Allgemein, K - O, L, Reviews

Review: Leah on the Offbeat (Becky Albertalli)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten

Book 26 on My Book List 2019

“Imagine going about your day knowing someone’s carrying you in their mind. That has to be the best part of being in love – the feeling of having a home in someone else’s brain.”

If you know me and my reviews you also know that I’m not one to beat about the bush so I’ll say it directly and without detour: I really wish I would have loved this as much as I loved “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” but I didn’t and that’s kinda sad. =(

I mean it was a good book and nice to read! There were a few fluffy and cute moments and I loved that we got to see Simon and Blue again. It was nice to find out what happened after the ending of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” and of course I loved all the HP, Sailor Moon and Fruits Basket references that made an appearance throughout the entire book. Despite all that I somehow still didn’t enjoy this as much as its predecessor though, and I’m sorry to say it, but I think it was mostly due to Leah’s character and her POV.

I know not everyone can be a special snowflake like Simon Spier and that there are characters that have rough edges. No matter how much I tried to keep that in mind, I still didn’t warm to Leah though. There were just too many issues I had with her as a character and they ultimately led me to have issues with the book as well. >_<

Don’t get me wrong: I still enjoyed this! It was entertaining and easy to read and I lived and breathed for all those tiny and sweet Simon and Blue moments. But I guess in the end this was actually the very reason that caused me to give this book only three stars. In contrast to “Simon vs. THSA” I didn’t really feel the romance of the two MCs. Call me picky but if the side characters have more chemistry than the main protagonists of the story it’s never a good sign. Well, at least not for me. *lol*
So yes, I had a good time reading this sequel but I didn’t feel the same magic I felt when I read the first book! XD

2

And here comes the moment when I tell you that you shouldn’t read on beyond this point! If you haven’t read the book yet you’ll be spoiled like crazy, so you better think twice before you continue your journey through my characters section! Take it or leave it, but whatever you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;-P

Leah:

”I think I hate the concept of needing space. What it really means is that the person’s mad at you, or hates you, or doesn’t give a shit about you. They just don’t want to admit it.”

*sigh* I had really high hopes for Leah’s character and since I liked her in “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” I thought that I might like her in this book too. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and I found myself disliking her immensely. And this comes from a person who loves morally grey characters and is a huge fan of bookish villains! It’s just… idk. There were so many little things that I didn’t like about her that it resulted in me not liking her at all. For instance I didn’t like how she treated her mom and her boyfriend. I mean damn that poor woman was 35? So only 4 years older than I and according to Leah she shouldn’t be dating? Hell, give your mom a break! 35 is still young and after raising you as a single mom that did everything possible in order to make you happy you could at least try to be nice to her boyfriend! Sure, Leah is a teen and they get annoyed by their parents on principle (;-P), but the things she did and said to her mom? Phew! Not nice! Plus it wasn’t just her mom, she was also rude, presumptuous and unfriendly to other people and I just couldn’t deal with that. It’s one thing to have a bad day or to be in a bad mood, but to take it out on others? Nope. *shakes head* I probably could rant about her for ages but I’ll stop here and continue with the rest of my review. *lol*

”I can’t help it. I’m a Slytherin.”
And I’m the worst kind of Slytherin. I’m the kind who’s so stupidly in love with a Gryffindor, she can’t even function. I’m the Draco from some shitty Drarry fic that the author abandoned after four chapters.

Abby:

”Why do you need a reason?”
“Because it sucks that there wasn’t one. I just wasn’t feeling it. At least not as much as I should be? Like, I’m sad about it, but it doesn’t wreck me, and I really feel like it should wreck me.”
I glance at her sidelong. “You want it to wreck you?”
“Do I want to love him enough that leaving him would wreck me? Yeah.”

I still love Abby and she definitely was a character I could relate to. She always tried to do the right thing and she followed her gut feeling when things got a little bit tricky. You might argue that the way she ended her relationship with Nick was pretty uncool, but then again to end a relationship is never easy. There are always two people and at least one of them gets hurt. It was more than just obvious that she cared about him deeply though and that she was very sorry for breaking his heart. Sure if you’re the one whose heart got broken this doesn’t give you any comfort but at least she was honest to him! I really liked that she always tried to look on the bright side and that she did her best to figure things out. In the end Abby is a really cheerful, compassionate and sweet character and you could read it on every single page! =)

”I guess it’s like, I forgive her, but I don’t really know if I can trust her again. Does that make sense?”

Simon:

”Sorry, Simon, but you’re too precious. If you weren’t gay and taken, I’d totally marry you. And let’s be honest, marrying Simon would be amazing – and not just because I had a sad, secret crush on him for most of middle school.”

I LOVE and ADORE Simon Spier!!! When it comes to that I can totally agree with Leah! He’s just too precious for his own good! *lol* It made me so happy to see him and Bram together and I loved how he interacted with his friends. He’s such a charming character and I would have loved to read even more about him. Aside from the countless adorable moments with Bram, the action with his mobile phone was probably the best thing in this book though! *LOL* I loved that Abby caused his phone to go all “50 Shades of Grey” on April Fool’s Day and Simon’s reaction to his hacked AutoCorrect was priceless!!! <333 XD

”And then there’s Simon in the middle, glancing back and forth like we’re a street he has to cross. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person so nervously attuned to conflict.”

3

Leah & Simon:

My phone buzzes with a text from Simon. FUCK. My. Life. Leah. Oh God.
“Okay, I better go,” Mom says, setting my yogurt down. “Have fun today.”
I say good-bye to her and turn back to my phone. I can’t fuck your life, I’m monogamously fucking my own life.

Their friendship is so amazing and one of the few things I really liked about this book! ❤ Leah and Simon are two very different characters, but this still didn’t change anything about the fact that their friendship is strong! Their conversations and messages felt real and I loved that they understood each other without having to explain anything. It was obvious that they’ve been best friends for a long time and the way they acted around each other was natural and easy. This was a really lovely friendship rep and I was so here for it! <333

”You know I’m going to lose my mind without you, right?”
“Me too,” I say softly, leaning into his chest.

Leah & Abby:

”Are you asking me to prom, Leah Burke?”
“Yes,” I say flatly. “We’re literally standing five feet away from your boyfriend, and I’m asking you to prom.”
She raises her eyebrows, like she can’t decide if I’m kidding. So that’s a twelve out of ten on the awkward scale.

Where to start? *lol* I didn’t ship them and I felt no chemistry between them. Leah had the weirdest thoughts when she was around Abby and I couldn’t help but wonder why Abby fell in love with her. It was easy to understand why Leah was in love with Abby but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t understand why Abby would fall in love with Leah too. I mean would you fall for a person that constantly gives you the feeling that she doesn’t like you? That attacks you for things you can’t control? Hell, even when Leah defended her against Morgan she still claimed that she only did it because Morgan had been racist. Yes, Morgan’s statement was wrong and it was good that Leah called her out on it, but would she really have lost her face if she would have admitted that she also did it because she’s Abby’s friend? Nope! So, why Abby? Sure, you could argue that love is something that just happens, but in Abby’s case this isn’t enough for me. Also where did that romance suddenly come from!? I spent the entire first book hoping that Abby and Nick would eventually find each other and they did. Well, and then all of a sudden Abby breaks up with him? This came out of nowhere and the explanation that she did it because she doesn’t want to have a long distance relationship was so flimsy! I know some of you will argue that she was in love with Leah all along and therefore broke up with Nick but after reading the first book I’m not convinced by this theory. Nick and Abby really were in love and they were a great couple! Feelings change? Yes, they do, but usually not that fast! They were crazily in love in the first book and then this? XD I know I’m ranting here but DAMN IT, I just don’t understand it!!! I’m sure this might be an unpopular opinion but to me it felt like the author wanted to write an f/f relationship and decided that Leah and Abby would do. There I said it! *lol* I’m sorry, but I really wasn’t convinced by their romance and whenever they had the possibility of having a sweet moment Leah’s attitude ruined it for me. >_<

”I had a dream once where she kissed me on the collarbone. Softly and quickly – barely a thing. I woke up aching. I couldn’t look at her all day.”

”So what, now you think you’re bi?”
“You make me think about it.”
My heart skids to a stop.

”You keep running away.”
“You keep finding me.”

The bi & non-binary rep:

”Leah, you would love them. They’re a drummer.”
That casual singular they. It isn’t even my pronoun, but it feels like a hug. Because if Caitlin’s unfazed by her enby friend’s pronouns, she’d probably unfazed by me being bi.

First of all I have to say that the mention and short appearance of a non-binary character was my personal highlight of this book! It’s so damn rare to find a non-binary rep and my heart sang when I read this quote! I love Becky Albertalli for including them in her book and I can’t thank her enough for giving them room!! That was awesome Becky!!! <333

As for the bi rep… I’m sorry to admit that I wasn’t really happy with it. There were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong way and I’ll try my best to explain why I felt the way I did. To some of you this might sound crazy but it really bothered me that Leah had so many crushes. I know some of you will say: What’s wrong with having crushes? And my answer is “nothing”. But in that context with her being bi it just felt like the thousandth repetition of a prejudice I heard way too often. Yes, being bi means that you’re attracted to men and women but this still doesn’t mean that you find everyone attractive!!! Just because you’re bi you don’t have a crush on everyone! Just because you’re bi you don’t “choose” the best of both sexes!! I’m sure most of the readers didn’t even notice those offhand comments about her crushes but I did and it made me unhappy. The thing that truly got me were Leah’s and Abby’s discussions about being bi though. I’m convinced that Becky Albertalli only tried to point out some prejudices and did her best to set them right by Abby and Leah discussing them but for me this didn’t work. Were their conversations important? Yes! Did they make me cringe inside? Double yes! I mean just take this quote:

I shake my head. “Lowkey bi, a little bit bi. Just be bi. Like, come on.”
“What? No.” She draws herself up. “You don’t get to decide my label.”
“It’s not a real label!”
“Well, it’s real for me.” She exhales heavily. “God, sometimes, I don’t even know…”

Whilst I agree with Leah that there is no such thing as “lowkey bi” or “just a little bit bi” I still don’t think that it’s okay to attack Abby like that. I mean that girl is trying to figure herself out and is confused and Leah had nothing better to do than to push her into a certain direction and to tell her that the current definition of her sexual orientation isn’t valid! WTF?! Leah is bi too so she of all people should know how difficult it is to come to terms with yourself! I know some of my friends argued that Leah was insecure herself but the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that I won’t accept that as an excuse. Because NOPE she’s not insecure! I was barely a few pages into the book when she admitted that she’s bi and she even came out to her mother. Of course her friends didn’t know but it was obvious that she was comfortable with being bi. It never felt like she was insecure about it, if anything she was insecure about her feelings for Abby and worried that Abby wouldn’t reciprocate them. Still, just because she’s afraid of being rejected she shouldn’t have tried to label her! (And I’m once again cringing inwardly because I really don’t like the word “label”….) Plus and here comes another thing I didn’t like: When Abby said that she came out to her family I was like: WHAT?! Because let’s face it, to me this felt really unrealistic. Who would come out to their family before even defining their sexual orientation? Why come out to your family when you’re still insecure about who you truly are? This just didn’t make any sense to me. Take it from me: You don’t just come out like that! There are about a thousand questions you ask yourself first! You notice that you like boys AND girls! You wonder why it is like that. You imagine kissing a girl and realize that this feels okay to you. You do internet-research because you want to find out more! Maybe Abby did all that and I missed it but I doubt that she truly questioned herself. And let me tell you this: If you don’t fit into the norm and realize that your sexual orientation isn’t straight you automatically do this! So, this aspect of the story felt really unrealistic to me and since Abby defined herself as “lowkey bi” right after she admitted that she came out to her family I can assume that she didn’t go through that process yet.

Phew… that was a long paragraph! *lol*
Sorry for the rant but it had to get out of my system. XD

4

“Leah on the Offbeat” might have been a page turner but I couldn’t seem to be able to connect to the MC and that took away a lot of my enjoyment. In addition to that I had many issues with the way certain topics were addressed and tackled. I really wish I would have loved this more, but maybe my expectations were just too high after reading “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”. I’m sure many people will love Leah’s story as well, in my case it unfortunately didn’t work out though.

Allgemein, Viennese Strolls

A Saturday afternoon out – Of Sushi, Heat and Rainbows

Hey there, my lovelies!

I spent last Saturday in Vienna and since I had such an awesome day I decided to share it with you. I know I didn’t write an awful lot in my “Viennese Strolls” category lately, but that was mostly due to my busy life. It has a tendency to get in my way and I’m sorry if I neglected this category. I promise improvement and I’m starting with it now. 😉

So what did I do last Saturday?

Well, my closest friend and I went to eat Running Sushi at the Lugner City and it was amazing! If you want to go for Running Sushi in Vienna this is actually the best place to be! They don’t only have sushi but also avocado maki and a lot of different warm dishes. You’ll find calamari and shrimps as well as potato croquettes, salad, duck, noodles, rice and sweet desserts like Tiramisu and coconut milk. In short: They have a huge variety and I can totally recommend them!

Plus: If you hit the restaurant before 5 p.m you still pay the lunch price! 😉

I don’t know how much time we spent there but after we were full and happy we decided that it was about time to hit the main library of Vienna! Unfortunately and to our great chagrin it’s partly closed right now. T_T As it seems they are currently renovating the floors and their furniture which means I won’t be able to get into my precious English section until the end of July! I don’t know what I’m going to do now that I can’t pre-order my English books anymore, but I’m sure it will be a tough time for me. I mean… I might actually… I might actually have to read the books I own!!! *facepalm, insert Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” here*

So yeah, after that big shock we resolved that we needed to eat ice cream! There’s nothing, really nothing, a huge ice cream can’t fix! 😛

No sooner said, than done, we took the subway to the “Stephansplatz” and went to our favourite ice cream parlor. It’s on the way to the “Schwedenplatz” and so it happened that we didn’t only buy ice cream but also ended up eating it in the middle of the Rainbow Parade that just happened to pass us as we made our way to another subway station.

Do I even have to mention that we became a part of the parade and waved our rainbow flags? *lol*

Nope? Well, I just did, didn’t I? XD Anyway, it was awesome and so much fun! I always wanted to go to the Rainbow Parade but I never dared to do it because I didn’t want to go there alone. This time however it worked out because it was a rather spontaneous decision and my friend was with me. 😀

I can’t even put into words how much it meant to me to just be there and to celebrate with all those kindred spirits. According to the media it were about 500.000 people that took part in the parade and they were all so nice and cheerful! I even saw a grandma in a wheelchair that had a rainbow flag drawing on her cheek! ❤ Which was very kick-ass and damn cool! XD

Despite the hot temperatures we still had a very good time and I really wouldn’t want to miss this experience! I think it was about 6:00 p.m. when the parade ended and we decided to sit down somewhere because our feet couldn’t carry us any longer. Guess all the dancing and the heat took its toll after all. *lol*

If we would have had a little more energy and more time we probably would have explored the first district even more, but in the end we just took a little walk through some of the rather unknown alleys and enjoyed the warm summer night. I swear Vienna actually has some sort of Italian flair, you just have to know where to look for it. 😛

Rankenzeile

Anyway! How was your Saturday? Do you like Running Sushi as well? Did you ever go to a rainbow parade and was it as awesome as the one I attended? Is your library closed as well and how do you cope with it?

Tell me and let me know! 😉

*hugs’n’kisses*

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The Sassy Library Fox

 

P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

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Rating:  5 Pfoten

Book 5 on My Book List 2019

”Evelyn always leaves you hoping you’ll get just a little bit more. And she always denies you.”

This book was so, so, so GOOD!! I swear I was barely two pages in and already knew that I’d love it with all my heart! ❤ There’s just something about that golden Hollywood era that captivated me right from the beginning and once Evelyn entered the scene I was a goner. I just loved the way her story was told!

We didn’t only get the interviews with Monique but also were able to read news articles about her life and this made everything so much more intriguing. I mean “Hollywood Digest”, “Sub Rosa” or the “New York Tribune”, they all wrote about Evelyn’s life and those articles give an authenticity that makes this book feel real. It could have happened, Evelyn could have been a real Hollywood Star and people could have been as fascinated by her as by Marilyn Monroe or Marlene Dietrich.

I think to some degree Taylor Jenkins Reid might have even had Marilyn Monroe in her mind when she wrote Evelyn’s character and knowing how awesome Marilyn was this really doesn’t come as a surprise. XD Another thing I appreciated was that every husband got a part of this book and even though there were seven of them, who all influenced Evelyn and left a mark on her character, none of them actually was her one true love. It’s a very particular approach to a great story and I loved the way it was carried out.

Still, after I read the ending my mind was reeling and my feelings were so mixed that I had a tough time coming to terms with everything that was revealed. There were so many things I felt conflicted about and even now, after more than a week has passed, I still didn’t manage to sort out my feelings and I still don’t know what to do with them. Maybe I’ll have to get used to the idea that to think about Evelyn Hugo and her seven husbands will always make me feel conflicted and that there’s no such thing as making peace with an ending like that.

And maybe, just maybe, that was Taylor Jenkins Reid’s plan all along. 😉

2

Welcome to my characters section, aka “The spoilery spoiler zone”! If you didn’t read the book yet and still want to be surprised by its revelations you better don’t continue to read my review. I’m worse than any tabloid mentioned in this book and I’ll spoil you relentlessly! If you still want to read my gossip, go ahead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-P

Evelyn Hugo:

”And I didn’t say I was confessing any sins. To say that what I have to tell is a sin is misleading and hurtful. I don’t feel regret for the things I’ve done – at least, not the things you might expect – despite how hard they may have been or how repugnant they may seem in the cold light of day.”

Oh, Evelyn! Where do I even begin? I loved that woman so damn much, I can’t even! <333 It’s so rare to meet such a complex character in a book but damn Evelyn just had it all! She was neither white nor black, and if anything she was all different shades of grey. I loved that she was so ruthless, that she did what she had to do in order to get what she wanted, that she was unapologetic about her decisions and behaviour and that she never held back and just wanted it all! Celia was right, at times Evelyn could be really awful and egoistic, but damn did her good qualities make up for it.  Compassionate, caring and protective of the ones she loved she would have done everything possible to keep them safe and happy. Gosh, WHAT. A. WOMAN!  I think I might be in love with her! <333

”Did I want to make as much money as Don? Of course I did. I wanted to get the paycheck and mail a copy of it to him with a photo of my middle finger. But mostly I wanted the freedom to do whatever I wanted.”

”I told her every single day that her life had been the world’s greatest gift to me, that I believed I was put on earth not to make movies or wear emerald-green gowns and wave at crowds but to be her mother.”

”I regret every second I didn’t spend with her. I regret every stupid thing I did that caused her an ounce of pain. I should have chased her down the street the day she left me. I should have begged her to stay. I should have apologized and sent roses and stood on top of the Hollywood sign and shouted, ‘I’m in love with Celia St. James!’ and let them crucify me for it.”

Celia St. James:

”I really like you. I like watching you on-screen. I like how the moment you show up in a scene, I can’t look at anything else. I like the way your skin is too dark for your blond hair, the way the two shouldn’t go together and yet seem so natural on you. And to be honest, I like how calculating and awful you kind of are.”

Now here’s the thing, I know that Celia was the love of Evelyn’s life and I could see that they loved each other deeply, but – and here comes the huge BUT – I had the feeling that I could never truly connect to her. I don’t know what it was that kept me from adoring her the way I adore Evelyn but I think it might have been the sum of thousands of little things that ultimately left a bad taste in my mouth. For instance I hated that Evelyn always seemed to feel like she had done something wrong and that it was her responsibility to set things right again. I mean Celia threw a lot of awful things at her too, but in the end it always seemed to be Evelyn that blamed herself for it. Also I didn’t like that Celia wasn’t only self-righteous but also more than just a little judgemental. You’d think a person who represents the “L” in LGBTQ+ would be more accepting and open-minded when her partner is bi, but nope Celia was almost as bi-phobic as the men in Evelyn’s life and that made me really sad. =(

”That was how it was with Celia. When you denied her what she wanted, when you hurt her, she made sure you hurt, too.”

”So I told myself that the spark between Celia and me was just a quirk we had. Which was convincing as long as it remained quirky. Sometimes reality comes crashing down on you. Other times reality simply waits, patiently, for you to run out of the energy it takes to deny it.”

Harry Cameron:

”I want to be with someone I love. I want to have a companion. I’d like to bring someone home to my family. I don’t want to live alone anymore. And I want a son or a daughter. We could have that together. I can’t give you everything. I know that. But I want to raise a family, and I’d love to raise one with you.”

Aside from Evelyn, Harry Cameron was truly the best thing about this entire book! <33 I loved this man so much and I think he’s an angel! He was always respectful and supportive and even more important he accepted Evelyn exactly the way she was. I loved that he and Evelyn always tried to solve every problem together and I hated to see him so sad after the death of John. T_T Harry’s grief broke my heart and even though he was drinking way too much he never did anything stupid. I mean he never hurt Evelyn or got frustrated with her, he only tried to compensate his grief without hurting anyone else in the process. Even when it came to this he was considerate and kind. =(( Poor Harry, though. It made me so damn sad that he had to go and I admit it, I actually shed some tears when he died. T_T

Monique Grant:

”Why, until this moment, did I not realize that the issue is my own confidence? That the root of most of my problems is that I need to be secure enough in who I am to tell anyone who doesn’t like it to go fuck themselves? Why have I spent so long settling for less when I know damn well the world expects more?”

To say their relationship was complicated would be putting it more than just mildly! It was really interesting to see Monique’s character arc though. I mean at the beginning she was a shy mouse that didn’t dare to say anything to her boss and by the end of the book she was a young successful woman who stood up for herself and finally had the guts to make decisions she never even dared to consider. I think that to get to know Evelyn and to find out the truth behind her father’s death was necessary to find her happiness and I’m convinced that both of those things were able to give her some closure. I could understand her anger towards Evelyn, her hurt when she found out what she had done and the inability to truly hate her for it. Because she got to know the person behind the movie star and she knew how broken Evelyn was on the inside, how much pain she had suffered, how much loss she had endured. =( Still, that scene when she pondered whether to get on the train or not, the thoughts that crossed her mind, her inner struggle how to deal with the situation at hand. Damn, this was one of the best book moments I ever had the pleasure to read. Well done, Taylor Jenkins Reid, well done! I had goose bumps following that inner conflict. *shudders*

”I’m Evelyn.” She reaches out and takes my hand, shaking it. It strikes me as a unique form of power to say your own name when you know that everyone in the room, everyone in the world, already knows it.”

”I insist that you be ruthless in your negotiating, Monique. Make them pay you what they would pay a white man. And then, once you’ve done that, every penny from it will be yours.”

3

Evelyn & Celia:

”I wanted to give her a lot of things. I wanted what I had to be hers. I wondered if this was what it felt like to love someone.”

Those two were the death of me, I swear! Their ups and downs, their struggles and fights, their love and dreams, their hopes and shattered realities. ARGH! It was so obvious they loved each other, yet they could never be together. Because the world didn’t let them and wouldn’t have understood, because they didn’t want the same thing, because they weren’t ready to be in a relationship and unable to make arrangements. Because…  just BECAUSE! There was always another reason why they couldn’t be happy, another misunderstanding that tore at their foundations, another bump on the road that caused them to drift apart. They loved and lost and loved and lost again. It was so heart-breaking to watch! And Celia, she killed me. With everything she said to Evelyn! I knew she loved her, yet she hurt her so much! >_<  I just wished she would have had more sympathy for Evelyn’s outlook and I really wish she would have tried to understand Evelyn’s sexuality. So many of their problems could have been solved, they could have gained so many years if they just would have allowed themselves to be who they are. Their love was so tragic… more tragic than any of the movies they produced over the years. And it really made me sad. T_T

”Evelyn, who was your great love? You can tell me.”
Evelyn looks out the window, breathes in deeply, and then says, “Celia St. James.”
The room is quiet as Evelyn lets herself hear her own words. And then she smiles, a bright, wide, deeply sincere smile. She starts laughing to herself and then refocuses on me. “I feel like I spent my entire life loving her.”

”It’s not wrong,” Celia said. “It shouldn’t be wrong, to love you. How can it be wrong?”
“It’s not wrong, sweetheart. It’s not,” I said. “They’re wrong.”

”If you love someone enough, you should be able to overcome anything,” she said. “And we have always loved each other so much, more than I ever thought I could be loved, more than I ever thought I could love. So why … why couldn’t we overcome it?”
“We did,” I said, turning towards her. “We’re here.”
She shook her head. “But the years,” she said.“

”There’s a difference between sexuality and sex. I used sex to get what I wanted. Sex is just an act. Sexuality is a sincere expression of desire and pleasure. That I always kept for Celia.”

Evelyn & Harry:

”You do not know how fast you have been running, how hard you have been working, how truly exhausted you are, until someone stands behind you and says, “It’s OK, you can fall down now. I’ll catch you.”
So I fell down.
And Harry caught me.“

Their friendship was everything, absolutely E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.!!!  Gosh, I loved their relationship so much, I can’t even!!! They were so perfect together and understood each other better than anyone else. They were so close it sometimes felt like they could read each other’s mind and I think of all the husbands Evelyn married over the years, Harry definitely was the best! <333 (Of course her last hubby was awesome too but if you ask me no one was able to hold a candle to Harry!) I know Harry was gay and had no sexual desire for women and I know that Evelyn loved Celia but damn those two made so much sense! They shared a love that is sometimes even harder to find than the once in a lifetime love we all crave for and they were so much more than just friends. They were business partners, equals, best friends, partners in crime, confidants, soul mates and kindred spirits. And most importantly, they loved each other deeply! <333 It’s so rare to find a friend like that, so rare to have a connection like that, to be loved liked that… ARGH! I just LOVED them!!! This was such a wholesome representation of a deep friendship and I’m incapable to put it into words. *breaks down and sobs*

”I promise I’ll do whatever I can. I promise you we will figure this out.”
“OK,” Harry said, and then he squeezed my hand back and walked out the door. “We will figure this out.”

”I want you to stay, Harry. We need you. Me and Connor.” I grabbed his hand tighter. “But if you have to go, then go. Go if it hurts. Go if it’s time. Just go knowing you were loved, that I will never forget you, that you will live in everything Connor and I do. Go knowing I love you purely, Harry, that you were an amazing father. Go knowing I told you all my secrets. Because you were my best friend.”

The bi rep:

”It really makes you think, doesn’t it? That people were so eager to believe we were swapping spouses but would have been scandalized to know we were monogamous and queer?”

And now we finally come to one of the most important subjects of this book: The bi rep! And let me tell you, it was spot-on! Evelyn is a bi icon and for the rest of my life I’ll never get tired of emphasizing how important this kind of representation is! Throughout the entire book Evelyn is confronted with bi-phobia but she always took it in stride! She accepted herself the way she was and she did an amazing job at trying to explain her sexuality. I know some of you might say that it shouldn’t even be necessary to explain your sexuality to others and I’m inclined to agree, but the bitter truth is that we have to explain it no matter if we want to or not. I can only speak from personal experience here but usually straight people have a hard time understanding how you can love both sexes equally and make no difference, while lesbian or gay people might just try to label you as one of their own. What Celia did?! It happens! It happens way too often and even though her actions and behaviour left a bitter taste in my mouth it still represented one of the many facets of reality. I loved the way Taylor Jenkins Reid gave Evelyn a voice though. Evelyn Hugo didn’t accept those prejudices, nope, she gave us her honest opinion, her point of view and made the other characters acknowledge her for who she was! And this was wholesome and healthy and might help a lot of people to accept themselves! So thank you Taylor Jenkins Reid! Thank you very much! <333

”Being bisexual didn’t make me disloyal,” Evelyn says. “One has nothing to do with the other. Nor did it mean that Celia could only fulfil half my needs.”

”I hated being called a lesbian. Not because I thought there was anything wrong with loving a woman, mind you. No, I’d come to terms with that a long time ago. But Celia only saw things in black and white. She liked women and only women. And I liked her. And so she often denied the rest of me.”

”Wow,” he said. “Incredible. I married a dyke.”
“Stop saying that,” I said.
“Evelyn, if you have sex with women, you are a lesbian. Don’t be a self-hating lesbian. That’s not… that’s not becoming.”

4

The more I think about this book, the more I love it! This is such an important read! I know Reid tackled a lot of problematic topics in this book, but she did it in such a positive and sensible way that I’m convinced everyone who reads “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” will learn something good from it! I’m usually not the kind of person who throws a book at you and says you should read it but in all seriousness: Read this one! Live and suffer with Evelyn, enjoy her good moments and cry with her when the world throws her for a loop! Hate her, love her, accept her the way she is. And most importantly, learn from her mistakes and don’t hesitate to show the world your true self. 😉

I know this review has been already way too long but I still want to thank the ever charming Ashley for this wonderful buddy read! We both didn’t have it easy while reading this book together, but we always managed to find a compromise and were able to continue once our lives started to become a little less hectic. *lol* I’m glad we could read this together and I hope sooner or later we’ll find another book to buddy read again! =)

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Heart’s Invisible Furies (John Boyne)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

 

Book 37 on My Book List 2019

”The desire to fall in love and to share one’s life with someone is neither a homosexual nor a heterosexual conceit. It’s human. We’re all suckers for a pretty face or a kind heart. What else can we do but keep hoping that the right person will show up?” – John Boyne

I usually don’t start my reviews with a quote from the author her/himself but I think this one is very important and needs to be read. In my opinion it’s the message John Boyne wanted to convey when he wrote “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” and looking at it in retrospective I could feel it in every single sentence he wrote.

There were the ups and downs of life, everything that happens in between and the “what ifs” that involuntarily come our way and have a tendency to haunt us for the rest of our lives. In the end however the only thing that truly matters is whether we can live with them or not. Whether we can accept our mistakes and grave decisions and if we’re ready to embrace them with all the troubles they entailed.

Of course there’s a fine line between authenticity and exaggeration but Boyne made sure never to cross it. He balanced along it for the duration of the entire book and no matter how absurd some situations seemed to be, no matter how extreme some people’s opinion were, they were never far-fetched. There DO exist Mary-Margarets, Julians and Charles all over this world and it’s realistic to assume that they might eventually cross your way. 😉

In short: This book was amazing!
It was:

Particularly sad,
Hilariously vivid,
Achingly beautiful,
And ridiculously charming.

I loved every minute of it and the characters really grew on me, which is the reason why my characters section is going to be super long again. *lol* As always I need to add my two cents though so #SorryNotSorry. ;-P

2

Welcome to my characters section! If you already read the book or don’t want to read it but want to know more about the characters, proceed. If you don’t want to be spoiled and still want to read the book, I’d recommend clicking that nice exit button though. It’s your choice, choose wisely. XD

Cyril:

”I’m not sure what it was about my appearance that made me seem like a pubescent rapist but for some peculiar reason I took this as a compliment.”

Aww Cyril was such a precious bean. *lol* I think he was what you’d call an old soul in a young body and it made me sad to read how ashamed and lonely he felt. I could relate to his struggle and why he was afraid to come out, because let’s face it Ireland at that time was not the kind of country you would have wanted to announce that you’re gay. If anyone of the police found you with another man you could go to jail for it and it’s no surprise that Cyril tried to keep it a secret from his family and friends. The problem with secrets is that sooner or later they gnaw on you and eat you alive and this is exactly what happened with Cyril. There was a point he couldn’t pretend anymore and he did what he had to do and ran away. Was it wrong? Yes. Did he have to do it? Yes, because back then he actually had no other choice. If the constitution of an entire land is against you, to leave seems to be the only possible decision, right?

”I had never considered myself to be a dishonest person, hating the idea that I was capable of such mendacity and deceit, but the more I examined the architecture of my life, the more I realized how fraudulent were its foundations. The belief that I would spend the rest of my time on earth lying to people weighted heavily on me and at such times I gave serious consideration to taking my own life.”

Julian:

”I intend to live a long and healthy life and fuck as many girls as I can. I’d like to die in my bed, aged one hundred and five, with a twenty-two year old bouncing up and down on top of me.”

Ahhh dear Julian… this character made me so sad. I mean he was one of those guys you can’t help but like, he was sassy and knew how to work a crowd, but no matter his big mouth, when it came to the important things he seemed to fail miserably. I mean on the one hand he had countless love affairs and basically made it a hobby to have sex with every woman he found attractive but on the other hand he judged Cyril for being gay and sleeping with many different men. Even more so, he had no problem to accept that Jasper Timson, one of his old classmates, was gay and in love with him, but after all those years he was Cyril’s best friend he was disgusted when he finally told him that he’s gay. Talk about being hypocritical…. And then the way it all ended for him… T_T

”He was arrogant, certainly, and had no respect for authority but he made his pronouncements with such insouciance that I found it impossible not to be charmed by him.”

Mrs. Goggin:

”I remember a friend of mine once telling me that we hate what we fear in ourselves,” she said with a shrug. “Perhaps that has something to do with it.”

I loved her character and she was exactly the kind of woman I always want to find in a book. She was strong and stood by her opinion and even though life handed her some tough cards she never even thought about giving up. Catherine made the best of her life and I loved to see her so happy at the end of the book! Plus, I lived and breathed for those short moments when Cyril’s and her path crossed. They were always very polite and honest with each other and I think she was more of a mother to him than Maude ever was, even when they both had no clue that they were actually mother and son. ❤

”My boyfriends, if I had any, would surely have more sense than to let underage boys wander the corridors unsupervised,” she said, refusing to be intimidated by him. “And I won’t be poked and prodded by priests, do you hear me? Those days are long behind me. So take care not to touch me again.” Mrs. Goggin vs. Father Squires

”You’re a bit of an oddball, Jonathan,” I said. “Has anyone ever told you that?”
“Nineteen people this year alone,” he said. “And it’s only May.”

Maude:

”The vulgarity of it all,” she said. “Popularity. Readers. I can’t bear it. I knew Charles would destroy my career in the end.”

Haha! Well, Maude certainly was an oddball for sure. *lol* An author who doesn’t want to be popular and writes her books just for herself is definitely unusual, but I guess to some degree I could even understand her. There’s something special about creating a story and the enjoyment you get from writing can be really amazing. It’s just sad that she never was the kind of mother Cyril would have needed but I suppose neither Charles nor Maude were prepared to deal with a little child. They were too used to their own routine and too egoistic to have a child. It’s true they provided him with a roof over his head and with food, which is probably more than some other parents can give, yet they never provided him with love and I think that’s one of the main reasons why it took Cyril so long to accept, let alone to love himself.

Charles:

”It just doesn’t make sense to manacle yourself sexually to the same person for fifty or sixty years when your relationship with that person can be so much happier if you give each other the freedom to enter and be entered by people of the opposite sex whom you find attractive. A marriage should be about friendship and companionship, not about sex.”

Dear Charles had quite some modern views and I think deep down inside of him he was actually an okay kind of guy. *lol* Still, I really disliked that he always told Cyril that he’s not a real Avery. Even when he had to go to jail for the very first time, he made it pretty clear that Cyril was only his adoptive child and not his „real“ child and this distinction never sat well with me. I mean Cyril was their son in every sense of the word and even though his parents treated him like a stranger, he still loved them the way only a child can do. I was so sad when Charles died, but somehow it also made me happy that he acknowledged Cyril at the end. He had to hear those words and I’m glad Charles eventually said them. =)

”Oh good. Because you’re not a real Avery, don’t forget.”
“Yes, I knew that too,” I said smiling.
“But I’m glad we adopted you,” he added. “You’re a good boy. A kind boy. You always were.”

3

Cyril & Julian:

”When we see each other at family functions, I’ll be polite to you so no one finds out the truth. But don’t ever think that I feel anything towards you other than total and utter loathing. And if you dropped dead on your honeymoon, I’d cry no tears over you.”

Their story broke my heart into thousand little pieces! I was devastated when Cyril confessed his love to Julian!! Julian’s reaction was so bad; it was every nightmare come true, every doubt and every second of guilt centred on that one single moment. It was a hit right in the stomach and it hurt so, so much. T_T I mean there was a reason why Cyril never told him and instead of proving him wrong, Julian reacted exactly how Cyril expected him to. This is our biggest fear, to show our true self and to be rejected for it. For poor Cyril this nightmare became reality. I mean I understand Julian’s POV too, it was horrible that his best friend was about to ditch his sister right in front of the altar but damn if he just would have stopped for a little moment and thought things through. To force Cyril to marry Alice was the worst thing he could have done and he did it without hesitation. And then… after all those years, after everything that happened Julian saw him once again. In a hospital bed, having AIDS. Gosh, this was so damn sad. I mean after all the girls Julian was with this didn’t really come as a surprise… but still. It was heart-breaking nevertheless. They got a last chance to talk and to make their peace with each other and even though it made me cry like a little girl that moment was so important and necessary and … T_T I can’t even. I’m crying just thinking about it. When Cyril held Julian and told him to let go… *sobs uncontrollably* Despite all their differences, despite all the bad blood and anger between them, they were friends in the end and Julian died in the arms of Cyril. T_T

”And we’re enemies now, are we?” I asked.
“We’re not friends, that’s for sure.”
“We used to be.”

How many times throughout my youth had I dreamed of such a moment and now all I could do was bury my face in his back and weep.
“Cyril…” whispered Julian.
“Just let go,” I whispered back.

Alice & Cyril:

”It’s not the name that’s gay, you know.”
“No, they think Cyril is you and that we’ve got back together.
“Would you like that, Alice?”
“I’d rather bore a hole to the centre of the earth with my tongue. Why, would you?”
“Very much. I miss your body.”
“Oh, shut up.”

I loved those two! *lol* I mean I could understand why Alice gave Cyril a hard time after he left her at their wedding reception, but the nice thing was that she eventually came around and became his best friend in the end. I guess to have a son together might have helped as well but I always liked Alice and unlike her brother she was a very compassionate and sympathetic person. I think it was due to those attributes that she and Cyril got along way better after they had a talk and even though she made a lot of fun about him not coming to certain events they both took it with humour and were able to laugh about it in the end. =) So yes, their relationship filled me with hope and joy and I was very glad that Cyril managed to make amends with Alice.

4

“The Heart’s Invisible Furies” was a wonderful book. It forced me to feel the entire bandwidth of human emotions and at times it was so hilarious that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. The characters were unique and realistic and the irony of certain situations was spot on. It was as much a tale about Cyril’s life as it was a story about Irish history and if you like interwoven and intricate stories I’m sure you’ll love this one! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

This book was so damn cute and extremely sweet and incredibly adorable! XD

It tasted like a hot cup of coffee in early spring,
it felt like warm summer rain caressing your skin,
it was as beautiful as a colourful sunrise in September and
it smelled like a clear night sky in the middle of a cold winter night.

In short: It gave me all those awesome fluffy, cozy and happy feels!! ! =)))

I loved everything about “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda”! From the bands and the music that was mentioned throughout the entire book right up to the „Harry Potter“ and „Fruits Basket“ references. And OMG Simon’s and Blue’s mails!!! Gosh they were so damn cute, they were argh! I can’t even say how much I loved those two!!! This book was just marvellous and as a fangirl I really felt like I finally arrived in seventh heaven! *lol*

”I have to admit I like to imagine you as a kid fantasizing about junk food. I also like to imagine you now fantasizing about sex. I can’t believe I just wrote that. I can’t believe I’m hitting send.“

I began to read this book and at some point realised that I couldn’t stop anymore. The mystery about Blue’s true identity pushed me to read on and even though I had my suspicions I still found great pleasure in collecting the hints and trying to make some assumptions. XD
I’ve to admit that this book got me hooked and I’m not ashamed to confess that I actually loved every second of it! ;-P

“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”

So yeah, now that I got this off my chest, I finally should be able to write my actual review!

The Plot:

Simon is sixteen years old and has a huge secret. He’s gay and he’s flirting with a guy who calls himself Blue and is more than just adorable. Well, that’s Simon’s opinion and I’ve to confess that I agree! He’s really damn cute! XD Anyway, Simon has never met Blue in real life and all they have ever done was to write very personal e-mails, personal e-mails that unfortunately end up in the wrong hands. Martin, a classmate of Simon accidentally stumbles upon them and since he has a huge crush on one of Simon’s friends, he decides to use them as leverage to force Simon to help him. Martin wants a date with Abby and if Simon doesn’t assist him, he’s going to out him to the whole world. What a mess!!! XD

The Characters:

Spoiler alert! You may stop here or continue to read at your own risk! 😉

Simon:

”So here’s the thing: Simon means ‘the one who hears’ and Spier means ‘the one who watches.” Which means I was basically destined to be nosy.

I loved, loved, loved and adored Simon!!! Gosh that boy is such a precious cutiepie!!! He’s funny and he’s refreshingly honest (well except of his little secret of course)! I could understand him so well and I think in some way I found myself in him. I mean Simon and I have a lot in common and I guess that’s probably the reason why I liked him so much! XD I hated that other people made him feel so insecure and I could understand his wish to get to know Blue in real life! Jeez! I was at the same point when I got to know my husband and it was so damn easy for me to relate to Simon’s struggle! =) Still, no matter what happened to him, he always stood his ground and I truly loved him for it!! Simon is so brave and I swear when he told Martin his opinion about his post on Tumblr I was all like: YEAH! Damn right, tell him what he did!!! XD

“And you know what? You don’t get to say it’s not a big thing. This is a big fucking thing, okay? This was supposed to be – this is mine. I’m supposed to decide when and where and who knows and how I want to say it.” Suddenly, my throat gets thick. “So, yeah, you took that away from me. And then you brought Blue into it? Seriously? You fucking suck, Martin. I mean, I don’t even want to look at you.”

Still, it hurt to know that Blue was too shy to show himself and the fact Simon was so down made me sad as well! Gosh! I think Simon actually is the most relatable character I ever had the pleasure to encounter. *lol* Everything he thought and did affected me so deeply! XD
And I swear the moment Blue found out about Simon’s identity just took my breath away!!!

”Jacques a dit. Right?

I was all like OH. MY. GOD!!!! It was kind of unfair though. I mean Blue obviously knew who Simon was, but Simon actually had no clue who Blue might be! XD What made it even worse, was that he didn’t even know if his feelings were reciprocated, because they actually stopped to write mails right after Simon’s identity was revealed! Oh my poor Simon! It was so painful to read!!! =(((

”Obviously, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing here, but what I’m trying to say is that I like you. I more than like you. When I flirt with you, it’s not a joke, and when I say I want to know you, it’s not just because I’m curious. I’m not going to pretend I know how this ends, and I don’t have a freaking clue if it’s possible to fall in love over email. But I would really like to meet you, Blue. I want to try this. And I can’t imagine a scenario where I won’t want to kiss your face off as soon as I see you.
Just wanted to make that perfectly clear.”

This scene resonated so much with me! I actually once wrote a pretty similar mail as well! *lol*

Blue:

”I completely understand what you mean about feeling locked into yourself. For me, I don’t even think it has anything to do with other people thinking they know me. It’s more that I want to leap in and say certain things and do certain things, but I always seem to hold myself back. I think a big part of me is afraid.”

Oh Blue, he was so insecure and shy and somehow this only made him even more adorable! There were moments when he was so brave and then all of a sudden he was too intimidated by Simon’s mails to even give him his number. XD Blue had his own struggles to deal with and just too see how much those two tried to support each other and the way they fell in love. OMG! It was just too much! *lol* I loved so many things about Blue. His correct grammar, the way he expressed himself and the words he used! It was obvious he was a smart kid and *lol* I guess deep down within me I already knew who was behind his nickname! ;-P I needed to read it though! *LOL*

”And I do think you’re cute. You’re absurdly cute. I think I spend a little too much time thinking how adorable you are in emails and trying to translate that into a viable mental image for daydreams and the like.

“And the like…” Haha oh boy did that one sentence mess with Simon’s head! Truth be told, I wouldn’t have reacted any different, though. See, once again a moment where I could relate to Simon’s POV!!! XD

”P.S. I love the way you smile like you don’t realize you’re doing it. I love your perpetual bed head. I love the way you hold eye contact a moment longer than you need to. And I love your moon-gray eyes. So if you think I’m not attracted to you, Simon, you’re crazy.”

Awww… just Aww! I melted when I read that note and to think Simon found it so late and didn’t even know it was there!! Holy moly! It killed me! *lol*

Martin:

I didn’t like him! Yes, I know he apologised in the end but damn what he did was just soo freaking mean and horrible! I mean he outed Simon on Christmas!! Who would ever do such a thing? My poor Simon had to deal with all this on a day that’s supposed to be one of the nicest of the entire year!! And this just because a stupid oaf called Martin had a crush on his friend Abby and couldn’t accept that she wasn’t interested in him!! I mean! ARGH!! That boy didn’t even think twice about the consequences his actions would entail! And yesh, there were plenty of consequences for poor Simon!!!

Simon’s friends:

”But I’ve known Leah since sixth grade, and Nick since we were four. And this gay thing. It feels so big. It’s almost insurmountable. I don’t know how to tell them something like this and still come out of it feeling like Simon. Because if Leah and Nick don’t recognize me, I don’t even recognize myself anymore.”

They were amazing! Sure, sometimes I was angry with them because they didn’t understand Simon’s situation and thought everything was about them. I mean I understand why Abby was pissed but seriously, what was Simon supposed to do? He couldn’t really tell her that he was blackmailed by Martin and in the end nothing of what Simon did actually had any consequences for her. She chose Nick and Martin as well as Leah had to accept it. Period. And Leah? I know she felt left out, but it wasn’t like Simon could have done anything to stop Nick and Abby falling in love! *lol* I mean alone the thought is kind of ridiculous! XD
Still, no matter their feelings, they always stood up for Simon and I think that’s the important thing! You quarrel with your friends because you love them and when it comes down to it they’re always there for you! 😉

“Did you just tell us you’re gay?“ asks Nick.
„Yes.“
„Okay,“ he says. Abby swats him. „What?“
„That’s all you’re going to say? ‘Okay’?“
„He said not to make a big deal out of it,“ Nick says. „What am I supposed to say?“
„Say something supportive. I don’t know. Or awkwardly hold his hand like I did. Anything.“
Nick and I look at each other.
„I’m not holding your hand,“ I tell him, smiling a little.
„All right“ – he nods – „but know that I would.”

Simon’s family:

”My dad invented the concept of Simon logic, and I can’t seem to outgrow it. It means whishful thinking supported by flimsy evidence.”

I loved how they interacted with each other! They were so open and amazing and I had to laugh about their strange family habits. I mean alone the idea of scavenger hunting on Facebook! That was hilarious! *lol* To be a guest in their house certainly would have been funny as hell!! XD And the way Simon outed himself to his family? Haha it was priceless!!! Sure his father made many jokes but in the end he still loved his son and he felt sorry for being so oblivious and careless! =)) Alice and Nora were darlings and I guess to have two sisters like that is actually more than just a blessing!

”Well, I’m just going to put this out there, in case the message got lost somewhere. I love you. A lot. No matter what. And I know it’s got to be awesome having the cool dad.”
“Ahem,” says my mom.
“Excuse me. The cool parents. The hardcore, badass, hipster parents.”
“Oh, it’s awesome,” I say.
“But rein us in if you need to, okay? Rein me in,” he says. He rubs his chin. “I know I didn’t make it easy for you to come out. We’re very proud of you. You’re pretty brave, kid.”

And the ending?!
It was perfect!!! I was so happy I grinned like a Cheshire cat!!! I just couldn’t stop! *LOL*
Gah, it was so cute and adorable and the way Blue finally made his appearance!!! I think I actually died!!! XD

”The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat – soft and persistent, underlying everything.”

If you haven’t read “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” , you definitely should do it now!!!!
Drop everything you’re reading because Simon definitely will bring happiness into your life! 😉
Just allow yourself to be enchanted! XD

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: Autoboyography (Christina Lauren)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”This is how we reveal ourselves: these tiny flashes of discomfort, the reactions we can’t hide.”

“Autoboyography” was one of those books I wanted to read ever since I read the blurb. I mean there was the mention of a bisexual character that’s forced to stay in the closet because he moved to Utha and truth be told that alone was already enough to pique my interest! *lol*

Still, when I picked up the book I didn’t expect to go through so many feels and to say it touched my heart is certainly putting it mildly! I was so worried for those two boys and their feelings and thoughts left me so raw and broken.

There were scenes that made me laugh and another few pages in I’d suddenly feel angry and frustrated, just to burst into tears as soon as I turned the next page! ARGH!! It’s almost impossible to describe what I felt while I read this book.
Once I began to really read it, I couldn’t put it down anymore though. I felt a need to know how it would continue and if something bad would happen and that aforementioned need almost killed me and made me nervous as hell! XD

I swear there were moments when I bit my nails, snorted in disbelief or nervously began to chew my bottom lip. Yes, “Autoboyography” really put me on edge!!! (And it once again was a book that earned me one of my husbands disapproving looks. *lol*)

I can’t even put into words how much I actually dreaded the end!!! For me the foreboding and anticipation was almost unbearable, it was really intense… and when I finally reached the ending….

Oh well I guess you’ll just have to read the book! ;-P *lol*
(I know I’m mean, you can thank me later. XD)

The plot:

”As he faces the class from the front now, his eyes flash when they meet mine – for a tiny flicker of a second, and then again, like a prism catching light, because he does a double take.”

Tanner Scott is a bisexual boy who had been out in California but was kind of forced back into the closet when his mother got a job offer in Utha. Three years ago their entire family moved into Mormon territory and all this time Tann never outed himself, mostly because there actually was no need to. His plan was to make it into an out-of-state college and to never look back, but as plans go this one turned out to be more difficult than he had initially anticipated. To finish school and to get a good grade in Mr. Fujita’s class might be impossible, especially because everything Tanner can think about is Sebastian Brother, the bishop’s son who’s supposed to help him write a story but somehow ended up stealing his heart instead.

The characters:

Spoiler warning!!! If you don’t want to be spoiled you better stop now! XD Proceed at your own risk! 😉

”Kissing boys feels good. Kissing girls feels good. But something tells me kissing Sebastian would be like a sparkler falling in the middle of a field of dry grass.”

Tanner:

”I was in the neighborhood.” I take a bite, chewing, swallowing through my smile. “Came over to campus to dance and sing some songs.”
His eyes twinkle. He doesn’t seem to mind that I’m not LDS, let alone mocking it a little. “Cool.”

I just loved and adored Tanner!!! This boy was so honest and straightforward and his humour was just amazing! *lol* I swear everyone needs a Tanner in their life!!! XD I really liked how he tried to understand Sebastian’s beliefs and didn’t judge him for it! And I also appreciated that he stayed true to himself! He never let others influence his decisions and I think it needs a lot of inner strength to follow your own path and to accept that you need to make your own mistakes, especially if you have so nice and caring parents like Tanner had. *lol* Still, when he told Sebastian that he loves him and didn’t even get a proper reaction from him, my heart just hurt!!! It was so painful to watch them break up and I swear, no matter what I did, I really couldn’t stop to worry about him! XD

He wants to go on a mission? He wants to leave here and commit two of his best, hottest, wildest, most adventurous years to the church? He wants to give his life to this – really give his life?
I stare at my hands and wonder what the hell I’m actually doing here. Glitter-heart Paige has nothing on me. I am the King of Naïve.”

”You know Mom would murder you for that, for your semi-unintentional blessing that I deflower the bishop’s son.”

”I don’t actually care if you break my heart, Sebastian. I went into this knowing it could happen and I gave it to you anyway. But I don’t want you to break your own. You have so much space in your heart for your church, but does it have space for you?”

Sebastian:

”I went to a movie by myself and ate an entire box of Red Vines.” He leans in, eyes full of that teasing shine. “I had a Coke.”
My brain is tangled: Cannot compute. Which emotion to drop into the bloodstream? Fondness or bewilderment? For the love of God, this is Sebastian at his naughtiest.

Sebastian Brother broke my freaking heart!!! OH GOD, I CAN’T EVEN!!! This boy… this wonderful, precious, amazing, righteous, brilliant and lovable boy!!! ARGH!!! He was almost too good to be true and all I wanted to do was to give him a big hug, wrap him in a blanket and tell him that everything would be alright!! I hated to see his struggle, to read how he thought that something was wrong with him just because he’s gay! It made me sooo damn sad to know that his parents would never accept him the way he is and it almost physically hurt to see his pain!!! T_T He tried so hard to please his parents, to be the way they wanted him to be, but this made him so unhappy it was hard to watch… And that moment when he signed the book for Tanner? It was so damn heart-breaking!!! *sobs*

”I’m not even attracted to girls. I envy you that. I keep praying I will be at some point.” He puffs out a breath. “I’ve never said that out loud.” When he blinks, the tears slide down his cheeks. Sebastian tilts his face up, looking at the clouds and letting out a sad laugh. “I can’t tell if this feels good or terrible.”

”I mean,” he says, flustered, trying again. “I’m attracted to guys, and I’m with you right now, but I’m not gay. That’s a different choice, and I’m not choosing that path.”

”We’re supposed to pray, and listen – so I do. But then, when I turn to others, it’s like…” He shakes his head. “It feels like I’m pushing through the dark and I know what’s ahead is safe, but no one is following me there.”

”Being gay isn’t wrong, but it’s not God’s plan either.” He shakes his head, and I think this moment, right here, is when it really hits me that Sebastian’s identity isn’t queer. It’s not gay. It’s not even soccer player or boyfriend or son.
It’s Mormon.”

Autumn:

”Sometimes I get the weird feeling that I wouldn’t be enough for you. I love you, but only a little.”

I think Autumn was a really good friend, not just for Tanner but also for Sebastian and this even though she barely even knew him. I liked the easy banter between her and Tanner and they gave me the impression that they were really good and close friends. Sure, Autumn had her flaws and I wasn’t always happy about the way she dealt with things, for some incomprehensible reason this only made her human and relatable though. *lol*

”They’re upset, but at some point they’ll figure out you can be right, or you can be loved. Only a handful get both at the same time.”

Sensitive issues:

The bi-representation:

”I’ve always liked whoever,” I tell him. “I really am bi. It’s about the person, not the parts, I guess.”

I LOVED the bi-representation in this book! For me it was spot on!!! Yes, I know a lot of people will disagree and say that it only pointed out the prejudices and kind of reinforced them by giving them space, but the bitter truth is that we actually have to deal with them each and every single day!!! They don’t vanish just because we don’t mention them! I totally agree with Tanner when he says that it’s nothing you get to choose! To be bisexual means to be attracted to both sexes and if you’re a bisexual girl and end up with a boy this doesn’t automatically make you straight! Same goes for being with a girl, just because you fall in love with a girl you’re not a lesbian! AND yes you can be faithful to your partner and still think that Milla Jovovich and Eva Green are damn hot! (which they actually are!!! *lol*) Oh well, *cough* back to the review! XD

”Why wouldn’t you just be with a girl, then?” he asks quietly. “If you were attracted to them? Wouldn’t it be so much easier?“
“That’s not something you get to choose.”

The Mormon/LDS representation:

”It’s completely different. Among a hundred other reasons, going to church is a choice. Being bisexual is simply who you are. I’m protecting you from the toxic messages of the church.”
I actually laugh at this. “And his parents are doing it to protect him from hell.”

I can’t say an awful lot about the LDS representation because I actually don’t know anything about it. So in some way this book was even kind of educational. *lol* I think I understand their beliefs and I got what they are talking about, but I guess I’ll never be able to truly fathom why religion is so important to so many people. I think I’m a lot like Tanner when it comes to that. I was raised a Roman-Catholic but I’m neither an active part of the church nor do I go to mass and I guess the reasons for that are pretty obvious. 😉

”I assume his family doesn’t know he’s gay?”
“I don’t even know if he’s gay.”
“Well for argument’s sake, let’s assume he is and your feelings are reciprocated. You know the church thinks it’s okay to have same-sex attraction but you aren’t allowed to act on it?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Would you be able to be with him without touching him?”

”I’ve never had someone over before who wasn’t a member,” he says. The mind reader. “I’m just watching you take it all in.”
I decide to go for pure honesty: “It’s hard to understand.”

Tanner’s slip with Autumn:

I think it wasn’t necessary for the plot but then again things like that just happen. I know some people will say that Tanner was acting irresponsible and shouldn’t have slept with Autumn especially because she was still a virgin, but please keep in mind that she said she wanted him to be her first!!! He didn’t take advantage of her! He was broken and sad and completely devastated and yes, he might have known that Autumn had a crush on him, but let’s face the truth: Autumn also knew that he was heartbroken and completely vulnerable when she slept with him!!! If anything they both took advantage of each other and their understanding was mutual! They made that mistake together and in the end they dealt with it like adults. 😉

Their families:

Tanner’s family:

Mom can’t help herself. “Does he know about you?”
“About how I turn into a troll at sunset?” I shake my head. “I don’t think so.”
“Tanner,” she says gently. “You know what I mean.”
I do. Unfortunately. “Please calm down. It’s not like I have a tail.”
“Honey,” Mom starts, horrified.

Can I just say that I adored his family!?!? They were so awesome and supportive!!! Seriously, I really wish everyone would have parents like that! Yes, Tanner’s mom could be annoying with her bumper stickers and her reservations about Sebastian, but she was just worried about her son and that’s the most important thing!!! She just wanted him to be happy and accepted him the way he is!! Oh and the conversations with his dad?! I LOVED THEM!!! They were priceless!!! <333 Seriously, Tanner’s dad was so wise!! XD

“My parents know I’ve had crushes on guys before, but it’s never been a reality like this. Now there’s a guy, with a name and a phone. We’ve all been so cool about it, but I realize, sitting here at this silent dinner table, that there are layers to their acceptance.”

”He tucks a finger under my chin, lifting my face to his. “Are you willing to be a secret? Maybe you are for now. But this is your life, and it will stretch out before you, and you are the only person who can make it whatever you want it to be.”

She claps a hand over her mouth when she sees Sebastian, and tears rise to the surface of her eyes nearly immediately. Mom pull us up, hugs me, and then wordlessly takes Sebastian into her arms – he gets the longer hug, the one with the soft Mom words spoken into his ear – and something breaks loose in me because it makes him cry harder.”

THIS SCENE, THIS MOMENT!! IT WAS MY UNDOING!!! I cried so hard when I read it!! I swear I was a sobbing and aching mess!!! This was so beautiful and raw and painful, so damn freaking bittersweet!!! Tanner’s mom comforting Sebastian, hugging him even though his own mother should have hugged him instead, telling him that he is wonderful and precious and that he is amazing just the way he is!!! TANNER’S MOM TELLING HIM EVERYTHING HE NEEDED TO HEAR!!! Tanner’s mom, not his own!!! OH GOD!!! My heart is breaking once again. That poor boy, that lost and broken soul!!! The reaction of Tanner’s mom moved me so much, I have no words…. <333

Sebastian’s family:

”He’s gay; he didn’t die. Nobody is wounded. I know Sebastian’s parents are good people, but holy hell, they just inadvertently made their son feel like there’s something about him that needs to be fixed.”

Never in my entire life will I ever be able to understand how you can disown your own child!!! I mean you’re supposed to love your kid, it’s your role to protect it from harm!!! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT LITTLE LIFE!!!! I love my daughter so much, I love her unconditionally, I would do everything for her!! I would even die for her!!! And because of that I can’t understand how Sebastian’s family could be so cruel to him! Especially his mother!!! I mean he only asked them what would happen if one of them was gay and they didn’t speak to him for an ENTIRE WEEK!!!! How can you do something like that to your own child!!!???? And to blame him for being gay?! Like he could change it, like it would be his own choice to be gay or not?! Like it’s a disease he can grow out of!!! ARGH!!! I can’t even….

”This was a week ago,” he whispers. When he looks up at me with tears in his eyes, he adds, “No one has spoken to me in a week.”

”I don’t even know how we got here, Sebastian. This? What you’re going through?” She stabs the air with savagely curled finger quotes around the words “going through.” ”This is your own doing. Heavenly Father is not responsible for your decisions. It is your free will alone that deprives you of happiness.”

”Her apron says KEEP CALM AND SERVE ON, and all he can think about is Tanner’s mom and her rainbow apron that embarrassed her son, and what Sebastian would give to have a parent who accepted him for what he was, no matter what.”

The ending of the book was so hopeful and sweet it actually made me light-headed and happy! <333 It was so cute that Tanner fell to the ground when he saw Sebastian and I really hope that they will find their way!!! Together of course!!! XD

All told, this book was amazing and if possible I’d give it all the stars and even more! “Autoboyograph” deserves so much more attention than it got and I hope my review will help to spread the word!!! READ IT!!! LOVE IT!! FIND YOURSELF IN IT AND BE BRAVE AND STRONG!!! Have the courage to be who you truly are!!! <333

Well, if that isn’t a message I want to spread, I really don’t know. *lol*
To say it with Fujita’s words:

”My deepest gratitude, Sebastian, for your bravery. I wish you well. You are an exceptional human, with depth and heart. Don’t let anyone – or anything – dim that light inside you.”