C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Things We Promise

The Things We Promise by J.C. Burke
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bookshelves: contemporary, read-2017, young-adult

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Reading Progress

September 4, 2017 – Started Reading
September 4, 2017 – Shelved
September 4, 2017 –
page 91
24.66% "the only thing she cares about is the formal school dance and I just...
d o n ' t
c a r e"
September 4, 2017 –
page 213
57.72% "okay I figured out why this book is bothering me so much: it's about lgbtqia+ individuals but I would never never recommend this book to anyone one the lgbtqia+ spectrum. The homophobia, derogatory slanders, and the way ALL the gay boys are dying of AIDS....like wtf. So who is this book for? Why does it exist? If it's here to give straight people an "edgy" read then...no. I'm so frustrated and angry."
September 4, 2017 – Shelved as: contemporary
September 4, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
September 4, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 4, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

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message 1: by haley (new)

haley dear god the main character sounds like a jerk. Thanks for the great review, Cait! will definitely stay away from this one.


message 2: by Elise (new) - added it

Elise (TheBookishActress) Yikes at this one. Great review though, as usual!!


message 3: by Greyson (new) - added it

Greyson [Use Your Words] Damn, I was looking forward to this one but I'm thankful for having to waste my time, thank you!


message 4: by Stella (new)

Stella (Paper Wings) Wowww that's bad in SO MANY ways...


message 5: by rachel (new)

rachel Dear God, I am not touching this one with a ten-foot pole. Thanks for saving people from this. I have no desire to read something so problematic. Ugh.


message 6: by Kasey (new)

Kasey Oof. No thanks!


message 7: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews It's really disappointed, gah. I'm sad. 😫😫


message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 11, 2017 09:53AM) (new)

I am really surprised that as someone who clearly loves reading you have totally missed the point with this book. As someone who lived through the era Burke writes about, with many gay friends who died of an Aids related illness, she has really nailed the issues of the time - the bigotry, the homophobia and the fear.The history of the time is laid out so clearly in Burke's book and what she is saying is that we should never forget those who suffered through that period - those who died and those who suffered discrimination and prejudice because of their sexuality and because of their HIV status . Your comments don't recognise that this book captures the history of the gay community in Australia. This was their reality. Burke is painting a picture of what they and their loved ones had to live through. She honours their history. You may be too young to have lived through this period but some simple research confirms much of what Burke was writing about. I strongly recommend this book, as do my LGBTIQ family and friends as an honest, poignant and real account of life for people and their families living with HIV and AIDs in the 80s and 90s. It was an awful time and that is exactly what Burke is highlighting. In regards to the character of Gemma, she was a teenager, struggling with all the angst that adolescence brings but also with the confusion and fear of the impact of HIV/AIDs on those close to her. The story is told through the eyes of someone coming of age and wrestling with so many fears and anxieties with the spectre of illness and death hanging over her. Burke has conveyed Gemma's adolescent fears beautifully. I really encourage people to read the book. It is beautifully crafted and a call to action that we never forgot how so many suffered during this very dark era.


message 9: by Elise (new) - added it

Elise (TheBookishActress) @Scarlet - oooooooooor maybe you could let her have her opinion?


message 10: by Elise (new) - added it

Elise (TheBookishActress) Wait a second. Cait, I think this is the author. She's only come on here this month, rated only this book five stars, and lives in Sydney - same as the author.

That's... terrifying. What the hell.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

I am not the author. Pretty crappy allegation for someone who has a different view!


message 12: by Elise (new) - added it

Elise (TheBookishActress) Scarlet V wrote: "I am not the author. Pretty crappy allegation for someone who has a different view!"

buddy. you are from the same city as an author and joined... to rate her book a five and trash a one-star review on said book. that looks suspicious.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Sydney has 5 million people. The 1 star review was just not informed. U are way too emotional.


message 14: by Elise (last edited Sep 11, 2017 05:23PM) (new) - added it

Elise (TheBookishActress) uh. I think. there might be another one??

joined in April 2017. made one review defending the book, also in April 2017. no other activity. Australia.


message 15: by Elise (new) - added it

Elise (TheBookishActress) Scarlet V wrote: "Sydney has 5 million people. The 1 star review was just not informed. U are way too emotional."

insult of the year


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Im sure the author has better things to do than what u allege. Why can't I have an opinion like everyone on this site. You may not agree with it but no reason to raise spurious allegations. Dangerous territory


message 17: by Elise (new) - added it

Elise (TheBookishActress) Scarlet V wrote: "Im sure the author has better things to do than what u allege. Why can't I have an opinion like everyone on this site. You may not agree with it but no reason to raise spurious allegations. Dangero..."

dude, i wouldn't say it if not for the only-rating-one-book thing. that's it. maybe you're not, I don't know. just asking.

also, "dangerous territory"?? really??


message 18: by Greyson (new) - added it

Greyson [Use Your Words] Scarlet V wrote: "Im sure the author has better things to do than what u allege. Why can't I have an opinion like everyone on this site. You may not agree with it but no reason to raise spurious allegations. Dangero..."

Uhh why can't someone post a review with their opinion on a book without being talked to with such condescension?
Like you're entitled to your opinion for sure, but so is everyone else. There's no need to try and make someone look like an idiot just because they didn't like a book you loved.

Also, Goodreads has proved time and time again that some authors don't have better things to do and do trash 1-star reviews of their own books all the time, there's a reason everyone's a skeptic.


evelyn hugo’s #1 fan @Scarlet ok, you've defended the problematic gay shit, but try to explain to me how it was a good book despite being super ableist and fatphobic. Also, the '90s might not have been a good time but that does???? not??? mean that all the gay relationships should end badly????? That's supeeeer homophobic.


message 20: by Elise (new) - added it

Elise (TheBookishActress) Trish wrote: "@Scarlet ok, you've defended the problematic gay shit, but try to explain to me how it was a good book despite being super ableist and fatphobic. Also, the '90s might not have been a good time but ..."

yeah I agree - Cait had some really awesome points in here that your comment doesn't even refute. Maybe reread her review?


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Don't want to get into a slanging match with people who love to read. Apologies for any condescension- not intended. Just know lots and lots of people who died during that time of HIV/AIDS and believe the book captured the time so well. Felt the one star review was unfair and not well informed but can I reiterate : 1. She is entitled to her opinion as am I and 2: I am NOT the author!!


message 22: by Emma (new)

Emma @Cait thanks for writing this review! I will definitely be avoiding this one 😬

this comment section is wild.....like yes straight person, tell me again about how you think it's good for me to read a book about how all queer people are miserable and serve as tragic plot devices.


message 23: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Scarlet: I think everything that needs to be said has been said honestly, so all I need to do here is say: hiiiii. If you have an opinion on this book, feel free to write your own review. Woo. And honestly I don't want to repost my review in this comment but liiiike I said in the review: the storyline may have been realistic but, in my opinion (which yay I'm allowed to have one!) it was told in such a problematic way. If you have a book + kill off EVERY GAY CHARACTER = the book is the freaking problem. The end.

(Also telling me I'm too young to appreciate a book when I'm 23 and the book is for ages 12 - 18 is super weird.)


message 24: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Elise: thanks so much for sticking up for my review. <3 It astounds me a million times why GR users can't write their own reviews haha.


message 25: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Greyson: It would be a miraculous glorious moment if goodreads users realised we are all entitled to our own opinions. :') :') Maybe that day will come.


message 26: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Emma: I know right? 0_0 I'm not even exaggerating a little bit when I would thoroughly warn anyone on the queer spectrum to avoid this...no one needs to see themselves trashed like this.


message 27: by Greyson (new) - added it

Greyson [Use Your Words] Cait (Paper Fury) wrote: "@Greyson: It would be a miraculous glorious moment if goodreads users realised we are all entitled to our own opinions. :') :') Maybe that day will come."

One day people won't be so defensive and nasty when you call out their faves for being problematic. We all have problematic faves.
If someone was to point out that a fave of mine was problematic (this has happened several times) I'd be sad and disappointed I didn't pick up on it myself, I wouldn't attack the person for it.


message 28: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Greyson: I have problematic faves too...and I acknowledge it. I also don't believe it's always necessary to find people with opposing opinions to yours and like...argue it out on the internet?! I mean what's even achieved here. Just everyone is pissed off, frustrated and offended. *sigh*


message 29: by Greyson (new) - added it

Greyson [Use Your Words] Cait (Paper Fury) wrote: "@Greyson: I have problematic faves too...and I acknowledge it. I also don't believe it's always necessary to find people with opposing opinions to yours and like...argue it out on the internet?! I ..."

Yeah I don't get it either. Goodreads was made for conversations about books. Not to attack people for not liking books. It costs $0.00 to not do this.


message 30: by Aine (new)

Aine Yep. Yep. I just read the mini review on your blog and came to read the full review and just...NOPE. Typically I try not to form opinions on books before I read them, but this...AIDS was awful and a huge part of LGBTQIA+ history and shouldn't be ignored, but it SHOULD NOT be turned into a YA tragedy for straight people. Yes, straight people need more education on queer history, but not like this. Not when you're killing off every queer character that wanders across your pages.

(also, I love the defense, "I have queer friends" as a reason for this book not to be problematic. Dude, lesbian here, AND IT'S PROBLEMATIC)


message 31: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Aine: Exactly. I'm in no way saying the circumstances shouldn't be talked about, but I feel kind of ill at the thought of a queer teen reading this and just seeing themselves represented as tragedies to die.

Thanks for commenting. <3 But I'm so sad books like this exist. ;_;


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