Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

Sorry for the gap in posts, vacation week was hectic. I don’t usually rate sequels to books, but for this, I have to because this book was and is an amazing sequel. In this book, all our favorite and diverse characters are here with the addition of a feisty Alex Fierro, who’s gender fluid.

This band of heroes are now fighting against Loki’s plan to marry of Sam to a giant. They go on tons of adventures, trying to figure out a way to get her out of this while Thor’s hammer is also on the line, part of Sam’s nuptial gifts. 

The story stayed interesting, and awesome. Like seriously awesome. It’s definitely for older middle graders (at one point the make magical string out of a cup of blood and hair), but it’s definitely worth the read.

I especially love Alex Fierro’s character, who normalizes gender confusion and explains to kids. I find Alex a decent role model, and wished she was around when I was younger.

Probably 11+. Bit more violence and fighting, not mention some innuendo that’ll go over little kids heads. I recommend highly.

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Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

This book broke my heart, and mended it back together. I may have teared up. That’s entirely possible. And that would have been okay. Cuz jeepers, what a book this was.

Grayson is a 12 year old who lives two lives – the one in public, a shy and timid boy, and the one she really is, the one when she’s home alone and can be a girl. And in this way, she lives. Until she auditions for Persephone in a school play, auditions for a girl part, and gets it. And rocks it.

This book has amazing character development, an amazing plot rife with social battles and at-home issues and bullying and transgender rights, and just everything. After she gets the part, it’s a long struggle between then and the play. But the way it’s done is amazing. I always recommend it to all friends looking for LGBT+ reads.

I think what I really like is not only the writing style and the plot and characterization, is how it’s middle grade so it’s written for and about tweens in a way that’s awesome. I would say the content is appropriate for sixth or fifth grade plus. It might be a nice introduction to transgender issues at an easy level, or at least awareness to what it is. I highly recommend.

We Are the Ants By Shaun David Hutcherson

I will admit, part of the reason I wanted to read this book was due to the cover.

Image result for we are the ants

I mean look at it! So pretty! Then, I read the inside flap. And I wanted to read it even more. To describe this book is a difficult feat. I can say, though, that I liked it a lot.

It follows Henry, his falling about family, his dealing with bullies at school, the past suicide of his boyfriend, a new person entering his life, and abduction by aliens who want him to save the world with the push of a button. This book is just…wow. The writing drew me in, the characters interested me and were diverse and unique, and it targeted issues I was not used to. The premise is, I admit, a bit weird but it works. I don’t know how, but it does and this book tore me apart and put me back together again. I cannot possibly due justice to this book with words, but I can say this: read it. Please. Try this book, the size isn’t as bad as it looks and it goes by quickly. Read this, fall in love with the words, fall in love the the pessimistic view of Henry and the life of Diego, the memory of Jesse and the friends he left behind struggling to cope.

This book deals with a lot of heavy topics, as you can see from above. Depression, suicide, rape, LGBT issues, mental illness. Just, it’s a lot. Definitely for more mature teens and up. But, give it a shot, okay? It’s worth it.

LGBT Books

So, there are a lot of LGBT books out there, a lot of them unknown. It will take me forever to read and review them all, though I do wish to do that :]. I made a list though, of all the LGBT books I either want to read, have read, or found that looked interesting. I hope you guys enjoy it!

List Here

Luna by Julie Anne Peters

I liked this book. Although, my family might not have enjoyed my reading of it, as I am the occasional loud or expressive reader. This book a girl’s struggle with her brother being transgender, going by Luna and dressing in dresses and heels. Although I did like this book, I had a bit of a hard time seeing who this book was supposed to be about, or what the major plot was. Since the book is entirely through Regan, the sister’s, eyes.

What was nice about this, however, was how it depicted transphobia in various communities, and the struggle for families to accept a person’s change in gender. Sadly, I could not like Regan that much. I felt she was on the selfish and uncaring side, however I was at the age she is depicted already involved in the LGBT+ community, so I learned quickly how to act and that everyone is accepted, as long as their not mean spirited.

I guess I was expecting slightly more, but this would be a good jump start into YA LGBT+ fiction, for those who don’t have their footing yet. This book has some content more suited for teens, like past suicidal thoughts/intents, transphobia, and I think some transphobic slurs. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll try to upload more reviews of LGBT fiction.

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

I had learned about this book on Goodreads and then immediately wanted to read it. Sadly, for the longest time I couldn’t find this book in my local library. But then one day, when I was in the library looking for whatever I was looking for (I have what I call, a selective memory where I can’t choose what I remember) and suddenly, the last name Hartinger stuck out in my mind. And then I found this book! I thought it was fate or book destiny that lead me too this book I had wanted to read for months.

Then I started the book.

This book follows Russel in his conservative high school where he’s the only gay kid, but then finds out he isn’t and then he and the other gay/lesbian/bi kids form a club called the Geography Club. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?

I had a few issues with the writing style. It was simpler and used, in my opinion, too many exclamation points and the foreshadowing was terrible. And since it was written in a simple, easy to read style, it was shocking whenever bigger swears or more inappropriate matter was discussed. Also many parts of this seemed too coincidental. That kind of annoyed me.

This book made me laugh, made me nearly cry (something that’s rather hard to explain in a car ride with one’s parents), and ultimately in the end, broke my heart. There were good things in this book, and I will forever remember it.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I heard good things about this book, so I checked it out of the library during the week. I was sick the first three days of the week, so on Friday when I got home, I had a ton of work to do. I decided to read a few pages of this 300+ page book after a few assignments. That was a mistake.

This book was so good, that I had trouble focusing on my homework. Friday night, I ended up mostly just reading. The next day, I vowed to actually work since everything was due Tuesday. Somehow, I managed to finish only 10 of my 25 assignments, and the whole entire book.

This book was just amazing. There really are no words to describe it. I loved it, and recommend it highly to teens. It’s a great young adult book written in the past few years about teens in the ’80’s. This book is a good, quick (at least it was for me) read that will leave you thinking.