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3.54  ·  Rating details ·  678 ratings  ·  178 reviews
A bold, groundbreaking novel about coming out, coming into your own, and coming apart.

Hunter and Van become boyfriends before they're even teenagers, and stay a couple even when adolescence intervenes. But in high school, conflict arises -- mostly because Hunter is much more comfortable with the sex part of sexual identity. As the two boys start to realize that loving som
ebook, 320 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Push
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Sarina Our society is overwhelmingly aphobic, so I understand that a book that takes place in such a society will have aphobic characters inside of it, such …moreOur society is overwhelmingly aphobic, so I understand that a book that takes place in such a society will have aphobic characters inside of it, such as Hunter, Vanilla’s boyfriend. What matters most to me is that book confronting that aphobia and setting the moral compass to show that aphobia is wrong, which this book did in spades. Through Vanilla’s (and even Angel’s) perspective, we as readers were shown how wrong Hunter’s views were. Eventually, Hunter changed and apologized for his behavior, which I thought was a positive mark for the book. I am on the asexual spectrum and I personally loved this book, I didn’t see it as an aphobic book, only that it revealed the aphobia many people hold within themselves. (less)

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Average rating 3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  678 ratings  ·  178 reviews

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Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018


Okay, I picked this book up because I heard it was about a teen struggling with their identity as an asexual person, and it was told in verse. After I added it to my "want to read" shelf I heard many things about this book about the aphobia and problematic themes of it, which definitely had me concerned, but I decided to give the book a full chance - and I think people need
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hi, I'm Michelle, an teenaged asexual girl, who's struggling with being so.

Asexuality is the state of being unable to feel sexual attraction. It is not a choice (which is the most frustrating thing about it). It can be quite difficult for one to know if they're asexual, due mainly to the lack of ace representation in today's media. I thought something was wrong with me for the longest time. While my friends talked about turn-ons, abs, body parts, people being hot, etc., I found myself blindly ag
Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.

DNF at 9%

Hedwig disapproves.

I’m reviewing this book so quickly after DNFing because I want it off of my currently reading shelf. I don’t want it there and I’m getting rid of it as fast as possible. So, this book is currently unpublished, however, I don’t have an author or publisher to thank. I was sent this book by a blogger who read it, found it aphobic, and now her review got blasted around as proof of its insensitivity by people who didn’
Jun 25, 2017 marked it as avoid-book-reasons
If you're an ace person looking for a validating book, then steer clear of this one. This review excerpts some passages that are really troubling and offensive, as they reaffirm harmful stereotypes and attitudes towards ace people. ...more
I'm not the best at writing reviews but I can say honestly that this book was incredibly moving. As someone who identifies as asexual, I remember being constantly confused on why I wasn't feeling what everyone else seemed to. Finally finding a label -- which I know isn't necessary for everyone but that I wanted desperately -- was like reaching a stage of clarity I'd been grasping for since I was 14. 'Vanilla' evoked all these same feelings in me as I was reading. It was like meeting a confused p ...more
Apr 05, 2017 marked it as to-read
I'm marking this as want to read for now, but have concerns about the wording in the blurb.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it
loved this book. it played with my emotions and i loved it

as for the "its aphobic" comments, all i can say it that they literally, LITERALLY, judged the book by its cover. this is an amazing book that shines a light on asexuality and gender fluidity in ways I've never seen before. I'm very glad i read this and if you're interested in some one-shot lgbtq+ lit, this is a good one.
Jun 25, 2017 marked it as problematic-af
Turns out this book is aphobic, this review explains it thoroughly: ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

What I liked most about this book was the representation. There are quite a few gay characters, an asexual romantic gay boy and also a non-binary person. So much diversity is very important in books, especially because it's something we don't often find. It's always a good occasion to learn and understand more and I'm very grateful for that.
I loved the fact that the book was written in verse because it's a writing style I truly enjoy reading every once in a while. I think that this boo
Sonja ✧・゚。★*☾
Jun 25, 2017 marked it as never-going-to-read
Vanilla is severely aphobic. An #ownvoices asexual reviewer read Vanilla in its entirety, and she has detailed all the problematic aspects of the book in the review I've linked below. Trigger warning for aphobia and rape culture.

"Review: Vanilla by Billy Merrell" by Taylor (Stay on the Page)
Nov 23, 2017 added it
DNF at 70ish%.

Acephobic, confusing, boring, the entire book is about sex, no thanks.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was not an easy book for me to read. First of all, it was really, really hard for me to get into it at first- to the point where I DNF-ed initially, picking it up only after about three months. I'd been toying with the idea of picking it back up for a few days before I actually plucked up the courage to do it. It was tiresome at first, a chore. I didn't care for the characters, I wasn't invested in the story, everything seemed bleak and awful.

Fortunately, as the pages flew, I found myself
Jul 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
Many YA authors are tackling the issues, emotions, and journeys of teens as they discover their identity but asexuality is still rare in any character, let alone a protagonist. I was excited, nay, thrilled to hear there would be representation in the form of an ace teenager who is still figuring himself out with bumps in road, as with any LGBT+ experience. Overall, I hoped it could lead to a inspiring moment for readers who had never had someone to identify with in literature and were seeking va ...more
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: I initially picked up this book because of the beautiful cover. I’m so glad that I did, because it was such an interesting read. It’s told in verse, from multiple perspectives, and the primary focus is a young gay couple experiencing some growing pains in their long-term relationship. Loved the perspective I gained in reading about Vanilla, Hunter, and their friends... and I also loved how often I saw aspects of my own experience in their journey, even though they aren’t similar ...more
laura (bookies & cookies)
Sep 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: will-never-read
Will never read because of the caution warnings for acephobia and rape culture explained in this #ownvoices ace review. ...more
Stacy Fetters
"How can you do that to a person, fill them so up with love that they're full. And then let them go?"

I absolutely adore books that are written in verse. It makes you appreciate the flow and love that it brings into your life.

A lot of people were talking about this book and it's one of the most anticipated books coming out in October. I had to get my hands on this.

From the cover to the synopsis, I already knew that I was going to fall in love with Vanilla and Hunter. The love that they shar
Run For Book Cover
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Not your traditional YA LGBTA novel, but still a good read. The story is a long poem that explores the relationship between boyfriends, and how that relationship morphs into understanding of buried truths.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was actually what got me into LGBTQ+ books it made me cry because I felt everything in this book i was honestly screaming at the pages at one point
Aug 19, 2017 added it
Shelves: young-adult, queer, 2017
I found this book troubling. There are a lot of painful misconceptions about asexuality to slog through — and slog I did, hoping against hope that they’d be adequately corrected over the course of the narrative. They weren’t.

This is a multi-voiced narrative, in which two characters--Vanilla, who is ace, and Hunter, who is pressuring Vanilla to have sex with him--get equal space on the page. The narrative presents the characters’ supposed sexual incompatibility as the cause of their break-up and
Laina SpareTime
Jun 25, 2017 marked it as not-for-me
I will not be reading this due to its aphobia ...more
Jun 25, 2017 marked it as hell-no
You couldn't pay me enough to read this.

REASON: acephobia (details in this review)
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My goal this year, in absolute honesty, is to try and step out of my comfort zone. I'm a predictable reader. I like YA, I like Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Classics, and I like nonfiction. I tend to not stray out of what I like, and I think overall that hurts me as being a comprehensive reader.

So I decided I was going to give this book a try. Written in prose that resembles poetry more than any kind of traditional narrative structure, I thought hey, if I like it, I like it. And if I don't, it's okay.

I didn'
Hazel (Stay Bookish)
I received an unsolicited review copy of this book among several and because I felt like I owed the publisher at least one review for all the books they sent me that I wasn't interested in, I decided to check this one out simply because it was a verse novel.

Now, I've heard beforehand that this book is problematic and as someone who identifies in the ace spectrum, I agree that it definitely is. But having this information before diving into this book helped me steel myself and set my expectations
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The only sound in the room is the monotonous hum of the computer cart. Everyone’s head is stuck in their books or doing homework. The room is stuffy like usual with wisps of outside air cutting through the classroom. I turn the page, mad, but wanting to read more. I feel a tap on my shoulder from behind. I turn around and the kid who taps my shoulder speaks.

“What happened in Vanilla now?” they say. This has been the 5th time in six minutes that they’ve asked me that! Ever since I told my classm
◍ Laavanya ◍
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a really good book. I really liked how the author wrote in poems so that sometimes we would get the inner feelings of the characters, and sometimes just the story. But, we always had to understand how the characters really felt which made me really empathize more with the characters. Overall, I loved this book and the ideas it shared about the lgbtq+ committee, friendship, stereotypes, and love. An amazing book.
DNF. I love the beginning of this book. It captures youthful love very well. But once the pressure for sex on an ace character built up, I didn't want to read anymore. Seeing other reviews mentioning that the book gets worse from there in terms of ace-phobic plot and language, I just decided to cherish the beginning of the book and back away.
Kelly Gunderman
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Check out this, other reviews, and fun bookish things on my young adult book blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

Boy this is a hard review to write.

Vanilla has been getting a bit of backlash from the book community lately, and I wasn't sure why - I mean, don't get me wrong, the book isn't perfect, but as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I can't say that I was incredibly offended by it as others were. I'm in no way invalidating their opinions on the book, or any issues at all that they might have wit
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Vanilla is the story about a senior high school boy discovering that what the gayness that has always been a major aspect of his character has become multifaceted. It takes him an agonizingly long time to realize why he panics and stresses whenever his boyfriend Hunter wants to have sex--he's ace without the terminology. As someone who doesn't quite know where she is on that spectrum, it was refreshing to read this. Hunter is a hard character to like--but he's a high school boy who doesn't know ...more
Caro Reads
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first verse novel I've read, and I have to say I loved it. I hadn't read poetry in a while so I was a little uncertain how I would feel about this. I'm so happy I decided to give it a try.

The characters were very raw, honest, and flawed, something I always appreciate in a novel. There were no perfect people, no saying the right things or even thinking the right things at all the right times.

Vanilla struggles with understanding his sexuality, Hunter struggles with accepting and under
Samantha Lizzio
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This LGBTQIA+ YA novel flourishes with its beautiful poetry and lyricism. It really hit me hard in the heart! Its portrayal of the ups and downs of a long-term relationship between two gay teenagers is captivating in its language and story. I empathized with Vanilla and Hunter's pain and felt their happiness.

Vanilla made me even more depressed that I'm single but also fueled my desire for love as profound as theirs. I appreciated the author's inclusion of gender identities and asexuality and fe
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