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The Gay Teen's Guide to Defeating a Siren

(The Gay Teen's Guide to Defeating A Siren #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Came out of the closet by accident? Check.
Sent off to a pray-away-the-gay school? Miserable check.
Shenanigans ensued? Mega-quadruple check.

Blaize Trales’s world falls apart when he’s dragged to Sanctuary Preparatory Academy, a boarding school that claims to fix gay teens. The place sucks so much they even serve food like “Cleansing Corn.” Blaize’s misguided parents eat it
Kindle Edition, Alternate Cover Edition, 334 pages
Published August 2017 by Cody Wagner (first published October 27th 2015)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  104 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Shira Glassman
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ppl wanting queer friendship stories or gay&lesbian Hogwarts
Wagner's book, which is apparently the first in a series, is what happens when you combine the plotbunnies of "What if one of those gay conversion therapy camps was scamming the parents and all the kids inside got to grow up in a secret supportive environment instead?" and "What if Hogwarts had queer students?" The similarities to the Harry Potter books jumped out at me right away -- the principal is an appealing, fatherly figure who's hiding things about magical bad guys from the students, the ...more
Jacqueline Smith
I have to confess. I read one of the very, very, very first drafts of this book (from what I understood, there were several) and I very much enjoyed it. However, I enjoyed the final version even more!

Blaize Trales (yes, that's his real name) is a gay teen in a small town. This is not an idyllic situation. After a series of unfortunate events, Blaize is sent off to Sanctuary Preparatory Academy - one of THOSE schools.

But as it turns out, life at Sanctuary is anything but ordinary and far from
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book is not good.
So this was a fun read. When looking at the title you'd probably assume it was full of fantasy, but to be fair for the most part this book was just about a bunch of kids living and learning at a private school.

So when Blaize accidentally comes out to his super religious parents they send him to a conversion camp, only when he gets there he realises it isn't a camp to convert, it's a camp to protect. A safe haven for gay kids who's family would want to send them away to 'fix' them.

There are a
Patrick Hodges
I've never read a book in the "Gay/Lesbian" category before, and when I learned that the story was mainly about teens and preteens, I wasn't sure what to expect.

What I got was a magnificent story about teenage angst, awkwardness and friendship. Yes, the fact that most of the characters were gay was the main theme of the book, but the story wasn't really about that, specifically. It wasn't that they were homosexual, it was that they were different ... and as such, were the unjust targets of
Heart Attack
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, lgbt, fantasy, friendship
I didn't expect that this novel would be fantasy, instead I thought this novel was a contemporary genre. I just found out that this novel is fantasy in part towards the ending, I don't read the synopsis. But the story is great.
Tex Reader
4.0 of 5 stars – Light-Hearted, Gay-Friendly Twist on Conversion Therapy.

I love gay YA and supernatural tales, and this had a wonderful, whimsical, even symbolic storyline to go with it.

I was fooled (even though it was in the blurb, so not a spoiler here) by the opening premise of glbtq teens having to get healed, only to find out that the institution was a front with a pro-glbtq agenda (the first of several twists). And what a humorous twist it was that played in multiple ways. But there was
The Gay Teen's Guide to Defeating a Siren was a fun glbtq YA story with a wink-wink nudge-nudge and a slight supernatural twist.

I had fun with the author about his inside joke of the main setting appearing to be a healing center for glbtq kids, but in reality it was a sanctuary supporting their identities. Yet it was not immune to issues amongst the teenagers of cliques, bullying and peer pressure. And it also wasn’t immune to the typical coming-of-age compounded by coming-out issues with
Lori Mcfarlane
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It's a humorous sci-fi-ish/fantasy-ish/not-realistic-ish book about a gay kid who accidentally comes out of the closet and gets sent to a "pray away the gay" camp. Little does he know the danger that awaits him there. The good thing is he has a superpower. He's gay.

Y'all, I freaking loved this book. I won't tell you anymore, lest I give too much away. I just have to say, go support a self-published author and order this book. It's not in any way offensive to religion (he
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, ya, fantasy
Okay, even though this is not a long book, or even remotely approaching densely written, this was a bit of a slog.

Nothing actually seems to happen until about 3/4 of the way through, and the plot was fairly thin. I know it's got a bit of the "first book in a series" thing going on, but so little happened in this that, for me, it didn't do the job of setting up any anticipation for the next book. We didn't find out enough about the supernatural stuff to be interesting, and none of the characters
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Found this book via social media, took a chance, and loved it. Literally every page had an enjoyable detail or twist, very imaginative and interesting. Nice if you're in a reading rut (which I was). Looking forward to the next book by this author.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book was a very interesting concept, where a gay teen is send to a conversion camp, and instead found a very cool school that embraces their sexuality. Loved it. The story was also very engaging, and I would love to read the rest of the series.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book took me through the entire gamut of emotion. A story about teens trying to understand their sexuality, but done in a playful way with loveable characters. Can't wait for book II.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
For most gay teens, going to a gay conversion school would be their worst nightmare. But after showing up at Sanctuary Prep, a gay acceptance school disguised when parents are around as a place for students to “pray the gay away”, 15-year-old Blaize Trales must face much worse danger than a bunch of homophobes.

After accidentally coming out to his parents, Blaize is sent to Sanctuary under the guise of being “healed” of his gayness. His roommates are Jimmy, a returning students who covered up the
Raul M
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I must commend Blaize, the 14-year-old narrator of this young-adult novel, for exercising his gift of sass after being outed, when he was suddenly treated like a stranger by family and obliged to enroll in an alternative school espousing "reparative therapy." Without that levity, I might've been discouraged from continuing to read. I was further motivated to see Blaize develop an unexpected circle of friends at the school. (I'm divided whether Cassie or Roze is my favorite character.)

Yet not all
Dustin Kelly
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, ya-fantasy
I liked this book.

Was it amazingly crafted with a story that drew me into the pages and got me wrapped up in a world that I never wanted to leave? No.

Was the story fun to read and will I probably read the second book? Yes... maybe.

Overall, this book was OK. It took nearly three quarters of the book for anything exciting to remotely happen, and when it did, it was so small it was kind of glazed over. The ending was shocking mind you, but there are still so many unanswered questions, I felt like I
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Not bad, but I think I'd have liked this book more if (a) I was significantly younger and (b) I was more familiar with the issues gay teens encounter. I could say I imagine what it's like, but then I'd be lying. This book is probably magical to some, like Lo's Orchard in Clive Barker's Weaveworld was to me, but that's just a guess. I struggled a bit to get through this book and I can't say I got a 100% payoff for my investment of time, but I'm not sorry I read it.

I got this book as a Goodreads
B.C. Brown
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Blaize Trales (real name) is a gay teen in a small town. Some bizarre events in his personal life stack up and Blaize is sent off to Sanctuary Preparatory Academy - a gay conversation school.

However, life at Sanctuary is far from what the teen expects. Wagner's debut novel is a surprise of storytelling. The debut author has a masterful touch when it comes to driving the narrative of story compellingly.

Not a fan of the run-of-the-mill, coming-of-age, YA book, on top of LGBTQ, I was pleasantly
Erica Kraakman
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, the story and these characters are making me want more.. i Blaized though the book (pun intended)
What ever happens to anybody ... its a amazing read!
At the first few pages i was reading what the book is about i was confused. Read on i would say!!!
The book is great and make you feel things, anger/hate/love/confusion/amazement.
I cant wait for the second book.
Go on writhing Cody, you are amazing!
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-read

This was an interesting enough story, but really was not my cup of tea. I just couldn't really get into the characters. I found this story just...I'm not even sure. The story was to vague for me. I mean you get know closer to an answer at the end. I felt like the story just ran around in circles.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this book! It felt like Hogwarts if all the students were gay and they didn't learn magic in class, but still had house competitions. And of course there is some magic happening, but you'll have to read the next book to find out more about that.

I loved the characters and found the writing style very engrossing.
Judy Thomas
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Truly loved this book. Nice little plot twists, characters you care about, and a great sense of humor. What's not to love?
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This one felt a little slow at first but after a while, I figured it out. And then I got all swept up in it! to find the next book!
Patricia Kaniasty
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very good story. I was really pulled into it. It had humor and true to life drama.
It was overall a good book, I really didn't expect the ending.
I felt that there wasn't enough of the supernatural thing through the book, but it's mainly because you need to correctly set things up for the next book and it's better paced this way.
The characters are good, the main one is annoying. Oh boy, is he annoying! Still very relatable.
Actually, I found many of them annoying, but the characterization was good. The ending is sad, but there's more to come.
I think the representation of PTSD is
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book through a GoodReads giveaway. Gay teen books tend to be mediocre in my opinion when it comes to creating a believable teen main character. I'm happy to say that this book has a very realistic main character who not only struggles with his feelings but makes mistakes that every typical human makes each and every day. From talking to himself, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, neglecting his best friends, and over thinking basic situations, ...more
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why I began reading the book: Shira Glassman described it as "what happens when you combine the plotbunnies of "What if one of those gay conversion therapy camps was scamming the parents and all the kids inside got to grow up in a secret supportive environment instead?" and "What if Hogwarts had queer students?"' Sold.

What happened when I finished the book: I had to go hide in a corner and try not to cry because I had waaaaay too many feelings during the end. I want the sequel to come out
E.D.E. Bell
Oh, this is just so cute. The writing level and content is solidly for early/pre-teens (and my rating is based on that audience), but it works on multiple levels within that genre.

First of all, Wagner tells a fun and witty story about a group of kids figuring out themselves, their relationships, and what it’s like to be different - yet not so different after all. The book might be especially meaningful to a kid who has come out or who is questioning their orientation or identity, but everyone
Cody Wagner's debut novel is a must-read. His main character, Blaize, must navigate all the pitfalls of adolescence--but with the added angst of coming out of the closet and facing the disapproval of many of those close to him. When his parents decide to enroll him in Sanctuary Prep, a "pray away the gay" boarding school, Blaize thinks he's hit rock bottom. But once he arrives on campus, he's in for surprise after surprise. The book has a definite Harry Potter vibe. Blaize thought he was alone, ...more
Scott DeVogelaere
First, I would like to say that this book is for everyone, not just LGBT youth. The Gay Teen's Guide is really a condemnation of bullying of any sort and both teens and adults will relate to its positive messages. I found myself falling in love with its wonderful characters and a subtle story line that combines teen frustrations with a unique and original plot that will enchant modern readers. This celebration of all that is human inspired a roller coaster ride of emotions in me as I read. I ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Change book cover for Kindle edition 5 27 Mar 01, 2018 02:51PM  
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Cody Wagner loves to sing, mime (not really), and create. He writes about topics ranging from superpowers to trees that can spell. His debut novel, The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren, was recently released. He’s handing out cookie dough to everyone who grabs a copy. Check out his writing and see more of his wackiness at or follow him on Twitter @cfjwagner.

Other books in the series

The Gay Teen's Guide to Defeating A Siren (2 books)
  • The Gay Teen's Guide to Defeating a Siren: The Siren (The Gay Teen's Guide to Defeating a Siren, #2)