Quick Reviews: August 2019

Boy Meets Hamster by Birdie Milano: This was so much fun! This book is laugh-out-loud amusing, sweet and has some really great messages. What if you’re so busy pretending to be someone you’re not that you miss out on the person who would have liked you for who you really are?

Dylan is a bit clumsy, doesn’t always make the best decisions but he loves his little brother and his best friend.

His crush on the cute neighbour kid at the campground is adorable. And he gets into some hilarious situations while trying to figure out his life.

There’s a brawl at a karaoke party that might be one of the funniest things I have ever read!

Loved it!!

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon: This book was remarkable. James Brandon has taken difficult subject matter and taken us inside the brain of Jonathan Collins. Jonathan has a tough life. His mother died when he was born, his father is an alcoholic, he’s bullied at school and worst of all – he’s struggling with who he is. Jonathan survives by spending time with his best friend, Starla and disappearing into the world of his imagination. There are parts of this book that are really difficult to read and it’s only because of Jonathan’s vivid imagination that the painful edges are rubbed away and the reader can absorb what is happening to him.

When Jonathan meets Web – a young, brave and outspoken Native-American boy – his world begins to change. It becomes more dangerous and more wonderful at the same time.

There are many issues covered in this book: racism, homophobia, conversion therapy, alcoholism, death, and bigotry.

Please read this book.

The Danger Dance (Merculians #1) by Caro Soles: This book was a tough one for me. I love the genres of science fiction and fantasy. This one didn’t really fit the bill for me. Perhaps I’m not part of the intended audience.

I liked the fact that there was a mixture of alien races involved in the plot. The Merculians were quite an interesting race although I found their self-proclaimed label of “hermaphrodite” difficult to read and feel as though the author should have used “intersex”. The use of an outdated term was jarring when I was trying to read as though this book was set in the future. The overuse of endearments like “Baby” and “Sweetie” also pulled me out of a science fiction world of the future.

There are a lot of characters in this book, and they use different variations of their names. It took me a while to get the hang of which character was which and that slowed me down a little. There was a fair amount of intrigue going on aboard the ship. The first officer was one of the most interesting characters and I enjoyed the way Soles wrote about the crew and their interactions.

There are a lot of situations in this book which may be triggering for some readers and I feel that the author should have trigger warnings listed. Amongst other potential triggers: use of outdated language for intersex people, homophobia, coercion, sexual harassment, attempted sexual assault, bigotry, bullying, physical violence, non-consensual sexual encounters, people being drugged against their will and/or knowledge.

Sadly, not a series I would continue reading.

Vivaldi in the Dark (Vivaldi in the Dark #1) by Matthew J. Metzger: This book is a symphony all on its own. Jayden is a 16-year-old student who is bullied for being gay. One day, he stumbles across violin playing, private schoolboy, Darren. Darren is witty, caustic, has the messiest hair Jayden’s ever seen….and he’s immediately drawn to him.

Once these two boys get together, Jayden realizes there’s more to Darren than he initially guessed. Depression lurks at the edges of Darren’s life and sometimes takes over to the point that he shuts down. At such a young age, Jayden finds the weight of his boyfriend’s depression overwhelming and out of control. But when you love someone, you stay with them and you just keep trying to figure out the best course of action.

Music plays a huge role in this story. Metzger does a wonderful job of illustrating the commitment it takes to be a musician and the way emotions can be all tangled up in our art. Many important issues are covered in this book: bullying, homophobia, self-harm, depression, coming out, parental pressure. And tangled up with all those issues… is a first love that will make your heartache.




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