Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni, Most anticipated

Surrender your sons by Adam Sass

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.

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

This is my America by Kim Johnson

I received this book from NetGalley and Random House’s books for young children in exchange of an honest review.

TW: racism, racial injustice, police brutality, murder, Ku Klux Klan, inequality, bullying

Tracy Beaumont is seventeen years old and every week she writes a letter to Innocence X, an organization that could be able to help her and her family free her father, James, an innocent Black man, sentenced to death in Texas.

After seven years and uncountable letters, the Beaumounts are running out of time, because James Beaumont has only 267 days left.

Then their life is turned upside down again when her older brother, Jamal, is accused of murdering Angela, a white girl, Tracy’s colleague in the school newspaper and their classmates.

Desperate to do anything in her power to save her family, her brother and father, Tracy decides to discover what really happened to Jamal and Angela at the Pike, the place where she was murdered.

What exposè was Angela talking about when she asked Tracy’s help? Is it possible that her murder is connected to the double murders James Beaumont was unjustly accused of?

While trying to discover what really happened, helped by her friends and allies, Tracy starts to uncover an ugly truth about the past and present of her city. And the people around her.

This is my America is a powerful, searing and heartbreaking, but hopeful at the same time, debut novel. Told from Tracy’s POV and from her letters to Innocence X, this book is incredible and intense.

The writing style is able to engage right away the reader, the plot is thrilling, full of twists and lies and truths and the characterization is skillfully written. I was blown away by this book, This is my America deals with complex and important topics regarding and impacting the lives of Black Americans.

I found really interesting, heartbreaking and important reading the author’s note, where Kim Johnson talks about the racism in the criminal justice system in America, police brutality, mass incarceration and the rise of white suprematists.

This is my America is a work of fiction, but the topics discussed are current, complex and important. I was captivated right away by This is my America. Tracy is a powerful main character, strong-willed, brave, aware of the injustices in the world, but determined to do anything in her power to educate herself and others and to fight for a better world and justice system.

Tracy is surrounded by strong characters, like her brother Jamal, her friends Tasha, Dean and Quincy, while she tries everything to understand what happened the night Angela was killed and discovering some truths able to shock her and the whole city.

Through her eyes the reader is able to know a determined and brilliant young woman, loyal to her family and friends, aware of the police brutality and the injustice in the system. I found her workshop, Know Your Rights, both empowering and “sad” at the same time, realizing the importance of learning their rights and how to deal with the police in various scenarios, being Black, and the fact they should have to learn how to deal in the first place.

I liked reading about funny and sweet moments between Tracy and her family and friend and between her and her love interest(s), moments well mixed in her fight and journey to justice.

Through her friend Tasha’s relationship with her father, the author shows how life after prison isn’t easy, underlining the real-life struggles in Tracy’s family too.

The title itself underlines a double America and the main character lives in her Black America, where Black people are more likely to get arrested, pulled over, shot or killed and where they are considered in a different way just for the colour of their skin.

Unfortunately true is the comparison the main character does in the book:

“When I watch the news, I can tell without even looking at the TV if the suspect if white or Black.

A “young man who lost his way” or “was afflicted by mental illness”=white.

A “thug” with “trouble in school”= Black”

(quote from the earc, so subject to changes)

The double standard, the ingrained racism is another topics present in the book, a racism Tracy saw in her best friend too and in the city where she lives with her family and where people found easier point the blame to a Black man.

Because of her father violent arrest and injust trial, her father’s friends death and his son Quincy being hurt at the hand hand of the police, a profound mistrust of the police is clear and understandable.

The author, even underlining the police’s corruptions and tampering with evidences and witness, inserts characters like Beverly Ridges and the evolution in Sheriff Brighton’s and Officer Clyde’s to show that exist police officers that are working to fight against implicit and explicit bias and the police oppression system.

A broken system, a powerful and intense main character, This is my America is a book that broke my heart and gave me hope at the same time. It’s a powerful and empowering book and I recommend it to those who are looking for a strong female character, amazing and important plot, serious topics and hopeful and realistic ending.

I suggest reading the additional resources and suggested references if you want to educate yourself on the topics of police brutality, racism and injustice in criminal prosecution.

This is my America is a book about not being silent, fighting for and demand justice and equality, about family, friendships and love.




One of the best book I’ve read this year.

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Forest of souls by Lori M. Lee

I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review! Thank you, Page Street Publishing, for this earc!

Sircha Ashwyn has no family, no name, abandoned in an orphanage when she was very little, but she’s determined to find her own place in the world.

Trained by the mysterious Kendara, hoping to become the queen’s next Shadow, a royal spy, and training as a soldier, all Sircha’s plan are ruined when she got involved into a shamans’ attack and her best friend Saengo is killed. But, without even knowing how, Sircha manages to bring her soul back, discovering an ability and a power she knew nothing about.

Unveiled as soulguide, a rare and powerful kind of shaman, Sircha and Saengo are summoned to the Spider King, Ronin, whose power is vital in maintaining the peace between kingdoms and in controlling the dangerous Dead Wood, a forest possessed by trapped souls. But his powers seem to be weakening, since the trees are becoming more and more wild and spreading.

Sircha finds herself involving into the dangerous task of taming the Dead wood, before the trees claim her friend’s life and welcome a war between kingdoms.

Forest of souls is a lush, evocative and magical fantasy first book of the Shamanborn series, set in a world of political conflicts, mysterious powers, magic, intrigue, sisterhood and friendship. The world-building is spectacular and the author has the ability of grabbing’s the reader’s attention right away, thrusting her/him/them into a world skillfully written, with magic, drakes, plot twists, secrets, murders, giant spiders, ambigous and complex characters.

The writing style is absolutely evocative and the characterization is brilliant. Told by Sircha’s POV, the main character, Sircha is determined, stubborn, loyal and strong. She came from nothing, in a world, a place where family’s name can be very important, but she’s determined to prove to everyone and to herself her worth, her abilities and her loyalty.

When she discovers a new truth about hersef, changing her whole life and future and those of Saengo’s, Sircha proves herself to be even more adaptable, strong and skilled, relying on her training and bond with Saengo, looking for answers, eager to do something to save her friend and her country, fighting for beliefs she believes in, her loyalties tested when she discovers the cruelty and intrigues of her queen. Forest of souls is full of wonderful and intense characters.

Besides Sircha, Saengo is brilliant, loyal, a true friend and their relationship and sisterhood is one of the things I loved the most in this book. How both of them would do anything for the other, how they are bonded, how they love and trust one other implicitly.

Theyen is another complex figure and I really liked his sarcasm and the way he and Sircha bicker and prince Meilik is a wonderful written character, whose loyalties and beliefs are constantly tested throughout the whole book, pushing him to chose and I liked his relationship with Sircha, how it changes from prince and subject, to commander and soldier to become allies and friends. Intense and ambigous are the characters of Kendara and Ronin and I really need to know more about them and what will happen in the next book to this wonderful and skilled characters.

Overall, I really loved Forest of souls, the story was thrilling and captivating and the characters are impossible not to love and cheer on. I can’t wait to have this book in my hands and I will wait devoutly for the sequel!

4.5 stars