Book Reviews by Genre: LGBTQ

Gideon the Ninth
Muir, Tamsyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Gideon the Ninth is about the rebellious Ninth House acolyte, a prodigious fighter, who is forced to become the protector of her most hated enemy Harrowhark, the necromancer of the Ninth House. The two of them travel to the First House, to compete against the necromancers and cavaliers of the other houses for the treasured position of Lyctor. They must battle bone monsters, hidden murderers, the laboratories of the dilapidated castle, fellow competitors, and their burning desire to murder each other to, maybe, make it out alive.
I hadn't read sci-fi/fantasy for a long time before I read this book, and this was a brilliant example of everything I'd been missing. The characters are hilarious and likable, the stakes are high, the magic system is somewhat complicated yet explained brilliantly without long periods of exposition, and the undercurrent of science fiction is always present and contrasted beautifully with the fantasy. The idea of a a hyper-advanced society with spaceships and planets is bound to the aesthetic of necromantic power and fighting primarily done with swords, creating a world that has all the fun elements of imaginative science melded with magic. Beyond this, the story is also really tight. There's not really a moment that the book sits you down and explains everything. It just grabs you and goes and it's up to you to catch up, which is a nice change of pace. But, as I've mentioned, the shining gem of the story is likely the characters. The cast is large, but memorable in its own right. If you can't remember the names, just a few sentences of them speaking will clue you in to their distinct personality. And the gem of the story is probably Gideon herself, who's always hilarious and fun and somewhat tragic, and has a great comradery of hatred with Harrowhawk. The character development, the plot, the world, the magic system, and the mystery of this book make it easily one of my favourite books of this year.

Reviewer's Name: Eve
Find Me Andre Aciman
Aciman, Andre
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is the sequel to Call Me By Your Name, and it is incredible! The novel is split into four sections, each following the lives of Samuel (Elio's father), Elio, and Oliver, characters who were first introduced in the first book. It isn't clear who the narrator is for each section, but and I love the ambiguity that it adds to the plot. The book is so beautifully written: I loved the metaphors and vivid imagery, and the overall theme of the book. Call Me By Your Name ended sadly, but this book was the closure I hadn't realized I needed.

The events of the book take place twenty years after the first book. In the first part, Samuel meets a young woman on a train and they quickly begin a romantic relationship. In the second part, Elio is now an established pianist and begins a relationship with an older man, but they break up later. In the third section, Oliver is married with two children and teaches at a university in New Hampshire. Often, he finds himself thinking of Elio and the time they spent together twenty years ago. In the final section, Elio and Oliver reunite and are raising Elio's half-brother. Overall, I definitely recommend reading this book (and reading the first one)! The movie for the first book is also a must-watch.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
The Song of Achilles
Miller, Madeline
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is the story of Patroclus and Achilles and what their lives were like. They meet each other at a young age and soon become fast friends. They go to train with the Centaur Chiron in the mountains, but soon the call of war comes knocking. Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta, has been kidnapped and taken to Troy. This causes the heroes of Greece to rally together to fight, including Achilles. Achilles desires the promise of glory, so he joins, and Patroclus, who can't bear to leave him, follows. This war will challenge of how far some will go for the promise of glory even at the cost of love. This book is told through Patroclus' perspective and gives a unique inside into what the Trojan War was like.

I've heard amazing things about this book, and I was not disappointed when I sat down to read it. Both of these characters were so lovable, I soon became invested in the story. I didn't know a lot about the Trojan War other than the wooden horse. I loved learning more about the history while following the boys' lives. This story was an emotional roller coaster for me. Be prepared to shed some tears and yell if you hop onto this wild ride. I loved this book so much and would recommend it to many. Every character had depth and played an impacting role in some way. It was beautiful. Here is one of my favorite quotes: "He is half of my soul, as the poet say." Song of Achilles.

-10th

Reviewer's Name: Alyson
We Are Okay
LaCour, Nina
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

We are ok is about a girl who recently lost a family member who wasn't as trustworthy as she thought. When Marin's gramps passes away, she realizes that he had made her forgotten about her deceased mother because he had more pictures, dreams, and memories than he had said. Marin, now a year older, is visited by her childhood friend. Throughout the visit, she gets memories of her life before her gramps died. I love this book. It had all my emotions mixed up and I couldn't put it down. This book is great for people that can handle mature topics and words. I rate this book 10/10.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie
The Dream Thieves
Stiefvater, Maggie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater is the second book in the Raven Cycle series, and it picks up after the events of The Raven Boys. It follows Blue and her raven boys as the ley line awakens, Ronan reveals he can take things out of his dreams, and Gansey continues his quest to find Glendower all while sinister people begin to make their way into Henrietta. I really liked this book and thought it was a great continuation of the series. I liked the way it explored Ronan as a character as well as Adam’s struggle with the ley line and himself. It expanded the world of the raven boys for the better, and it nicely set up the rest of the series (including future relationships). I recommend this for anyone who has read The Raven Boys, as well as anyone who is looking for a more relaxed fantasy series. In comparison to series like Throne of Glass or Six of Crows, the pacing is more relaxed, but it is still an intriguing and fun read with lovable characters and a good plotline.

Reviewer's Name: Cora
Rule of Wolves
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo is the second book in the King of Scars duology, and the 7th book set in Bardugo’s Grishaverse. It follows Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina after the events of King of Scars as Ravka is pushed down the path towards war. In my opinion, Rule of Wolves was better than King of Scars and closer to the level of Six of Crows. I loved the dynamics between Nikolai and Zoya as well as being able to see some of the Crows, even if it was only for a few pages. In addition, I thought the conclusion was a very satisfactory ending to the story (a certain couple finally getting together was especially exciting). Though it wasn’t perfect and it contained a few characters I didn’t really like, the rest of the story made up for it. For fans of Leigh Bardugo who have read her other books, I highly recommend Rule of Wolves.

Reviewer's Name: Cora
Into the Drowning Deep
Grant, Mira
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I was viewing some of the recommended books in the PPLD website and I
found this book. The title seemed suspenseful and interesting, and it drew me
in, so I decided to read this book. It's about mysteries wanting to be
discovered and uncovered. Years ago, the "Atargatis" filmed a documentary
about bringing ancient life back and discovering mythical creatures. It was
all going fine until the crew disappeared- and what's weird is how footage of
the crew getting slaughtered by mermaids got leaked out. Because of this, the
public grew suspicious and began to wonder if this was just to mock. Because
of this, Theodore Blackwell is curious and forms a new group of people to
voyage to the Mariana Trench. Each person in the crew has their own specialty
and has their own reason of wanting to explore the same area. Along the way,
they discover that a lot of the "myths" are true while finding fheir way to
safety.

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
Ancestral Night
Bear, Elizabeth
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ancestral Night is a book set in the far future, where our equivalent of supercomputers are built into people's brains and alien races have made a siblinghood with Humans. This book follows a salvage specialist that uncovers an ancient spaceship that mysteriously malfunctioned and then vented the crew into space. When she discovers who caused it, how it was caused, and why it was caused she is deeply disgusted. I enjoy this book because of the feel of Sci-fi that is real, and the mystery of the ancient races lost to time.

Reviewer's Name: Ethan
Red, White & Royal Blue
Casey McQuiston
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is perfect for all of the hopeless romantics like me who love to imagine an epic love story. This is a super cute LGBTQ+ book that will make you want to jump with joy as you read it. The characters are amazing and so easy to root for. The more you read it, the hard it is to put the book down. This book while super cute is definitely a 16+ book. So if your looking for a heartwarming story then look no further and check out this book!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie M.
Six of Crows
Bardugo, Leigh
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I absolutely loved this book. The plot was amazing, and the world building was really well done. One of my favorite aspects of this book was how dynamic the characters were. While I couldn't necessarily relate to any of the struggles the characters were going through, I really appreciated the diversity and uniqueness in each of them. This book was completely unpredictable with the plot constantly taking all sorts of unexpected twists and turns. Overall, Six of Crows was one of the best books I have read all year.
Reviewer grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Sage
Six of Crows
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book just has it all. Whether it be fantasy, crime, mystery or romance. It was a real heart-wrenching novel. The fact that she shows the story from the perspective of all six characters and tells their personal stories too is amazing. Although this book is manly based on a heist, we also get to know about the setting/world around them, and get a unique look into the lives of each character and why all of them are in the situation they're in. And the fact that so much is going on in this novel, but doesn't feel chaotic or difficult to understand at all, and has amazing flow and structure, really adds to the immersive sensation. Altogether the character and world building in this story is amazing, and each and every character’s perspectives were enjoyable to read. The backstories of each character is amazing, the setting is amazing, and the slow-burn to fast-acting action and story progression keeps you on edge and wanting more.

Reviewer's Name: Evelyn
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Albertalli, Becky
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Molly is a bigger girl, who has never had a boyfriend (but has had
many crushes) her twin sister, who is beautiful and never has had problems
dating becomes love sick over a girl they meet at a concert. Molly’s moms,
finally have the chance to get marriage. With all this going on Molly meets a
cute boy who she thinks is perfect for her, but what happens when she starts
falling for her coworker instead? This book is a quirky romance story that
really hits you in the feels. It’s beautifully told and when anything
happens to your character you feel like it’s happening to you! If you want
a romance with twist and turns and a heartwarming story in the middle, then
read this book!

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
They Both Die at the End
Silvera, Adam
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"They Both Die at The End" by Adam Silvera takes place in a world where people receive a call informing them of their death on the day they die. When strangers Matteo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both receive this call, they stumble across each other and set off for one last great adventure. I really loved this book. Though you already know how it ends from reading the title, the book did not feel unnecessary at all. It reminded me of a sad dog movie in the sense that you know how it will end, but you still find yourself becoming attached to the characters and crying when the credits roll. I liked the characters and their relationships in the story, as well as how the story itself was told. The author’s writing style is captivating, and I definitely recommend it to those who like young adult novels. It’s definitely become one of my favorites.

Reviewer's Name: Cora
Dear Evan Hansen
Emmich, Val
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book, which is based on the musical by the same name is so
touching. It deals with very hard topics like social anxiety, depression,
mental illness, and suicide. This story follows Evan Hansen as he starts to
get caught up in a web of lies. While a very tough book emotionally, it is
also very touching and Evan is somebody that lots of people can relate to.
This book is the perfect combination of emotional, witty, heartbreaking, and
heartwarming all at the same time. So if you are looking for a great story,
realistic characters, and a beautiful message, this is the book for you! -
Grade:8th

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. Book One
Ferris, Emil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A lot of people put down graphic novels as just comic books and many are little more than that. But there are a few that transcend this genre. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 is such an example. This debut novel by Emil Ferris tells the story of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, a girl growing up during the turbulent 1960s in Chicago. Reyes is an aspiring artist and her story is told in her perspective with detailed drawings filled with B-movie horror monsters from her beloved matinees, all sketched by a very talented schoolgirl with a Bic pen in her spiral notebook. Her neighborhood is a scary place and so is dealing with her mother's late-stage cancer and her older brother's drug-dealing and pimping. It's why Karen wishes she was a monster -- to be safe from those she sees in real life. As just a family drama, this novel delivers. Then this beautifully illustrated work of art reminiscent of Robert Crumb and Otto Dix, becomes so much more. The ever-curious Karen decides to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. That sudden plot twist turns this work into an historical epic, a detective story and a psychological thriller that garnered numerous industry accolades and award nominations worldwide. Vol. 1 is currently available through PPLD while Vol. 2, the conclusion of the story, is scheduled to be published in September 2021.
AWARDS: 2018 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album-New, Best Writer/Artist and Best Coloring; 30th Annual Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBTQ Graphic Novel.

Reviewer's Name: Joe P.
They Both Die at the End
Silvera, Adam
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

They Both Die In The End is about two boys who find out they have one day left to live, and end up finding each other to spend their last day together. The book is very sad, yet really makes you think about what would you do if you only had one day left to live. This book has so many twists and turns, but in the end everything comes together and makes sense, which I loved. The author did a great job of having pieces from everyone's lives play a part in other peoples, but people don't know this only the reader sees these connections. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sad book that is very well written, and doesn't really touch on any hard subjects.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
We Are Okay
LaCour, Nina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

We are Okay is about a girl who goes through some tragic events in her life, and is now trying to deal with them. The book has quite a few twists and turns that can throw you off, but I really liked that. I did not like how short the book was though, and I felt the author could have added more in. The book ended off at a happy spot, but as a reader I wanted to know more about what happens after. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an easy read that you won't want to put down until it is over, which is fairly quick.

Reviewer's Name: Jana
This Is How You Lose the Time War
El-Mohtar, Amal
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This time-travelling story of love and genocide centers on two rival agents battling to secure the best possible future for their warring factions. It opens with a blood-covered Red, the last woman standing on a battlefield heaped with corpses. She finds a letter that starts with “Burn Before Reading” from Blue, her rival whom she has spent lifetimes trying to thwart. So it starts with a taunt followed by a challenge scratched in a lava flow and a message woven into the DNA of a tree cut down by marauding armies. These spies never meet but these compromising letters – certain death if discovered by their superiors – build upon a mutual understanding that evolves into love. Who better to understand someone weary and confused by merciless, contradictory orders than their rival? Or is this an attempt to turn the other into a double agent? Or lay a deadly trap? This novella deftly avoids the confusion that spoils average time-travel yarns by making each of the chapters into a vignette, told from either Red or Blue’s perspective, until a satisfying, meaningful conclusion.
Awards: 2020 Nebula Award for Best Novella, 2020 Hugo Award for Best Novella

Reviewer's Name: Joe P.
Call Me By Your Name
Aciman, Andre
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Elio is an American-Italian Jewish seventeen-year-old living in 1980s Italy. Every summer, his father hosts an overseas guest to help with his books. And every summer, Elio pays little attention to the guests; until he meets Oliver, a charismatic, charming Jewish-American. During those few, precious weeks, Elio experiences a romance that lifts him above the clouds and anchors him in the sea all at once.

Above all, I loved the setting of the novel. I felt like I was in 1980s Italy with each reference to Italian culture and language. Elio, being an intellectual, describes the love between him and Oliver so profoundly it seems to become the perfect love story. Elio is funny, shy, smart, and romantic, and Oliver is his perfect foil. The book is a relatively short read (when compared to other novels), but there's so much detail in every sentence that it felt like I'd gone through an entire journey that had, ironically, ended too quickly.

The ending wasn't the happiest, but I still liked it. I like the questions left: What happens with Oliver and Elio? What happened to Elio's father? I'm ecstatic to read the sequel and have these questions answered.

Reviewer's Name: Nneoma
Wilder Girls
Power, Rory
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Raxter School for Girls is located on a secluded island off mainland America. They have been under quarantine for over a year because of the "tox" that has infected the students and teachers there. The tox gives the girls strange mutations like a hand covered in scales, two hearts or two spines, but it can also kill them. There are few students or teachers left on the island, and with little food and dwindling supplies it's a struggle to survive. Hetty is just trying to keep herself and her friends alive long enough for someone to find a cure but when one of her friends, Byatt, go missing Hetty takes it upon herself to find her and learns that things on the island aren't all that they seem to be.
This book is mainly told in two perspectives, Hetty and Byatt. I like this because it gives more insight to other parts of the story. I enjoyed being in Hetty's head. It was interesting to see her look back at her time before Raxter and to see the reasoning behind the decisions she makes. I also liked reading about this new world the girls are living in.
The ending was left very open ended which was kinda annoying. I also think the characters could have more personality outside of how they have been affected by their circumstances. They often lacked depth

Reviewer's Name: Savannah