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Flamer

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  2,352 ratings  ·  524 reviews
A YA graphic novel about a 14-year-old boy who is bullied at Boy Scout camp, with near-fatal consequences.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 1st 2020 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Rick I think EVERY middle school boy should read this book. It’s a wonderful story and it would help a lot of people understand how their actions can have …moreI think EVERY middle school boy should read this book. It’s a wonderful story and it would help a lot of people understand how their actions can have unexpected consequences on others. (less)
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Average rating 4.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,352 ratings  ·  524 reviews


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Caleb Roehrig
I feel uncomfortably seen. Is this what it feels like for straight people every time they read a book or watch a movie? Completely recognized and utterly understood? It’s surreal to realize as an adult how many of my teenage experiences were not unique, because I never saw them represented anywhere.

Parts of FLAMER were hard for me to read, because they felt so personal—which says something about how powerful the narrative is. I’m really, really glad this story exists.
Larry H
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-tour, arc
"I know I’m not gay. Gay boys like other boys. I hate boys. They’re mean, and scary, and they’re always destroying something or saying something dumb or both.

"I hate that word. Gay. It makes me feel...unsafe."

Mike Curato's Flamer is a powerful, emotional graphic novel about friendship, self-esteem, sexuality, and the battle between being like everyone else to “fit in” and being yourself. It's about feeling so down, so alone, that you don't know what to do or where to turn.

It's the summer bef
...more
Bethany
Aug 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
This one is a little hard to review because I'm not the intended audience. I'll be honest though, I was incredibly uncomfortable reading about young teen boys making homophobic jokes, masturbating together in a dark tent (the MC was also very uncomfortable with this) and getting repeated discussions of a 14-year-old boys introduction to porn, masturbation, and sexy dreams. Really not things I want to be thinking about. (Also, it's set in 1995 but that plus the unaddressed rampant bullying makes ...more
Dave Schaafsma
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gn-ya, gn-glbt
"I know I’m not gay. Gay boys like other boys. I hate boys. They’re mean, and scary, and they’re always destroying something or saying something dumb or both."

"I hate that word. Gay. It makes me feel . . . unsafe."

A book about a kid, Aidan, who is constantly bullied in middle school for being "overweight" and because he is identified by these straight boys as gay. So school is not a safe place for him, mostly miserable, but interestingly enough Boy Scout Camp becomes his safe(r) place, where he
...more
Rick
I don’t have words right now. I just finished it and I’m still crying too much. A review is going to have to wait. But this is one of the most personal, deeply moving and beautiful stories I’ve ever read.

Thank you Mike Curato for writing this. Thank you.

Addition: after a day of thinking about this story and not being able to get it out of my mind for very long, I find myself continually coming back to Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s quote that “This book will save lives.” Truthfully, there is really not
...more
Eti
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A powerful, poignant, read-in-one-sitting masterpiece.
"In this darkness we can find an inner light to guide us. And there is light in you, even if you can't see it."
...more
Danielle
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
This book feels like a love letter to Mike Curato's younger self (though not strictly a memoir). A love letter to any queer kid struggling with their identity in systems like a church or scout troop or school that leaves them alone and confused and full of unwarranted shame. A letter to say, you are loved. You are light. Keep your sacred flame burning. ...more
Rod Brown
The bullying, homophobia, and racism are pretty unrelenting in this tale of a 14-year-old Filipino American boy coming to terms with his sexual identity during the final days of a Boy Scout summer camp. It ground me down as a reader, and even so I cannot even begin to imagine how much worse it would be to live it.

It's a pretty depressing takedown of how early toxic masculinity is ingrained in our children and of the Boy Scouts in general. It suffers a bit from its inevitability and goes so deep
...more
Dahlia
Me before reading: “That blurb says it’s gonna save lives? Seriously?”

Me after reading: “Oh. Okay, yeah.”

This graphic novel reads so deeply personal, it’s impossible not to imagine how many queer kids (especially gay boys) could read it from cover to cover with their hearts in their throats. I will flat-out admit I cried. But it’s so wonderfully hopeful, even with all its brutality, and you just can’t not want every kid who needs it to find it. And maybe some grownups too.
Shira
for my gushing rave review of this book, head to No Flying No Tights.

everyone needs to read this. it is devastating and hopeful and gorgeous and timeless and perpetually relevant. I know so many aidens; I sort of am an aiden. do the world a favor and give this to every teen you’ve ever met.
...more
BookChampions
On the cover of the new queer YA graphic novel, *Flamer*, Jarrett Krosoczka declares, "This book will save lives." By the end of the book (and without spoiling too much), I knew exactly what he meant.

This book is for any queer or questioning kid (or adult with wounds to heal) who ever questioned their worth, slipped into despair, or wondered if the pains of isolation would ever end.

Mike Curato focuses on Aiden's finals days of summer (at a boy scout camp) before beginning high school. The story
...more
Deborah
This beautifully written and bravely honest book needs to be in EVERY library and middle school classroom. As the quote on the cover says—and this is not an overstatement—it "will save lives." ...more
Katie
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: glbt
Mike Curato did something extraordinary with this book and I wish I had had access to something like it when I was Aiden's age. Knowing that you're gay and not knowing how to live as a gay person as a young teenager is a really scary prospect - particularly for boys who have to perform their masculinity or else get called a faggot, or beaten. I know that it was scary for me.
Aiden is at boy scout camp, which he normally loves, but this time there are boys who are calling him out for being differe
...more
Maia
Dec 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, queer-bipoc, comics
Aiden has a rough home life, and has been constantly teased at his Catholic elementary school, but he finds a rhythm and a group of friends in the Boy Scouts. It's the summer before his first year of high school and he's afraid of standing out and getting targeted by even larger bullies. He's short, pudgy, Filipino and deeply closeted. At summer camp he wrestles with name-calling and a crush he won't admit. But he also digs down and finds a growing well of self-confidence and the ability to stan ...more
zac carter
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
on the cover of this book, there is a single line of praise from another author: “this book will save lives.” i truly believe this. from the very beginning i felt flamer would’ve been a life-changing narrative to have read when i was a young queer kid doing my best to navigate violent homophobia and toxic masculinity. the story and its intimate nature was familiar, honest, tender. aiden, the protagonist, takes so many risks, and that bravery was... remarkable. queer people are remarkable. i reco ...more
Nancy
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review can also be found on my blog: https://graphicnovelty2.com/2021/02/1...

Flamer by Mike Curato is a layered graphic novel set in 1995 about a teen who is struggling with the growing realization that he is gay.

Aidan is a Filipino-American Boy Scout who is attending summer scout camp and struggles with the toxic masculinity that the other boys demonstrate. However, despite these issues, he feels more at home with his troop, after enduring worse treatment in middle school. Nervous about t
...more
Ryan
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I picked up at Flamer after seeing the post by my friend Larry a couple weeks ago. There have been so many good graphic novels lately with LGBTQ representation and this is another to add to your list.

Aiden is a young man in his last week of Boy Scout camp before starting high school. He is ruthlessly mocked for his Filipino heritage, his feminine traits, puffiness, lack of athleticism. As Aiden progresses through he week he deals with bullies and begins to question his sexuality. Oof, this one h
...more
TJ
Wow, this was such a personal, heartfelt, important story. Sadly, I related to a lot of it, but that shows just how important this story is; so many kids will connect to it and see themselves. There’s a dark portion of the book, but it leads to a message of hope in the end. I can’t recommend this book enough, and I personally adored the X-Men portions (Jean Grey was my favorite as a kid too!). 5/5 stars and a new favorite graphic novel.
Rebecca Plaza
A really perfect telling of Aidan's scout camp experience the summer before high school. At times confident and likable, then bullied and hurt, unsure of his sexuality because of all the homophobic messages of his religious upbringing. Felt really true and honed close to the author/illustrator's experience. ...more
orangerful
Beautifully illustrated, this is a story of a young man realizing he is gay and wondering how that fits in with what he was raised to believe in his Christian family. The fire burning within as he tries to find his true self and the fire burning him from outside, showing him that he is still the same person underneath, can still have the same beliefs and faith that he had before his revelation.
Julie
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of Flamer in a Goodreads giveaway. I won back in July, but only received the book this week. It took me one day to devour it.

It took me a while to let this book settle into my heart before I was ready to write a longer review. Inspired by the author's personal story of growing up as a closeted young man, this is a heart-breaking look at the many ways people in the LGBTQIA community have been mistreated, bullied, made to feel other than by people who are ignorant and intolerant
...more
Jake
Like Caleb Roehrig said in his review, this book hurts because I really felt seen in this book. I was a gay Boy Scout at summer camp, desperately trying to hide my gayness and trying to fit in, even with guys I had known my whole life. In fact, I really liked the actual content of Scouting, but was so uncomfortable with just hoards of boys and straight dads, so I quit my Freshman year of high school.

This book can be intense, and the language, bullying, and the one scene towards the end are defi
...more
Morgan
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book. This book this book this book this book.

From author Mike Curato's afterword:

"And although living is scary when we continue to suffer, I would do it all over again to be able to write this book for you. To hope. To dream. To want love. These are dangerous acts. Fear and hope are bound up together inside of us, alongside our flaws and our divinity. In this darkness, we can find an inner light to guide us. And there is light in you, even if you can't see it."
...more
Wolfram-Jaymes von Keesing
I relate to this character too much to give it an objective review. But there *is* something about the artwork I can objectively call gorgeous.

It's incredible simple in its execution; and yet, within these rough, chalky lines, Curato's managed to convey his character's expressions perfectly.

I adore it. I hope you will too.
...more
Charlie
A little heartbreaking lifesaver of a book. I'd definitely recommend this graphic novel to young people who are struggling with their sexuality and/or faith, but it's meaningful and beautiful even outside of that. ...more
Jessica Haider
Somewhere between a 4 and 4.5

Zoe
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: winter21-books
"This book will save lives" are the first words displayed on the cover, and the last words I thought at the end of this book. Every young boy should have the opportunity to read this. ...more
Che
Feb 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
Such a necessary book. A comforting voice in the dark for those like Aiden. Kudos, Mike Curato.
Abby Johnson
Wow, wow, wow. This is an extremely powerful and needed graphic novel about a 14-year-old kid grappling with questioning his sexuaity and what that means while at Boy Scout summer camp. Based on the author's childhood, this fictional story is not afraid to go to some dark places and this is a book that's a must buy for teen library shelves. ...more
Jeremiah Henderson
Book was excellent and will go on my list of all-time favorite books, I felt so seen as a 14-year-old boy struggling with sexuality
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MIKE was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City. He has been drawing ever since he could hold a pencil. Mike attended Syracuse University and has a BFA in Illustration. After college, he moved to Seattle, where he eventually began a career as a graphic designer. You can see examples of Mike's design work here. In 2012, Mike finally achieved his lifelong goal of becoming a published author ...more

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