I'm hovering between 3 and 4 stars for this book, not because it wasn't good, because it totally was, but because I'm a little iffy in the E.T. categoI'm hovering between 3 and 4 stars for this book, not because it wasn't good, because it totally was, but because I'm a little iffy in the E.T. category. But I did like the presentation of a kind-of-bisexual female character, who really shunned the labeling, and didn't really even consider her own sexuality until she was faced with it, that seems a lot more real to me than a lot of other stories out there. But otherwise, compelling, gripping story, and I still want to read the sequel, E.T. or not!...more
This book covers such a wide expanse of ideas, it's really very difficult to describe as a whole piece. Ultimately, upon reading the whole thing and sThis book covers such a wide expanse of ideas, it's really very difficult to describe as a whole piece. Ultimately, upon reading the whole thing and skipping some things, etc., I found the most fascinating thing to be that "queer" is a multifaceted word, used to refer to sexuality, gender identity, levels of activism. I really had to evaluate how I identify with the word. I know that for myself, I like it because it feels more all-encompassing than the gay/lesbian binary, and that it's NOT a binary ... it reinforces that sexuality, gender identity, body politics, all is fluid and across a spectrum, not a binary. That being said, there are DEFINITELY some essays I just couldn't get on board with -- the "I'm-queerer-than-you" mentality is really off-putting and exclusionary, in my opinion, and this idea is present in many of the "radical activism" essays. Also, the entitlement that some queer folk feel about telling other queer-identified people that they can't be queer because of x, basically trying to force "queer" into a definable, exclusive box, and keep the unworthy out. I think this is just counterproductive ... I'm also not a get-in-the-streets/get-arrested-for-my-radicalism person, and I feel like that's a valid standpoint. It's in fact privilege that enables some people to go out and get arrested for protests/activism-things, and know that they won't be forever in jail. But would that be the same for people of color? working-class people who can't afford to miss any work? Anyway, that's only a part of the book.
I guess the best part about this collection is that it really shows so many different approaches to queerness and activism, and philosophy, etc., that it really makes you think about your own identity politics and try to articulate the difficult-to-articulate. There were many places that I just felt an aversion to what I was reading, and I had to take a step back and try to figure out what it was making me feel that aversion ... what was it in my understanding of "queer" that didn't mesh with whatever I was reading that made me feel kind of bristly?
So read this book if you want to understand queerness for yourself -- the best part is that you WILL NOT agree with everything in here (I certainly didn't!) but it makes you think and evaluate ... ...more
This book was pretty great ... funny, real, bicycle-y, drama-folk-y, high-school-romance-y, and just all around good. I mean, the play the kids put onThis book was pretty great ... funny, real, bicycle-y, drama-folk-y, high-school-romance-y, and just all around good. I mean, the play the kids put on, in honor of their deceased friend who wrote it, is called, "Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad" -- which is awesome! Kudos to this book, indeed!...more
First of all, I'm always glad to see another book published about lesbians and queer-identified folks, so when I saw that Julie Anne Peters had a newFirst of all, I'm always glad to see another book published about lesbians and queer-identified folks, so when I saw that Julie Anne Peters had a new book, I was eager to read. That being said, the book was alright, but it had so many of the same old story lines and themes that I was kind of disappointed.
The book is set up rather strangely, with "flashbacks" about Alyssa and Sara's relationship coming to us in the second person, and it just felt really weird and unreal. And of course, we don't learn about the whole of their relationship, like "THE THING THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING" until towards the end, and it turns out, of course, to be something devastating -- between Alyssa and her family, Alyssa and Sara, Alyssa and her previous friends, and Alyssa and her mother. I know it's a common theme in YA queer lit, but I just don't believe that every queer story is as devastating as these YA novels make them out to be. I'm not in any way belittling those difficult stories and lives lived, but I just really wish there were books out there reveling in the awesomeness of a teen finding her identity and just living it. The story doesn't have to come out of her devastation about being queer, does it?
Anyway, end rant. This isn't just about this book, obviously, but the queer YA lit scene in general. The ending with her family was interesting, I should say. ...more
Ok, so I think I'm ready to review this book. I needed to get some space away from it, first. I guess it just pissed me off, more than anything. In MaOk, so I think I'm ready to review this book. I needed to get some space away from it, first. I guess it just pissed me off, more than anything. In Madeleine George fashion, the chapters alternate perspectives between main characters, much like "Looks". My problem with this book was just how crappy Jesse gets treated over and over again, and how oblivious Emily is to everything taking an ounce of brains/intelligence/common sense. I KNOW people get treated badly every day; I KNOW it's hard to be queer and out in high school; I KNOW there are uber ditz girls in high school and life. I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW. But seriously, someone as awesome and anti-establishment, pro-justic, anti-"The Man", and serious enough about her politics and sense of justice to guerilla post handmade posters all over the school ... she just takes shoddy treatment and blatant ignorance from a chick she digs? Really? REALLY? It's just SO unbelievable and frustrating, that the book is just almost not worth reading at all! Now I say "almost" because I don't presume to tell people what to read -- pick up this book, read it, and I want to know what others got from it; what redeeming qualities you found in it? Because I'm honestly at a loss. The main focus of this book should have been Esther - peaceful protesting, detention-getting, fuck-fakers attitude chick. She would've made this a much more interesting book. This could have been a short story and gotten as much of a point or whatever across as it did in an entire book. ughh. Just pissed me off. ...more
**spoiler alert** I really liked this book -- so full of so many huge-hitting issues, and done pretty well, that I really don't have anything bad to s**spoiler alert** I really liked this book -- so full of so many huge-hitting issues, and done pretty well, that I really don't have anything bad to say about it, and that's after I've digested it for a day.
The religious views were incredibly interesting, and very very relatable to current religious variation ... belief in morality, anti-choice and also anti-death penalty. Then hardcore fundamentalists who believe the reason for women is for men to have sex-dolls and maid-servants, and who are anti-choice and pro-death penalty, to the point that everything THEY judge is right, is right, i.e. if someone they think should've gotten the death penalty, they'll take it into their own hands. Then religious beliefs that hold faith in a higher being, but also faith in morality and the goodness of all people -- gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, black, asian, white, purple, whatever! And they have enough faith in their faith to 'allow' these people to also run various congregations. I find this kind of religious comparative/break-down fascinating (while also largely horrifying regarding extremists).
It was very interesting to see a future where the death penalty has been outlawed, but instead of having it, they've sorted out a way to infect the "guilty" with a virus to change their skin color to match the degree of their crime. These people then walk back into the world in this different colored skin, and everyone can see what level of criminal they are, and everyone assumes they did one thing or the other, never knowing the particulars of any one person's crime, and never really questioning whether they are even actually guilty or not. As a person against the death penalty, I can see a time when prisons and places like that are overrun and there is a question of what to do next, but "chroming" isn't it, it creeps me out that the government would go to such extremes to biologically dole out a punishment to these people ... especially with the fallibility of the justice system ... geez ...
And the "safe house" is just horrifying ... horrifying ...
I found the ensuing choices made by the main character to be acts of freedom, and acts that went hand in hand with her new-found freedom of self and spirit and religion.
My high rating just *might* be due, in part, to the fact that the movie, "Desert Hearts", is awesome. But otherwise, the book was really good! Well-wrMy high rating just *might* be due, in part, to the fact that the movie, "Desert Hearts", is awesome. But otherwise, the book was really good! Well-written (it's a toss-up with some of these queer fiction books), not overly ridiculous in the emotions category (sometimes these books gush too much and just get silly), and intelligent about figuring oneself out and dealing with things like divorcing a husband of 16 years (Evelyn is totally morphing into a stronger woman who can feel okay with not needing a man, throughout the story). Anyway, a good read!...more
This book was amazing. Just amazing. I was a little concerned from all the poor reviews, but I guess it just didn't resonate or something with others?This book was amazing. Just amazing. I was a little concerned from all the poor reviews, but I guess it just didn't resonate or something with others? I really like the, what I call, Austen-esque writing style, thought this one is written much later, in the 1920s. The exploration of queer life and gender-bending in this time period is just fascinating. And this just shows that a book can be well-written, full of interesting plot, emotionally gripping, and epic AND be a lesbian novel. Who'd have thought?! I may come back to this review, but I just loved this book. The main character's name is Stephen! And she's a girl! Awesome!!...more