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Brave Face

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  2,433 ratings  ·  563 reviews
Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five” (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.

“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”

Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabul
ebook, 368 pages
Published May 21st 2019 by Simon Pulse
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CassieCasserole Well given the sheer amount of positive reviews below, I would say so!

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Average rating 4.41  · 
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 ·  2,433 ratings  ·  563 reviews

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Kai Spellmeier
"Coming out is, far too often, more about the person we're coming out to than it is about us. Not only do we have to expose this part of ourselves we've got hidden, but we have to shepherd the person we're telling through and be careful not to hurt their feelings."

Let me just say that I'm in awe of all the groundbreaking books that are being released this year. They brave and empowering, inclusive and honest, and Brave Face is no exception.

If you have no idea who Shaun David Hutchinson is, well.
Larry H
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shaun David Hutchinson is one of my favorite YA authors. His books—particularly We Are the Ants and At the Edge of the Universe —are full of emotion, pain, love, and, ultimately, hope. I've always wondered how a writer can plumb such difficult emotional depths, and after reading Hutchinson's new memoir, Brave Face , I understand that he has traveled those depths, and only now has the perspective to reflect upon them.

The teenage years are difficult for many to navigate emotionally. When
Elyse  Walters
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
narrated by the author:
Shaun David Hutchinson...

Listening to Shaun David Hutchinson read his memoir, was a warm intimate experience. I felt like I was listening to a close friend, somebody I loved.
I still treasure meeting Shaun a few years ago.... the very popular young - (greatly deserved) - adult novelist.

....emotional beautiful memoir - capturing the essence of the joys and pain of growing up in the 80’s and 90’s ...dealing with depression, self identity,
Jun 05, 2018 added it
January 25th, 2019:

Wowowowowowwowowowow is this book important.

It was pretty surreal reading so in depth about Shaun's life considering he's my favorite author of all time and I can now consider him a friend.

I always have a hard time reviewing memoirs because it's someone's life, but I will say that while it is an important read, it could also me incredibly triggering. I plan to mark in this review where the specific things are mentioned in the book, soon, but just know that this goes into gre
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
it feels utterly ridiculous to rate a memoir but still, i'm just really grateful to shaun for being brave enough to share his story with us. we need it. lgbt youth growing up & figuring themselves out need it.
R.K. Gold
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible memoir
Sam Miller
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So. F*cking. Good.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbttiqa, non-fiction
Reading this was like a punch in the gut. I couldn’t read more than three pages without crying. And as much as I know it is going to hurt, I will write this review, and is going be the last I ever write.
If you, like me, mainly read fiction, you might have read your fair share of LGBTQ+ books, but won’t have read much about the queer people who actually wrote those books. And of course, fiction has huge value in capturing human experience. But reading about someone’s actual reality is a different kind of experience.

I don’t read memoirs a lot, but I read a few of Shaun David Hutchinson’s books recently and really loved those, so when I saw he had a memoir coming out, I knew I had to read it. And
George K. Ilsley
Add this one to the list of books I wish I could have read when I was younger!

Brave Face is a toxic brew of depression, self-loathing, and internalized homophobia. I kept thinking about the therapist Walt Odets's analysis of generations of gay men in Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men's Lives—this author falls into the 1990s group, when AIDS was rampant and gay life was seen from a distance as hopeless and a death sentence; internalizing that outlook contributed to self-loathing.

I was frust
The thing I appreciate about books dealing with any challenging aspects of growing up or being a person in the world -- and in Shaun's case, being gay and having depression -- is when they don't end on a happy note, but end on the fact that being OKAY is the goal. That finding a space to be OKAY is the challenge and the work done to manage life on realistic terms. This book does that.

There are trigger warnings throughout, as this book delves into life with depression, suicide ideation and an att
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Memoirs are not usually my thing, but I wanted to read this one because I love Shaun David Hutchinson as a writer. And I'm glad I did, because I absolutely loved it.

I admire the author for having the courage to write and share his story. It's very intimate, raw and emotional, but also relatable in many ways and beautifully written.

One of my favourite reads this year.
I don’t really know how to write a review for a memoir other to say it was a lot of things very important for me to hear. I grew up in a younger generation, one who had more access to the internet, to media and in general gay content. I cried when he described his feelings while going to see Beautiful Thing, the fear the worry he would be seen by someone he knows as I experienced the same thing with Love, Simon. I ached as he described suicidal ideation and self harm, because I’ve been there too ...more
Kaje Harper
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book has a lot of painful truth in it, about being a gay teen in the 1990s. Although this is an "it gets better" story, there is a lot more "it" than "better" here, as the story really focuses on Shaun's life up to the middle of college - which he started and stopped more than once. The focus results in a vivid portrayal of how our self-image is formed, changed, fine-tuned, and brought into judgement by the world around us and the people and information we have access to. It highlights the ...more
Stay Fetters
Nov 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You don’t have to put on a brave face and pretend that everything’s okay. It’s okay to hurt, and it’s okay to ask for help. You can show people who you really are, and you’ll still be worthy of being loved."

Growing up in the Nineties was awesome. Okay, to me being a kid in the nineties was awesome. I thought the world was so full of love and innocence. How can a decade with Dunkaroos, Tamagotchis, and Saved By the Bell while wearing clothes from Delias as you rock out to Nirvana be so bad? Well
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, memoir
"My self-hate was caused by my complete misunderstanding of myself and what being gay meant. My depression simply used it as a way to beat me down. But that's the thing about depression math. 1 + 1 [doesn't equal] 3. The numbers never add up, but depression keeps you from showing your work and figuring it out."

When one of your favourite writers composes a memoir, it shouldn't surprise you when the man behind this art that speaks to you so personally feels really damn familiar. I have only about
Shaun David Hutchinson is one of my favourite authors.
In all of his books you can feel that he's been through some tough times and he knows exactly how to write about it in fiction.
In this however, he goes back to his teen years to show us exactly what was up, how he realised he was gay (then later ace), how he struggled with mental health, self-harm and many other issues. He also clearly shows that he is gay and depressed but one isn't the cause of the other. Both coexist but don't have to as a
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, lgbtq, biography
When you finish a book in less than 48 hours, you KNOW 5-stars are coming. This is writing to win the hearts and minds of everyone that is told "It gets better". Shaun Hutchinson tells us the truth here. He prefaces sections with disclaimers to make sure you know what you are about to read might hurt when you hear the facts about his younger self. (depression, cutting, attempted suicide)

I had tears at times. I had 'full stop' moments where I had to just say "Wow" and clutch my book to my chest.
Peter Monn
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really great memoir! Related to so much of this book! My full review will be up on my booktube channel at ...more
Karima chermiti

It was the feeling of finally finding a puzzle piece that fit into place. Of bursting through the surface of the water and taking the breath that had been burning in my lungs. Of remembering the word that'd been on the tip of my tongue for decades. This was the feeling I'd been missing all those years

We Are the Ants is one of my favorite books of all time, I read it twice and it’s one of those stories that’s always with me. I’m always thinking about it and how I felt about it and how
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
TW for lots of things in this book, but the TWs are IN the book! I’m giving a specific TW for suicide ideation in my review.

Last week, i tweeted about how badly i wanted to die. I had a bottle of painkillers in my hand. 2 people responded, 1 of them was the author of this book. They had no idea how close i was to just quitting my life. But they reached out with love and words and it meant a lot.

I’m telling this story because i know i read this book at exactly the time i needed it. I hope it doe
Melissa Veras
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some parts were really hard to read, but I really hope this book find its way to a young person's hands who might need to hear this story. ...more
— Massiel
I wanna read this more than do my thesis.

I know it shouldn't have been easy to write this book and more because is his own memoir book, so I wanna say: Thank you so much Shaun for writing. I don't have words to describe how much you have help me with your books.


O M G!



I don't even have words to express how I feel...

Dear Shaun David:
Katie • forevermorepages
It feels weird rating a memoir, like I'm rating Shaun David Hutchinson's life, which I'm trying very hard not to do. At the end of the day, though, I found the beginning far more compelling, both because it was less heavy and because it was more controlled. Objectively, this is not a bad book nor a bad memoir, but somewhere along the way, it became harder and harder to read. I don't want to diminish his experiences, but much of the time I felt like there was a gap in his development. We saw him ...more
if i tried REALLY hard i could probably sit down and write a longer, more eloquent review. but, i’m not going to do that.

i just CAN’T see myself reviewing this and doing it justice. this book really can save lives, and i don’t mean that in a cheesy, cliche way. i mean it literally, and i full heartedly believe that everyone who is in the right mindset to read this, should.

the content was beautiful and powerful and the content WARNINGS were immensely helpful and really helped ME take care of my O
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't have words, only feelings.

It might be cliché to say that this memoir was raw and real, but this is truly how I felt when reading this book. This was wholly heartbreaking, yet left off with a hopeful message. I don't have much else to say other than I think Brave Face is a hugely important story to be told, for both LGBT+ folks and for those who live with depression.

I think there are plenty of people trying to not feel alone with their inner struggles. This memoir will probably make a l
Marieke (mariekes_mesmerizing_books)
Please read this story, especially if you loved Shaun’s books in the past and decided to skip his future books because you think he handled the controversy about ‘The state of us’ last spring not very well. This memoir gives an inside in Shaun as a person and I hope it can convince you to pick up his books again.

When I started writing this review I doubted if I should say anything about ‘The state of us’. Because I definitely don’t want to start the hassle again and I don’t want to offend anyone
Isabelle | Nine Tale Vixen
"Some nights I prayed to God or the devil — I wasn't picky about which one answered — to make me not gay."

This almost reads like a novel, and I mean that as a compliment — memoirs/biographies are my favorite nonfiction books because I love reading about people. I really appreciated how blunt some of these passages were, including excerpts from his diary and a play he wrote, and the fact that Hutchinson challenges but doesn't gloss over the harmful beliefs he held as a teen. (My one unaddress
 ivy francis
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review:

Hutchinson has written my favorite memoir, and one of my favorite novels of all time. Brave Face is not only essential for queer teens but for anyone whose relationship with depression is much closer than it should be. As Hutchinson states towards the end of the novel, he wrote Brave Face because he wanted to expand on the phrase “It Gets Better.” And sir, how you have succeeded. The honesty and detail in his writing is incredible, and hopeful
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, nonfiction, lgbtqiap
Shaun David Hutchinson’s memoir is heartbreaking and eye-opening. It’s an unflinching look at growing up gay and depressed in the 1990s. It can be extremely hard to read at times, Shaun goes in depth with his feelings of self hatred, self harm, and his suicide attempt. Brave Face also does show that it gets better, even if it isn’t always an easy or simple path to go down.

Growing up without any positive representation of gay men led Shaun to have an extremely narrow and prejudiced view of what
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YA LGBT Books: * Jan 2020 BotM #2 - Brave Face (poss spoilers) 5 76 Mar 01, 2020 07:40PM  

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Shaun is a major geek and all about nerdy shenanigans. He is the author of many queer books for young adults. Find out more information at He currently lives in Seattle and watches way too much Doctor Who.

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