Man, this was so good. I always think Giles's thrillers are good but I think this is my fave so far. I just loved the voices, loved the pacing, lovedMan, this was so good. I always think Giles's thrillers are good but I think this is my fave so far. I just loved the voices, loved the pacing, loved the way he incorporated the dark web, fandom (and standom), and social justice, and also made it a friendship story, not to mention I thought the mystery went to a very cool place. I am such a fan and this was honestly even better than I thought it'd be....more
This somehow did so much more than I expected it to, even though I guess the cover copy is clear what it's about, but there was just...so much that waThis somehow did so much more than I expected it to, even though I guess the cover copy is clear what it's about, but there was just...so much that was so good. I definitely came away learning a lot more about Japanese internment and its aftereffects than I remember absorbing from high school, but I think the way CJ was coming from a family that historically hadn't really...prospered in the area of romantic love and the ways both that and her own past kind of shut down her heart was really lovely too. I love when characters are formed by their experiences, by nature and nurture, and I think Sugiura nailed all the different kinds of things that build who we are and how they come into our lives, from outside factors like bigotry's effect on economics to things we don't even realize we're observing.
I also just really love how everyone, and I mean everyone, is deeply flawed in real, human ways, and they each come to realize it about themselves in these sort of staggered moments, identifying their weaknesses and why they make their choices. There aren't easy answers and a lot of these conversations, including the ugly ones, are just so real. I don't think every reader will love where everything lands, but that's something I particularly love about the way this book is crafted.
Also, because I know people always wonder about queer rep when an author's last book was queer: the love interest is bi, the MC's best friend and the MC's adversary are both lesbians, and the word aromantic is on the page, although it doesn't actually apply to anyone in the story. Also, almost everyone in the book is of color....more
I do not remember the last time I fell so hard, so fast for a voice. (Honestly, might've been the author's last book. Voice is a clear common-thread sI do not remember the last time I fell so hard, so fast for a voice. (Honestly, might've been the author's last book. Voice is a clear common-thread skill here.) There's so much happening here and I'm too tired to write something coherent, so, the important bullet points:
1) This is set in college! YAY COLLEGE YA 2) The MC is a QPoC! Gay Black MC, bi Afro-Latinx (Brazilian) LI, to be exact 3) I loooove when MCs have awesome hobbies/occupations that they're really passionate about, and running an apiary was definitely a new one of me 4) The things discussed in this book are so powerful on both micro and macro levels - gentrification and self-care and family and that horribly delicate balance of saving and advancing yourself when the people you were born into caring about are the ones who threaten to keep you back, for better or for worse. And, of course, the intersection of queerness and Blackness and how all of these things are interconnected. It's just...brilliant.
Also, there is a reference to me in this book that is just one of the best things I have ever read in my entire life. 69 points to anyone who gets it....more