DNF: Optimists Die First

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30335560Optimists Die First

by Susin Nielsen

DNF in August 2017

format: e-ARC

spoiler-free review

I received an e-ARC from Penguin Random House UK Children’s through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

When I requested this ARC on Netgalley at the beginning of the year, I was intrigued to read Optimists Die First. But as soon as I got approved, negative reviews of this novel came to my attention. Because readers especially didn’t like the way mental illnesses were portrayed, I was very hesitant to pick this up.

I joined #ARCAugust, in which I aimed to read ARCs of books that have already been released, so I decided it was finally time to read this novel. I recently saw some advice on Twitter, saying that you should decide whether or not an ARC is worth continuing after three chapters. Since I heard many negative things about this novel, I decided to follow this piece of advice.

So that’s what I did. I read the first four chapters and decided Optimists Die First wasn’t worth continuing. Everything bothered me: the mental health representation, the way the protagonist said ‘felines’ instead of ‘cats’, how she basically said that terrorism started with 9/11 … Maybe I was influenced by all the negative reviews, but the similarities to All the Bright Places worried me. The protagonist’s sister is dead, she has a mental illness (caused by the death of her sister) and she has to work together with a boy on a very special school project. All the Bright Places isn’t a good example of mental health representation, so I doubt Optimists Die First was going to be any better.

Within the first five pages, the protagonist had already taken out hand sanitizer, fainted while giving a presentation and checked whether the bookshelves were secured. The symptoms were all over the place. It’s as if this character was nothing more than her mental illnesses. On top of that, her mental illnesses got her in all sorts of funny or embarrassing situations. Mental illness can manifests in many different ways, but because the representation isn’t #OwnVoices as far as I know, I wasn’t willing to push through and read something that could be very harmful.

Based on other people’s review and my own observations during the first four chapters of this novel, I decided I won’t continue reading Optimists Die First. The mental health representation worries me and the plot of this novel doesn’t seem original anyway.


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ARC review: Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud

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33257571Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman

by Anne Helen Petersen

DNF in August 2017

format: e-ARC

spoiler-free review!

I received an e-ARC from PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press & Plume through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

I’m always interested and both hesitant to read books about feminism. One of my biggest worries is White Feminism, where only the struggles of white able-bodied allocishet women are acknowledged. Though I believe the author tried to be inclusive, I think she failed. Celebrities like Lena Dunham and Caitlyn Jenner are not good examples, so why dedicate essays to them?

In the introduction, Petersen talks about the results of the 2016 presidential elections in the USA. She said that the women at Trump rallies were a minority. That’s not true. The majority of white women voted for him! To not acknowledge that, is to erase the hard work women of color do, because it’s often they who start empowering movements and discussions.

I do appreciate that Petersen points out that she is a privileged white, able-bodied, allocishet women. That’s very important to know if you’re reading a book like this. Sometimes, I thought she was intersectional, but at other times, she completely missed the ball.

Describing the Virgin Mary as asexual is in my opinion not accurate. I’m not asexual, but I believe the author was going for ‘not sexual’, as in ‘The Virgin Mary doesn’t seem sexual in any way’, yet she chose to use ‘asexual’, which does not mean the same thing!

In the ‘Too Queer’ part, the author mentions that 2015 was the highest number of trans homicides in history. How many of those who were murdered, were black trans women? But no, let’s pick Jenner to be the symbol of ‘too queer’, even though she doesn’t give a shit about queer people and throws the LGBTQIAP+ community under the bus whenever she can.

Like I said, the author tried to be inclusive, but she failed. Sentences like “The trans woman desires to be with a man, ostensibly making the couple “straight”, or at least able to pass as such” are in my opinion very problematic. Claiming that, when a trans woman is in a relationship with a man only passes as straight, but implying that it isn’t, is transphobic. Of course it’s different when one or both of the partners isn’t heterosexual, but it’s still implying that a trans woman isn’t really a woman, and that’s far from empowering.

So, I clearly had issues with these essays. But I was willing to push through because I was curious to see why the author decided to include celebrities like Dunham and Jenner. But I couldn’t. I didn’t enjoy reading this. I had the feeling I was reading a thesis and each essay was a biography of the celebrity instead of an empowering piece on feminism.

Furthermore, Petersen included tons of quotes that were very problematic. That way, she wanted to point out why feminism is needed, but imagine trans people, black women, etc. reading those quotes!

Besides, I don’t really understand why the author chose this format. At first, I thought each celebrity was going to write the piece, but that wasn’t the case. Wouldn’t it have been more personal if the author let queer women, black women, etc. write their own pieces? The idea of this book was good, but the execution wasn’t. Is it really empowering if a white, allocishet woman speaks on behalf of the issues marginalised women face?

Though the author attempted to write intersectional pieces on feminism, she missed the ball quite a few times. Ultimately, I decided to skip chapters and DNF this book altogether because I didn’t understand the aim of these essays. They weren’t empowering, but rather biographies of these celebrities, who weren’t involved in the making of Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud. Overall, this book is still centred on the experiences of white, allocishet, able-bodied women.


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review: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

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Afbeeldingsresultaat voor bad feminist book coverBad Feminist

by Roxane Gay

read in August 2017

format: audiobook

spoiler-free review!

“To have privilege in one or more areas does not mean you are wholly privileged. Surrendering to the acceptance of privilege is difficult, but it is really all that is expected. What I remind myself, regularly, is this: the acknowledgement of my privilege is not a denial of the ways I have been and am marginalized, the ways I have suffered.”

update: After learning some new information on Tuesday, I no longer support this author. If you are active in the book community on Twitter, you might know what I’m talking about. I won’t elaborate since this involves a person that has had to endure harassment time and time again and I don’t want to make things worse. So contrary to what I said in my original review below, I won’t read any more of Gay’s work.

Bad Feminist is what it was supposed to be: a collection of essays by a woman who is certainly a feminist, albeit someone who’s rather focussed on the experiences of allocishet and North-American women.

I’m glad I decided to pick this up on audiobook instead of actually reading it myself. These essays were often scattered and at times more of a memoir, but because the narration was so good, it kept me interested. Though this wasn’t narrated by Gay herself, I had the feeling as if it was. The narration was so convincing. Especially the part where Gay talks about her rape, broke my heart.

Besides discussing feminism, Gay also shares her opinions on a variety of other topics, such as race. I loved that she didn’t limit these discussions to feminism, but discussed race as well, since it’s vital that feminism is intersectional. If you only care about the experiences of allocishet, able-bodied, white women, are you really a feminist?

Having said that, as a queer woman, I felt that Gay’s primary focus was allocishet women. When talking about the kind of men women like, she generalises her audience. When she is talking about reproductive freedom, she fails to mention trans people.

The author also discusses a lot of pop culture, such as the book Gone Girl and movies like Twelve Years a Slave. First of all, as someone who is European, I didn’t know half of the people, movies, books, etc. she was referring to. Often, she discussed them very in depth, but I couldn’t bring myself to care much because I don’t know them! Furthermore, she often spoils the plot of these films, books and TV series, which might not bother many readers, but I for instance won’t watch Twelve Years a Slave anymore, since Gay already told me everything that’s going to happen.

I very much disagree with her stance on trigger warnings. Just because she doesn’t need them, doesn’t mean she shouldn’t protect others. It’s such a selfish way of thinking: just because they don’t work for me, I don’t see how they can work for anyone else. It’s not at all censorship, it’s only making sure that people don’t get hurt. So, here you go: these essays contain a trigger warning for sexual harassment and graphic descriptions of rape.

Because of some of the issues I had, I agree that Bad Feminist is a very appropriate tittle for this collection of issues. I’m a feminist myself, but am most likely far from a perfect one. I’d definitely recommend listening to this on audiobook and I plan on reading more of Gay’s work!


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We Are Okay: a beautiful book about grief

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we are okay.pngWe Are Okay

by Nina LaCour

read in July 2017

format: hardcover

spoiler-free review

“No one will know if you stay in bed all day. No one will know if you wear the same sweatpants for the entire month, if you eat every meal in front of television shows and use T-shirts as napkins. Go ahead and listen to that same song on repeat until its sound turns to nothing and you sleep the winter away.”

Well, I’m certainly not okay after reading We Are Okay. It’s been a long time since a book made me cry! It’s hard to explain why I love this book, but I do. Marin’s story really spoke to me.

At first, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue this novel. It’s primarily set in winter while it’s summer over here, so the mood didn’t feel quite right. But I decided to give it another chance and I devoured the majority of We Are Okay in one night.

I think a reason why this novel was so relatable, is because of my mental illnesses. Though Marin is grieving, I understood why she postponed facing her fears and dreads, why she reacted the way she did. Same ableist language is used, but I can forgive it because the characters were very emotional while saying these things. Still, I want to point this out because not everyone might be okay with it.

We Are Okay wasn’t like I had expected. I initially picked this up because of the F/F representation, but it wasn’t as prominent as I had expected. But I do not mind at all. The novel contains flashbacks and a mystery, which were both very well done. I never saw the “big reveal” coming, whereas this isn’t a mystery novel, but a YA contemporary. I think the author did a great job and I will certainly pick up more of her work! This story is certainly character-driven, which generally works for me, and We Are Okay is no exception.

I would absolutely recommend We Are Okay to everyone! It’s a quick, beautiful read about grief, featuring queer female characters and a Mexican-American love interest.


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review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

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Down Among the Sticks and Bones

by Seanan McGuire

read in July 2017

format: audiobook

spoiler-free review!

“I am what I am, and there’s much about me that won’t be changed with any amount of wishing or wanting.

Because I listened to Down Among the Sticks and Bones on audiobook, this review is going to much less thorough than usual. I don’t take notes while listening and I honestly don’t really have a strong opinion on this novella.

Someone recommended this audiobook to me and it did not disappoint! It’s narrated by the author herself and she uses a different “voice” for each character, which is a must for me. I definitely plan to re-read Every Heart a Doorway soon by listening to it on audiobook as well.

Talking about Every Heart a Doorway: I think I would’ve enjoyed Down Among the Sticks and Bones more if the first one was still fresh in my memory. Unfortunately, I read it back in December 2016, so I didn’t remember much about Jack and Jill.

The world these twins end up in is supposed to be scary, but I thought this novella was rather uneventful. It was more tell than show. Which I on the one hand could appreciate, because it had a certain fairytale-appeal to it. But if Down Among the Sticks and Bones would’ve been more character-driven, I wouldn’t have mind so much, but the characters weren’t as fleshed out as I would’ve liked. Surely they weren’t perfect and had their flaws, but what drove them? Why did they act the way they did?

Therefore, I wasn’t very attached to them. Even the fact that this novella features a F/F romance couldn’t lift my spirits. So ultimately, I do feel disappointed, but I plan on re-reading this once I re-read Every Heart a Doorway first.

The author narrates her work beautifully. I would definitely recommend it, but make sure to read Every Heart a Doorway shortly beforehand, to make sure you aren’t out of the loop like I was.


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ARC review: What Does Consent Really Mean?

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35232852What Does Consent Really Mean?

by Pete Wallis, Joseph Wilkins & Thalia Wallis

read in July 2017

format: e-ARC

release date: November 21st, 2017

spoiler-free review

I received an e-ARC from Jessica Kingsley Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

When I spotted What Does Consent Really Mean? on Netgalley, I was instantly intrigued. Often, people have good intentions while discussion topics such as consent, but it can also go wrong in many ways, e.g. by only discussing consent in allocishet relationships. So I definitely planned on reading this graphic novel critically.

Overall, I think What Does Consent Really Mean? is a solid introduction to the topic of consent. I loved that it also dealt with consent in relationships. The rape culture in our society is very difficult to discuss, even more so when we are talking about people who are in a relationship with each other. Therefore, it hit close to home. Though I don’t think it was perfect, I do want to hand it out to others so they realise how important consent is.

Right from the start, this graphic novels features a black character and a character wearing a hijab, which I loved. Unfortunately, due to the very poor formatting of this e-ARC, I couldn’t tell whether they were the ones who slut-shamed. I really hope that’s not the case, but I can’t tell: it was impossible to know who said what, because the text wasn’t included in the speech bubbles.

Once or twice queer people were mentioned, but only briefly. Furthermore, I can’t tell whether anything queerphobic was said due to the poor formatting. Every sentence was jumbled, so I probably had to skip half of this graphic novel.

Talking about queer people: I think asexual people must experience even more pressure to do things they don’t want to do. Some are sex repulsed and I can only imagine that if their partner isn’t ace, they might force them to do things they don’t want to do. Yet What Does Consent Really Mean? doesn’t discuss that. This is still very centred around allocishet people.

I completely understand the negative role pornography can carry. Yes, people are pressured into doing things they don’t want to do because of it. But, I don’t think we should blame sex workers. I find this very difficult to admit, because it’s something I struggle with. How can I support people that can cause so much harm? It’s not the individuals’ fault, rather than the industry’s. So when sentences such as “the girls [in porn] are just always up for anything” were said in this graphic novel, they rubbed me the wrong way.

Another discussing in What Does Consent Really Mean? that irked me, was the one about nudes. We shouldn’t frighten people into not daring to take such pictures. We should, however, make people realise that sharing someone’s nudes is wrong and shouldn’t go unpunished. I think that’s a huge differences, whereas in this comic, I got the impression that nudes shouldn’t be taken in the first place, because “my dad says that anything online stays there forever. Even if you trust someone now, you never know what they might do”. Which is true, but not the way we should be handling this issue.

Finally, the following sentences is very harmful and is not the way we should draw the line for what is considered consent and what isn’t:
“How do you know if you’re consenting? If you listen to your body, you’ll know.
You can e.g. get an erection while being raped, so when your body is responding in a “positive” way, that doesn’t mean you are consenting. So I thought this last piece of advice was very iffy.

What Does Consent Really Mean? is a solid introduction to the topic of consent and very relatable to someone who has been in a relationship with lack thereof. Because of the poor formatting of this e-ARC, I might re-read this graphic novel once the finished copies are released.


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ARC REVIEW of Little Monsters: a YA thriller that got me hooked

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Little Monsters

by Kara Thomas

read in July 2017

format: e-ARC

release date: 25 July 2017

spoiler-free review!

I received an e-ARC in from Delacorte Press through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

Little Monsters is pitched as a psychological thriller for fans of Pretty Little Liars. So if that’s your cup of tea, you’ll definitely enjoy this novel.

Unfortunately, it was more like Mean Girls that I had expected. Girls being nasty for the sake of high school drama is a very overused trope, in my opinion. It certainly made the characters in
Little Monsters more interesting, but also more stereotypical at the same time.

Nevertheless, this novel had me hooked. As soon as my shift at work ended, I had to continue reading it. I even read it on my phone, which is something I never do! Unfortunately, the big reveal towards the end wasn’t as convincing as I had wanted it to be. I certainly hadn’t expected it, but the explanations that were given, didn’t exactly satisfy me.

Still, this book convinced me that I ought to read more thrillers! It’s hard to find ones that will satisfy all readers, because we all come up with different theories while reading such books. I suspected almost everyone at a certain point. I think some of my theories would’ve been more shocking and interesting!

Sadly, a lot of ableist language was used (such as cr*zy over ten times), there was a lot of unnecessary girl-on-girl hate and the formatting of the e-ARC was horrible. I hope that’s going to be fixed in the final copy. Furthermore, this book is extremely white and allocishet. This year, I’ve been reading diverse books almost exclusively and this novel is unfortunately not diverse, except for the main character’s stepbrother who is Korean-American and very few minor characters.

So while I found the ending a bit of an anti-climax, I still thought this was a decent Young Adult thriller! It has certainly convinced me that I should pick up this genre more often.


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recommendation: Lambs Can Always Become Lions


34109079Lambs can Always Become Lions

by Charlotte Anne Hamilton

read in July 2017

format: Kindle

spoiler-free review!

I’m not familiar with Robin Hood. I know the name, that he steals to help the poor… but that’s probably where my knowledge ends. Thankfully, that wasn’t a problem while reading Lambs Can Always Become Lions. This retelling got me hooked right from the start!

I absolutely love that Lambs Can Always Become Lions featured an established F/F relationship. It’s hard enough to find books with established relationships, let alone F/F ones. Furthermore, the relationship between Robin and Marian is so adorable. This isn’t a New Adult novella, so is appropriate for anyone to read.

Besides the queer main characters, there is also diversity among the side characters. Little John appears to be asexual, Edda wears a hijab and is black, Will is referred to as they/them, etc. I know this author is often involved in discussion on diversity because I follow her on several social media, so it’s very nice to see that’s noticeable in her work.

Furthermore, I loved the writing style. I tend to enjoy dual point-of-views and third person perspective most of the time, and Lambs Can Always Become Lions is no exception. The writing seemed so mature, yet not dense or difficult to understand. Therefore I’m sure we can expect many more great things from this author!

Unfortunately, it did take me very long to read this short novella. It’s not the book’s fault, however. I’ve been in a reading slump for MONTHS. Once I get back into my reading mood, I definitely plan on re-reading Lambs Can Always Become Lions in one sitting. Having said that, I remembered everything clearly even though I didn’t pick this up for weeks at a time. There are novels I have finished and can’t even remember the protagonists’ names of anymore, so that’s a good sign.

I would recommend Lambs Can Always Become Lions to everyone. It’s a very enjoyable, well-written novella and on top of that diverse. I will definitely continue this series and plan on reading whatever Hamilton writes next!


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review: When Dimple met Rishi

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when dimple met rishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi

by Sandhya Menon

read in July 2017

format: hardcover

spoiler-free review!

I really wanted and expected to love When Dimple Met Rishi. I’m so sorry I didn’t. I’m disappointed this book didn’t make me feel giddy, didn’t make me laugh more than once or twice…

I liked reading about their culture, but if it had been about the competition a tad bit more, I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more. But unfortunately, the romance was the main focus and at the end of the day, allocishet romances are not my cup of tea. I absolutely want to give them a chance when they’re diverse, but when the romance takes up 90 percent of the novel, it’s difficult for me to enjoy such a book. Dimple and Rishi attend a summer program in which they have to create an app, but we don’t find out any of the other groups’ ideas! If you enjoy romances, I’d suggest picking this book up, but don’t do it because the competition appeals to you, because you will end up feeling disappointed.

However, that wasn’t my main issue with this novel. I try to pay attention to ableist language, but in When Dimple Met Rishi, it would’ve been impossible not to notice anyway. I’ve only seen one reviewer mention the ableism in their review and I’m very disappointed. Because there are so, so many examples of ableist languages throughout the entire novel. Here are only a couple of examples:
“He was dressed pretty sanely for a psychotic attacker” [when Dimple thinks Rishi is a stalker]
“My parents are so deranged.”
“You’re driving me insane”.
“She’s depressed because…” Depression is a mental illness. It’s not the same as being sad! Smoothing things over with your boyfriend after a fight wouldn’t cure your depression, sweetie.
There is so much more where that came from. I wish I owned this as an e-book so I could search how often cr*zy was used. Therefore, I’m wary to pick up any of Menon’s future novels.

Sometimes, this book tried to tackle misogyny coming from men, but unfortunately, there was an unnecessary amount of animosity between the female characters. Besides Dimple, there are only two other girls at the summer program, who couldn’t be more different from Dimple and there’s a ton of drama surrounding them. Dimple had only met Isabelle and she already thought things like “a girl like Isabelle”, of course in a negative way. Throughout the entire novel, they never attempt to get to know each other better. Celia is looking fabulous and Dimple thinks “I wish I could hate her”. WHY? Why can’t female characters support each other?! Why do I have to read about such pettiness?!

At a certain point, Celia says she had a girlfriend last summer, but it was nothing serious. At first I was very excited to read about a bisexual or pansexual female character, but it might as well been a typo, because it’s never brought up again. Furthermore, if Celia is indeed queer, I don’t like how her sexuality is portrayed. She cheats on her partner and her relationship with a girl was “nothing serious”, implying that bisexuality is a phase. Unfortunately, I’m very familiar with reading such portrayals of bisexuality, and I wish non-bi authors would stop including my sexual orientation if they’re only going to rely on stereotypes.

The way Dimple discussed money really hurts me. She acts as if she’s poor, but her parents paid $1.000 for a camp just so she could meet her future husband. My mom doesn’t even have $1.000. Because she compares herself to Rishi who is rich, she thinks of money quite often. Reading that hurts, because it’s not even an issue for her!

Finally, I’m going to discuss the romance. Like I said, allocishet romances are not my cup of tea. However, that’s just my opinion, so I think there are plenty of people who will enjoy this novel. Having said that, there are some things about the romance I didn’t love.
First of all, I don’t think it’s romantic to push your partners boundaries. I understood the idea; Dimple and Rishi wanted each other to pursue their dreams, but I don’t like how they’re making the other person do things they specifically said they didn’t want to do. For instance, there’s a scene at a party where Dimple pressures Rishi into eating a brownie. He really didn’t want to because he was afraid it might contain drugs, but he did it because of her.
Secondly, I really don’t like how sex is portrayed in Young Adult. Penetration is always the first step for allocishet couples in YA and of course, it’s always perfect and painless. Which is, as far as I know, completely unrealistic. The first time doesn’t necessarily have to hurt, but the girl has to be prepared, if you know what I mean. But no, in YA, they just go right in there, because no other forms of sex exist.

Obviously, I had my issues with this novel. Having said that: y’all are so obvious. Why are the most liked reviews on Goodreads the most negative ones, which of course don’t even touch upon the ableism in this book? I know: racism. People just love hating on diverse books just because they’re diverse. I really hope people don’t interpret my review as “trolling”, because I absolutely expected to love this novel and do have some issues with.

Because I hadn’t expected the allocishet romance to be such a prominent part of the story, I didn’t enjoy When Dimple Met Rishi as much as I had expected. On top of that, I have some serious concerns, such as the ableist language. If you enjoy reading romances, I would recommend this novel, but please be aware of the ableism, portrayal of bisexuality, etc.

I wanted to include reviews from Indians or Indian-Americans who talked about the representation in this novel, but I couldn’t find any people who clearly stated in their reviews they’re Indians or Indian-Americans right away, but I haven’t heard any complaints when it comes to that portrayal. Besides, this novel is #OwnVoices.


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Ramona Blue review: thoughts from a bisexual reviewer

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ramona blue.pngRamona Blue

by Julie Murphy

read in June 2017

format: hardcover

This review contains minor spoilers!

When the blurb of Ramona Blue was released, it caused a lot of controversy. Just have a look at the reviews on this website. I for one was very excited to read a book about a girl who thought she was a lesbian, but later learnt she was bi. Unfortunately, that’s not what Ramona Blue is about. Though this is written by a bisexual author and she says on social media that Ramona is bisexual, it is never once stated in the book that she is. That’s my main issue with this book and I’ll get into that later.

Let’s start with the things I did like. I love how the author mentioned every character’s skin colour. Often, authors only mention the skin colours of characters that aren’t white, so this was a nice change. Among the cast of characters, there’s a lot of diversity: gay, biracial, a character with two moms, etc. And I really appreciated Freddie telling Ramona how sneaking onto private property isn’t fun when you’re a black kid, because that’s how you get shot.

Unfortunately, I have many issues with this book. I don’t speak for all bisexuals, but I want to be honest and share how much this book has hurt me. If other bisexuals did enjoy this book, that’s totally fine. I just didn’t.

It honestly baffles me that this book is written by a bisexual woman, because throughout the book, I had the feeling as if it wasn’t considered a valid sexuality. As if Ramona was now straight and no longer gay, or that she was still a lesbian, but her boyfriend was an exception. The author has shared on social media that this character is indeed bisexual, so why wasn’t that included in the book? Why do I have to read this “I don’t like labels” bullshit instead? At one point, the phrase “Even straight people are a little bit gay” is used. That’s so biphobic! BI PEOPLE EXIST! That sentence went unchallenged, so I can only assume the author agrees with that.

Freddie is very ignorant when it comes to Ramona’s sexuality. She sometimes gets a bit annoyed with him, but overall, she always feels as if she was the one who shouldn’t have snapped and “at least he’s trying”. Reading this book was therefore very hard for me. I understand why the author would include homophobia because it does exist, but for it to go unchallenged… That’s not okay.

Therefore, I couldn’t excuse the things Freddie said and did. Because Ramona didn’t call him out, he didn’t exactly change. Naturally, I couldn’t root for their relationship, which is a huge part of what this story is about. Am I supposed to excuse his homophobia because he doesn’t have any gay friends? Hell no.

Freddie was the one who initiated the first kiss with Ramona. As far as he knew, she was a lesbian. Of course sexuality can be fluid, but it should’ve been her who took that first step, not him. She told him she was gay, yet he still kissed her. Do I have to point out how wrong that is?

Obviously, I wasn’t a fan of Freddie. Which sucks, because I liked him at first. But I just can’t excuse his behaviour. Like Ramona told him months ago that she didn’t want to get a senior page in the yearbook, so he bought it for her as a surprise. He’s pushing her to do things she doesn’t want to do, but she thought it was sweet and kind. She lets him get away with everything!

Moving on from their relationship, I have some other issues as well. As a Young Adult author, I believe you are responsible for teenagers. It’s good that Freddie used a condom and the sex was definitely consensual, but he went in there without any “prep” beforehand and I just cringed.

Furthermore, the word “crazy” is used an awful lot and at one point, Ramona says “I’m a human being. I think about sex”. I found that quite acephobic.

A common theme in many books is a character who doesn’t want to go to college, but does go in the end because “it’s the only way to turn their lives around”. I find that harmful, because not everyone gets a scholarship, because it doesn’t work out for everybody. You are not a failure if you decide not to go to college, so we should see this more often in fiction!

I have even more issues with this book, but I’ll end this here. I’m so very disappointed in this book and I know people will disagree with me, but I cannot help how I feel. I never expected a bisexual author to make me feel so invalid, but here we are…

Unfortunately, reading Ramona Blue was a hurtful experience, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Yes, this book has received positive reviews, but I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt like I did.


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