, sotto il nome di Maestro Lucifero, uccidendole e bruciando i loro corpi in modo che non possano essere rianimate. I suoi metodi sconvolgono e preoccupano la Compagnia delle Falci che pone un investigatore sulle sue tracce.
Mentre si legge Thunderhead è ben presto chiaro che l’universo di Falce che, nel primo libro, era, per lo più ristretto a Citra, Rowan, al loro apprendistato e al mondo delle Falci, si è espanso e allargato, includendo nuove e interessanti voci.
Come accadeva all’interno del primo libro, Thunderhead presenta molteplici punti di vista e, se in Falce, ad alternarsi con i capitoli dedicati a Citra e Rowan, c’erano gli estratti delle Falci, in Thunderhead venivamo direttamente a conoscenza con il Thunderhead, l’intelligenza artificiale che controlla, protegge e osserva l’intera umanità.
Ho trovato estremamente interessante leggere le sue osservazioni sul proprio potere, sull’umanità, sui pericoli che potrebbe correre, sulla potenziale importanza di alcune figure e sull’impossibilità di intervenire. Come un genitore benevolo, il Thunderhead guida, protegge ed è costretto a osservare gli avvenimenti che non può cambiare.
Viene introdotto il personaggio di Greyson Tolliver, un giovane che, a causa dei suoi genitori disattenti e poco presenti, è stato cresciuto dal Thunderhead, trovando in lui una figura guida, un amico e qualcuno cui affidarsi. Quando la sua vita viene stravolta da una serie di indizi e scelte, Greyson si ritrova a contatto con un mondo che non conosceva e in situazioni molto più complesse di cui poteva immaginare.
Come è accaduto nel primo libro, ma, siamo onesti, come accade con tutti i libri che scrive Neal Shusterman, il lettore è scosso e costretto a farsi domande sulla morale, su ciò che è giusto e ciò che è sbagliato, sull’umanità stessa, su cosa ci rende umani ed è il punto di vista del Thunderhead, ironicamente dato che si tratta di un’intelligenza artificiale, a suscitare domande simili. Fino a che punto la Terra sarà in grado di supportare l’uomo? Cosa si può cambiare?
Se la corruzione all’interno del mondo delle Falci era qualcosa di evidente già nel primo volume, Thunderhead non fa che confermarlo, mostrando, tramite diversi punti di vista, come l’arroganza, la crudeltà e la presunzione ha eroso la Compagnia e chi potrebbe, invece, rappresentarne la salvezza.
È interessante continuare a rendersi conto, perché le basi erano già state poste precedentemente, come il mondo “perfetto” non fosse mai stato del tutto perfetto e come, nonostante la presunta fine di disarmonie e disuguaglianze, alcuni esseri umani, probabilmente a causa della loro stessa natura, finiscano per diventare le versioni peggiori di se stessi.
Thunderhead è un perfetto continuo di questa straordinaria trilogia ed è ben presto chiaro, man mano che si prosegue nella lettura, che, come secondo libro, Thunderhead allarga la prospettiva del lettore, mostrando luoghi sconosciuti e con regole particolari, inserendo vecchi e nuovi personaggi e ponendo, come in un puzzle, le basi per ciò che accadrà nel libro successivo, facendo capire ai personaggi e al lettore che lo schema finale deve ancora essere rivelato.
Non vedo l’ora di poter leggere il terzo volume di questa saga!
Expected publication: October 6th 2020 by Tor Books
Thank you, thank you so much, Macmillan-Tor/Forge and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
Victoria Schwab is one of my favourite author and this book is one of my most anticipated reads!
I remember you The invisible life of Addie La Rue is an unforgettable (sorry for the pun!) book! It’s everything I’ve never thought I needed in a story.
In 1714 young Adeline La Rue lives in Villon-Sur-Sarthe and she feels trapped in this small city, forced to be a wife, a mother, to live and die in the same place, like so many others like her. Desperate to escape a forced marriage, she makes a Faustian deal. She will live forever, but she’s cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. So starts her extraordinary life, than spanned through centuries, across music, art, wars, love, friendship and with the darkness, the devil, the god, as the only one who could remember.
Until, in 2014, after almost 300 years, she meets Henry in a bookstore in New York. And he remembers her. The invisibile life of Addie La Rue is phenomenal, intense and heartbreaking. The story swings between past and present, following Adeline becoming the cursed Addie from 1714 to 2014 and the present Addie and her life in 2014.
Through memories and flashbacks, through stories and people met, war seen, art inspired, the reader gets to know the stubborn, defiant and free Addie, the limits of her curse, her deal, her relationship with the god that cursed her, in a battle of wills, traps, deals and love and hate.
At the same time the reader knows Henry Strauss, his restlessness, his secrets, his being bottled lightning, his past and the uncertain future. Addie and Henry meet, they become friends, lovers, they connect, finding in one other exactly what are they looking for, love, friendship, being seen. Being remembered.
I felt really connected to Henry, because I could totally understand his fear of time, his restlessness, his uncertainty about what to do in life, what the future could and would bring. I won’t say anything more about this book, even though I wanted to ramble about every single page, because it’s the kind of book that is able to stay with you for so long.
I cried, I laughed, I marvelled reading about love and humanity and the messiness of being human, the need to have more time, to find reason in living, to find one’s place and be loved and happy with it. Wonderful, intense and heartbreaking.
Victoria Schwab did it again. This book is unforgettable.
There are so many amazing editions of this book! It will be in the next month Illumicrate box, Owlcrate does a special books and Forbidden Planet, Barnes and nobles and Waterstones have amazing editions, with extra, wonderful covers! Here’s the links:
Welcome to my stop for the Hear our voices book tour of this amazing collection of stories!
Thank you so much, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, for the chance to read and review this book!
Vampires never get old is a wonderful collection of short stories and I really loved reading how each author talked about lore and traditions surrounding vampires, from how they are turned, how they feed, how they are born, romance, influence, attraction and so on. It was really empowering reading such diverse characters and vampires and the rep is absolutely fantastic.
We have Latinx, Native, Black, fat, queer, disabled vampires with their stories and strength, families, love, pain, in a intense mix of stories and unforgettable characters.
Seven nights for dying by Tessa Gratton
In the first story the author tackles the issue of how a vampire is born, because there are many stories and rules and they change from story to story, from lore to lore. Being bitten, drinking vampire blood, but there’s alway a transformation from living to undead. In Seven nights for dying our heroine is given a choice and she has seven nights to ponder what to do and what to choose.
It’s a very interesting story, with a bi or pan representation, tackling issues like grief, loss and moving on. Amazing the introduction of Henry, a trans boy character, a very young vampire.
Mirrors, windows and selfies by Mark Oshiro
TW: blood, death, murder
This may be one of my favourite story. Cisco is a peculiar vampire, because he’s the son of two vampires and he shouldn’t exist. Confined at home, forced to follow rules and rules, his only escape is a blog where he writes about his situation and loneliness.
I found really heartbreaking and, weirdly I had to say, relatable, his loneliness and his need to discover more about himself and even about how he looks, since he never saw himself. Mirrors, windows and selfies is about loneliness, finding the strenght to be free and be indipendent, to look for answers and discover oneself. Interesting reading about the traditions surrounding the mirrors and how they are surrounded by superstition and lore.
The house of black sapphire by Dhonielle Clayton
TW: slavery mentioned In this story the MC Bea is a vampire forced to move from her home, when people start whispering about her and her family being vampires. Moving in a new place, full of mysteries she’s eager to discover and truths to uncover, to find love and her own home, The house of black sapphire introduces interesting and captivating characters, like the Shadow Barons and the Eternal women.
I really liked reading about these fierce and powerful Black women and their interesting story. Captivating and curious the issues of the house, how the author reimagined the coffin as an house bonded to vampires and how it burns and regenerates in a different place to protect them. Bea is a strong character, eager to see the world and be indipendent.
The boys from Blood River by Rebecca Roanhorse
TW: bullism, death, murder, loss This story is another of my favourite in this collection and it’s deliciously creepy and atmospheric, set in a small town known after a massacre. Lukas, the MC, is a young teenager, dealing with his mother’s sickness, bullies and his need to get out, to be in another place, to be free and not the loser of the city.
Fascinating is the legend of the song and the boys from Blood river. This story is so captivating, chilling and I loved everything about it.
Senior Year sucks by Julie Murphy
I absolutely loved reading this story. It’s so rare to read a story or a book where a character is fat- positive and so sure of him/her/theirselves. It was really empowering reading about the MC character, Jolene, with her strenght, confidence and power. It was very inspiring. Jolene is the captain of the cheerleader squad and she’s a vampire slayer.
She not the canonically vampire slayer. Usually they are white, muscled and able bodied, but Jolene is another kind of vampire slayer, more relatable and realistic. It was really empowering reading about her, her strength and determination. Her meeting Alma was both funny and intense and I liked reading their interaction and the tension between them. This story left me wanting more about them.
The boy and the bell by Heidi Heiling
TW: misgendering I loved this short story so much. It’s creepy and chilling and it’s set in a cemetery. Will is a young man, a body snatcher and he aims to be a doctor, to study. He’s interested in saving lives, in learning anatomy, but the body he founds it’s not exactly dead. It was so interesting reading about a transgendered MC and his passion and curiosity about medicine, anatomy, how bodies work and how to save lives.
Captivating the observations about the superstitions about how to ensure someone didn’t become a vampire in the grave, like burying someone facedown or decapitating the body or, in the Victorian age, with a bell and a breating tube so if the person was buried alive he/she/they could ask for help.
In kind by Kayla Whaley
TW: caregiver abuse, attempted murder, ableism
In this story Grace, who has a degenerative neuromuscolar disease is almost killed by her own father and saved by Seanan, who turns her into a vampire. This story is very interesting and peculiar, mixed with newspapers’ articles about her “death”. The reader saw Grace’s anger towards his father, who was convinced that killing her would have been a merciful thing, without considering what life meant to Grace.
Interesting is the fact that, even turned, her vampirism didn’t cure her disease, considering how disabilities and chronic illnessess are part of people’s identities. So, even though she’s stronger and her senses are better, her body is still her body. She didn’t lose herself. I really loved the way she remains in her wheelchair, herself, in her body, even though she’s a vampire.
She didn’t want to be fixed, her life meant something for her and it’s so important that she still was true to herself even as undead, showing the mercy others didn’t show to her.
A guidebook for the newly sired desi vampire by Samira Ahmed
TW: MC forcibly turned, colonialism, racism
This short story is one of the most funny and important of the collection. It’s a guidebook for vampires, imagining a system in place in India for people turned into vampires and this one is for someone who was turned against their will by a British tourist. It’s full of unapologetic jokes and puns, teaching the new vampire all about being an undead, what to eat, what will change, slowly easing her/him/their into this new reality. Impressive and strong is the attack against colonialism, against tourists making fun of their foods and words and taking advantage of people.
I loved reading this unapologetic attack against colonizers and how they feel entitled to do certain things. This guidebook is funny, supportive, full of references to the Indian culture and it was really interesting reading it.
Bestiary by Laura Ruby
TW: abusive parents, MC changed against her will, murder (mentioned) I liked reading this story and the observation about animals and vampires, how in the lore vampires are able to transform themselves in bats, or dogs, wolves, fog and so on. The main character, Jude, was turned against her will and now, even though she feels lonely, angry and isolated, she found her place with the animals in the zoo she is now able to understand and care for. Interesting the way she, as vampire, is connected to the animals and she wants to protect them, while navigating the world.
Vampires Never Say Die by Zoraida Córdova & Natalie C. Parker
I really liked reading this story. Brittany is a vampire who, one day, decided to join Instagram to reconnect with things she lost, a place where she can be whomever and whatever she wants to, not a vampire premier in New York with the rules and laws. There she meets and befriends the young Theo. I loved their friendship and connection, how they became closer.
In this story I loved the way Brittany chooses to turn women like her, women who were told they were weak and unworthy, women hungry for the world and how she battles against people, men, who feel entitled to do harm. Interesting is the observation about the vampire’s power of influence people and how in this story Theo and Brittany think about the kind of influence they have on both human and vampire world.
First kill by Victoria “V.E.” Schwab
I absolutely loved this short story! Juliette is a vampire and she was born this way, she wasn’t turned by anyone and she has this cute crush for Calliope, the new girl at her high school. As Juliette, Calliope has secrets, too, because she and her family are hunters. In a game of prey and hunter, First kill is a wonderful story with LGBTQIA+ rep, with two intense characters pining for one other and at the same time in very complex situation of duty, family and first kill. First kills for both of them.
I found myself in lots of these stories. These bold, brilliant and brave characters spoke to me in every story. I totally identify myself with Cisco’s loneliness and his desire to see more, to be more in “Mirrors, windows and selfies” by Mark Oshiro. His restlessness and curiosity are really familiar to me.
Moving and brilliant was reading, also, “In kind” by Kayla Whaley and how I got the message every life is worth living, even though people may disagree, they have no right to decide for you. The importance is to be be happy and true to oneself.
But it was “Senior year sucks” by Julie Murphy that really spoke to me. It’s so rare to see a fat positive character, so reading about Jolene who, not only is a cheerleader captain, role movies and tv series give to slim women, but also a vampire slayer was so empowering and brilliant. I loved it so much.
I recommend this book to those who love captivating characters, interesting stories about vampires, love, friendship, dead and undead.
Happy release date to one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, Surrender your sons by Adam Sass! I had the pleasure to read this book in March (!!!!) and I’ll never thank enough Flux books for it!
TW: suicide, death, murder, conversion therapy, torture, hate crime, abuse (physicological and physical), homophobia.
I’ll never thank enough the publisher for granting me this wish. Surrender your sons is part thriller, part mystery, part coming of age, and it’s the story of Connor, a gay seventeen years old, who, because of his religious zealot mother and their reverend, is kidnapped and brought to a conversion therapy camp on a island. The book, wonderfully and skillfully written, follows Connor trying to uncover a mystery, escaping from the island and exposing the horrible truth of the camp.
Intense, raw, painful, beautiful, reading Surrender your sons was like having my heart squeezed, my throat punched, my breath knocked out of me. It’s rare and precious finding a book that hit you so hard, you KNOW it will stay with you for a very long time.
I couldn’t put down this book, because I was so involved in the story, so attatched to the characters I needed to know what would happen next, fearing for them, cheering them on. I cried, I raged, I smiled and squealed. I hoped.
Adam Sass’s writing style was so powerful and intense I found myself feeling all kind of emotion and I was upset, angry, sad, full of rage and sorrow for this beautiful and complex characters.
They are are skillfully written and relatable. It was impossible not to love and support Connor, Marcos, Molly, Darcy and the other campers. I was impressed by the relationships they have with one other, the way they protect each other, their strength and resilience in a place where everyone wanted to change and hurt them.
Their being true to themselves and to each other is beautiful. They, like any kids or teenagers in that awful situation, feel all kind of emotions. They are angry, scared, hesitant and, at the same time, determined and furious and their complexity is well written and real.
It was possible feeling some degrees of sympathy even for the “villains” in the story, because, (though this knowledge don’t justify their cruelty whatoever) they seemed trapped into a spiral of hurt and trauma, that spanned generations, pushing them in the grey area between good and bad. Adam Sass wrote characters that are utterly flawed, real and human and it was easy being so involved in the story.
Surrender your sons deals with important themes, like the conversion therapy, homophobia, hate crimes, suicide. I was really impressed by the way the author dealt with so many important topics and how, through jokes and witty remarks, the characters showed their strength and resilience, their bond and love. The characters are brimming with life and hurt, love and sorrow.
This book deals with the concept that parents would do unspeakable things to their sons and daughter to have them be as they want. Thinking about that, about how queer people still live in fear of not be accepted and loved by those who are supposed to support and love them is appalling.
And it makes my heart clenches and my blood boils realizing the cruelties people would do under religious justifications. The idea that it’s possible to find a family (not necessarily a biological one) with friends was a powerful message.
I think Surrender your sons is the kind of book (and mystery) the reader needs to discover on his own, going there without a single clue. It’s a book about dark themes, and, at the same time, about friendship, love, justice, fighting back and so much hope. Hope is something that shines through the pages and it’s impossible not to cling to it.
I can’t wait to have this book in my hands.
I’ve also had the pleasure to ask some question to the author! Thank you again, Adam Sass, for this opportunity!
What inspires you to write Surrender your sons?
Surrender Your Sons began with a documentary called Kidnapped for Christ, about a real-life conversion camp in the Dominican Republic. It’s now closed, but because it was a documentary, it obviously didn’t end with the campers rebelling and taking the whole place down. It ended in a quiet, bittersweet, and lengthy way. So I thought we needed to see a revolution.
What’s your writing process?
To tell you the truth, I can’t remember writing this book at all. Joking, but sort of not—it’s a lot of procrastinating, playing with my dogs, being worried, and then suddenly I get a burst of energy and it all flew out of me, bit by bit. I’m very emotional and intuitive about writing, so I like to plan plan plan, but then throw the plan away once I get into the writing. Or at least adjust as I go. I love when an idea takes hold, like “Oooh what if this actually happened instead?” And it takes the story in a different direction to the same conclusion.
Do you have a playlist for Surrender your sons or a dream cast?
I have a curated playlist you can find on Spotify! And my dream cast for the villains would be Guillermo Diaz for the Reverend and Sarah Michelle Gellar for Miss Manners. I’d LIVE to see them gleefully sending these teens on the run. The Reverend needs to be scary, but disarmingly charming. Miss Manners needs to be the opposite: inviting, but oh no she’ll kill you.
An huge thank you to Edelweiss for the chance to read this amazing book. It is one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it didn’t disappointed me! It was unbelievably amazing.
Wesley Hudson is a comic book geek, he loves his job at the bookstore Once upon a page, chilling with his friends, above all with his best friend Nico, his secret crush. But articles about dating or online suggestions aren’t able to help him tell Nico the truth, too scared to lose his friendship with him and ruin everything. To top it off, the bookstore is threatened by a coffeeshop franchise that wants to buy it and his brother wants help organizing his wedding and his parents are pressuring him to choose what he wants to do in college. Wes is, so, forced to confront the reality, while trying to save his childhood heaven, the bookstore, navigating a strained relationship with his older brother and trying to conquer his crush’s heart.
I loved so many things about The Summer of Everything. I need to do a list.
The characterization is amazing. The story is told by Wes’s point of view and he’s such a relatable, complex and realistic character. His fears, his lists (I basically him, to be honest), his paranoias, his being uncertain about the future, what it means to be adult, what do to, everything was very realistic. I was really involved and able to identify in his feelings and thoughts. Wes is a wonderful comic book geek, I love his passions, his geekiness, his being so wonderfully complex, with his lists, his books and crush. He loves reading, he found in the bookstore a piece of heaven, a haven and when it threatened his world falls apart and he tries everything to save it, helped by his friend. Wes is burdened by the fear of the future, so relatable, because he doesn’t know what to do,what to choose in college and he feels pressured by his parents, above all his dad. He fears the changes and that’s so understandable.
Nico is an amazing and complex character, he’s funny, supportive, talented and his relationship with Wes is so pure, made of jokes, understanding, love, games, books. The way they get one other, how they help, support, understand and cuddle each other is beautiful. The way they act as boyfriends even before they are is so cute. There are so many fluffy and cute moments between them and I was constantly saying “AWWWWWWWW!” Nico is also burdened by his father’s death and his need to do something, to become a doctor to help people. He’s a loving friend and brother and an amazing skater. Seeing everything through Wes’s eyes it’s impossible not to love Nico too.
Ella is Wes’s other best friend and she’s a whirlwind, stubborn, boisterous, supportive. She also, as Wes, has complex and outiright difficult relationship with her parents, above all her mother, battling with her about her physical appereance, to be what she wants to be.
Besides Nico and Ella, Wes’s best friends, he’s surrounded by a group of miscellaneous characters. Cooper, boisterous, funny and obsessed with social media, Anna, described as a wood nymph, but with an amazing brain, Kyra with her energy and colorful sneakers, Zay with his friendship and music taste. I love their friendships, made of jokes, shared or not, discussions about music and foods, their bickering, their being so close to one other.
The rep in this book is absolutely fantastic. Wes is gay and biracial, Nico is Mexican-American and attracted to multiple gender, there’s a fat rep with Ella, Cooper is aroace, Anna is bisexual, Kyra is a Black lesbian, Manu is a queer Hawaiian and Lucas, a customer that bond with Wes and the others are non-binary.
The way the author deals with themes like responsiblity, being anxious and indecisive about one’s future, the uncertainty of the future itself is really realistic and relatable. Wes’s anxiety is absolutely understandable, above all if he compares himself to his friends and brother who know what to do.
His relationship with Leo, his older brother, is complex, strained because in time they grew apart from one other and now they are struggling to be again brothers. Wes has problems talking with his father and brother, but I love how this book is hopeful about reconnections and to try again to listen and understand one other.
The relationships in this books are sweet, cute and intense. Wes is surrounded by supportive, funny and amazing friends, he loves Leeann, his brother’s future bride and their connection is beautiful, full of understanding. Leeann is a strong character, ready to face the Hudson boys and to push them to talk and understand one other.
I loved the importance of books in The summer of everything, how books were and are for Wes an escape, a haven, a world where he belongs, how books can change someone’s life and how the bookstore was for Wes a piece of his childhood, a piece he wasn’t willing to let go, a constant in his changing life. Books and friends can change someone’s life.
I love the setting, in a bookstore, because I love books and I was really invested in this book. Wes is a captivating and realistic character and it was funny and heartbreaking seeing him pining after Nico, trying to confess his feelings for him, following unrealiable lists on Internet about dating.
The writing was really good and I could almost see Wes in the bookstore, admiring Nico skaterboarding, taking pictures of the sunset, smell the ocean’s salt, hear the music. It was really atmospheric and I love the way his characters jumped out of the book, because they were alive, relatable, Wes above all.
Wes and Nico relationship is wonderfully fluffy, made of jokes, games, food, understanding, love, pining and while reading this book I was constantly facepalming myself because they were two idiots too afraid to talk to one other, who clearly were pining for one other and love each other. The romance, the pining, the angst and the sweet and hopeful, heartwarming ending.
The summer of everything is a book about growing up, facing reality and at the same time, fighting to keep something from your past and childhood, some memories you will treasure forever. It’s about family, loss, friendship, adulthood, about adapting to changes and learning to move on and grow.
WELCOME TO MY STOP FOR THE CEMETERY BOYS BOOK TOUR!
Cemetery Boys was my first 2020 read and I couldn’t have started this reading year better. I’ve been obsessed and in love with this book, basically freaking out about it with everyone willing (unwilling too) to listen and then I met an amazing person on Twitter who sent me an extra ARC of Cemetery Boys! The best gift ever!
I’m so happy now to be part of the Hear our voices tour to celebrate Cemetery Boys.
by Aiden Thomas Publisher: Swoon Reads Release Date: September 1, 2020 Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave. (from Goodreads)
The quotes in the review are from the earc, so they can be subject to changes.
Cemetery Boys is the kind of book you don’t want to end. It’s the book you decide to read over and over, committing to memory quotes and pages and squealing in delight and fear because you’re so involved with the story and its characters. It’s the kind of book you have to finish, because you need to see what will happen next. And at the same time you don’t want to, because its world is full of magic, its characters amazing and you wanna know more and more. You wanna read about Yadriel, Julian and Maritza and stay with them when they grow up, when they are adults and then old and even when they are dead and their adventures in the afterlife. They stayed and they are still with me.
I fell in love with Cemetery Boys and it was everything I could hope for, full of plot twists, intense and complex characters, important issues addressed, funny cousin, supportive cat, slobbering dogs, wonderful cinnamon rolls boys.
This book is brilliant, heartbreaking and it explores Latinx trans identity, identity issues, Latinx folklore and legends, racial and classist injustices, misconceptions and it’s a very important read. The plot is engaging and it’s full of characters brimming with life and energy, so intense you could almost touch them.
I loved so many things about this book I think it’s imperative to do some order.
The writing, worlbuilding and the magic system
The writing is evocative, lush and atmospheric. The author wrote a book so realistic, so incredibly engaging you could almost taste and smell Yadriel’s world, almost see the cemetery with the spirits, Tito and his marigolds, the calaveras and the magic. It feels like you are there with Yadriel and Julian on Yads’ bed, listening to music and talking all night, or with them and Maritza looking for clues, or laughing at Julian’s malaprop and his funny and constant questions.
“Hey, hey, hey, don’t use me as your escape goat.” Yadriel exhaled a tired laugh. “Scapegoat, Jules.”
The worldbuilding is incredibly rich, complex and so wonderfully crafted. It was thrilling and interesting reading and learning more about Latinx culture, about their folklore, traditions and legends, about Lady Death, Bahlam, brujos and brujas, their powers and their portaje. Both brujos and brujas are able to see and sense spirits, but brujos can help them cross in the afterlife and brujas can heal people, while the portaje is a chosen conduit Lady Death ties brujos’ and brujas’ magic to.
It was really fascinating learning their view of death and afterlife. The idea of being able to see a dead loved one was incredible.
The characters are complex, well-written, so brimming with life, so alive and intense it’s impossible not to love them.
“Yadriel wasn’t trespassing. He’d lived in the cemetery his whole life, so he couldn’t trespass in his own home. But breaking into the church was definitely crossing the moral-ambiguity line.”
Yadriel is the main character. He’s a trans boy, he’s gay and he’s struggling to be accepted by his family and community as a boy and a brujo. He’s incredibly strong, brilliant, funny and he loves and respects the traditions, his community. In Cemetery boys he is constanly torn between his love for his family and community and his desire to be himself, to be accepted and seen as he really is.
He’s tired to fight to be himself, tired to accept others’ mistakes and to be the odd one out. It was a delight reading about a complex character like him.
“Despite her words of warning, Maritza didn’t seem worried about getting into a heap of trouble with their family. In fact, she looked downright excited. Dark eyes wide, a devilish grin played across her lips that Yadriel knew all too well.”
Maritza is Yadriel’s cousin, always up to mischief, supportive and stubborn, fiercely loyal. She’s dynamic, realistic and ready to be with and make fun of Yadriel and bickering with him and Julian. Her relationship with Yadriel is intense, strong and she’s a force of nature, extrovert, smartass, stubborn and she shares with Yadriel the title of Black sheep of the family, because she’s vegan and she refuses her bruja’s power because she should use animal blood.
Unlike Yadriel, who suffers being an outcast, Maritza is not interested in being part of the brujx community, although believing in their traditions and in Lady Death.
“Julian was achingly beautiful, but in the way a thunderstorm was beautiful—wild, rough, electric. And bound to leave devastation in his wake.”
Julian Diaz. What can I say about Julian? He’s obnoxious, boisterous, chatty and impossible. He exudes Scorpio chaotic energy. He’s a whirlwind, a thunderstorm and he brings chaos in Yadriel’s life, complicating his plans to prove to his community he’s a brujio by finding his cousin Miguel, but slowly becoming someone Yadriel isn’t ready to leave.
Julian is energetic, unabashed, shaking Yadriel’s world with his blunt honesty and easy acceptance. I love his energy, how fiercely he loves and protects his family and it was refreshing reading about a character so pure and funny. His interactions with Yadriel and Maritza, but mostly with Yadriel, are hilarious, like when Yadriel corrects him all the time for his malaprop, creating funny moments and melancholic at the same time, because Yadriel is falling for him.
Romance and two wonderful and soft cinnamon rolls boys
The relationship between Yadriel and Julian is sweet, complex and I loved every moment of it, leaving me needing more of them. Their love story is one of the things I loved the most about Cemetery Boys. It’s complex, nuanced and intricate and I found myself so involved I squealed, cursed and cried in more than one occasion.
Yadriel and Julian are very different from each other. While Yadriel is quiet, reserved and focused, Julian is boisterous, chatty, loud and a “problem” in Yadriel’s plans. Slowly, though, they get to know, confide in and trust one other.
I loved reading about their interactions, funny and melancholic at the same time and how they fell moment moment by moment in love with each other in a impossible situation.
Julian is blunt, stubborn, boisterous and he was a refreshing surprise for Yadriel, who struggled all the time to be accepted. Julian becomes a person Yadriel can be himself with, feeling comfortable around him. Their trust in each other is complete and empowering.
The scene when they are in bed, listening to music and talking was one of my favourite ever. It was so sweet seeing them getting to know one other.
Gender identity, deadnaming and misgendering
The book shows the struggles of being transgender, the bullying at school, the hurt of being deadnamed and misgendered. Yadriel struggles to be seen and accepted for who he is, facing misgendering, deadnaming and ostracism both at school and in his community.
He is tired of people misgendering or deadnaming him, giving people the benefit of the doubt. Tired of fighting to be himself and to not belong. At the same time, though, he loves fiercely his family and he wants to be part of the brujx community.
“Well, Yadriel was tired of it. He was tired of forgiving. He was tired of fighting to just exist and be himself. He was tired of being the odd one out.”
Whenever Yads came out to someone it was always difficult because he didn’t know how would they react or understand, it’s always difficult for him. It’s refreshing and comfortable with Julian, even though at the beginning Yadriel braced himself, expecting the same reaction of everyone else, but Julian gets him right away, without making him feel uncomfortable.
During the whole book, through their conversation, Julian helps him feel more sure about being himself, even helping him using the boys’ bathroom for the first time at school.
One of the most beautiful and intense part of Cemetery boys was when Julian and Yadriel discuss why he has to prove his identity to his family.
“I mean, Flaca isn’t any less of a girl just because other people look at her and don’t see her as one,” Julian went on. “Just because she’s not on hormones or whatever, or ’cause she’s not ‘passing,’ doesn’t mean other people get to decide who she is. And the same goes for you.” Heat bloomed in Yadriel’s cheeks. “You don’t owe anybody shit,” Julian told him, stormy anger brewing behind dark eyes. He was kind of an asshole. Julian was abrasive, sometimes rude, and didn’t seem to have much tact. But, for some reason, Yadriel’s heart still fluttered in his chest.
Realistic representation of families and the identity issues
The family, found or biological, is an important and recurring theme. Aiden Thomas wrote realistic families, with a stubborn and fussy matriarch and grandmother, ready to worry about and feed you, protective aunts and uncles, squabbling siblings. It’s lifelike, showing their struggles, fights, misunderstandings between siblings and between father and son, who find hard and difficult being open about their feelings and talk.
For Yadriel being himself in a traditional family, in a community stuck in their ways and traditions is a constant struggle. His family, even though unintentionally, hurt his feelings, making everything more difficult. At the same time, though, the author shows a family, that is not perfect (none is), but that is open to change, to be better and understanding, to be more open-minded. A beginning to a more open era.
Julian’s family, consisting of his older brother and his friends, is beautiful, miscellaneous and intricate. Through Yadriel’s question and Julian’s stories about his friends, the author touches and addresses multiple issues, like abusive enviroments, gangs, parents kicking out their children or abusing them. There’s fierceness and intensity in their love for one other, ready to do anything to support and help each other, creating their own family, where there is love, acceptance and understanding.
Misconceptions, racial and classist prejudices
Yadriel, Julian and Maritza try to understand what happened to Julian and Miguel and the whole subplot is cliffhanging and captivating, not only for the mystery, but because it explores themes like misconceptions, racial and classist prejudices.
It’s really explicative when the police refused to issue an AMBER alert for Julian, deciding he was a runaway “Because he’s a latino boy living in East Los Angeles with no parents” and when Miguel’s parents tried to report him missing, struggling to speak English, asking for an interpreter and the police was uncooperative and they asked if they all were US citizens. It also showed the disinterest of the police towards the missing “street kids” and those, like Julian, labelled like that by misconceptions, called “bad boy”, thinking him involved in drugs and gangs, judging him by his quick temper and his school attendance, without caring to know if there is more.
I recommend this book to those who want to fall in love with amazing and realistic characters, who want to get involved in a brilliant and complex plot, who want to be transported in an unusual supernatural love story. If you love soft cinnamon rolls, gods and goddesses, spirits and love, this book is perfect for you.
This would be the first time he ever brought a boy home, and he was dead.
“Wait, can ghosts eat food?” Julian asked in his ear, very concerned. Santa Muerte, help me.
It looked like a bomb had gone off. Or maybe just a human hurricane named Julian Diaz.
“His big, obnoxious Scorpio energy is invading your cozy Cancer safe space!”
“Queer folks are like wolves,” Julian told him. “We travel in packs.”
HAY NIÑAS CON PENE, NIÑOS CON VULVA Y TRANSFÓBICOS SIN DIENTES. In the lower corner, it read, ST. J. Yadriel recognized the handwriting. A smile tugged at the corner of his lip.
Yadriel didn’t think that was possible. He didn’t see how anyone could get a clean break from Julian once they entered his orbit. Himself included.
He envied whoever Julian gave his fiery devotion to. It was a warm and unyielding force to be shielded by.
Julian was the most alive person he’d ever met. Even as a spirit, he was bright and full of constantly moving energy. A sun crammed into the body of a boy. Yadriel didn’t want to see him without his light.
Unabashed and beaming, this was his favorite version of Julian. Bright, carefree, and overflowing with infectious energy. Alive.
Julian was in his element. He liked noisy places and noisy people. A stormy boy who seemed most comfortable in chaos.
Eyes closed and smiling, the firelight danced over his skin. Yadriel was drawn to him like a moth to a flame. To his reckless charm and striking features. Julian was achingly beautiful, but in the way a thunderstorm was beautiful—wild, rough, electric. And bound to leave devastation in his wake.
It was overwhelming, but Yadriel wouldn’t mind getting his breath robbed by Julian’s brilliant smile over and over again.
“Growth isn’t a deviation from what we’ve done before, but a natural progression to honor all those who make this community strong.”
Still, in a sea of faces, his eyes went right to Julian, and he couldn’t look away. His sharp grin. His burning gaze. It sparked a fire in his chest. It smoldered in his stomach. It flooded him with heat. Yadriel would happily let himself be consumed by Julian’s fire.
Aiden Thomas is a YA author with an MFA in Creative Writing. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, OR. As a queer, trans, latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, Harry Potter trivia, Jenga, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.