ARC Review: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Published: Flatiron Books (July 7th2020)
Genre: young adult; fantasy
Rep: Persian cast & settings, bi mc, sapphic li
Rating: 4/5 🍑

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Girl, Serpent, Thorn is revolutionary in more than one respect and for that we should all be grateful. It’s a feminist fairy tale for the modern times, even though it’s set in ancient Persia, even though it’s full of magic and monsters. 

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ARC Review: Camp by L. C. Rosen

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Camp by L. C. Rosen
Published: Penguin Random House UK Children’s (May 28th 2020)
Genre: young adult; contemporary
Rep: gay Jewish mc, half-Korean gay Jewish li, Middle Eastern gay Jewish side character, demi lesbian side character, Afro-Brazilian-American sapphic side character, Black trans side character, nonbinary side character, gay side characters (really, an LGBT cast)
Rating: 4/5 🍑

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First things first: if you’ve read the blurb and you’re kind of worried about the whole ‘pretending to be someone else to get a boy’ thing – don’t be. It’s handled with so much grace; Randy is being called out on his ridiculous plan by basically anyone who knows about it, constantly. The words “trick him to love you” are used. It’s not a cheap plot device, it’s a driving force of the book and there are countless discussions regarding it.

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ARC Review: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

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Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
Published: Wednesday Books (March 3rd 2020)
Genre: young adult; contemporary, retelling
Rep: gay mc, bi Venezuelan li, bi side character, plus-sized poc side character, poc side characters
Tw: cancer, off-page death, homophobia, biphobia, fatphobia
Rating: 4/5 🍑

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This is a very fun book, largely due to Ollie (the protagonist) who’s simply, in the very wise words of Will, ridiculous. I want to make some things clear, though, before we proceed: this is also a messy book. It’s messy in a way that none of the characters are perfect, and they keep making mistakes, and no one is really 100% in the right. It’s messy in a way that life (especially life of a teenager) is messy and totally not black-and-white. I just know not everyone enjoys stories like that.

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Review: Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

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Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 30th 2019)
Genre: young adult; fantasy
Rep: poc cast, bi mc, sapphic li, side sapphic character, side wlw parents
Rating: 4/5 🍑

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When people recommend Shatter the Sky as a sapphic fantasy novel, they’re very much right but at the same time, it doesn’t explain just how sapphic the book. We’re not used to being fed this well, and yet it’s exactly what we deserve.

The book opens with the (bi!) mc talking about how much she loves her girlfriend. That’s revolutionary. And that love is used as a catalyst for all future events. Quite literally nothing would happen, if Maren wasn’t in love with Kaia and wasn’t determined to do everything in her power to get back together.

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ARC Review: In the Role of Brie Hutchens… by Nicole Melleby

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In the Role of Brie Hutchens… by Nicole Melleby
Published: Algonquin Young Readers (April 21st 2020)
Genre: middle grade; contemporary
Rep: sapphic (probably lesbian) mc & li
Rating: 4/5 🍑

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ARC provided by the publisher.

This book was an emotional punch straight to the heart, in all the best (gay) ways. It’s also very clearly an ownvoices story and that truth shines through every page and settles this specific kind of calm over the reader. 

The story itself is pretty simple (a teen start figuring out her sexuality & the world doesn’t make it easy for her), but it’s not the dry outline that makes a book, is it? It’s the emotions all the events bring, it’s the character’s journey, her path to growing up & fighting for herself.

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ARC Review: The Impossible Contract by K.A. Doore

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The Impossible Contract (The Chronicles of Ghadid #2) by K.A. Doore
Published: Tor Books (November 12th 2019)
Genre: adult; fantasy
Rep: poc cast, lesbian mc, sapphic li
TW: death, blood, violence, eye gore, body horror
Rating: 3.5/5 🍑

 

 

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ARC provided by the publisher.

While The Perfect Assassin was all about Amastan and the moral dilemma of being an assassin, The Impossible Contract gives us a totally different kind of hero(ine). Thana takes pride in her profession and more than anything, wants to be remembered for her work. It’s so refreshing to read in a world where we’re used to only male characters being allowed to have an ego this size. (Also in her case it’s justified…)

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