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Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Culling by Steven dos Santos

Rating: 5/5

Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-fi

Themes: Survival, Training, Competition

Queer Level: Gay Main Characters; Straight Secondary Characters

[Learn More on Goodreads]

This is a really impressive book. Extremely engaging. I usually take my time to read, but I physically could not stop. It has not left my mind since I picked it up and I doubt it will for a long time after. This is exactly the kind of book that I’ve been looking for all this time. By that I’m referring to the rare genre (teen m/m dystopia – this has to become a thing) AND in terms of enjoyment level. It’s an amazing feeling to be untied with a favourite book.

Stylistically, the writing was well-crafted. Every paragraph serves a purpose. It holds your attention and was easy to read. The plot can get you mad, but it’s supposed to. The sadistic action is well paced and balanced out with character development. They were an interesting cast; the characters I loved proved I was drawn to them for a reason. Then there were a bundle who completely turned the tables during the duration of the story. It was unpredictable yet naturally – so even when you pull the plug on someone, you can still see how they became the way they did and can’t blame them entirely for their downfalls.

I found the ending frustrating beyond belief… but only because it evoked emotion and got me to care that strongly. So -as much as I want to throw the book across the room and hound the release date for the next volume- I believe this is a good thing? Hahaha. I just have an inkling that this is probably what the writer wanted. [Highlight for spoilers: One single question is left ambiguous -we never saw Digory die, so is there a chance he lives? Really hope that he made it, especially since the romance was young, enjoyable, and oh so cute. We must wait for the next book for answers; suffer as Lucky does and feel a fraction of his torment. His drive. His new motive to fight. A bit of comfort is that if the writer really wanted to kill Digory off, he’d likely do so in a way that would have you sobbing for weeks (because he can obviously pull emotional strings as tightly he pleases) …Maybe I’m just in denial? *sob*]

Now let’s take a moment and address the concerns regarding the similarities to the Hunger Games. I received this warning before reading, but I’m glad to have both ignored them and kept them in mind at the same time (to compare it without being taken off guard). In my opinion, it only sounds similar but the experiences are so vastly different that the small details are forgivable. I’d list off the differences if I had the time and would not spoil 90% of the book. It would be easier to read it. It very well could have been an inspiration, but they are not the same story at all.

Any-who, I’ll be smuggling this title into as many recommendations as I can. Pretty excited to talk about it with friends!

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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Gay, GLBTQ, Reviews

 

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Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

Rating: 5/5

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Themes: Verse, Prostitution, Drugs

Queer Level: Straight, Gay, Lesbian & Questioning Main Characters; Gay, Lesbian & Straight Secondary Characters

[Learn More on Goodreads]

That… was a dark read. Beautiful in its own way, but heavy. You follow a set of teenagers who start off in vastly different places (some good, some bad) but all end up traveling down the road of prostitution due to desperation. Stuff like this actually happens and that is what makes it powerful. This threw me off because I had no idea what to expect – didn’t really muse over the title. Honestly, I just wanted to try a glbt friendly book in verse. Speaking of witch, the topic of sexuality was far more prominent than anticipated which was a pleasant surprise. The description is misleading because it only mentions one character is gay… but another main character is a lesbian and another questions his sexuality (comes off slightly bisexual with a strong preference for girls, even if it’s never confirmed). Not sure while they numbered them off incorrectly?

What I found interesting about this book is the amount of understanding it has. It shows the readers the draw to the darker things – what temps some and what pushes others. At first, I was a little concerned that the glorification of drugs, alcohol, and sex (referring to the unhealthy kind of course) and that it could be potentially influential, but it quickly proved itself as a warning. It shows the seriously ugly side of addiction and how easily these situations can turn bad, while ALSO proving credibility. These are lessons; almost like talking to a counselor who has been there and recovered. Someone who knows what it’s like. This method is far more effective at reaching people, especially those who need to hear it. Teen prostitution is unfortunately more common than we think, so the target audience is spot on. The book not only offers help, but spreads awareness. It says it cares and gets you caring as well. For this reason, I would definitely recommend it (assuming the individual can handle the content).

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Gay, GLBTQ, Lesbian, Questioning, Reviews

 

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