Book Review: Boy Meets Boy

Boy Meets Boy

Boy Meets Boy

by David Levithan

Published: May 2005 (originally). Reprint 1st August 2013 by Harper Collins

Version: Paperback from publisher (review my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 4.5 sofas

This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance. 

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.

I originally read this book earlier this year for Faye’s LGBT Readathon. I loved the book, but didn’t document my thoughts. However, Harper Collins decided to do a reprint of this and another David Levithan book and I snapped at the chance to reread it!

We follow Paul as a kind of ‘out and proud’ gay boy in a town where there isn’t a lot of discrimination. Many of the LGBT books I have read deals with the hardship of discovering and categorising sexuality, and sharing this decision with friends and family. It was refreshing to see it from the other side; Paul’s parents are very accepting, and in this respect he has an easy life.

Although Paul is the main character, I don’t think the story would be half as amazing without the strong side characters. Paul’s best friends are Joni (who has problem boyfriends) and Tony (who is gay, but has to hide it as he has very religious parents). As well as helping to deal with their issues, he also has to tackle feelings for his ex, Kyle, who has ignored Paul ever since they split up. So when he meets Noah in the bookstore, he has yet more emotions to deal with.

Although the theme in this book is primarily LGBT, it also explores a lot about friendship and high school life. I think this is most prevalent in the bond between Tony and Paul. They’ve never dated but have an ever better connection. I really rooted for Tony throughout and felt his struggle more than anyone else.

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“In other circumstances, this would have been the start of a romance. But I think we both knew, even then, that what we had was even more rare, and even more meaningful. I was going to be his friend and was going to show him possibilities. And he, in turn, would become someone I could trust more than myself.”

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One of the things I love about David Levithan is the way he describes the world and relationships. It is just so beautiful. I found myself wanting to mark lots of passages because quotes really stood out to me, and I feel like I highlighted the whole book!

I think the only down side if this book was that it felt a bit safe for me; I would say it is aimed at younger YA audiences. The main boys are quite stereotypical; the out and proud, the shy one and the confused one. It is quite ‘safe’, and personally I would say unrealistic. It was good to show homosexuality in a more accepting light, but I just couldn’t believe that this world exists, sadly.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, and the romance was very cute. I liked how the side characters were just as important as the main ones, and look forward to reading more by this author! 4.5 sofas.

“If you want to be loved, be lovable.”

Book Review: Lockwood & Co; The Screaming Staircase

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co, #1)Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase

by Jonathan Stroud

Published: 29th August by Random House

Version: paperback ARC loan from Faye

Rating: 4.5 sofas

Hauntings are our business . . .

Ghosts crowd the streets and houses of London. Anthony Lockwood, with his slightly grumpy deputy George, and his junior field operative Lucy, make up LOCKWOOD & CO, the small, shabby yet talented ghost-hunting agency.

After a series of calamitous investigations into the supernatural go awry, the team are desperate to prove themselves. Their opportunity comes in the form of a terrifying ghost, the Red Duke. But little do they know what perils lie in store for them at the haunted Bliss Hall . . .

I’m going to be honest and say that if it wasn’t for Faye and Daphne I probably would not have picked up this book. Overall I’m not a huge lover of fantasy, but I think thats more because I haven’t read much of it, and I’m daunted by the level of detail and world building involved. However, when Faye offered me her copy of The Screaming Staircase to borrow, I said yes, because I’d heard such good things from them. 

Even so, I still put off reading it. The ARC does not have the pretty cover, and as such, looked quite scary to me. So if you are thinking that this is not a book for you, then THINK AGAIN. This is exactly the frame of mind I had, and I was wrong. 

The Screaming Staircase follows Lucy as she joins a new ghost-hunting team, and describes the adventures and the spectres they encounter. It backtracks into the past and shows how Lucy got into the world of ghost hunting and how she ended up working with Lockwood & Co. 

Lucy was such a likeable character. She is confident, smart, and most of all COOL. A teenage ghost-hunter is such a good role model, and I found myself wishing I was her quite often throughout the book. That is when I could stop picturing Lucy from Queen of Contemporary in my head! 

It also wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be. It very much reminded me of Doctor Who. In particular that episode where people are seeing ‘ghosts’, old relatives, who actually turn out to be Cybermen. And David Tennant tries to triangulate the signal with some gizmos. And this is exactly how I picture Lockwood; a bit scatty, a guy who obviously knows his stuff but likes to plow straight into it. 

I think this was a great beginning to what I hope will be a fantastic series. Lucy has such great potential, and I am intrigued to find out more about Lockwood and his past, as well as that of his assistant George. I get the feeling that the house may hold secrets of its own too! 

Overall The Screaming Staircase surprised me. It was fun and adventurous, with amazing characters. Even if you doubt this book is for you, I would urge you to give it a try. Definitely a series to look out for! 4.5 sofas! 

Bookish Events

This year I’ve been luckily enough to attend lots of bookish events. However, there are lots I missed out on but am planning for next year! I thought I’d just give you an overview of the types of event I have attended and the pros and cons of each. 

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Usually reserved for popular books or authors, these signings are good for racking up signatures in books. Not usually so good for spending time with the author! 

The signings that I’ve attended like this include Cassie Clare, Stephenie Meyer and Michael McIntyre. While I was thrilled to be able to meet them and get a coveted signature, you do just feel like part of an assembly line. Often it doesn’t allow much time to speak to the author. It does, however, usually involve lots of waiting around in a queue beforehand!

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I think so far this is my favourite type of event. The ones I have attended have mostly been at Waterstones Piccadilly, and involve one or more authors. They have an opportunity to talk about their book, answer questions and then have a signing at the end.

As well as getting a greater insight into the author and the story behind the book, it allows for talk with other bloggers while the signing line goes down!

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Obviously exclusive for bloggers, these events are great in getting to communicate with authors and publicists. My first event as a blogger was Holly Smale’s Geek Girl party. Here I met some bloggers that I consider to be great bookish friends now, and often see at other events. It’s also nice to meet the publicists behind the emails and the proofs, and to get to know them personally. 

I can say the only real negative about blogger events is not getting invited to them, especially when it seems everyone else in the world is going. I’ve definitely experienced this more than once, but its still amazing to hear about them afterwards and see all the goodies! ggparty

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The bonus of launch parties is that friends of the author quite often attend. And those friends are quite often authors themselves. I discovered this when I went to James Dawsons’ launch for Cruel Summer, and found myself face to face with people such as Patrick Ness and Tanya Byrne. While I didn’t speak to these personally (I was too in awe!) it gives an amazing opportunity to meet lots of authors in one place. The other plus is that it is such a relaxed environment, usually involving drinks and snacks and lots of conversation. 

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I haven’t yet attended a book festival. I’m planning to go to one day of Bath Kids Lit Festival, but I would love to spend a whole weekend or week immersed in books. Earlier this year I swooned over all the people over the ocean going to BEA, and I hope in the next couple of years I can make this dream a reality.

A bit closer to home, and I also missed out on the London Book Fair this year due to other arrangements. Faye wrote a post about her experience, and the seminars sounded like a really awesome insight into the book and publishing world. I am definitely putting it on my calendar for next year, so watch this space!

What events have you attended? What is your opinion on the best format? Any events that you would recommend? 

Letterbox Love #24

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

I’m hoping that this book haul post won’t be as long as last week (which was epic!). However, I have received some really good books!

 Won: 

The Rules of You and Me by Shona Norris (ebook)

Thanks to Ellen to Always YA at Heart!

Received for Review:

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick 

Thanks to Headline! 

Cruel Summer by James Dawson

Thanks very much Orion! Will try and read this before James’ launch party in August 🙂

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Thanks to Templar! Looking forward to this new series.

The Diamond Thief by Sharon Gosling + other chapter samples

Another great Curious Fox title, thank you!

Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma

I cannot express my excitement and gratitude to Random House for this! One of my most anticipated titles 😀

Teardrop by Lauren Kate

Cross my Heart by Carmen Reid

Rolling Dice by Beth Reekles

Thanks to Random House for organising the summer blogger brunch, and for providing these fantastic titles!

Bought:

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Fallout by Sandra Glover

Jimmy Coates: Killer by Joe Craig

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Freebies:

The Last Minute by Eleanor Updale

Blink Once by Cylin Busby

Fuse by Julianna Baggott

Thanks very much to Daphne of Winged Reviews for giving me these!

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

This is only a loan but thank you SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH to Caroline from Big Book Little Book for lending so I can FINALLY read this! Have been waiting for ages and it is amazing so far.

Ebooks: 

The Pool Theory

The Pool Theory by Alexa Nazzaro. Thanks to Patchwork Press and Netgalley.  

Special thanks to Faye, Daphne and Clover for helping my book collection this fortnight! 

What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile?  How do you like a book haul vlog as opposed to an actual post? I’d love to hear from you! 

Letterbox Love #21

Letterbox Love is a meme hosted by Lynsey of Narratively Speaking whereby book lovers can exhibit the books they received this week.

Welcome to my fortnightly book haul post! I thought I was doing quite well last week with only 3 new books, but I have been a devil this week. P1060270  Firstly, I have to say thank you to the lovely Jaime and Louise at Harper Collins. I’m really looking forward to Icons by Margaret Stohl and it is the first in what looks to be a great series. Although both One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern and Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger were unsolicited, they are perfect for me. In fact, I have already read Revenge Wears Prada and loved it (review to come next week). So a big thank you to these guys for thinking of me. 

Next, I have to squeal about bloggers. Although I haven’t been blogging long, other bloggers have welcomed me into the fray. There is nothing better than being able to share amazing books, and I have been lucky enough to be on the receiving end this week. Thanks to Daphne at Winged Reviews who kindly got me a (signed!!) copy of The Oathbreaker’s Shadow by Amy McCulloch at her launch. I was gutted to miss it, and the book is just so pretty. To Laura of Bookish Treasures, for sending me her copy of Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas. It was very sweet of you to send me this! And to Faye from A Daydreamer’s Thoughts, for lending me her copy of Lockwood and Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. I have heard wonderful things and now I don’t have to wait. Promise I’ll look after it. Thank you girlies, and know that my bookshelves are always open to you 🙂 

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Okay, so I *may* have gone a bit crazy on the buying…. 

Partly, I blame The Works. Y’all know how much I rave about this shop, and this fortnight I bring you yet more goodies. Firstly, a tipoff from Ellie from Curiosity Killed The Bookworm who bought Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger last week. This was a steal, so I had to check it out. While there, I noticed Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire. The second has not long been released, so I added this pair to my collection. 

I picked up a couple of books in the charity shop this week. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas was nominated for lots of awards after its release in 2008, and its a topic I love to read about. Likewise, The Strawberry Picker by Monika Feth sounded really intriguing. I’m very pro thriller YA, so this sounds perfect. I also grabbed Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, because I thought I had to see what the fuss was all about. 

I caved and bought Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff because it has orange pages. Need I say more? In fact, I think more books should have coloured edges. It just looks sooo pretty! My only library book is Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, a book which it feels like I’ve waited forever for! 

Finally, but certainly not leastly, Faking It and Losing It by Cora Carmack! The latter I already owned, but I managed to get it signed on Thursday at her blogger party. I am so thrilled to have met her, and to be able to add these pretties to my collection! I can guarantee they will be well read 🙂

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Phew! Now for those Ebooks:

A Virtual LovePirouette

Anyone who knows me will know that I love books about internet love. A Virtual Love by Andrew Blackman sounds a bit more sinister than what I am used to, but intriguing nonetheless! Thanks to Legend Press and Netgalley. 

Pirouette by Robyn Bavati has a really cool cover. I love books about dancing and this sound very much like The Parent Trap, so I’m in! Thanks to Flux and Netgalley for this. 

What did you receive this week? Have you read any of my books and do you think it should be at the top or the bottom of my to read pile? Do you know of any places to find great secondhand books?  I’d love to hear from you! 

LGBT Readathon Wrap-up!

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Alas, the readathon is now over! It is my first ever readathon, and I will definitely take part in more, as I loved having a theme and a goal. I managed to read one book, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. As of now, I am on page 188 of 250 of Keeping You a Secret by Julie Peters and page 39 of 175 of When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon. I don’t think I did too badly, considering I didn’t really set aside time to read.

The best part by far was the twitter chat on Sunday. Below is just a snippet of the chat. To see it in full, search #LGBTRead. 

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Although I didn’t necessarily read lots of books, I loved talking to other people about LGBT, and got several recommendations which I will be checking out soon 🙂 I also have those that I didn’t read for my challenge still on my TBR. And look out for my review of the three mentioned above! 

You can also enter Faye’s giveaway for an LGBT book of your choice from TBD! 

Many thanks to Faye for organising the readathon and hosting the chat 🙂

LGBT Readathon!

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This weekend I am taking part in the LGBT readathon, hosted by Faye of A Daydreamer’s Thoughts.

I haven’t been reading much lately, but I will try and change that! The books I have on my TBR eligible for this challenge are: 

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        When Love Comes to Town

 

 

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Keeping You A Secret by Julie Peters

Sprout by Dale Peck

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon

I hope to start Boy Meets Boy first, as this comes recommended by Faye herself. It also highlights the lack of lesbian YA aside from Keeping You A Secret. If you could recommend any then please feel free! 

Faye is also hosting a twitter chat at 8pm GMT on Sunday. Look out for #LGBTRead to take part, or head over to her blog to find out more.