‘We Are Lost & Found’ spoiler-free review!

Hello lovelies! I recently read We Are Lost and Found by Helene Dunbar and it became a new favourite! In fact, I’ve been in a major book hangover ever since. It’s taken me forever to get this review written. But I’ve finally managed to put something together, whatever quality it may be! Read on to find out what I loved about this story…

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synopsis

Michael is content to live in the shadow of his best friends, James, an enigmatic teen performance artist who everyone wants and no one can have and Becky, who calls things as she sees them, while doing all she can to protect those she loves. His brother, Connor, has already been kicked out of the house for being gay and laying low seems to be his only chance to avoid the same fate.

To pass the time before graduation, Michael hangs out at The Echo where he can dance and forget about his father’s angry words, the pressures of school, and the looming threat of AIDS, a disease that everyone is talking about, but no one understands.

Then he meets Gabriel, a boy who actually sees him. A boy who, unlike seemingly everyone else in New York City, is interested in him and not James. And Michael has to decide what he’s willing to risk to be himself.


my thoughts

This book, you guys. I was almost in tears just at the epigraph. I knew instantly that this story was going to worm its way into my heart and set up camp there permanently.

I want to talk first about the characters, because they are definitely what make the book. The trio gave me major The Perks of Being a Wallflower vibes and that was no bad thing because I adore that book. Michael is the softest cinnamon roll and I wanted to wrap him up and protect him. His best friends James and Becky were fabulous and there was a really great dynamic within their group.

The book also has one of the most awful villains I’ve come across in a book. I found it really painful to read how Michael’s father behaved towards him and his brother because of their sexuality. However, I did appreciate that the author took her story in that direction because I’m sure so many members of the LGBTQ+ community have that exact experience and it added a real level of believability to the book. It was raw and heart-wrenching.

I loved reading about a time in history that I wasn’t too familiar with. Obviously, I had some notions of how the AIDs epidemic started but this story really brought it home for me. It was exquisitely painful but it also made me want to read more about the topic; I’m always glad when an author can inspire me to go on and research more.

I have seen some reviewers complaining that this is not an #ownvoices novel and that it wasn’t Dunbar’s story to tell, but I feel that she handled the subject respectfully. And I very much appreciated the two afterwords which were #ownvoices.

It’s difficult to know what more to say on this one. It really is an oxymoron of a book; it is completely lovely but will shatter your heart at the same time. 100% recommend to anyone interested in the start of the AIDs crisis or just looking for a gorgeous story full of heart and friendship and learning to love yourself for who you are.

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Have you read this one? Or any other books about the AIDs epidemic? I have a weird fascination with the subject and would love some recommendations (fiction or non-fiction)! xsignature (2)

 

‘Heartstopper’ spoiler-free review!

Hello my lovelies! I’m really struggling to stay on top of blogging this week so I’m sorry for not replying to your comments straightaway – I promise I’ll try to catch up at the weekend! For now, here’s a short and sweet review 🙂

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synopsis

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…


my thoughtsOk, so the hype is real with this one. I have been wanting to start reading graphic novels for a while and this was totally the perfect place to start. Everything about it is adorable.

I defy anyone to read this and not have their heart stolen by these precious characters. Charlie is the cutest bean and Nick is an actual angel. I loved them both. And I was pleasantly surprised that Alice Oseman could elicit so many feelings from me with so few words. Seriously, these boys must be protected at all costs.

The plot was so awkward and adorable. This is the quality content I want from books, please and thank you. I definitely want to pick up volume two!

The only small issue I had is that I would have loved for the illustrations to have been in colour. I just think they could have been so gorgeous. But even in black and white, it was wonderful and I would definitely recommend it for lovers of contemporary and those of you who might be a bit nervous about trying graphic novels!

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Are you a fan of graphic novels? Let me know if you’ve read this one! x
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Recommendations from the Piano: Underrated Pride Reads!

I’m kicking off a new blog feature today! Since I started my blog, I have wanted to give book recommendations in the form of lists but for some reason, I never had the confidence. I always felt like other bloggers had more to say than me and that I wouldn’t be bringing anything new to the table! But that’s a silly way to think so I’m taking the plunge today with my first list 😀

Pride month may be over but it’s never a bad time for some queer recs! And while I’ve seen some fantastic lists floating around, I wanted to highlight a few LGBTQ+ books I’ve read that don’t get talked about as much. Any reviews I’ve written are linked in the book titles. Hopefully you’ll find something that sounds good!

I’m also linking up with Top Ten Tuesday, created by The Broke and the Bookish and now run by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt was a character freebie so I went for LGBTQ+ characters!

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The Binding by Bridget Collins

This is a fairly recent release but I’m not sure how many people are aware that this book has a m/m relationship at its heart. I certainly didn’t know when I bought it. But this book does the enemies-to-lovers trope SO well.

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More Than This by Patrick Ness

Ness is a gay author who writes amazing stories that just so happen to feature wonderful queer relationships. This book is a bit difficult to classify as it has some unique sci-fi elements but I listened to the audiobook last summer and adored it. I was driving along with a big grin and tears streaming down my face! If that doesn’t convince you to read it, I don’t know what will 😉

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Soulless by Gail Carriger

The Parasol Protectorate series features a delightful cast of queer characters. There is a lesbian side character and a m/m relationship in particular that I adore. And these books are SO funny! It’s a few years now since I read them so I might be due a reread soon. Soulless is the first in the series.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This is one of my original favourites from my teenage years. The book features characters that take up a huge space in my heart. Patrick, one of protagonist Charlie’s best friends, is gay and there are some great conversations raised about this.

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When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

I read this early in the year with the Dragons and Tea book club. McLemore is married to a trans person and this book features a trans character, who was just so beautifully portrayed.

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The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

Logan is a lesbian and usually writes queer fiction. This book features a relationship between two female characters and I definitely recommend it for fans of evocative imagery and beautiful descriptions. Again, it’s been a while since I read this one so I don’t remember a huge deal about the story – but I clearly remember loving it!

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Ok, maybe this one isn’t so underrated. But it jumped straight into my all-time favourites when I read it last summer, so I couldn’t make a list of pride recommendations and not include it, ok? 😀 Sebastian and Tanner have the sweetest relationship, and I love how the authors explore the implications of Sebastian’s religion in a tactful way.

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You Asked For Perfect by Laura Silverman

If you’ve read and enjoyed Autoboyography, there’s a good chance you’ll like this one too, as there are definite similarities. I’ve heard a lot of people recommending this one for the mental health rep and the ability to relate to it, but I’ve not seen it mentioned on many LGBTQ+ recommendation lists!

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech

This is possibly the most underrated title on my list. I read this one for a blog tour last year and it was such a poignant and compelling story. The plot has many wonderful layers and I was so invested in these characters when I read this one.

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Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

This book has amazing LGBTQ+ rep, including the most awkward and adorable f/f relationship. It’s a magical story that handles a dark topic incredibly well. I loved this one so much.


So those are my ten recommendations for underrated books featuring LGBTQ+ characters! I love all of these books wholeheartedly and would love to hear from you if you’ve read any of them or if I’ve convinced you to pick one of them up! xsignature (2)