Social Intercourse is a YA novel by Greg Howard. I don’t remember where I heard about this book, but the plot intrigued me, and so I made a request through my library network, and the book arrived a couple of days later.
It’s not easy for Beckett Gaines to be a gay teen in South Carolina, but he knows that he only needs to make it through high school and then he can leave his homophobic hometown. His plan is somewhat derailed when his dad starts dating one of football star Jaxon Parker’s moms.
Beck has accepted that his own mother abandoned the family, but he’s not too thrilled about the development because of his contentious history with Jax. Likewise, Jax wants his moms to get back together, so the two boys do what any reasonable teens would do and hatch a plan to break up Beck’s dad and Jax’s mom. What neither of them counted on was developing feelings for each other. Read more
Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel was written by Val Emmich. It is, of course, based on the Tony award winning musical by Steven Levenson, Benk Pasek and Justin Paul. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my girls and I have been listening to the DEH soundtrack since the spring.
Evan Hansen is a high school boy with anxiety. He’s supposed to be writing inspirational letters to himself as a therapeutic exercise. One of these letters ends up with Connor Murphy, who commits suicide in an unrelated incident. When the Murphys find the letter, they believe that Connor wrote the letter to Evan. Instead of telling the truth, Evan allows the Murphys to believe that he was Connor’s best friend and fabricates an entire relationship. This desperately lonely boy finally has people paying attention to what he has to say, but it’s all for the wrong reasons. He has everything he could ever want, but it’s all based on lies. How can he tell the truth now? Read more
Been Here All Along is a young adult novel by Sandy Hall. I put this book on my “To Read” list, and then I was lucky enough to find it at my town library without having to request it through the library network.
Gideon and Kyle have been best friends and neighbors since they were five years old. They don’t share all of the same interests- Kyle plays basketball and Gideon focuses on academics- but they still love talking about things like Lord of the Rings.
Gideon realizes that his feelings for Kyle go beyond friendship. This also marks the first time that he considered his sexuality, and he doesn’t know what to do with this revelation. Kyle has already come out as bisexual, but Gideon doesn’t want to ruin his friendship with Kyle. Also, Kyle is currently dating Ruby, a cheerleader. Read more
Autoboyography is a young adult novel written by Christina Lauren (Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings). I picked up this book during an Audible sale; based on the description, it seemed like something I would like.
Tanner Scott is a bit of an outsider at his high school in Provo; not only did he not grow up in Utah, but his family is not LDS (Mormon). He’s also bisexual, although he has not been “out” since moving from California to Utah a couple of years ago. Tanner’s friend Autumn persuades him to participate in a unique class called “The Seminar”, wherein kids write a full-length book in one semester. It’s kind of a big deal around town because last year, a boy named Sebastian Brother managed to get a publishing deal for his fantasy novel. Read more
My Bare Naked Heart is a novel written by David Avery. I found it on Kindle Unlimited, and since I’ve been reading a lot of historical m/m lately, it seemed like the sort of book that I would enjoy.
John Branson is starting college at an all-male college in Vermont. He quickly falls in with the other young men in his dormitory, and this causes him to question his sexuality even more than he already has been. However, it is the 1950s, so coming out is absolutely impossible. Read more
Big Nate: Silent but Deadly was written by Lincoln Peirce. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my oldest daughter is a big fan of the Big Nate comic strip and I knew that she would be interested in reading it too.
Nate is an average American boy who goes to elementary school. He has somewhat of a contentious relationship with teachers and administrators, and he has friends and adversaries within the school community. He’s a bright boy, but he doesn’t like to do schoolwork, which is something most children can empathize with. He plays sports, and interacts with his family. Read more
Unicorn of Many Hats is the seventh book in Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and her Unicorn series of comics. I was very excited to read this book and share it with my oldest daughter because she loves this series.
The premise is fairly simple: Phoebe is an elementary school student, and her best friend is a unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Marigold is mostly invisible, but she does have some interactions with the other characters.
Unicorn of Many Hats tends to follow a similar setup to the other books, wherein the good part of a year is covered, without the characters really aging from one book to another. There are story arcs devoted to starting school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Many of the familiar secondary characters have returned, including frenemy Dakota, Max, Phoebe’s geeky parents, and even the goblins make an appearance. Read more
I’m Not Your Sweet Babboo is a collection of Peanuts cartoons by the late Charles Schulz. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my oldest daughter is a big fan of Peanuts. Needless to say, she was very excited when I told her that I had a Peanuts book for her to read!
Fans of Peanuts will know that “sweet babboo” was a term of endearment that Sally Brown used with her beloved Linus. Interestingly enough, while there was a storyline involving Sally and Linus going to a farm on a school, most of the collection focuses on other storylines. We are treated to Snoopy’s feud with the cat next door, Peppermint Patty’s school troubles, Charlie Brown running away, and Snoopy playing tennis with Molly Volley.
These storylines are unrelated, but the compilers of this collection did a good job with the segues, so nothing seems out-of-place with the transitions. There’s a nice flow. Read more
A Duke in the Night was written by Kelly Bowen. This is the first book in her new Regency-era The Devils of Dover series. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Bowen in my book group.
Clara first encountered August during an incident in which he was dared to ask her to dance at a ball. Ten years later, they meet again when August’s sister enrolls at Clara’s school for young ladies.
August arrives at the school with a flimsy excuse as to why he needs to be there. Clara has moved on with her life, and she is very happy with the way her life has tuned out, but his return stirs up old memories, and she doesn’t know if she can trust him. She is skeptical about his reasons for remaining at the school, as well as his attempts to spend time with her.
August does have an ulterior motive, but as he spends time there, not only does he begin to see Clara in a new light, but he also sees that his sister is no longer a little girl who needs to be protected. There were some allusions to his backstory; I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say that he didn’t inherit his title in the conventional way. I found myself wanting to know more about his earlier years; they certainly shaped his current personality, but I want to know everything!
The story is bolstered by some really great secondary characters. I especially enjoyed the two elderly sisters who share the manor house with the school. I hope that I am just as spry when I am that age! I should also add that the villain of the piece was fairly easy to spot, but he had some really great mustache-twirling moments!
I would absolutely recommend A Duke in the Night. Clara and August have such good chemistry. They are also both fascinating in their own rights- their personalities are both very different than the usual archetypes found in the genre. Some might find the conventions to be too modern for the era, but I loved Clara’s commitment to instilling a sense of independence and self-affirmation in her students. And August’s reaction to these unconventional ways was just as fun! I am looking forward to catching up on Bowen’s earlier books, as well as looking forward to the next book in the series!
I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Turtles All the Way Down is a young adult novel written by John Green. I haven’t had very many YA titles in my reading queue lately, but I’ve enjoyed Green’s books in the past, and so I took the opportunity to check this one out of the library.
Aza seems like a fairly typical teenage girl, but she struggles with anxiety, which is exacerbated by thoughts of germs and becoming sick (specifically with c diff). Her routine is thrown into disarray when Russell Pickett, a local billionaire disappears and a $100k reward is offered for any information that leads to his whereabouts.
Aza, goaded by her best friend, reluctantly takes up the search. She happens to know Pickett’s son Davis because they attended a grief camp together, and her sleuthing leads to a reconnection with her old friend. Everything seems to be going well for Aza, but her negative thoughts become more persistent, and she can’t stop thinking about getting sick, and starts exploring extreme measures in her quest to avoid illness. Read more