Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

img_0895Title: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult LGBTQ Romance
Print: 303 pages
Rating: ★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I purchased a copy of this book from my local bookstore. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.

Goodreads Synopsis 

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Favorite Quotes:

“…I’ve been basically picturing this moment for ten hours, and now that it’s here , I don’t have a clue what I’m supposed to say. Probably something awesome and witty and not school-related.” – Simon

“It’s strange, because in reality, I’m not the leading guy. Maybe I’m the best friend.”- Simon-

“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.” -Simon-

Final Thoughts:

Simon Spier is a hundred percent sure that he is gay, but he is also a hundred percent sure that he is not ready to share this information with anyone else. He is so entranced with the fact that someone else at his school is also a “closeted gay” that he forgets to log out of his email at the school library. Simon has had a secret, email, relationship with a student attending the same school as him. However, he has no idea who this student is, and from the looks of the pseudonym Simon is using, he’s not ready to reveal his true identity either. Martin, however, is prepared to use any information he has against Simon to advance his love life. This story follows the life of Simon Speir, a teen male in high school trying to figure out a way to get through his junior year without any hiccups. Martin is a straight teen male who merely wants to get closer to Alice, Simon’s best friend, by any means necessary. Will Martin win the heart of Alice or will his attempt at blackmail fail? Will Simon ever figure out who the other closeted gay in his school is? Will Simon ever feel comfortable to tell anyone about his sexuality before Martin does?

Overall, I thought this book had a lot of potentials. I am a fan of Becky Albetalli and her other works such as “The Upside of Unrequited,” but I thought this book fell a little bit short for me. I wanted more from the author in this tell-all LGBTQ novel. I guessed who the secretly closeted gay was at the beginning of the book. However, I felt inclined to finish the entire story, and I am glad that I did. The book started off a bit slow for me, but I did love the email interactions between Simon and Blue. I enjoyed reading the responses from both parties. I also liked the writing style in this book. The author did a great job portraying the drama and using adequate descriptive terms for all the supporting characters. I was able to channel my inner imagination to create what I assumed Simon’s best friends looked like. There was an adequate amount of drama, romance, tears, and friendship turmoil. I wanted more information about Leah, but overall the author did a great job with this book. I especially loved the developed drama between Martin and Simon and I legitimately almost cried during the epic scene towards the end. I would say that I should not have watched the movie trailer before reading the book. I had preconceived notions of what would happen and how the book began. I recommend this book to any teen looking for a fun, heart-wrenching, LGBTQ romance novel that focuses on the right side of coming out.

Read any good LGBTQ novels lately and want to share it with me, comment below!

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at

The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

img_2966Title: The Beauty that Remains
Author: Ashley Woodfolk 
Genre: Young Adult LGBTQ Contemporary
Pages: Print 324
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Rating: ★★★★.5

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Random House.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.

Favorite Quotes:

“Sometimes when I look in the mirror for too long, I start to look like someone else.” -Logan-

“Sometimes loving someone is scarier than leaving them.”

“Ever since, I’ve felt a little out of control. But there’s something about music that tethers me to the rest of the world.”- Shay-

“I just tell the rose how much I’m going to miss you. How much I already do. I miss you. I miss you. I miss you. There’s never an I miss you not. And there aren’t enough petals on the flower. There aren’t enough petals in the world.” -Autumn

Final Thoughts:

This young adult contemporary novel captures the view of loss from the perspective of three different teens. Each must learn to deal with the grief associated with losing someone close to them. They must learn to overcome the guilt, learn to move on with their lives, and face each day head-on. Autumn, Logan, and Shay are three teens who are connected by the music they enjoy and by the grief they have experience. The book starts off with the perspective of each teen following each crippling loss that has consumed their lives.

This entire novel I was captivated by the emotional connection I felt with each character. The author did a great job showcasing the different stages of grief and the challenges faced with trying to move on. Autumn lost her best friend, the only girl that understood her, and now she is clinging to the only person that understands her grief. Logan lost a former lover; he finds solace in alcohol rather than something healthier like music. Shay has lost her twin sister, her partner in crime, her best friend, and now she must move on with a project they started together. Autumn, Logan, and Shay learn to cope with their losses in unique ways. This young adult novel both provides examples of the different stages of grief but also examines the connections of sorrow. Each of these teens is connected to each other by the loss they share and the hope of escaping through music. Logan used to write the most beautiful songs but can’t pick up a pen. Autumn will only listen to specific music but refuses to draw. Shay, can’t seem to get through one music show without wanting to escape. The emotions showcased in this novel feel real, and the connections between each character are meaningful. These teens face some tough decisions they can only overcome with the help and support of family and friends. A loss is unpredictable but having a good support system can help in the healing process. This message is evident throughout this entire novel.

Overall, I thought this was a relatable original novel that had me engulfed in the story-line from the beginning. The author writes each chapter from the perspective of these three teens. I was on the verge of tears after reading about Shay’s sister, Logan’s lost lover, and Autumns best friend. I would have loved to learn more about the death of Autumn’s best friend and the same for the other members lost. I would have liked to see more development of the supporting characters such as Shay’s friends as well as Logan’s friends. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in a compelling young adult novel about loss and connection.

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at

Hayley Soon by Andrew Henley

img_2803Title: Hayley Soon
Author: Andrew Henley
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary LGBTQ
Pages: Print 192
Rating: ★★★

Disclaimer: The contents of this review is solely my opinion and mine alone. A copy of this book was sent to me directly from the author in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hayley Soon is the tale of a Korean-American transgirl with a fractured mental health, obsession with pop culture, cosplay and a rapidly declining interest in her studies.

Featuring movies, music and a diverse cast all entangled in themes so dark you’ll need a flashlight, Hayley Soon puts the trans in transgressive fiction.

Final Thoughts:

A copy of this book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest review. In the past, I have read novels that showcase the challenges faced by members of the LGBTQ community. These books shed light on the struggles that non-cisgender individuals face on an everyday basis. The author of this book tries to shed light on some of those challenges.

Hayley Soon is a short novel that focuses on the life of a Korean American transgender. Hayley struggles with finding a place where she belongs. She struggles with the challenges of embracing her body even if it isn’t what she wants it to be. She struggles with bullying from a former high school classmate and even going to the bathroom in public. Hayley has a hard time trying to accept herself for who she is and embracing her inner beauty. Many people have given her compliments on her appearance just as much as people have chosen to bash her appearance in person and online. Will she ever figure out where she belongs? Will her mother finally accept her? Or will everyone continue to refer to her as her birth name?

Overall, I liked the idea of this novel and the focus content but did not entirely like the delivery. I wanted more of the story with Hayley, and the ending left me questioning a lot of things. What happened to her after the incident? Why wasn’t her best friend more supportive? Why did Hayley keep the secret from her best friend? The story felt more like it was occurring in a high school versus on a college campus. The bullying felt a bit high school and did not feel realistic. I have seen contemporary novels that felt a bit more realistic, but this just felt like the information was not pulled from realistic experiences but from what someone thought it would be like. I felt as though there could have been more development of the storyline, a more developed ending, a bit more drama, more problem solving, and more realism. Of course, I understand that this is fiction novel, which it feels fictional, I just expected more.

The main character Hayley does struggle a lot in this book, and she is portrayed as a character who has a mental illness that has not been diagnosed. She struggles with anxiety, depression, identification issues, and self-esteem issues. If you are interested in reading a book about a transgender person who faces many daily struggles and finds unique ways to cope, then this is your novel. If you have experienced extreme depression and anxiety, this novel has a few triggers in here so I would read this at a cautious pace. If you are a person who just wants to read a unique story that challenges many theories, then you should pick this book.

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at

ARC Review: Let’s Talk About Love

Title: Let’s Talk About Love
Author: Claire Kann
Genre: Young Adult LQBTQ Romance
Pages: Print 277
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Rating: ★★★★.5

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange  #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The  copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Swoon Reads.

Goodreads Synopsis:

College student Alice Johnston, 19, is in the closet—sort of. Her friends and family know that she is bisexual, but what they don’t know (and what Alice isn’t really ready to tell them) is that she’s also asexual. Alice is hurt when Margot, her roommate and girlfriend, breaks up with her, but she isn’t surprised. Giving up on love seems to be the best solution until Takumi enters the picture. Registering an unprecedented “black” rating on Alice’s “Cutie Code,” Takumi makes Alice’s heart beat faster than normal, and their developing friendship allows Alice to slowly begin to reveal things about herself, her friendship with Feenie and Ryan (her now-engaged best friends from high school), and her family. Debut novelist Kann thoughtfully tackles what it means to be asexual and gives Alice a platform to discover who she is and what it means for her relationship with Takumi. Asexual readers will appreciate the visibility, and those—like Alice’s ex—who know poorly understand it, will gain a better sense of what love without sex can look like.

Favorite Quotes:

A curious, nervous sensation wriggled and rooted itself inside her chest.” -Alice’s first impression of Takumi, this gave me warm and fuzzy feelings.

“You’ve exceed my Cutie Code,” she said. “You’re the reason why I retired it. I don’t need it anymore.” -Alice to Takumi

Final Thoughts:

Let’s Talk About Love is a young adult fiction romance novel that sheds light on LGBTQ issue. The main character, Alice, must learn to accept herself while trying to figure out exactly who she is. This ranges from her selecting a major, being in a relationship, and the relationships with her friends and family. The book starts with Alex, who identifies as asexual, getting dumped by her girlfriend Margot for not feeling a physical attraction. Alice blames herself the entire novel while trying to move forward into a new relationship with the new worker at her library. Alice seems to struggle with every relationship in her life. Her parents and her siblings are presurring her to go to Law School throughout the entire novel. I felt this book could have been developed more to shed light on the challenges of being asexual. However, I did get to see a glimpse of the challenges as Alice came to terms with her sexuality. You watch her build relationships and struggle with connecting with Takumi. Will he understand her sexuality? Will be accept her for who she is or will she be alone forever?

I recommend this novel to anyone interested in reading a young adult romance novel. This book had me entranced the whole time. I loved the awkward moments of Alice and seeing her learn. I commend the author on writing a truly informative novel. I would have loved for a bit more and there were small details missing that I thought were important. Overall, I did not want to put this book down until I finished it.

Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is a young adult contemporary fiction novel focus on the challenges faced by twin high school teenagers whose lives are intertwined. Stuart and Ashley are two teens who must face their own challenges and learn to get along. This book discusses divorce, family, friendships, bullying, sexual assault, and new relationships. It’s a great contemporary novel to give to any teen facing problems in school. Stuart is a friendly kid who has been bumped up a grade because he is “gifted.” His dad tells him he should not tell that to everyone. Ashley is a popular freshmen in high school who just wants to have all the attention. Her parents are divorced and her dad is gay. She wants to keep her dads sexuality a secret from her friends. As Stuart’s dad and Ashley’s mom make the decision to move in together, things start to get complicated. Can these two teens get along? Will Ashley ever accept Stuart as her step brother?

I loved the plot twist and kind of hated Ashley the entire story. In the end Ashley changed but that took the entire story. You definitely get the popular girl vibe from Ashley and the geek vibe from Stuart. Stuart wants to do what’s right and protect his new family member, while Ashley just wants to be popular. I wanted more from the title and I wanted more from the story. Overall, it had a great message but it was predictable in some places and the end was kind of cheesy. I would definitely recommend this to other teens who are interested in this book but only to older teens who are okay with LGBTQ reads. It was a bit mature for younger teens but very well written.

I give it a 4 out of 5!