Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Zara Hossain is here by Sabina Khan- Hear Our Voices Book Tours

Hello and welcome to my stop for Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan! A huge thanks to Hear Our Voices Book Tours and Scholastic Press for the chance to read and review this book!




Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Genre: YA Fiction

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Zara’s family has waited years for their visa process to be finalized so that they can officially become US citizens. But it only takes one moment for that dream to come crashing down around them.


Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.


But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.


From the author of the “heart-wrenching yet hopeful” (Samira Ahmed) novel, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, comes a timely, intimate look at what it means to be an immigrant in America today, and the endurance of hope and faith in the face of hate.

TW: racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, biphobia

Zara Hossain is the only Muslim student at her High school in Corpus Christi. She’s “used” to microaggession, while trying not to show her anger and true feelings, because she and her family are waiting for their green card and she’s afraid seeking justice would jeopardize that goal. But one day her tormentor, a star football player, Tyler Benson, takes things too far and get suspended. Tyler and his racist friends so decide to vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime and a consequences that could jeopardize their lives and Zara’s future.
Zara is forced to fight between staying in the place she considers her home, while her parents don’t feel safe anymore, or losing the life she knows coming back to Pakistan.

Zara Hossain is here is a heart-wrenching novel about what it means to be an immigrant in America, the struggles Zara and her family face, the Islamophobia, the racism, the feeling of don’t belong. It was so intense reading this book and it filled me with rage and sadness realizing how people can be so ignorant and hateful, how, sometimes, there’s no justice. The author talks about white privilege and the acute difference in the way the system (police, racial, social ones) treats and considers white people and people of color. Sabina Khan also addresses issues like homophobia and biphobia and how religions are often used as excuses to ignorant and hurtful behaviour.


I love the tight bond between Zara and her parents, who would do anything for her and her future and between Zara and her friends, Nick and Priya. Zara and her family are surrounded by a wonderful and tight community and it was so amazing to read, how supported and helped they were during these crazy times. Zara is a strong main character, stubborn, loving, ready to fight for the right thing. She’s smart and passionate and I really love her energy and her bonds with her family, biological and found.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s the kind of book that hurt my heart and made me think about how unfair are things in America, how spread are the double standards and the white privilege, how money can buy things and people. And also how important is to fight for the right thing, not to be silent and to seek justice and fairness.

One of the things I loved the most is how the author doesn’t sweeten the hard reality. Unfair things happened and are still happening, families are torn apart, people, who only tried to find a better place for themselves and their families, can find, and do find, racism and injustice. It’s not the kind of book with an happy ever after. Sabina Khan doesn’t lie and she shows how unfair, how injust the life can be. Zara Hossain is Here is a painful book to read, it’s about unjustices and racism, but also about family, endurance of hope, fighting for justice and against hate.

It’s heart-wrenching and hopeful at the same time and I loved Zara and her family.




Sabina Khan is the author of ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE (Scholastic/ April 6, 2021) and THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI (Scholastic, 2019). She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, two daughters and the best puppy in the world.


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  1. Where did you get the inspiration for Zara Hossain Is Here?

I wrote Zara Hossain Is Here largely becasue of my own experience with the US immigration system. In the 90’s I lived there with my family and we were all awaiting our green cards. Unfortunately a clerical error by our lawyer derailed the entire process and we had no choice but to leave the country before our visas expired. It was a difficult time to move and start all over yet again. Luckily we were able to build a good life in Canada with our young children, but at the time the experience was quite traumatizing.

  1. Could you describe the book with one sentence?

A young Muslim immigrant fights back against Islamophobia, racism and the inequities of the US immigration system.

  1. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’ve discovered that my creative juices don’t start flowing unless I’m sitting in my favorite recliner with my puppy by my feet. And I need to have complete silence, as in even my husband’s breathing annoys me when I’m in the zone.

  1. Zara experiences Islamophobic harassments. What advice would you give to people in her same situation?

I think that every such situation is unique so it’s hard to give any general piece of advice. But I do think that it’s very important to consider all the variables such as safety, access to resources, a support network etc.

  1. Do you have future projects? Could you tell us something about them?

I do have a few things in the works. Right now all I can tell you is that my next book is another YA contemporary that plays with time and POV.

  1. What are five random things about you that you love?

This is a fun question! Let’s see:

I love that I don’t care where I am when there’s music playing and I can just start dancing.

I love that I finally found the courage to sing in front of people, because I love it so much!

I love that I sometimes laugh so loudly that I scare people, but I don’t care.

I love that I can make myself laugh, even when other people don’t think my jokes are funny.

I love that I still feel excited about what life will bring my way.

Thank you so much for these wonderful questions!

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

I HOPE YOU ARE LISTENING BY TOM RYAN TBR AND BEYOND TOUR

I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

Genre: Young Adult Mystery

Publishing Date: October 6, 2020

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.

BOOK SYNOPSIS

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.”

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/i-hope-youre-listening/9780807535080-item.html?ikwid=I+Hope+You%27re+Listening&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0#algoliaQueryId=bab33fc1e87afe6f7e0873b6228bc327

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-hope-youre-listening-tom-ryan/1136487290?ean=9780807535080



Tom Ryan is the award winning author of several acclaimed books for young readers. He has been nominated for multiple awards, and was the winner of the 2020 Arthur Ellis Award for Best YA Crime Book. Two of his books were Junior Library Guild selections, and three of his young adult novels, Way to Go, Tag Along, and Keep This to Yourself, were chosen for the ALA Rainbow List, in 2013, 2014 and 2020. He was a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow in Young Adult Fiction.


Tom, his husband and their dog currently divide their time between Ottawa and Nova Scotia.

Website: http://www.tomryanauthor.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tomryanauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tomryanauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5267233.Tom_Ryan

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tomryanauthor



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Pubblicato in: Book preview, Most anticipated

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE BY VE SCHWAB

ARC REVIEW

448 pages

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:

https://forbiddenplanet.com/304692-the-invisible-life-of-addie-larue-forbidden-planet-exclusive-signed-hardcover/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-invisible-life-of-addie-larue-special-edition-waterstones/v-e-schwarb//9781789095586

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-invisible-life-of-addie-larue-v-e-schwab/1135712463?ean=9781250793973

This book is simply AWESOME! I totally recommend it to everyone!

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.

Unforgettable.

Empowering.

Searing.

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

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – blog tour

HELLO AND WELCOME TO MY STOP FOR THE MEXICAN GOTHIC BLOG TOUR!

First of all I wanted to thank Jo Fletcher books and Quercus books for the opportunity of being part of this tour! Thank you, NetGalley, for the free copy in exchange of an honest review.

TW: murder, death, rape, attempted rape, cannibalism, incest

Noemì Taboada is a socialite and she’s living a golden life in Mexico City with parties, friends, flirts and her studies, even though she changed again her mind, taking an interest in anthropology this time. When she received a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin, Catalina, begging for help and accusing her husband of poisoning her, Noemì understands that something may be wrong and right away decides to visit her.

In the High Place, a remote and lugubrious mansion in the Mexican countryside, Noemì, with her clothes and mirth and curiosity clashes with the mansion’s residents and their rules, like being silent during dinner, quiet voices, no questions and no cigarettes.

But Noemì is determined to find why her cousin is so strange and what is affecting her, even if that means clashing with Virgil, Catalina’s husband, both alluring and scary, Florence, who runs the house with strict firmess and the patriarch Howard, who seems to be fascinated by her.

Her only ally is Francis, the youngest, shy and kind and, when Noemì starts to be plagued by nightmares and visions. she decides to uncover the family’s history and what is happening to them. Before she’s trapped in the house forever.

Mexican gothic is a wonderful feminist Gothic fantasy, set in a gloomy mansion with its mysteries, violence and ghosts.

The main character is Noemì, who finds herself in a situation and a world very different from the one she’s used to. A world of silence, lies and violence. But she’s strong-willed, brilliant and smart and she’s strongly connected to her older cousin, Catalina.

Finding herself in a male dominated world, High Place, a whole different universe and the Doyles, or better Howard, their patriarch, as ruler and master, able to impose his demand everywhere, Noemì struggles against rules and mysteries, unwilling to bow down and determined to save herself and Catalina from what is become a prison, the house itself alive and unwilling to let them go.

In Mexican Gothic there is a battle between men and women, who struggle to get their independence and freedom in 1950s Mexico. Noemì struggles against her parents’ expectations, her mother thinking that girls should follow a life cycle, from debutante to wife and not to continue her studies upon graduation, her father considering flighty and offering her the chance to enroll to the National University should she save her cousin and solve her mystery.

It’s interesting reading how, even though women didn’t have much freedom, above all when married, (Catalina’s fate was decided by her husband, his doctor and her father in law) undermined by the patriarchy, the women in Mexican Gothic are strong, stubborn and willing to assert themselves, with their choices, plans and plottings. From Agnes and Ruth, who fought against their family’s values and traditions, to Catalina and Noemì, these women were ready to plot, kill, escape to get their freedom back and to do the right things.

It’s also a war between rich and poor, the socioeconomics difference, considering the way the Doyles treated their miner, above all if Mexicans, and their willingness to let them suffer and die for their own goals.

In a constant cycle of violence, mystery and blood, Noemì fights her way to be free and to save those she loves and has learn to love.

One of the things I loved the most about Mexican Gothic is the setting, reminding me of Wuthering Heights and other Gothic novels, with its fog, gloomy places, quiet servants and nightmares, creepy mysteries. with a tough and strong-willed heroine.

Peculiar is the house itself, almost a character on its own, with its actions and desires, a cage, a prison and a living organism at the same time.

Interesting is the character of Francis, the youngest son who is willing to defy his family and their traditions, wanting to do the right thing, ready to see the world and to escape a house who is really a prison, its inhabitants prisoners (willing and unwilling) and stuck in a cycle of violence and blood.

Catalina first and Noemì then disrupt their “peace” and cycle, refusing to be used and objectified by the men of the house. The women seen and used as object, only as mothers and wives is another concept Noemì struggles against. Catalina is first bewitched by Virgil and his house and family, but slowly, in her own way, she fighs against a role others want to impose on her, a cage ready to smother her.

Noemì, with her mirth, her flirting and stubborness, is a modern woman, unwilling to be something she doesn’t want to be, a woman with strong convictions and ideas, refusing to be caged and hurt. Florence, Francis’ mother, almost represents a woman who gave up, assimilated into the house and its rules, willing to hurt other women and to obey her master, becoming from victim to oppressor. Noemì, Catalina, Ruth are women able to stand up for themselves, ready to do anything for the right thing and the people they love and loved. Brilliant, vibrant and complex character, they stick out in this book. defeating the men’s cruelties, protecting themselves.

Even though there are male characters who help them, like Francis, Noemì’s father and Dr Camarillo, Mexican Gothic is a book where women triumph and they are not willing to share the spotlight. Fighting the objectification of women, asserting their right to decide and be free, Mexican Gothic has strong characters, a complex mystery and a wonderful, but gloomy, setting.

I recommend this book to those who love a good mystery, strong female characters, fight against the patriarchy and the ability of proving oneself.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the author of several novels, including Gods of Jade and Shadow. She has also edited a number of anthologies, including the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows (a.k.a. Cthulhu’s Daughters). Mexican by birth, Canadian by inclination. (from Goodreads)

https://www.amazon.com/Mexican-Gothic-Silvia-Moreno-Garcia/dp/0525620788/ref=sr_1_1?

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mexican-gothic-silvia-moreno-garcia/1133865084

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

You brought me the ocean by Alex Sanchez

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

An HUGE thanks to DC comics for this free book for review.

TW: homophobia, homophobic slurs, physical assault

Jake Hyde lives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, a city in the desert, with his overprotective mother, eager to keep him safe and away from the water, since his father drowned.

But Jake is attracted to and longs for the ocean, he wants to leave his hometown where he feels suffocated and go to college on the coast, while Maria, his best friend and neighbour, wants to stay there and Jake’s mom wants him safe and sound with her.

But Jake isn’t safe, not when he starts to question his sexuality, not when he applies to Miami University without telling anyone, not when he’s attracted to the swim team captain, Kenny, who is out and rebel and stick out in their hometown, bullied for being himself.

Jake’s life is complicated and full of secrets, secrets he hides from others and secrets he doesn’t even know about himself. When the time comes to face them, will he be ready?

I loved You brought me the ocean. I already knew Julie Maroh and Alex Sanchez and this graphic novel is simply amazing.

The artwork is so beautiful and evocative, I was really in love since the first page. The plot is captivating and I was right away able to relate and connect to the characters and their struggles.

Jake feels trapped in his hometown and his eagerness to get away and explore the world and the oceans, his dreams, fears and secrets are drawn and written skillfully. So his relationship with his overprotective and kind mother, with sweet Maria, with rebel Kenny.

It was so sweet reading how slowly Jake starts to understand his own feelings and decided to be himself around himself and others. How Jake starts to question his “birthmarks” and his affinity for the water, how he discovers his powers and past.

I was able to feel how he felt, his being trapped and eager to explore, to move, to be true and honest to himself. Maria and Kenny are also amazing characters, Maria with her secret feelings and the difficulty of being honest with herself and her best friend, Kenny with the fact he didn’t want to conform to anything and pretend to be anyone, with his complicated relationship with his father, who is struggling to accept his sexuality.

It’s beautiful and intense reading about Jake’s journey, in discovering his identity, his sexuality, supported by his friend, love and family.

You brought me the ocean deals with a lots of important themes, like homophobia and bullying (since, first Kenny, then Jake too are bullied by the bigots of the town), coming out, the difficulties of following your dreams, the loss of parents, friendship issues, physical assault.

It’s a book about the difficulty and strength in being true and honest to oneself, friendship and first love.

I recommend to everyone who wants to lose her/himself/themselves in a wonderful graphic novel about identity, love, courage and friendship.

HERE SOME IMAGERY TO SHOW YOU HOW AMAZING IS THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL!

About Alex Sanchez

Alex Sanchez has published eight novels, including the American Library Association “Best Book for Young Adults” Rainbow Boys and the Lambda Award-winning So Hard to Say. His novel Bait won the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Book Award and the Florida Book Award Gold Medal for Young Adult Literature. An immigrant from Mexico, Alex received his master’s in guidance and counseling and worked for many years as a youth and family counselor. Now when not writing, he tours the country talking with teens, librarians, and educators about books, diversity, and acceptance. He lives in Penfield, New York, and at http://www.alexsanchez.com.

About Julie Maroh

Julie Maroh is a cartoonist, illustrator, feminist, and LGBTQ+ activist from Northern France. They wrote and illustrated the graphic novel Blue is the Warmest Color, about the life and love of two young lesbians, which was adapted into the award-winning film of the same name.

About DC’s YA Graphic Novels

DC’s young adult graphic novels introduce DC’s most iconic Super Heroes to a new generation of fans with stories told by some of the most successful authors from the young adult publishing space. The YA titles are standalone stories, not part of DC’s ongoing continuity, and completely accessible to new readers who have no previous knowledge of DC characters.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/you-brought-me-the-ocean-alex-sanchez/1136623920?ean=9781401290818

https://www.amazon.com/You-Brought-Me-Ocean-Aqualad/dp/1401290817/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

https://www.bookdepository.com/You-Brought-Me-Ocean-Aqualad-Graphic-Novel-Alexander-Hitz-Sanchez/9781401290818

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Music from another world by Robin Talley ARC review

384 pages
Published March 31st 2020 by Inkyard Press

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

TW:

homophobia, internalized homophobia, bullying

THE PLOT

Tammy Larson is unable to be herself anywhere, not at school, or with her friends, or in family dominated by her aunt Mandy and her anti-gay propaganda. She is a closeted lesbian and she’s always lived her life fearing for and unable to be herself and free.

Her only way to escape her strict and conservative Christian life in Orange County is her diary, where she writes to the gay civil rights activist, Harvey Milk, until the school starts a pen pal program and she meets Sharon.
Sharon Hawkins lives in San Francisco and right away she bonds with Tammy, sharing their love for punk music, feeling free to be themselves, their letter another way (except their diaries) to be absolutely (or at least trying to) honest with one other.

Sharon’s life in San Francisco, like Tammy’s in Ocean Valley, is full of secrets and lies.
She is struggling (at least in the beginning) to accept that her beloved brother, Peter, is gay and both of them are scared of their mother’s possibile reaction, should she discover it.
And in antigay fervor they fear for their lives. Both Tammy and Sharon finds in one other a true friend, starting to understand things about the world and each other.

MY THOUGHTS

I really, absolutely loved this book! It’s my first queer historical fiction and it was great! Set during a very complicated and awful time for queer people, the book is about this intense friendship (and more) between two young girls, their growth and how they will learn to fight for the freedom and right to love and stand up against injustice and hatred.

Told by two POVs, Tammy’s and Sharon’s, through their diaries’ entries and the letters they write to one other, in a very interesting and unique way, this book is moving, funny, heartbreaking and so, so important.

Reading Tammy’s POV was incredibly hard because I could feel her frustration, fear, her feeling trapped in her life, with conservative parents and relatives, homophobes, feeling scared all the time someone could see through her lies and hurt her. How she was forced to dress and wear her hair in a certain way, dominated by her cruel and hypocrite aunt and her whole community, politically active in their antigay propaganda, how she was forced to support that propaganda, because being out would mean changing everything.


Both Tammy and Sharon were taught to see being gay as a wrong and unnatural thing, something that should be corrected and pray away, but, Sharon thanks to her brother and Tammy thanks to her sexuality and feelings, learn to think with their own heads and to escape their conservative and homophobic world, finding a more friendly reality where they can be themselves.

It was interesting reading how Sharon starts to discover herself, through music shows, new friendships, opening her mind to a new world and identity.
Her bond with Peter is truly amazing and very realistic, down to their fights and misunderstandings. Reading about how she discovered her sexuality, her feelings was really fantastic, because, living in a community where people were antigay, in a school with nuns and homophobes, she, at first, struggle to accept her brother’s sexuality (it was incredibly cute readig how she decided to accept it, because she loves her brother very much) and then hers.

It was clear her confusion and frustration, finding difficult to understand what she should do or act.
Her relationship with Tammy is really intense, because, through their letters, they learn to be and questioning themselves, above all when Tammy comes to San Francisco.

Peter is another brilliant character. Seeing through Sharon’s and Tammy’s eyes, he’s a young man, sure of his sexuality, but fearing his mother’s reaction, fearing people would know the truth about him and hurt, since he was already bullied in the past. It was moving and empowering reading how, slowly, Peter becomes more sure of himself and his feeling for Dean, until he’s ready to move on and coming out, deciding to live according to his own rules, terms and feelings.

Absolutely intriguing the way the political and historical movement is both background and vital part of this book, how Tammy sees in Harvey Milk someone to look up to to gather the courage she needs to be herself.


I loved how Tammy, Peter and Sharon become politically involved, supporting Harvey Milk, propaganding against the Proposition 6, the Briggs Iniatiative, that wanted to ban gay teacher and whoever supported gay rights, helping in the bookstore, learning about civil rights and feminism.

It was interesting reading about political and historical figures, like Milk, Briggs and Bryant and how these young characters act in that movement. Cute the side characters, like Evelyn, Midge, Kevin and so on. Interesting and hypocritical aunt Mandy, with her being sanctimonious and weak and unable to reach out and change her opinion Sharon’s and Peter’s mother.


The adults in this novel fulfill, except Harvey Milk, the role of “villains”. Sanctimonious and hypocritical families, ready to do anything to have their perfect sons and daughters and refusing to see them for what they are, should they be different from their expectations and society’s “norm”.
Teenagers and young adults (Tammy’s friends and sisters, for example or Sharon’s classmates) are or molded according to their parents’, Church’s and society’s wishes and norms, or they represent a world where Tammy, Peter and Sharon can find haven, in Dean’s, Leonard’s, Evelyn’s, Alex’s (and so on) friendship and support.

I love how they managed to form a family, with their friends, how they support one other, helping each other finding a place to stay, a job, a way to start over, even with a broken heart.

It was hard to read how their families couldn’t, wouldn’t, accept their sexuality, how they, above all aunt Mandy, kept using God as an excuse of their awful behaviour. It shows the faults in the blind religion, using their Bible as a weapon to hurt and humiliate queer people. It was frustrating reading their rhetorics and false and hypocritical faith.


Tammy and Sharon fight against what people expected to be and to do, perfect daughters, straights daughters with boyfriends and a future with a family. In a climate of activism, for LGBT’s and women’s rights, they fights and understand themselves, their feelings and what people call friends and family.

Music from another world is beautifully and skillfully written and it’s a story about love and hope, hate and injustice, family and friendship and it’s more current than ever.

Pubblicato in: Book preview

The electric heir by Victoria Lee ARC review

480 pages

Expected publication: March 17th 2020 by Skyscape

The electric heir is the sequel of the brilliant and amazing The fever king in the Feverwake duology.

SPOILERS AHEAD

TW

https://victorialeewrites.com/2019/10…

PLOT

The electric heir starts six months after the ending of The Fever King. After Noam helped overthrow the goverment of Carolinia, the Atlantians became citizens and Lehrer chancellor.

But Noam remembers everything Lehrer did, with the magic, to Dara and he’s ready to do anything to bring him down, even playing the double agent, tricking Lehrer to think he’s on his side. When Dara, who Noam thought dead, returns to Carolinia, without his magic, stripped away by the same vaccine it saved his life, both of them are forced to play a dangerous game to bring Lehrer to justice and save their country.

And themselves.

MY THOUGHTS

This book is raw and brutal and so hard to read. Victoria Lee poured her heart in this duology, talking about suffering, abuse and survivors. It’s a book about survivors and surviving.
Dara and Noam’s abuser is charismatic and powerful, persuasive and sick and it was so painful to read how Noam struggled to see what is happening to him as an abuse, as a violence.

He’s so manipulate by Lehrer, so involved into this big game he has trouble realizing he’s a victim. Both Noam and Dara fight to recover and call things by their name, during the book and after.
It was hard to read both of them feeling shame and guilt and blaming theirselves for others’ sins and I love how Ames was such an amazing friend, ready to open their eyes and pushing them to see the truth.

In The electric heir Lehrer’s policy is still brutal and Noam and Dara chose to fight with the Black Magnolia, a rebellion movement, looking for a way to kill an immortal human being, while Lehrer continued his power climbing, using the IV teenager as weapons, Noam included.

Noam found himself playing a double role, a spy for the resistance, living with Lehrer, faking it to be still under his persuasion (the Faraday cage helped him to protect himself and to remember everything Lehrer did to Carolinia, the virus and to Dara) and aiding the resistance.


It was hard to think about how was hurt and manipulated by Lehrer, how twisted Lehrer’s mind could be, forcing Noam into a parody of a couple, when Noam is seventeen and under his power. It was difficult to read, too, when Dara confessed to Ames that Lehrer first and then Ames’ father raped him, when he still thought and yearned for Lehrer’s affection, before he realized the truth.
Reading about Noam trapped in this big scheme was absolutely chilling, how determined he was, despite the dangers how being there with Lehrer, to destroy him, to find a solution against him, to avenge Dara.

In The electric heir we have two POVs, reading Dara’s for the first time. I loved his POV’s, it was brilliant and interesting reading about his thoughts and feelings.
Like in The fever king, Victoria Lee’s writing style is intense and powerful, so captivating I could feel Dara’s anxiety, his feeling powerless without his power, forced to hiding because Lehrer was looking for him and his being worried for Noam.

The relationship between Noam and Dara is incredibly complex in The electric heir. They are both victim, both struggling with the notion of abuse and powerlessness. I loved how Dara decided, thanks to the QZ, to stop drinking and I was so anguished to read how him and Ames were so self-destructive, trying to feel the hollowness and pain with booze, drugs and sex.
In Dara’s and Noam’s relationship there is hurt, betrayal, resentment and so much love and affection. During the book they still want and love each other and Dara hated seeing Noam with Lehrer, so in danger to be hurt, raped or killed. Reading about Dara and Noam being raped and hit was so awful.

I felt so involved, my heart was beating so fast, screaming against the brutality, the unfairness.
It was painful reading how both Dara and Noam thought they wanted to have sex with Lehrer, to consent to that, craving for his attention, manipulated by him.


Before meeting Dara again at the gala, Noam felt guilty because he abandoned him and he spent six months thinking he was dead. His pain, his guilt and anguish were incredibly written. He got close to Lehrer for this reason, too and only after talking with Dara, Noam realized Lehrer had his eyes on him since the beginning.

It was awful, heartbreaking to read how Noam was stressed and tense, refusing to have sex with Lehrer, starting to realized their relationship, since Dara is back. Difficult to read his denial, almost until the end, when Lehrer almost killed him because he refused him.

I really loved this book, it was a difficult read because it’s impossible not to love these characters (Except Lehrer, even though he is a complex character and not the usual flat villain of the story).

I loved the way the author talked about surviving and survivors, calling things by their names, talking about rape. Both Noam and Dara are survivors and they experience lots of feelings, like shame, guilt, powerlessness, denial. The reader is able to follow them struggling with their feelings and, above all Noam, realizing what is happening to them.

Both Dara and Noam are abused by the same man, Lehrer, but they experience and react to the abuse in a different way. Dara was abused, physically, sexually, psychologically by his adoptive father, while Noam was involved, coerced, manipulated into an abusive relationship, a parody of a couple. Dara reacts in a self-destructive way, drinking, partying, having sex with strangers, Noam, at least in the beginning, can’t see or don’t want to realize what is happening to him as an abuse.

Both of them has to come to term with their abuse, they went through hell, feeling shame, guilt and powerlessness, and it was great and moving reading about their friends, new and old, supporting and helping them. I loved Ames, Bethany and Taye (I’d love more Taye scenes since he’s really cool), their friendships, their wanting to protect each other.

THE WRITING


This book made my heart beat faster in more than one occasion, I have to say. Victoria Lee’s writing style is powerful and intense. Her characters are complex, real, authentic and the story is gripping and it leave you bleeding, in a very good way. They are brimming with life, anger, love, hope, rage and reading about them being hurt and scared was a punch in the gut.


I was so involved, I felt everything. I was scared, I was angry, I felt Noam’s and Dara’s pain, shame, love, guilt, hope, rage.
It was emotional, raw and it wrecked me completely.
I was so captivated, so caught in the story I couldn’t stop reading and hoping for the best. It’s full of angst, revelations, truths and plot twists and I absolutely loved the final chapter, when everything comes to an end in a perfect way.

It’s not saying they will never have nightmares and traumas, but it’s saying it’s possible to heal and move on. I loved seeing Dara and Noam together after all the things they have been through, living together, helping each other through the bad times, Dara cooking and showing Noam the constellations.
Beautiful book, raw, painful and so necessary.

I don’t think I will stop freaking out about this book, because I’ve been obsessed about it for months, since October. And about The Fever king since March, so…TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY! The electric heir will come out to the world and you shouldn’t miss this amazing and intense book!

https://www.bookdepository.com/Electric-Heir-Victoria-Lee/9781542005081

Pubblicato in: Book preview

Docile by K.M. Szpara ARC review

480 pages

Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Tor.com

SPOILERS AHEAD

There is no consent under capitalism

TW: rape, dubious consent, sexual harassment, drugs, forced drugging, attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts, violence, torture, bdsm

PLOT

In a dystopic society, thanks to the Next of Kin law, people inherit their parents’ debts (if they are married) and they are forced to interact with the Office of Debt Resolution and sell themselves to work their debts. The ODR works with the Dociline, a drug that “helps” debtors to be docile and compliant while working and to erase their memory when under the drug. The Bishops invented the Dociline and the whole debtors’ system use it. In a world where the consent is “optional” and where trillionaires control, through Dociline and the ODR, the life of others, Elisha and Alex struggle to be themself and maintain their soul.

Elisha Wilder’s family is ruined by debt and his mother is under a Dociline state after spending 10 years paying part of her debts. To save his thirteen years old sister from the ODR, from selling herself (usually trillionaries seeks Dociles for sex), Elisha tricks his parents and he registers himself to the ODR, hoping to choose a kind Patron and a short term.

Alexander Bishop the Third works for his family company and he’s forced by his father and the Board to look for a Docile, since he pushed away their choice for him. After refusing the choices prescreened by his father and the Board, Alex is attracted by Elisha and decides to be his Patron, offering him a monthly salary for his family and a full life term. Alex feels the pressure of the society, of his father and his role as CEO and the creation of a new version of Dociline, that he wants to test on Elisha. But when Elisha uses one of the seven Docile rights, refusing to take the drug, Alex is put in a difficult position and he’s forced to show his father, the Board and his influential friends he can train an off-med Docile.

They begin, this way, a complex relationship, where Alex enforces rules upon rules on Elisha, telling him how, when and where to stand and sit, not to ask questions, not to be curious, how to dress, how to eat, molding him into a perfect Docile. And disciplining him with cruel punishments, like putting his knees on rice, when he misbehaves. Slowly, forced to obey because he fears Alex could stop paying his family the salary decided in the contract, Elisha lets him changing him, shaping him into a perfect Docile, making him taking cooking, piano, language lessons and so on.

Bit by bit, in six months, Alex erases his personality, his being Elisha, until Elisha can’t function by himself anymore, doesn’t how how to act or sit or dress and only wants only to please Alex, to make him happy, Elisha suffers from a kind of Stockholm Syndrome.

But Alex’s plan to change Elisha goes both way. When a cruel incident forces him to realize he’s falling in love with him and that he’s hurting him, Alex’s only choice is to get Elisha far away from him, to save him, to let him heal with his family and friends.

But at this stage, their relationship, their bond is too strong and complex. Their feelings, their heartstrings and the consequences of their actions get Alex’s company, his friends, his convictions involved, changing his perception of his world and reality.

Abused, changed and broken Elisha is forced to slowly heal himself, to live his life without Alex, forcing to accept the truth about their relationship, while fighting against a trillionaire system that wants to hurt him and his family, his feelings for Alex and how to be his own person again. Raw and moving is realizing how Elisha was so deep in their relationship, so coerced and controlled he couldn’t recognize the abuse.

Important in the life of Elisha and Alex are the Empower Maryland, an organization that helps poor people, assisting them, providing food and clothes, tutors and school, that fights against the Docile and debtors’ system. They contacts Elisha, when he becomes Alex’s Docile, to help them fight the Bishops’s Dociline. And then, when Alex’s family files a lawsuit against Elisha and his family, they helped him fight and get better.

MY THOUGHTS

Docile is a book full of intense and incredibly complex characters, written skillfully and set in a dystopian society. It’s a story about abuse, power, love, need and desire. Told by two POVs, Elisha’s and Alex’s Docile follows their relationship, how they change and grow up. It’s a book about relationships, how to be true to himself, how to maintain his own personality in a world where debts and need want to change you.

Elisa is one of the most relisient and stubborn characters I’ve ever read. He loves deeply and it’s his love for his family that pushes him to sign the contract with Alex. It’s chilling getting to know him and his personality and seeing it being chipped away by Alex’s rules and impositions.
Elisha is forced by need and fear for his family to sign his contract with Alex and even though there is an undeniable attraction between them, his relationship with Alex is not consensual. He’s expected to have sex with him, he loses his virginity with Alex the first night, to satisfy his desires, sexual or not.

In Elisha’s society Dociles are seen like things and in the upper class society, the trillionaire’s one, with Alex’s friends like Mariah and Dutch, they are sexual doll. During one of the first society events Elisha is raped by Dutch and drugged to have sex with another Docile, and that was completely normal for them.

That Alex has feelings for Elisha, that he cares for him, more that he should have (according to the society’s way), is right away seen as weird, dangerous, not socially acceptable. Elisha is forced to be Alex’s perfect Docile, dressed like Alex says, doing whatever he wanted him to do. Elisha slowly changes, until his family, above all his father, can’t recognize him anymore, can’t believe he’s his own person.
It is moving and awful reading how Elisha loses himself and struggles with rules and feelings, not knowing what he did wrong or how to function without Alex.

When Alex realized how much he hurts Elisha and lets him go to his family, Elisha’s world is destroyed, without him and he has to go through a painful process of reasserting himself, learning again how to ask things, how to like things without Alex’s brainwashing. Reading about this was so raw and moving, how he was helped by the Empower Maryland, by his family and friends.

Alex’s character, as Elisha’s, is complex and intriguing. Pressured by his family, the whole city to prove the effectivness of Dociline, he’s torn between his growing feelings for Elisha and his loyalty to his father, Board and legacy.

For me, it wasn’t easy to see Alex as a villain in Docile. He was shaped by the world he lives in, Alex is the product of a society where Dociles are seen as things and where he, as Bishop, has to act and be a certain way.

But Alex’s action are not justified by his being grown up in a certain way. Throughout the whole book Alex is forced to open his eyes and recognize his mistakes and actions.

While reading Docile it’s impossible not to compare both of them, to see Alex as the villain and Elisha as the victim, the abuser and the abused, the rapist and the raped. But they are so much complex that that. In a game of seduction, love, violence and hurt, they move and they live in a society that shapes them and wants to mold them in certain ways.
Thanks to his relationship with Elisha, Alex begins to understand how his POV was biased, how his being rich and spoiled prevented him to see the truth, even when it regarded his closest friends. Jess and Dutch are Alex’s best friends, they work for the Bishop Labs and both of them were under Dociline, when kids.

Discovering Dutch’s and his Docile Onyx’s true nature and intentions was a surprise for me, so it was reading them helping Elisha get back on his own feet and forcing Alex to see what his family company did to debtors in general and Elisha and his mother in particular, pushing him to open his eyes and recognize his feeling and what he should do. Jess is another complex character, her expertise in Dociline helping Alex and Elisha, her friendship with them and Dylan sweet and sure.

THE RELATIONSHIPS

I love how the characters grow in this book. Alex, from rich and spoiled and blind to others’ suffering and feelings, becomes a more mature version of himself, deciding to free himself from his father’s and the company’s clutches and owning the truth about what he did to Elisha, how he hurt and broke him.
Reading how Alex sees that and at the same time that is ready to make amends, helping him and his mother, denouncing his family’s company was incredible.


Reading about Elisha’s depersonalization was awful and raw, so like reading his slow reasserting his own identity and personality, his indecision, his pain, his attempted suicide, his healing, helped by his family and friends. Every character is complex, flawed and utterly human in his faults, desires and needs. None of them is completely bad or good, but they are in the gray area of humanity, pushed and manipulated by a society and system that want to mold them, where debts create slaves and riches. Alex and Elisha change one other and, above all, Alex’s world and convictions are upturned.

The lawsuit was a brilliant way to force the characters to realize and talk about their own feelings and faults.
I love reading how Dutch tells the truths about Docile, how the trial showed the fault in the Docile’s system and the debtor’s reality, how Elisha decides to own his own truths, admitting to himself and other to have been raped and brainwashedand how Alex realizes his faults and tries to fix it, testing himself with drugs and trying to find an antidote for Elisha’s mother.
I was unbelievably proud when Elisha breaks up with Alex and they both realize it’s the right thing to do in that moment, because they need to heal and fix their relationship. I was proud of both of them owning their truths.
I love reading how Abby, Elisha’s sister is supportive and how Nora, Dylan’s mother and David, Elisha’s father are so close to him, even after the first fights because Elisha couldn’t realize he’s changed.
It was fun and interesting reading about the sex scenes, about the BDSM, about the poliamorous relationships.

I loved reading how Elisha and Alex change during the whole book, how they become different people, owning their own truths and faults. Their relationship is incredibly complex. Their love, born in a not consensual relationship, change both of them. Pushed Alex to realized how much he’s hurting Elisha and to letting him go to his family, understanding how, living with him, wouldn’t help. Elisha, after all he’s been through, still have feelings for Alex, strong ones.

After being so dependent in Alex, reading how Elisha reasserts himself, making his own decisions, asking his own questions, was absolutely amazing. So was reading how Alex owns his mistakes, his faults, his guilt, deciding to give Elisha space, to letting him heal, piece by piece. Their relationship change a lot throughout the book, from owner and owned, abuser and abused, from Elisha being dependent on Alex, to be his own person, again and starts a new relationship with him, without disparities, helping each other and seeing one other as how they really are, without pressures and social impositions.

I loved the ending. It was hopeful and sweet, social justice aside. I loved reading how both Elisha and Alex still have feeling for each other and they are willing to give each other space and time, while deciding to work together and be together.

QUOTES

“I want to be with you- want to be around you without the pressure”

“He kissed me again, and again, parting so slowly I feel dazed. Heady. Elisha leans his forehead against the base of my neck and I rest my chin on his head, the hood long fallen off. When he finally looks at me, he says “I’m not giving up on you, Alexander Bishop.” I don’t answer him, because I want him to feel like he can go on without me if he needs to. He’ll see me soon, anyway. We’re neighbours, now, and I think I promised to open a clinic with him. This isn’t a goodbye. It’s a beginning- one we’ve agreed on. Together.”

CONCLUSION

Docile left me breathless and full of things to say and write. I loved the plot, the characters, the themes. I loved Elisha and Alex and the ending left me so hopeful for them, showing how it’s possible to heal and starts love again even after awful experiences. How it’s important to be true to oneself and do the right thing, how it’s right to fight for what it’s right. Docile is a book with intense and skillfully written themes like abuse, power, consent and love. It’s raw, beautiful, heartbreaking and sexy. It’s impossible not to love Elisha and Alex.

Let me now what do you think! Will you read Docile? Are you excited as I am to have this book in your hands? Comment this post and share your thoughts.