What We Left Behind
Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They've been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard ...more
Firstly, I knew early on that this wasn't going to get more than three stars. It read like a textbook or essay discussing and informing the reader about being transgender and being genderqueer. The story itself - about Toni and Gretchen's relationship - ...more
The genderqueer representation is not good at all. First, (I'm going to refer to the genderqueer character only as T through this review so as not to spoil things) T does the WORST thing that reinforces the WORST stereotype about genderqueer people. T acts like a hipster "babydyke" (another character's word, not mine) and goes around calling everyone by gender neutral pronouns, until the very ...more
Also to note, for the purposes of this review, I will referring to Toni as'T' as to not spoil anything.
To start with, the writing felt forced and read like a collection of short essays or even a textbook, and there was barely any resembla ...more
This book is problematic in more ways than I can describe. Do NOT look to this book to educate you on the trans spectrum or the queer community in general. This is not good queer representation, even worse genderqueer "representation" (if it can even rightfully be called that), and I would encourage you to avoid it at all costs. This is Glee in novel form; it wants to be a catchall for ALL THE CHARACTERS, ...more
When a book opened up with a relatable litany such as these:
You’re bound to think, “Oh, hell yes. This shit might be good.” It better be good.
However, What We Left Behind drastically failed in every standard that I was highly holding itself into. There are a lot of offensive and alarming situations that made my skin crawled.
There is a prominent character in the story, named Caroll. He is gay, and he keeps using transphobic and lespobic sl ...more
All quotes are from my arc edition and may be subject to change
Toni and Gretchen are the perfect couple. They never fight and are expected to be together forever. But then college comes along, Gretchen to NYU and Toni to Harvard and they are sure they'll be ok. However, the distance does put a toll on their relationship. Toni is genderqueer and when T finds a sense of belonging with a group transgender upperclassman, Gretchen struggles to fin ...more
Okay. I've been looking forward to this review, mainly because I have a lot to say. So lately I've been reading a lot of LGBTQ to broaden my horizons. Unfortunately, I haven't liked many of the books in that genre. This book was one of those books.
Plot: So this book was about a lesbian couple who basically have their entire lives planned out: together. The two girls names are Gretchen and Toni. Toni is struggling to find out who she is, and identifying as genderqueer, because she d ...more
My first impression was: holy shit, we have come a LONG way since I was a teen! A non-binary character who's on a journey! Happy queer teens dating in high school and having realistic dating feelings! This is new, and neat.
Less thrilling: you've got a whole group of (presumably) extremely smart, politicized trans Harvard students and not one of them says, hey, dude, you know the whole pronoun thing? U ...more
I loved Talley's first book. Lies We Tell Ourselves had a few issues in terms of race representation, but I was able to get past most of those and focus on the story and be swept up in it and then get too emotionally involved and have a mini breakdown. It was fine. I was fine with it. But What We Left Behind rubbed me the wrong way the entire time I read it.
I am cisgender and have always identified that way, so I cannot entirely speak for h ...more
I don't really read New Adult. It's not because I have something against New Adult, I mean I've read and loved several New Adult novels, my problem is that I never feel like I am being represented in New Adult. I go to college and here is a truth that people won't tell you: college is all about being angsty. The angst doesn't magically disappear once you get into college. You aren't magically transformed into an adult. There is angst, lot ...more
Lies We Tell Ourselves was one of my favourite books of the year last year, and when I found out that Talley's next book would be about a girl who is a lesbian and a character who identifies as genderqueer, I was incredibly excited. Unfortunately, I was more than a little let down by What We Left Behind, and the reason for that lies with the character of Toni.
There are two main characters, Toni and Gretchen, but What We Left Behind focusses most...more
What We Left Behind is a difficult book to read and enjoy, because it’s not a happy book. I r ...more
To me, this is NOT a good book for genderqueer representation… or ANY representation for that matter, because despite this book being filled with queer characters, many of them are so excruciatingly ignorant and problematic. Seriously, I expected so much more from a novel that’s supposedly LBTQ+-friendly, but this book was a ...more
Toni and Gretchen are a couple like no other. They don’t fight or have conflicts. Everything is perfect. Then things start to change drastically. Toni and Gretchen are in different states for their first year of college. Gretchen and Toni don’t want to be another statistic of couples not working on for long distance. Toni identifies as genderqueer and prefers not to use pronouns to define gender. Gretchen doesn’t really understand Toni’s GQ status, but su...more
You have been warned.
NB: I use 'they' for Toni more than any other gendered pronouns, purely because Toni doesn't start to identify as a male with male pronouns until the end of the book, and all of this stuff I'm talking about is before that part happens.
This book was really well written. Like really well. For the most part.
This is the first novel from this author that I have read, and yes, it is ex ...more
(As a note: this is all coming from the point of view of someone who identifies outside of the gender binary. Also I'm referring to Tony as Tony and with male pronouns as per his decision at the end of the novel.)
I've seen a lot of people talking about how the book portrays being genderqueer as a transitional phase from being cis to being trans. I disagree with ...more
I received an eARC of What We Left Behind from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review - thanks to MIRAInk and NetGalley for letting me read this book early!
Check out my review of Robin Talley's debut, Lies We Tell Ourselves , here.
Last month I read Robin Talley's debut novel, Lies We Tell Ourselves, and with her third novel, As I Descended , being one of my most anticipated reads of 2016, I think it's safe to say that Talley is an author I've been keepi ...more
I really feel that this book should not be marketed as having a genderqueer main character. Not only does it show a horrible representation of what it means to be genderqueer but Tony thinks several times about how he doesn't like the term genderqueer.
That I'm definitely somewhere on the transgender spectrum, and that even though I've spent hours...more
I don't think I've ever felt more overwhelmed or lost. The terminology became too much and I found Toni incredibly vapid. It needed emotion, not text book statistics and explanations that could have derived from Google.
As a society of wanting to dissolve stereotypes, Toni's constant need to use labels and belittle those she can't identify with was misguided at best. It's concerning whether this was yet another example of diversity just to satisfy the young adult market.
My website is at http://www. ...more