Category Archives: lgbt

[Review] The Young World – Chris Weitz

Book Title:                    The Young World (Young World Trilogy, #01)
Author:                            
Chris Weitz
Number of pages:    
384

Synopsis:

theyoungworld_coverAfter a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he’s secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park…and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

(re: Goodreads @ The Young World by Chris Weitz)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

– Diversity in character casting despite continual stereotyping (Asian, Caucasian, African-American, LGBTQ, nerds, martial-artists, homelessness, and many more) and discrimination (skin-colour privileges, gender and racial inequality)
– Alternating POV between male/female protagonist with a variance in written portrayal (one reads like a default first-person account and the other feels script-like)
– Overbearing pop-culture references that may or may not add value depending on the reader’s propensity to understanding them
– All-inclusive action sequences which incorporate harsh, graphical moments which may not be fit for the younger YA audience (cannibalism, animal harming, blood work, and death)

the-young-world-chris-weitz-scorecard-600x300

Initial Thoughts

This is Weitz’ debut novel so take that information with a grain of salt. I feel like readers may be able to distinguish his film background through the writing but I wouldn’t necessarily pigeon-hole him into that category. It is indeed almost as if it was written to be translated onto screen; which in my opinion, would be better presented than on paper—but that’s just how I felt after this read. There is also the possibility that this whole novel could seriously be just a giant marketing ploy. More details on this under the cut.

But I was definitely too transfixed with finding pop-culture references than to earnestly read into some meaningful quotes/excerpts. So I have decided not to include any. And yes, this is a late ARC review soooooo oops.

Full disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of The Young World through Netgalley for an honest review. I extend thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me the opportunity to review this book.

Disclaimer: Potential spoilers inherent to this review from here onward.

Continue reading [Review] The Young World – Chris Weitz

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[Review] Proxy – Alex London

Book Title:                      Proxy (Proxy Series #01)
Author:                             Alex London
Number of pages:      384

Synopsis:

proxy coverKnox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

 (re: Goodreads @ Proxy by Alex London)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:
  • Message-oriented with social/economic themes that are basically the plot drivers.
  • The characters (although not fleshed out extremely well) tick the boxes from diverse to cliché (incl. an LGBTQ protagonist, a cause-girl, and rich people being rich). There’s also lots of friendship.
  • Narrative is fast-paced with alternating POVs spanning only a few days in time and should make for a quick read.
Initial Thoughts

Has a concept like Proxy been written before in literature or television? I feel like it’s been done before but I’m not quite sure…it feels very familiar but I can’t seem to think of what it could be related to. I’m flabbergasted.

Onward to my confusing thought train.

Disclaimer: Potential spoilers inherent to this review from here onward.

Continue reading [Review] Proxy – Alex London

[Review] What We Hide – Marthe Jocelyn

Book Title:                   What We Hide (Standalone)  
Author:                          Marthe Jocelyn
Number of pages:  288

Synopsis:

What We Hide - Marthe Jocelyn (Cover)Americans Jenny and her brother, Tom, are off to England: Tom to university, to dodge the Vietnam draft, Jenny to be the new girl at a boarding school, Illington Hall. This is Jenny’s chance to finally stand out, so accidentally, on purpose, she tells a lie. But in the small world of Ill Hall, everyone has something to hide. Jenny pretends she has a boyfriend. Robbie and Luke both pretend they don’t. Brenda won’t tell what happened with the school doctor. Nico wants to hide his mother’s memoir. Percy keeps his famous dad a secret. Oona lies to everyone. Penelope lies only to herself.

 (re: Goodreads @ What We Hide by Marthe Jocelyn)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

– Follows 8 POVs, changing tenses, and told in varying narrative styles (i.e. letters, screenplays, prose-fiction)
– Timeframe set during the 1960-70s, themes involve: lies and betrayal, LGBT, social status, sexuality (not crude though), bullying; all relevant to the average teenager
– Ensemble-driven rather than fully developing specific characters; some of which are more/less developed than others
– Individuals have their reasons for what they do in order to remain relevant. By remaining stagnant, the possibility of growth and revelation diminishes, and characters face the same challenges in a constant cycle.

Initial Thoughts:

England? Check.
Boarding school? Check.
I think we both know where my thoughts are going. Not.

This is going to be one perplexing review because I’ve never had to critique something like this before. Maybe it was the various perspectives which threw me off (eight distinct voices in total) or maybe it was the sheer nonlinearity of the plot—or at least how it felt like when reading What We Hide—that makes it difficult to assess. At first, I was going to scrutinize each character…but I’m still not quite sure how I truly feel about this book since I enjoyed what I think it set out to achieve but it wasn’t extremely captivating or game-changing.

Full disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of What We Hide through NetGalley for an honest review. I extend my thanks to Tundra Books at Random House of Canada Limited for providing me the opportunity to review this book.

Disclaimer: There may be spoilers inherent to this review from this point onward.

Continue reading [Review] What We Hide – Marthe Jocelyn