Category Archives: GLBTQ

The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

wasnt-meDespite the fact that the American Psychiatric Association put forth a resolution in 2009 stating that “there is insufficient evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work,” there are still numerous facilities and therapists that claim they can “cure” homosexuality.  It breaks my heart and makes me angry, in equal measure, when I hear about teens being sent off to so-called conversion therapy camps.  To put it plainly, I find the notion that GLBTQ people can/need to be “fixed” is simply horrifying.  I recognize that some people’s religious views are the reason they don’t condone homosexuality, but I reject the implication that one’s religious beliefs can or should be forced upon anyone else.  Though some some places [California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington D.C.] have passed laws banning conversion therapy for minors, I am appalled that so many states haven’t stepped up.  Hopefully, books like The Summer I Wasn’t Me and The Miseducation of Cameron Post can help to open people’s eyes and to bring about further change. Continue reading

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

fangirlCath was not just a Simon Snow fan.  She was an über Simon Snow fan who actually had followers of her own.  How?  Cath wrote fan fiction.  More specifically, she wrote Simon/Baz fan fiction.  And her story, Carry On, got tens of thousands of hits every time she posted a new chapter.  While I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that Cath entered college with the intention to be a fiction writer, I was interested in how she struggled with creating stories all her own even though the fan fiction flowed so easily for her.  And even more than that, I was impressed by how wholly I found myself being absorbed into Cath’s everyday life and her struggle to adjust to the new realities of her life as a college freshman.

Continue reading

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

darkest-part-of-the-forestHappy Teen Tech Week, everybody!  Before I get to the actual audiobook review, I would just like to take a moment to remind y’all that public libraries are about WAY more than just books.  Of course we lend out books and audiobooks — but we also lend music, movies, and video games.  Many public libraries even lend e-books and downloadable audiobooks FOR FREE via OverDrive.com!  As someone who listens to audiobooks ravenously, always has an ebook waiting on her Kindle, and is cheaper than cheap, this service is something I’m thrilled to take advantage of and to share with my library patrons and blog readers.  (There are even streaming video and magazines available now on OverDrive, though I haven’t fully explored those options yet.)   But, I digress.
Continue reading

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

BelzharAs the outgoing President of the Youth Services Section of the NY Library Association, I had the honor of sitting at the head table for the 2014 YSS Empire State Award Luncheon.  During the luncheon, the ESA winner, Jacqueline Woodson, was discussing some of the books she had read recently and could not stop gushing about Belzhar.  (I didn’t realize at the time that she was also the featured blurb on the back of the book, but she had me sold.)  I somehow managed to forget to add a request on the book when I returned to work, though.  Fortunately, a colleague put Belzhar on the “Staff Picks” display last week and my friend [upon seeing it on display] asked whether I had read it yet.  I said that I didn’t yet but certainly planned on it.  She insisted that I take it home RIGHT THEN so that she would have someone with whom she could discuss the ending. Well, I picked it up for a “short” reading break yesterday afternoon, and I read more than half the book.  I had to stop reading to eat dinner and to read bedtime stories with my kids, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Belzhar and had to finish reading it before I could go to sleep!   Continue reading

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

ask the passengersWhen Astrid Jones and her family moved from New York City to Unity Valley, PA, none of them quite realized how drastically their lives would change.  Astrid’s mom became so concerned with how other people saw her and so controlling that it seemed nothing Astrid did was ever even close to good enough.  Her little sister, Ellis, was so concerned with popularity and upholding her reputation that she’d probably have disowned Astrid if it would have guaranteed her immunity from the rumor mill.  This apparently pleased her mom, though, since she frequently invited Ellis to “mommy and me” nights out.  And their dad?  When he wasn’t moping about his lack of job prospects and smoking pot in the garage or attic, he seemed content enough to sit silently while his wife belittled him in front of the kids. Continue reading

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

AfterworldsSo, I know I just posted a review of another book last night, but this book was so AH-MAZING that I just couldn’t stand to think of waiting to review it.  Let’s just look at this as preparation for Thanksgiving, since you’re getting an “extra helping” of YA awesomeness this morning.  I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge how insane I was for waiting so long to read this book.  I was among the first people on the request list, but I ended up sending it back and re-adding my name to the list because it showed up when I was in the middle of another book and didn’t think I would have time to read it then.  Well…  Even though this book was rather large (599 pages), I ended up reading it in ONE WEEK!  Considering the fact that I didn’t have any days off from work and/or caring for my kids, that’s crazy!  But, this book is crazy good, so I went to extremes to stay up late reading.  I’m talking, get up and walk around when I feel my eyelids start to droop or purposely playing Candy Crush before sitting down to read because I know the glow from electronics makes it harder for me to fall asleep.  Yeah.  I’m dedicated like that!  ;-) Continue reading

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

aristotle-and-danteI don’t typically like books that aren’t plot-driven.  Most of the time, I find that books without a plot just drag along.  Well, I can’t truly say this book “doesn’t have a plot”…  I mean, it has a sequence of events and the characters do things over a period of time.  But there’s not a big build up to a climax followed by a tidy resolution as there would be in so many books.  (Which I tend to prefer.)  It’s hard to explain, but I think you probably know what I mean.  Rather than some huge event that the book centers around, it’s just a description of what happens to these two characters over a length of time.  A snapshot of their lives, if you will.  An absolutely beautiful snapshot! Continue reading