Honestly Ben & Looking for Group

Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg
Arthur A. Levine, March 2017
Reviewed from ARC

Looking for Group by Rory Harrison
Harper Teen, April 2017
Reviewed from ARC

I’m not going to lie: I’ve had a really hard time figuring out how to write this post. The books I’m talking about today are COMPLICATED, and so are my feelings about them. I also feel like, despite being a polysexual/polyromantic person (not to be confused with polyamorous), I’m not the most qualified to write about the quality of representation in these texts. Both Honestly Ben and Looking for Group feature teenage boys who move from monosexual identities (straight and gay, respectively) to a more complicated understanding of their sexualities as they experience for the first time profound sexual and romantic attraction to a single person who doesn’t fit into their previous sexual orientation. However, for both boys class and masculinity intersect to shape their own responses to their shifting sexual and romantic identities, and this is something I can’t speak to as a middle class woman (it’s also not something I’m going to touch on in detail here, but it’s an undercurrent that’s always present in the texts). So please bear with me as I try to parse out my thoughts and feelings about these complicated books!

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

ggtvav coverThe Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Katherine Tegen Books, June 2017
Reviewed from hardcover

(Note: some spoilers ahead, so tread carefully)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue has been getting a fair amount of popular attention this year, and rightly so!  A New York Times bestseller with four starred reviews and a delightful amount of fanfiction, Mackenzi Lee’s sophomore novel is by turns heartbreaking and hilarious, liberating and life-affirming.

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Ramona Blue

Ramona Blue coverRamona Blue by Julie Murphy
Balzer + Bray, May 2017
Reviewed from hardcover

I’ve been itching to shout about Ramona Blue far and wide since I read a galley back in March. I was planning to skim through a few parts in my hardcover to prep for this post, but I couldn’t make myself stop reading–Ramona grasped me yet again and refused to let go, even a second time around. It’s a book that’s simultaneously fierce and soft; funny and heart-wrenching, thoughtful and real.

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