Hello and welcome to another book review!
I did not realise that the books in this review were about Queer characters until I completed the post. Reading more books by Queer authors about queer characters have been eye-opening and enjoyable. Especially since a lot of these books are about queer love and not just queer pain that the media industry seems to want to romanticize.
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The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons
Spencer has just moved to a new school because he was bullied at his old school because of his transitioning. He hopes that he can get a fresh start at his new school by joining the football team. For the most part of the book, no one know that he is transgender and he seems to be living again until his birth certificate reveals that he was born female and he is no longer allowed to play on the team.
With this happening he finds himself falling in love with another teammate, Justice, whose really religious parents are against anything LGBTQIA+. Justice is also dealing with his own secrets. He knows that he would be shunned by his family if they find out about him and his growing feelings for Spencer is not helping.
This book basically covered everything. I mean I am not transgender nor am I a member of the rainbow community (unfortunately, I like rainbows) I learnt a lot about what being transgender might mean and how they are perceived in society and the restriction and stupid laws that are affecting mental health and leading to deaths in a lot of these people.
I do have to say that for actual representation, I do not know. I suggest you read a review by someone in the community or a transgender passing person.
I gave this book 4.2 out of 5 stars
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
I enjoyed this book. To some extent, I don’t know why but the more I think about the realness of Luc and Oliver’s relationship, I love it more. I think the relationship growth is what really sold this book for me.
Luc is the son of a very popular couple. A couple who you would now consider retro, have broken up and Luc’s father is now trying to make a comeback in society. Luc has always been seen by the media and even people he goes into relationships with as an extension of his popular parents and never him as a person. So when the man he thinks he is in love with sells his story to the media, he is heartbroken and beings to go down the bend.
Since Luc has landed a reputable job with a dung bug company trying to get rich people to donate money to the organization, he is presented with two options. Quit or clean up his image. He is unwilling to quit so he is giving the option of getting a societally acceptable partner. Luc is gay and he has to become the digestible gay so that the stuck up billionaires can donate. The best person for the job seems to be the clean Lawyer, Oliver. (I love Oliver so much, he is just so sweet).
Luc and Oliver start a relationship which both of them understand that they will be getting something from the other. Luc gets a respectable boyfriend and Oliver gets a date for his parents anniversary. They slowly become a support system for each other and when they realise that they rely on each other that immediately sends alarms to each other them and they do what they have always done. Hide and run from the issue.
I really enjoyed this book. It really explored male-male relationships and how even when friends and families are accepting of them it can sometimes say things that hurt and undermine gay men identity.
I gave this book 4.6 out of 5 stars
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I read Circe recently and I was on the fence with it. I neither hated it nor liked it but with this one, I am in love. The way it is written the actual story, the characters, everything was just perfection.
To avoid spoilers I will summarize it. We follow Patroclus who is apparently shame of his father. He is banished after he killed the first son of another family. Patroclus who has lived his whole life as a prince was exiled to the Kingdom of Phthia where he serves Achilles, King Peleus son.
Achilles is everything that Patroclus is not, he is strong and he is seen as the best amongst everyone. He takes Patroclus under his wings and their relationship becomes more than that of master and servant. They become friends and companions.
As they continue to grow, they ‘fall in love and Achilles mother, Thetis- sea goddess, is not happy. She sends him to go learn from Chiron but Patroclus follows. With Chiron they spend a few years, learning survival and basically learning about each other. Their peace is disturbed when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped and Achilles has to go fight in the battle of Troy. A battle that is tied to his destiny.
Just know this, Achilles Heel is Patroclus.
This book is just so sad and yes I cried at the end. I cried so bad because even though I knew that they were not going to end up together, the tone with which Madeline wrote Patroclus final moment was just heartbreaking.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
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WOAH this book is just so eye-opening!
We follow three women, one transgender, one cisgender and one who had detransition. Reese has always wanted a child but unfortunately, biology has made that impossible for her. When her ex-girlfriend, Amy who has now detransitioned – Ames, asks her to come to be a mother to his unborn child with his new girlfriend, Katrina, she is both angry and excited.
The three of them slowly form an unconventional unit that raised eyebrows but they were willing to give it a chance. But as you can expect society and personal expectations get in the mix and they have to confront their innermost desires and needs within their newly formed family.
All my white girlfriends just automatically assume that reproductive rights are about the right to not have children as if the right and naturalness of motherhood is presumptive. But for lots of women in this country, the opposite is true
I really enjoyed this book because it highlights certain things. I have always been of the opinion that Transgender women are women and that they should be given the same treatment as cisgender women. I know that Transgender women cannot birth children like Reese really wanted, there are lots of cisgender women who also cannot so the biological gender argument goes out the window.
I got sick of living as trans. I got to the point where I thought I didn’t need to put up with the bullshit of gender in order to satisfy my sense of myself. I am trans, but I don’t need to do trans
The one that might be controversial to the women rights shouters and feminist issues. Like in Ames case where he was able to detransition because living as a man was supposed to make his life easier. Cisgender women don’t have that opinion. Yes, I know you Ames was not happy as a man but he was able to enjoy the benefits that society accords to men. So yes, this book did an amazing job highlighting this difference while at the same time not cancelling out the problems that both communities face.
The intersectionality of this book is what makes it such a great book, sex with culture, gender and race. It is a thought-provoking and thrilling conversation starter on gender, abuse, lynching and suicides among transgender people, the fetishization of transsexuals, body dysmorphia, the gentrification of queerness, HIV stigma, weaponisation of identity, reproductive rights relationships, loss and family.
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for reading.