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It Looks Like This

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,909 ratings  ·  394 reviews
A new state, a new city, a new high school. Mike's father has already found a new evangelical church for the family to attend, even if Mike and his plainspoken little sister, Toby, don't want to go. Dad wants Mike to ditch art for sports, to toughen up, but there’s something uneasy behind his demands.

Then Mike meets Sean, the new kid, and "hey" becomes games of basketball,
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by Candlewick
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Jill Some. The book suggests for ages 14 and up, which I think is an honest maturity rating.

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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,909 ratings  ·  394 reviews

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C.G. Drews
This was really hard to read and reviewing is pretty much impossible??? So I'm just going to muddle along here and not go into too much detail. But it was really really depressing. And even though there are pinpricks of light at the end, it was overall just so sad I actually felt my stomach drop out at one stage. I'm in no way saying these kind of stories aren't important. They are. And this is gay #ownvoices and minority authors should and can tell the stories that are hard and bitter and devas ...more
A copy of this novel was provided by Walker Books Australia for review.

My Thoughts

I honestly can’t give It Looks Like This a rating because my thoughts on the book are far too complicated to whittle down to a number out of five. And ratings often correlate with recommending a book, and in all honestly I cannot recommend It Looks Like This to LGBTQIA+ teens.

It Looks Like This is a Tragic Queer Story. And by that I mean a terribly tragic thing happens in this story for everyone who is a horrible a
Taylor Knight
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs
I'm bothered by a lot of things about this book.
The complete lack of quotation marks with the dialogue so annoying and I didn't see how it benefited the story. It made the entire story seem very flat and didn't have any emotion. I didn't find this book to be particularly different from a bunch of other books that I've read. The plot was very similar to other LBGTQ+ books that I've read and I was kind of bored by it.
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
It Looks Like This is phenomenal, rage inducing and absolutely heartbreaking. Having only just turned the final page, I was compelled to gather my thoughts and emotions, frantically, passionately through tears and sorrow.

The narrative is told from almost fifteen year old Michael's point of view. Although young, he's a mature young man that finds himself taking an interest in the same sex. Mike never identifies himself to the reader as being gay, but finds himself attracted to boys. He's intellig
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
May 04, 2016 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: yabc, arc
Gave up after 50 pages. Only Cormac McCarthy can get away with refusing to use quotation marks for dialogue--and it annoys the hell out of me that he does it in the first place.

The prose is just a recitation of facts in the most droll manner possible. The comparison of Mittlefehldt's prose to Raymond Carver's made me read one of Carver's stories/get a general understanding of why Carver is considered a significant writer, but I saw no similarities between them. Carver's story still has a rhythm
Ryan Buckby
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
actual rating: 3.5

one of my goals this year is to read more books with diverse characters and stories and i'm hoping to get this goal done for 2017.

This book deals with LGBT issues and the struggles that comes with it being in a very christian heavy family. This story did open up my mind and eyes to what it must feel like for any lesbian or gay or even bisexual person would go through living with this and how a family all reacts in different ways.

The story follows Mike who is a 'closeted' gay
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer
This book was very hard to rate. It is one of those books in which two thirds are OK but then the ending has a major impact on you – shatters you. The way how the dialogues were presented (no quotations marks) made a very unedited, repetitive impression; this disrupted my reading flow on more than one occasion. Admittedly, the book’s title is It Looks like this; however, the descriptive passages were too dominant for my liking. Moreover, I had wished for the author to fully take advantage of the ...more
Martha Sullivan
I'm gonna say this up front: I would not give this book to queer teens. I thought it was heartbreaking, and captivating, and a vital thing for people to read and understand, but I would not put it in the hands of vulnerable queer teens looking for literature that they can see themselves in. I would absolutely give it to teens who are looking to understand an aspect of the queer experience; I'm a librarian in a very conservative community, and I can see giving this book to parents or teens as a t ...more
ashley 🌈
Dec 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt-reads
This book was kind of disappointing, and predictable. I basically skimmed the last 100 or so pages. Both Sean and Mike have stereotypically religious families, so their relationship is doomed almost from the start. I did like Mike’s little sister Toby, and when his mom finally stood up to his dad at the end. It’s a slow read so I wouldn’t recommend it for someone looking to get into books with m/m romance.
Sara⁷ ❀
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2018
Now i understand why people say that this book is difficult to rate and review. I really loved the first half of the book but i kinda lost it in the second. i didnt even realize ****'s death, it took me like 10 pages lol. ...more
This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

Thanks to Walker Books Australia for providing a review copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It Looks Like This is a heartbreaking story about identity and the painful experience of being a disappointment to your parents because of who you are. It’s a fantastic but emotional LGTBQ+ story and it definitely hit me hard.

This novel is about Mike, who is 14 or 15 years old, and just discovering his sexuality and
Oct 14, 2016 rated it liked it
3 and half stars

A sad but ultimately somewhat uplifting book which deals with the consequences of not accepting your children unconditionally. It's told from the perspective of the MC, Mike, a 14 year old who moves to Virginia right before freshman year in High School. The writing is very good, mirroring realistically the thoughts and moods of a shy, immature teenager confused by his sexuality. This is strictly YA so there's no sex at all, at least not explicit, and very few expletives. We find
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holy FUCK I was not expecting this book to hit me as hard as it did. I’m stunned but also impressed. Writing style can be a bit odd (there’s no quotes for the dialogue which is confusing as all hell) but other than that I thought it was an amazing book.

This story is sad in many aspects, as it reflects the cruel reality of homophobia. I was heartbroken and furious so many times. But there are tender moments too. Mike’s got friends in his corner, and adults who give a shit, and a kickass little s
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m, hearbreaking, audible, ya
Possibly 3 1/2 VERY SAD stars for this one. This book was a heart breaker, its told from Mike's POV, he is a 14 year old who moved to Virginia within a year or two. His family dynamic is really difficult, overbearing, cold, and unhappy father and for most of the story a pushover for a mom. The only one with some sort of a brain appears to be the younger sister. Due to this dated family structure Mike is extremely sheltered, his thoughts are so simple and naive - yet I think its due to his parent ...more
Dalziel Mapp
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
It looks like this:
Sadness, mostly.
Tints of hope, hidden somewhere.
The warmth of happiness not here in this moment, only tears.

This is one that's tale won't leave me any time soon.
TOTAL READING TIME: 3 hours, 39 minutes.

My first book for Pride Month 2019!

I want to start by saying that this is not a fluffy, romantic LGBTQ+ book, so if you don't like tragic stories about LGBTQ+ youth, this book is not for you and you probably shouldn't recommend it to a young person wanting to read happy stories about LGBTQ+ teenagers. With that said, the book is OwnVoices, so I understand why this book was written.

The main character and his voice reminds me of The Dangerous Art of Blending
Sep 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Bitterly sad LGBT teen fiction - I see it's getting flack for having tragic elements, which I do get - but it's not only tragic or wallowing in its tragicness, I didn't think - it turned into a bit of a PARENTS, LOVE YOUR GAY CHILDREN OR ELSE THIS MIGHT HAPPEN TO YOU! psa for a while, but it also did some nice things in the end that made me choke up a bit. I don't know. And the prose is so stark and stilted that it's kind of interesting, for a YA problem novel. Also, I was super fascinated by th ...more
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, arc
This is a very important book. It shook me to my core. I felt as if I was actually living the events in this story; possibly because my life echoed it once. It's a story about self acceptance and the pressures of unsupportive family, also friendship and first loves. Beautiful book. A new favorite. 5/5 stars. ...more
Michael Earp
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While it uses a trope I'd rather hoped we'd done away with by now, 'It Looks Like This' is so beautifully realised and moved me to tears on several occasions (a feat achieved by VERY few books) that I forgive it. Read it and be moved. ...more
The Bibliophagist
Wow. This book was an emotional roller-coaster, and I absolutely loved (almost) every minute of it. "It Looks Like This" is an important book with an important message that I think should be read by all.

Let’s start with Mike, our narrator. He’s was extremely likable, and super relatable. I loved being inside his head, hearing his thoughts on his family, school, and love. He was interesting in the way most wallflowers are, introspective and observant, and I couldn’t stop rooting for him along his
Eva • All Books Considered
Review originally posted at All Books Considered: 3 STARS

This is such a hard book for me to review. I don't generally set out to read books that are devastating emotionally but this one did make me so sad with its intolerance. Mike's parents and some of the kids at school were so awful that it was hard to get past their actions and find any joy in reading this book, even if it is telling a very necessary story. The writing is very simple; I believe that it is meant to be a conversation/diary
Mar 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book is just so, so …bland.

Here we have friendships built on the word, “hey”. That’s a whole lot of chemistry right there.


We get scenes where he goes to pick up his sister at choir, but she’s not there, and two seconds later he finds her. Then they go home, and - what was the point of these events?? There was no dialogue to make any of this relevant.

We also get paragraphs of descriptions for background characters all the way down to the colour of their hair roots …and I just can’t make myse
Daniel Reeves
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was fairly skeptical of this book at first. I had read some less-than-enthusiastic reviews on Good Reads and was wary about the lack of quotation marks in the book, which I found unique having never seen a book without them. But once I started the story, I really got pulled in.

It Looks Like This is a very simplistic story that’s told with grace and personality. The characters are realistic - some are angering, and some I am thankful for.

It’s a story that shows the importance of using your voic
Sim ✨(wholesimreads)
🌈Pride Month readathon #2
✔️43. an "own voices" book
🌟🌟🌟💫 3.5 stars

This book started off very slow so it took me a hundred or so pages to really get into it. The writing style is distinct and reads differently emotionally, which I wasn't quite a fan of until the crux of the story. The story was bittersweet and made me really thankful that whilst I have my own personal struggles in the LGBTQ+ community, I'm able to be in a relationship with a girl and a lot of people in my life are accepting. It wa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017-reads, rainbow
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emma Gerts
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
It took me a while to get used to the writing style in this book, but once I did I found it to be quite moving. It's a really powerful story, heart breaking without being over dramatic. I really liked the understated tone of this book. There was no histrionics, or drama the way a lot of YA books deal with these topics. I had a real, visceral reaction to the conversion camp - it was so well written, I felt sick to my stomach.
The only reason I've given this one 3 stars instead of 4 was because it
Grace ᵔᴥᵔ
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
my heart hurts. I can't say I "enjoyed" my reading experience, but I think this was an important read. It impacted me the way it should. Really great characters, even the minimal ones. Proper RTC ...more
Emma McIlroy
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Four star because it has lots of gay clichés, but it's so well written you hardly notice them, and they certainly don't seem forced. Would have been five stars if it weren't for how cliché it is. :) ...more
AJ (the.booknerd.reads)

it was slightly choppy with the descriptions and flow of words, and there were no quotation marks for dialogue, but this book is SO important.
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Rafi Mittlefehldt is the author of two young adult novels, What Makes Us, releasing Oct. 15, 2019, and It Looks Like This, published in 2016.

When he's not writing, Rafi works in instructional design and volunteers for I'm From Driftwood, a non-profit that collects and posts LGBTQ stories from around the world. Raised in Houston, he worked briefly as a reporter for a small-town newspaper in Central

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“Toby kicks another rock and we're quiet for another minute or so.

Then she says, Sometimes you seem like that too.

I don't say anything.”
More quotes…