Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass

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I want to begin this review by saying that I have followed Adam Sass on Twitter for quite awhile and when I saw Surrender Your Sons pop up on NetGalley, I immediately “wished” for it. When my wish was granted a couple of months, I literally shrieked out loud.

Connor Major trusted his boyfriend when he suggested that Connor come out to his family, but it turns out to be an utter disaster. Connor’s religious mother strongly objects to the revelation, confiscates his phone, and ultimately has him shipped off to a conversion camp on a secluded island near Costa Rica.

In theory, if Connor follows all the directions, he can leave after a week.

But no one ever leaves after only a week. Read more

Recommended for You by Laura Silverman

Shoshana loves working at Once Upon, an independent bookstore at her local mall. She’s always loved reading, but lately, it’s become a place of refuge for her because her two moms are fighting a lot and her car needs expensive repairs that she can’t afford. But when Jake Kaplan starts working at Once Upon, Shoshana’s beloved bookstore becomes full of tension, and not because Jake is a total hottie.

Okay, maybe because he’s a total hottie, but he’s also a bit of a jerk who doesn’t even read, and when the owner announces a holiday sales competition, Shoshana is determined to win.

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Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rowan Roth has spent her four years of high school locked in a bitter feud with Neil McNair. They compete over EVERYTHING.

Finally, it’s the last day of senior year, and Rowan is determined to beat McNair at Howl, the city-wide scavenger hunt that takes students all around Seattle. There’s a $5k prize waiting at the end.

There’s also a catch—while everyone is going around collecting clues, they are also playing a game of Assassin: elimination means being out of the game.

When Rowan realizes that some of the students—annoyed by her and McNair’s constant one-upmanship of each other—are planning to collaborate and take the two of them out, she has no choice.

So that’s how she and McNair team up together, going all over the city, and getting to know each other for the first time. Maybe they’ll become friends, or—maybe, just maybe—even more than friends.

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The Mall by Megan McCafferty

New Jersey: 1991

Cassie Worthy’s senior year spring did not go as planned—she got mono and missed prom and graduation and a bunch of other stuff. But now she’s better, and she’s starting her job at the America’s Best Cookie store with her amazing boyfriend of two years. They’re going to spend the summer working at the mall together, and then head up to NYC together for college.

And then almost immediately, everything goes wrong. Cassie finds herself dumped, jobless, and wondering what happened. Our intrepid heroine has pick herself up, find something to do all summer, and most importantly, realize that plans can only go so far.

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The Friend Scheme by Cale Dietrich

Matt’s father is the head of an organized crime family, and now that Matt is 17, he’s expected to join the family business. But Matt just wants to be normal and not have to worry about the retaliatory attacks that could come at any moment from their rivals.

And then Matt meets Jason and finds him utterly fascinating. He’s not supposed to have friends outside the “family”, but as their friendship grows closer—and the possibility of something more than friendship emerges—Matt tries not to worry about whether or not the whole thing might be a setup.

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Camp by L.C. Rosen

I want to begin this review by saying that I have been looking forward to this book since it was announced because I’ve spent seven summers at camp as a camper/counselor and now my oldest goes away to camp too. With summer camp being cancelled for the year, I was looking forward to a camp story even more.

Randy has been going to Camp Outland for queer teens for years, but he wants things to be different: Randy wants to catch the attention of Hudson, a fellow camper, but Hudson only likes straight-acting guys, and that’s not Randy. But it could be, right? Randy spent the entire school year formulating a plan, and he shows up at camp as “Del”, who is totally not into nail polish and musicals and all the things that Randy likes.

And the plan works! Hudson notices Del right away and he doesn’t even realize that Del is the same kid he’s been going to camp with for four years, but as the summer progresses, Randy is spending all his time playing sports and doing ropes course challenges instead of being in the musical with his friends, and he begins to wonder if all the sacrifices he’s making are worth it.

As a veteran camper, I remember the intensity of summer romances, so I can empathize with Randy’s pining for Hudson, but he’s changing his entire personality for another boy and missing out on all the things that he loves—and more importantly, by doing this, he’s not being true to himself. That said, I truly understand why he would want to do something that drastic.

Camp provides an interesting retrospective on masc4masc culture, and how the attitude is already evident among 16-year-old kids. The campers might all have a place on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, but there’s already a division among the returning campers; they choose to live in separate bunks, they sit at different dining tables, and they don’t even interact at group activities. However, Randy chooses to live in the “drama cabin” with this theatre friends, so some of the sporty kids end up sitting with the drama kids, and this leads to new friendships.

In Rosen’s book Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts), he used the advice column medium to impart a lot of useful sex-ed information to the readers. In Camp, he uses a weekly camp program to share queer history with the readers. I love the way that both of these devices were blended seamlessly into the narrative.

I would absolutely recommend Camp. It captures the magic of camp perfectly. Randy is such a sweetheart, and he certainly learns a lot over the course of the book. I am already looking forward to Rosen’s next book.

Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian

I have been waiting for this book ever since hints were dropped at the end of A Gentleman Never Keeps Score almost two years, but I can assure you that it was 100% worth the wait.

Will Sedgwick and Martin Easterbrook have been friends for their entire lives. Their paths diverged at some point, but as the story begins, Will has essentially kidnapped Martin and brought him to recuperate in an abandoned gamekeeper’s cottage. At first, Martin is quite ill, but Will manages to bring him back to good—well, decent—health.

So, there they are, living together in a small cottage. There is plenty of time to reacquaint themselves with the men they have become, and of course, to acknowledge the feelings that have always been there.

Did I mention that there’s only one bed?

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Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert

 

 

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Conrad and Alden are both part of the same Odyssey gaming group, but they have never gotten along, but that’s okay because they have separate lives and don’t have to interact outside the group.

And then they end up on a road trip together, with nothing but time to get to know each other. Read more

If We Were Us by K.L. Walther

Sage Morgan is starting her senior year at the The Bexley School, along with her best friends Charlie and Nick Carmichael. Everyone thinks that Sage and Charlie would be perfect together, but Charlie is a serial dater and they’re strictly friends. Besides, Sage secretly kissed Nick at a summer bonfire on Martha’s Vineyard.

There’s also a new student at Bexley: Luke Morrison, a PG (post-graduate). He and Charlie form a connection almost immediately, but Charlie has always dated girls and he’s worried about what people will think if he starts dating Luke.

This book takes place over the course of the school year and unfolds from Sage and Charlie’s dual perspectives. The pace is a little slow at times, but this is exactly what boarding school is like in real life. There’s a whole lot of status quo, punctuated by moments of high drama. Needless to say, friendships are tested and the characters have to figure out who they are and what they want out of life.  

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The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos

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Just about everything in the world of The Fascinators is the same as our world except for the fact that magic is real, and as one might expect, magic is looked upon with suspicion in Sam’s small town in Georgia. That’s probably why the magic club at Sam’s school only has a couple of kids— James and Delia, his closest friends.

The start of Sam’s senior year brings a number of changes: new members of the magic club, a shift in his friendship with James, and the increasing possibility of trouble bigger than they can imagine. Read more