"What she needs are stories. Stories are a way to preserve one's self. To be remembered. And to forget. Stories come in so many forms: in charcoal, and in song, in paintings, poems, films. And books. Books, she has found, are a way to live a thousand lives—or to find strength in a very long one.” The invisibile life of Addie LaRue
First of all a huge thank you to Jordon Greene for the amazing ARC and the chance to read and review one of my most anticipated books of 2022!
Skylar Gray is adopted, nonverbal and he feels most comfortable in skirts and dresses. His life wasn’t easy, he was bullied and abused, he doesn’t trust easily and he’s scared to be seen as defective, a burden, to be unable to find family and friends. Now, living with new parents, going in a new school and in a different state, Skylar is a bit more hopeful things will get better for him. His life and feelings are complicated when he meets Jacob, with his white hair and gorgeous eyes, who is as anxious and nervous as he is.
Jacob’s life isn’t easy, either, since he came out over the summer, receiving his homophobic father’s hate and disgust, struggling to live in his own family and trying to live his life as freely as possible, even though painting his nails and dyeing his hair mean getting grounded every time. When Skylar wearing skirts prompts his father to propose a sexist dress code, Jacob refuses to remain silent and decides to take a stand.
I LOVED reading Every word you never said. The story is absolutely fantastic, very sweet and with care and sensivity the author deals with many important themes, like homophobia, ableism, bullying, sexism, abuse and so much more. Told by two POVs, Skylar’s and Jacob’s, with wonderful drawings of the boys at the beginning of their chapters, it’s impossible not to be involved in this story, to love these characters, who are so realistic, relatable, brimming with feelings, so alive and complex. Skylar’s life wasn’t easy, he’s been through so much, he struggles to trust, to see himself as his new parents and new friends see him, to let himself go and trust he’s loved and cared for. His new friends, Imani and Seth are amazing, supportive and really brilliant. I loved reading their interactions, Imani’s loud voice and Seth’s quiet presence, their unconditional love and support. I also loved reading Skylar’s interactions with his new parents, who love him right away, supporting his decision to wear what he wants, to use makeup, to do whatever he’s comfortable with.
On the other side, Jacob is struggling with his coming out and the hate from his father, against his homophobic and sexist ideas, against his obsession for the church and the use of religion to support his ideas and hate speech. When he starts to feel something for the new student and when Skylar is threatened by the new dress code, Jacob is determined to take a stand and to fight for what is right.
I loved how the author talked about their relationship, between cute and sweet moments, sexual tension, romantic dates, but, also, doubts, anxiety problems, frustrations, it was really relatable and skillfully written. I also loved how the author addresses Skylar’s disability, how he, sometimes, struggles with it and with the difficulty of being understood through sign language, reading lips, or having to use his phone to communicate, but also with how, with Jacob, his friends and parents, Skylar uses other languages, the body’s, eyes’ expressions, movements and so on, to communicate. It was my first read with a nonverbal main character and I loved everything (mostly because I’m trying to learn sign language, so I was interested in that, too). I loved Skylar’s and Jacob’s relationship, how they help, support and love one other, between music and books, dates and friends.
I loved Jacob’s and Skylar’s friends, how they joke and are supportive, how they are willing to do the right things and support them. I loved how the author addresses important issues in this book and, through the new sexist dress code, how, even now, people struggle to understand that clothes, makeup and so on, have no gender, how is, basically, through and because of some culture that dresses or skirts are seen are feminine and associated to a certain sexual orientation, giving bullies their ammutions to attack and hurt people. This could open, and it should, a discussion about gender and clothes, but I think it’s better to finish my review, without writing a poem.
I loved Every Word You Never Said. The characterization is brilliant, the writing style was immersive and evocative, I loved reading about Skylar and Jacob, their struggles and ideas, their pains and traumas, but, also, their love and friendships and how they learn to fight to be themselves and to be together. I loved everything.
Salve e benvenut* alla mia tappa del review party dedicato a Cemetery Boys di Aiden Thomas. Un grazie enorme ad Ambra per aver organizzato l’evento, per le bellissime grafiche e alla casa editrice per una copia in anteprima. Le mie opinioni non sono state in alcun modo influenzate.
Genere: Fantascienza e Fantasy
Prezzo: € 20,00
In vendita dal 26 ottobre 2021
“Noi persone queer siamo come i lupi. Ci muoviamo in branco.“
Se mi conoscete, online o offline, sapete quanto io abbia amato e ami questo libro. Cemetery Boys è uno dei miei libri preferiti ed ero sia spaventata che al settimo cielo quando ho scoperto che sarebbe stato tradotto. Spaventata, anzi, preoccupata, per le desinenze e come sarebbero state usate, se correttamente o meno. Sono stata piacevolmente sorpresa, quindi, quando ho letto le note della traduttrice, che ha parlato di come, “in spagnolo si usi la desinenza neutra “x”, come alternativa proposta, mentre, in italiano, una delle alternative neutre proposte dal movimento per il linguaggio inclusivo, sia la schwa per il singolare (ǝ) e la schwa lunga per il plurale (з) e usando desinenze “tipiche” di ogni lingua, invece che di uniformare. Sono presenti “combinazioni” di desinenze neutre, come “lз brujx”, coerentemente con la lingua in cui compare la desinenza.” In conclusione, devo ammettere che ho trovato la traduzione molto ben fatta e rispettosa e ho adorato rileggere per l’ennesima volta questo libro magnifico.
Cemetery Boys è il tipo di libro che non vuoi che finisca, che rileggeresti, e rileggi, ancora e ancora, memorizzando citazioni, sorridendo e appassionandoti alle vicende dei personaggi perché è impossibile non sentirsi coinvolti e amarli tutti. Il tipo di libro che devi finire di leggere perché hai bisogno di sapere cosa accadrà e il libro che vorresti gustarti lentamente, perché non vuoi abbandonare quel mondo pieno di magia, di personaggi complessi e straordinari e dei quali vuoi sapere ogni cosa. Ho adorato e adoro Cemetery Boys e ha tutto ciò che si potrebbe mai desiderare: colpi di scena, personaggi ben scritti e sviluppati, tematiche affrontate alla perfezione, cugine simpatiche, un gatto adorabile, cani affettuosi e due ragazzi che sono dei cinnamon rolls.
La storia è bellissima, struggente e dolce ed esplora l’identità trans Latinx, il folklore Latinx e le sue leggende, ingiustizie razziali e classiste, pregiudizi e via discorrendo, una lettura molto importante. Un libro che tratta dell’importanza di essere se stessi, amarsi e accettarsi e le difficoltà incontrate durante questo percorso. Cemetery Boys è una storia d’amore queer, un mistero da risolvere, il tutto in una corsa contro il tempo.
La trama è coinvolgente, la storia piena zeppa di personaggi ricchi e pieni di energia, complessi e molto realistici. Ho amato moltissime cose di questo libro. Una delle cose che mi ha coinvolto sin dall’inizio è lo stile di scrittura di Aiden Thomas, che è fenomenale. Aiden Thomas ha scritto un libro così realistico che è quasi possibile assaggiare e annusare il mondo di Yadriel, quasi vedere gli spiriti che popolano il cimitero, la magia, la cucina, quasi seguire Yadriel, Maritza e Julian nel loro viaggio. Il worlbuilding è evocativo e ben scritto, ricco e complesso ed è stato molto interessante poter imparare cose sulla cultura Latinx, le leggende, i miti, sulla comunità brujx, i poteri e via discorrendo. Affascinante e confortante anche la loro visione della vita e della morte, che ho trovato bellissima.
I personaggi sono ben scritti e sviluppati e mi sono immediatamente affezionata a loro. Yadriel è il protagonista principale, è un ragazzo trans, gay e lotta per essere accettato dalla sua famiglia e dalla comunità brujx sia in quanto ragazzo che brujo. Brillante, testardo, un po’ introverso e timido, Yadriel è costantemente combattuto tra il desiderio di essere se stesso, di essere accettato e l’amore per la sua famiglia. Stanco di combattere, di essere la pecora nera della famiglia, è stato un piacere poter leggere di lui. Compagna di avventure, Maritza è la cugina di Yadriel, sempre pronta a supportarlo e a combinare guai ed è ferocemente leale. Ho amato la relazione che c’è tra lei e Yadriel e quella che si instaura con Julian, fatta di battibecchi, prese in giro e risate. Il terzo e ultimo protagonista è Julian ed è impossibile non amarlo sin dall’inizio. Testardo, chiassoso, senza filtri, ho riso di cuore leggendo i suoi modi di dire, sbagliati, ho sorriso pensando a quanto fosse ferocemente leale e affezionato ai suoi amici e mi sono sciolta nel leggere come la sua relazione con Yadriel sboccia e prosegue nel corso della storia.
La presenza di Julian mette sottosopra la vita, già complicata, di Yadriel che, non solo vuole trovare lo spirito di suo cugino Miguel e liberarlo, provando di essere un brujo, ma che si ritrova trascinato nella vita…anzi, nella morte di Julian, a indagare su cosa sia successo e a mettere insieme i pezzi di un mistero che coinvolgerà e stravolgerà tutti. Uno degli aspetti più dolci e divertenti del libro è il rapporto che si instaura tra Yadriel e Julian, un rapporto che è complesso, ben scritto e ho amato il modo in cui i due personaggi imparano a fidarsi l’uno dell’altro, a confidarsi, aiutarsi ed amarsi, soprattutto visto e considerato quanto siano totalmente diversi. Yadriel e Julian imparano ad accettarsi, a volersi bene e a tenere l’uno all’altro, aprendosi gli occhi a vicenda sull’importanza di accettarsi, sulle relazioni e i sentimenti. Ho amato leggere le loro interazioni, ho riso, mi sono commossa e sono davvero indimenticabili.
Il libro affronta una serie di importanti tematiche, come il bullismo, la trasfobia, deadnaming. Yadriel lotta per essere visto e accettato sia in quanto ragazzo che brujo, stanco di perdonare e giustificare chi, pur senza volerlo (come nel caso della sua famiglia) lo ferisce. La famiglia, quella trovata negli amici e la biologica, è un tema molto presente all’interno della storia e l’autore ha descritto in modo molto realistico le interazioni tra i suoi componenti, tra genitori e figli, nonne e nipoti, fratelli, zie e cugini, tra incomprensioni, litigi, prese in giro. La difficoltà che riscontra Yadriel è proprio quella di essere se stesso in una famiglia, e comunità, molto tradizionale, che lotta tra tradizioni e cambiamenti.
In un libro molto stratificato, l’autore, tramite la famiglia di Julian e ciò che accade a Miguel, affronta anche tematiche come l’abuso familiare, gangs, ingiustizie sociali, razziali e classiste, i pregiudizi e quanto possano essere sbagliati e dannosi. Affronta il dolore e la difficoltà di accettarsi e venire accettati e visti, l’importanza di essere se stessi e fieri, il legame fortissimo presente tra amici e famiglia e una storia d’amore importante e forte.
In conclusione, consiglio questo libro a chiunque voglia innamorarsi di una storia con personaggi realistici e straordinari, una storia queer molto particolare, a chi voglia essere trasportato in un mondo popolato da spiriti, dee e dei, cinnamon rolls, famiglia e amore.
Potete trovare la recensione che scrissi in inglese, l’anno scorso sul mio goodreads. Le altre le trovate qui, seguendo questo calendario!
Hello and welcome to my stop for This is our rainbow: 16 stories of Her, Him, Them and Us! A huge thanks to Tbr and Beyond Tours for this opportunity!
Thank you so much, NetGalley, Random House Children’s and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the chance to read and review this book in exchange of an honest review.
This is Our Rainbow is the LGBTQA+ anthology for middle-graders and I loved every single story! There are 16 stories, a beautiful and intense collection of queer fantasy, contemporary, historical stories. We meet people with magical powers and special letters, a nonbinary pirate who makes a wish to a wind-breathing dragon, a zombie girl with a lovely relationship with her girlfriend, a girl crushing on her friend’s mum, a trans girl empowering her bestie to come out and be herself, a group of friends who are growing up and changing, realizing more and more things about themselves and what they love and like…there’s everything and it’s amazing.
It’s a collection about discovering, accepting and embracing yourself, your queerness, it’s filled with joy and laughter, intense and funny moments, fear, but happy ending. I laughed, cried with happiness, cheering them on and it was so amazing.
It filled my heart with love and hope and it was such an amazing journey through magic, first crushes, zombies, ex bullies, dragons, friendships, loves… These characters are realistic, in their fears, hopes, dreams, fighting, in some stories, against relatives, expectations and what others may think of them. They are brave, scared, eager to be themselves and to love without limits and it’s really empowering. There are so many stories I loved, so many wonderful and brilliant characters, so skillfully written and I loved exploring with them their feelings, realizing their crushes and who they are. A wonderful collection, a definitely recommended read.
“She looked the way my heart felt sometimes, too loud and too bright, and maybe that meant she would understand what I was feeling lately.”
“You are wonderful and you are perfect, without conditions, just as you are.”
“I know who I am. And it’s time to say.”
“I wonder what it would be like to walk out from my hiding place and say who I am, loud and clear. To not hide. To not be afraid of other people. To be…me.”
“It was a name I had been given. A name I had chosen. Didn’t that make it real?”
Hello and welcome to my stop for “May the best man win” by Z.R. Ellor, organized by Turn the page tours! I’m so excited to be part of this tour, because this book was one of my most anticipated read of 2021 and I’m really happy to recommend it with all my heart!
Thank you so much, NetGalley, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Roaring Brook Press, for the chance to read and review one of my most anticipated books of 2021!
Jeremy Harkiss is the cheer captain and student body president and he won’t let his coming out as trangender boy define him and ruin his senior year. He’s determined to be seen as he is, a boy and he’s ready to battle against bigots and the outdated school administration, so he decides to run as Homecoming King, challenging his ex Lukas for the title. Lukas is a football start and head of the Homecoming Commitee and he’s struggling to put order in his life after being dumped by his long-term girlfriend, who turned out to be a boy and his own family falling apart and he won’t let Jeremy steal his crown, after having broken his heart. So they start an intense battle, made of sabotage, cheating, involving their friends and, soon, the whole school, in their rivarly, while struggling with their own fears, doubts and wounds. But when they are forced to work together in order to save Homecoming, Jeremy and Lukas have to face the hurt they are hiding and their mutual attraction.
May the best man win is such an amazing novel and I loved everything about it. Told by two POVs, Jeremy’s and Lukas’, the stoy is intense, wonderful and heartwrenching, tackling important themes as transphobia and homophobia, misgendering, deadnaming, violence, aggression and so much more. The story focuses on Jeremy and Lukas and their complicated and intense journey in finding themselves and one other, their places and community, facing family’s, school’s and society’s expectations.
Jeremy is struggling with the bigots at school, a complicated relationship with his mother, dysphoria and the desire to be finally seen as he is: a boy. Not Lukas’ ex girlfriend, not a lesbian, not a pretender, but himself, but he’s forced to face constant transphobia at school, above all from his ex friend Philip and to fight against the school administration, who doesn’t want to do anything in order to protect him, not wanting to jeopardize Philip’s father money donations. His decision to run as Homecoming King is strongly connected with his desire to be seen as he is. At the same time Jeremy is acutely aware of how little the school is doing in order to protected the marginalized community and he’s determined to change things. His battle with Lukas is also complicated by unresolved feelings, painful and intense past and their profound wounds and bonds.
Lukas’ life is falling apart around him, since his older (and cruel) brother died and his family changed, stopping talking to one other. He wants to fix everything, to put order in his messy life and becoming a Homecoming King is the only way he’s seeing to attract college’s attentions and making his family proud of him, struggling to be seen by them. Lukas is autistic, even though few know about it and he’s under the costant pressure of being the perfect football player, the perfect son, the perfect student, carrying his family’s, his school’s expectations on his shoulder. The author wrote skillfully his complicated relationship with his family and brother, the pain of losing him, but also the relief of not being hurt by him anymore, his need to salvage what he can and to keep his family together. His painful breakup with Jeremy, the pain of having lost him, after years and years together, the knowledge of not knowing exactly why it happened weighs down on him, filling both of them with anger and pain, pushing them in all-out war, threatening to burn down everything and everyone around them.
Their journey is messy and complicated by intrusive thoughts, like feeling unwanted and unloved, heartwrenching past and interactions, bad days. Both Jeremy and Lukas show the world a front, what people want to see, a fake Jeremy and a fake Lukas, in order to be accepted, loved and included, at school and at home. But slowly the pressure of not being themselves threatens to destroy them both and Jeremy and Lukas have to face themselves and one other and be finally honest and happy. Both of them feel unwanted and unloved and keep thinking everything (family’s and their own’s expectations) will be solved with the crown, while the whole world is crashing around them. Slowly they are forced to accept the reality and start loving themselves for who they are and not what the others want them to be, realizing the love and support from their friends and family members. On this note, I have to say I loved the side characters, above all Sol and their constant energy and jokes and Ben and Naomi, with their support and love, even though they all were “forced” in the middle of Jeremy’s and Lukas’ breakup, aftermath and fights.
Jeremy and Lukas are intense, complex and amazing main characters. They are teenagers, they are messed up, desperate, filled with anger and pain. They make mistakes, hurt people, apologize, struggle to be better, to be and find themselves in a world, often, bent into put people in labeled boxes and in smothering them.
I loved how the author talked about Jeremy’s anger and fire and the wonderful and supportive queer community he finally finds, where he can fit and be himself, how Lukas, after struggling for so long under the pressure of being someone he wasn’t, learns to embrace and be himself.
Jeremy’s and Lukas’ relationship is truly intense, moving and heartwrenching, made of still open wounds, unresolved tension and questions, pain and desires. While facing one other in the battle for the Homecoming King, while struggling with their own problems at home and school, between lessons and friends and fights, Jeremy and Lukas slowly realize how much they still care and love about one other, under all the pain and misunderstandings. It was really beautiful reading how they fit, how much they are still in love and how to move from there.
“We fit together like puzzle pieces, my fire and his reason, my energy and his comfortable arms.” (quote from the earc, so it can be subject to change)
May the best man win also tackles how often the powers, as the school administration, can turn a blind eye only for monetary gain, refusing to acknowledge and listen to victims denouncing harassments, sexual, physical, hate speech and so on, leaving more often than not people alone and afraid to speak, because they are afraid they won’t get their justice. Even though it doesn’t solve the problem with the whole school system at Jeremy’s and Lukas’ school, I was really moved and impressed by the community’s support and love in defending their classmates and in their desire to change things for the better.
The novel also talks about stereotypical thoughts about being gay, trans and female, about what it means “being a man”, misogyny and harmful behaviour.
I really loved reading May the best man win. The story is amazing, brilliant and I enjoyed so much reading about Jeremy’s and Lukas’ journey and their incredible and intense bond.
There’s also a giveaway!
Up for grabs, we have ONE (1) copy of May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will run from May 16th to May 23rd at 12 AM CST. No giveaway accounts allowed.
Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.
While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.
But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.
Thank you so much, NetGalley, Macmillan-Tor/Forge and Tor Books, for the chance to read and review one of my most anticipated 2021 releases!
Prince Kiem is the Emperor’s least favourite grandchild, boisterous, cheeky, known for his attitude and adventures and his life is turned upside down when it’s decided he will marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince and to assure the empire’s bonds with its vassals planet. But Jainan’s last partner’s death wasn’t an accident and somenthing is very wrong with a military operation. Between a war threatening the empire, a treaty hanging in the balance, lies, omissions and their own feelings and marriage at stake, Jainan and Kiem will have to prove their union and save everything from a possible conspiracy.
I LOVED reading Winter’s Orbit! Everina Maxwell’s romantic debut is absolutely fantastic. Sci-fi, so set in space, with a magnificent worldbuilding, space ships, mysterious powers and weapons, multiple planets with their own traditions and abilities, an arranged marriage between two very different characters, conspiracies, lies, lots of plot twists…everything is perfect! Really interesting is the choice of using ornaments and accessories to express or not the gender and the choice of not using binary in titles, but gender neutral ones, like the Emperor, who is Kiem’s grandmother. It was really refreshing, something I’ve never read before! Told by Kiem’s and Jainan’s POVs, while they navigate their new status as married couple, trying to know and understand each other, the story is intriguing and well written. The conspiracy is really interesting and I was really captivated, because I needed to know what was happening and happened. Most of all, I loved the characterization. Bel, Gairad, Audel, the Emperor…the side characters are really interesting, but Kiem and Jainan stand out in the story, with their building relationship, their marriage and bond.
Kiem and Jainan are amazing main characters, I really love them, even though sometimes I wish I could just yell at them because they struggled to talk about them and their feelings! They are very different from one other. Kiem is more cheerful, he’s able to get along with everyone and persuade even a rock, while Jainan is more quiet and reserved, but slowly they learn to know each other, to understand each other’s moods and feelings. It was really incredible reading how slowly they strengthen their bond, how they support, help and get to love one other, solving problems and saving everyone and everything. How they go from strangers, to cautious allies, to friends to lovers, to husbands! The slow burn, the trope of marriage couple, one bed and so on is great!
I recommend this story to those who are looking for an intriguing plot, two idiots in love, slow burn, arranged marriage, one bed and love in space!
OUT 2 FEBRUARY 2021! (Probably the January Illumicrate box book *fingers crossed*)
So, what are you waiting for? Preorder this book! You won’t regret it!
Everina Maxwell is the author of Winter’s Orbit, a queer romantic space opera about a diplomat who enters into an arranged marriage to save his planet.
She grew up in Sussex, UK, which has come a long way from the days of Cold Comfort Farm and now has things like running water and Brighton Pier. She was lucky enough to live near a library that stocked Lois McMaster Bujold, Anne McCaffrey and Terry Pratchett, so spent all her spare time devouring science fiction and doorstopper fantasy, with her family’s Georgette Heyer collection always a reliable friend when the library books ran out.
She first took part in NaNoWriMo in 2004 and continues to precariously balance writing, a day job, and watching Let’s Plays of video games she claims she doesn’t have time to play. She lives and works in Yorkshire.
Sinister sorcery. Gallows humor. A queer romance so glorious it could be right out of fae legend itself. Master of One is a fantasy unlike any other.
Rags is a thief—an excellent one. He’s stolen into noble’’s coffers, picked soldier’s pockets, and even liberated a ring or two off the fingers of passersby. Until he’s caught by the Queensguard and forced to find an ancient fae relic for a sadistic royal sorcerer. But Rags could never have guessed this “relic” would actually be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince called Shining Talon. Good thing Rags can think on his toes, because things just get stranger from there…
With the heist and intrigue of Six of Crows and the dark fairy tale feel of The Cruel Prince, this young adult fantasy debut will have readers rooting for a pair of reluctant heroes as they take on a world-ending fae prophecy, a malicious royal plot, and, most dangerously of all, their feelings for each other
Thank you so much, NetGalley, HarperCollins Children’s books and Harperteen for the chance to read this book!
TW: murder, torture, violence, loss of free will, kidnapping, death
Rags is an excellent thief, until he’s caught by the Queensguard and forced to help a sadistic and cruel sorcerer to find an ancient Fae relic, a powerful relic unlike anything they ever knew. But after Rags finds a Fae, a beautiful, powerful prince called Shining Talon, things begin to become more and more dangerous and complex and he finds himself involved into a deeper plot. Between gallows humor, sinister and sadistic magic, prophecies and Fae magic, Rags has to face adventures, new allies and enemies, dangers and, above all, his and Shining Talon’s feelings for each other.
Master of one is an intense, brilliant and funny young adult fantasy debut and it’s unbelievably amazing. Set in a world ruled by a cruel and sinister Queen, Rags’ life is a difficult one, living on the streets, stealing and building his name as a thief. His world expands when he’s thrust into a complex and dangerous situation, forcing him to grow, to work with others, to understand himself and the world around him.
Rags is an unlikely and reluctant hero, fighting with self doubts, fears and using gallows humor to get by and survive the pain and the dangers. He’s a wonderfully relatable character, with his feelings and thoughts.
The story is told, at first, by Rags’ POV, but, as his world expands so the POVs. Each character is skillfully written, well rounded and complex, with their pasts to face, secrets, lies, family to protect, revenge, guilt, remorse and so on. They are relatable in their fierceness, flaws and mistakes. It’s impossible not to love, support and freak out about them and their adventures.
They are introduced slowly, piece by piece, like a puzzle, adding more and more to the initial plot. This is one the things I loved the most about Master of one.
Everything starts with Rags and a mission he’s forced to do by a sinister sorcerer and the dangers he will find, facing it. But slowly the story breathes and expands, including more characters, places and plots, truths that have to be uncovered and faced, secrets and magic.
The worldbuilding is lush and well written, the story set in a world medioeval or similar to that time, but with magic and sorcerers, a cruel queen and enslaved people. There are a lot of dark themes in Master of one, like murder, torture, death, enslaved people, exploitation and cruel and complex characters.
The interactions between characters are amazing and brilliant. The main relationship the reader sees is between Rags and Shining Talon, self deprecating, full of dark humor and doubts the first, a Fae brilliant, honorable and brilliant the second. Their relationship is a slow burn, an achingly beautiful queer romance between them, a chemistry and a yearning intense and lovely to read.
It was amazing reading how much they grow to trust, help and love one other, above all witnessing the growth of Rags, from a lonely and stubborn thief, self-deprecating and sure of being better alone, to someone able to trust, protect and work with others and relying on them.
The magic is another interesting element in this book, both sinister and cruel if used by sorcerers, but full of wonder and beauty when used by the Fae, heartwrenching and so beautiful.
I won’t say anything more about this book, because it’s an experience and everyone should read and love it! So if you love queer romance, yearning, action packed plot, slow burn, suspence and an intriguing worlbuilding this book is perfect for you.
There are many reasons you should read Master of one, but here’s my top 5! There could be spoilers ahead, so be careful!
If you love slow burn romance, yearning and two stubborn characters (let’s be honest, one stubborn and self-deprecating character), this book is perfect for you. The relationship between Rags and Shining Talon is amazingly written and complex, the chemistry between them intense and intricate. Their queer love is *chef’s kiss*.
I loved reading about them, following them in their adventures, slowly learning to trust, confide and help one other and open up. They grow up so much in this book and I’m so proud of them. I was freaking out about Rags and Shining Talon since the beginning, smiling at every small interaction and touch. They are perfect together.
While reading Master of one it’s impossible not to laugh or facepalm thanks to Rags dark and gallows humor, able to defusing a tense situation or simply helping getting by and face the dangers. Rags is darkly funny and his interactions with Shining Talon are hilarious. It’s thanks to this kind of humor, these characters move on, trying to see the silver lining in their troubles and situations.
As written above in my review, Master of one has multiple POVs. The story begins with Rags’ and slowly expands, introducing more and more characters. They are intricate, burdened by loss, past traumas, intense feelings and intentions. Like pieces of a broken mirror (pun intended), the reader is able to know them and, through their eyes, to follow and know the whole story, above all when the characters are separated, learning about their feelings and thoughts, doubts and fears.
There are many themes in Master of One and some of them are dark. Master of one deals with murder, torture, enslavement, exploitation, cruelty, loss of free will and consent, using dark and sinister magic.
It also deals with love, yearning, friendship, loyalty, connection, rebellion and trust. These characters, each of them from different social classes, upbringing and even species, are bonded through accidents, fate, adventures and destiny and they have to learn how to rely on, trust and help one other, fighting for the right thing and supporting each other.
The magic used in Master of one is a sinister and cruel one, used by the Queen’s sorcerer’s. In this world of enslaved, dark magic and cruel intentions, the fragments’ and Fae’s magic is in stark contrast, full of beauty, wonder and deeply connection. It was intriguing and captivating starting to learn more about the Fae and their kind of magic, the connections between them, their powers and pasts.
Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett are married co-authors (without wanting to divorce yet) who live in Brooklyn with 8 cats. Danielle is from Victoria, British Columbia, and works freelance as an independent editor, proofreader and plagiarism checker. Jaida is a native New Yorker. Their published work includes four novels from the Volstovic Cycle, in addition to their many twitter rants on intersectional feminism and the NYC subway system. COMING FALL 2020 FROM HARPERTEEN: MASTER OF ONE.
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.