Welcome to my stop on the ‘Things We Couldn’t Say’ blog tour! Thanks to The Coloured pages team for making this book available to me as part of the blog tour.
I was meant to post this review a few days ago but I really need to collect my thoughts. Whilst this book unpacked race relations, poor education in the USA and more, I have decided to think of it more along the lines of a beautiful love story!
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Title: Things We Couldn’t Say
Author: Jay Coles
Publication date: 21st September, 2021
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Blurb (Media Kit)
From one of the brightest and most acclaimed new lights in YA fiction, a fantastic new novel about a bi Black boy finding first love . . . and facing the return of the mother who abandoned his preacher family when he was nine.
There’s always been a hole in Gio’s life. Not because he’s into both guys and girls. Not because his father has some drinking issues. Not because his friends are always bringing him their drama. No, the hole in Gio’s life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother, and his father when Gio was nine years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her . . . and now, just as he’s started to get his life together, she’s back.
It’s hard for Gio to know what to do. Can he forgive her like she wants to be forgiven? Or should he tell her she lost her chance to be in his life? Complicating things further, Gio’s started to hang out with David, a new guy on the basketball team. Are they friends? More than friends? At first, Gio’s not sure . . . especially because he’s not sure what he wants from anyone right now.
Thanks to The Coloured Pages for making this book available to me as part of the blog tour.
I really loved this book because not only does it talk about the black experience, it focuses more on black joy, queer joy without neglecting or hiding the pain that comes with it.
Gio’s mother left a couple years ago, never wrote, never called, just disappeared. Just has he thinks he might be getting over her and starting to love himself in her absence, she shows up and he finds out that the lack of communication from her was not her fault but his father’s. With that brewing in the background, we see Gio try to hide his bisexuality because his father is a pastor in their neighbourhood and he is convinced that Gio is going to hell. He tells Gio that it is one to have ‘such desires’ it is another to act on them. Like he has a choice. Bullsh*t
Anyways Jay Coles does a great job exploring friendships, race, the poor education system in the United States, allyship, relationship, queer love, acceptance, family, and community. I would like to think of this book as a biracial love story because it was beautiful to read. Gio feels that with all that is happening in his life, the last thing he should be feeling his attraction to the new guy on the basketball team, David. David is everything that Gio likes and wants, he is also bisexual like Gio. we get to see the dynamics in their relationship, in terms of race, sexuality, sex, family and community.
I mean the guy is so in love that he becomes a poet, he says thing like “he inspires the stars to shoot across the whole sky” and “David is a sermon that doesn’t need words” Gosh I was burning with jealously so hard!!
Friendship was another huge part of this book that I really liked and appreciated. Black friendship and solidarity is something I love seeing considering that I have a group of friends that are always there for me. We have similar experiences that makes it easier to empathise with each other.
I highly recommend this book!
I gave this book 4.3 out of 5 stars.
JAY COLES is the author of critically acclaimed TYLER JOHNSON WAS HERE, a composer with ASCAP, and a professional musician residing in Muncie, Indiana. He is a graduate of Vincennes University and Ball State University and holds degrees in English and Liberal Arts. When he’s not writing diverse books, he’s advocating for them, serving with The Revolution church, and composing music for various music publishers. Jay’s forthcoming novel THINGS WE COULDN’T SAY is set to be released 9.21.21 with Scholastic! His novels can be purchased at Barnes and Noble or at Amazon
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