Today’s post begins with two statements:
1. You want to read this book.
2. You should enter this giveaway pronto.
Alright – I’ll give you a third. If you haven’t read Chelsea Pitcher, you are truly missing out. You may recall we reviewed her debut novel THE S-WORD last year. If you’re not much of a contemporary fan, today will rock your socks off.
The Last Changeling
by Chelsea Pitcher
Muse KJ’s Thoughts
Ever read a book and know, just know, you can’t write a review to properly praise it? This is one of those books.
The tale is told in both the voices of Elora, a young Faerie princess, and Taylor, a mere mortal boy. The two meet by chance. Is he the sacrifice she’s been asked to find? Is she what can finally pull him from his guilt and grief?
The voice is authentic, honest, and elegant. I couldn’t help but do what I would have deemed impossible previously – comparing her gift of words to Margaret Atwood’s. It takes great talent to be able to weave more than just plot into a well crafted story, but this something Chelsea Pitcher pulls off as smoothly as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Perhaps even more so, when you realize this isn’t done is the easier format of a dystopia, but instead an urban fantasy.
This is a story with the ability to truly affect you, in addition to it being an entertaining and enjoyable read.
Equality doesn’t work if it’s only for some people.
I know I’ll be back later to write a more thorough review, because (at least for me) this is one of those rare gems that you can think about for ages and still come up with new ideas. This is easily one of my favorite books of 2014 – and will be one of my most gifted books this holiday season.
The Healing Power of Queer YA
When I was sixteen, I fell in love with a girl. Four and a half years later, it ended. And for some time after, I didn’t even want to look at a book about two girls falling in love, let alone read one. It wasn’t that I was swearing off girls forever (how would one even do such a thing? And why?) I was just heartbroken, and I didn’t want to return to where I’d been. Not yet.
Then time went by. First weeks, then months, then years. And during this time, I still read books. I read lots of books! I just didn’t read books about two girls in love. I didn’t even read books about two boys in love. I didn’t want to read about the hardships surrounding coming out, the searching for a sense of identity, the intense connection. All of it felt too raw, too familiar.
I guess, the truth is, I was afraid.
Then one day, much more recently than I’m willing to admit, a friend asked me to beta read a manuscript featuring a bi protagonist, and I did, and something sort of . . . clicked. No, something was unlocked, deep inside of me, like a little key opened a little door, and a little gnome stuck out his head and whispered, “It’s time.”
And it was.
So I took to the bookstore! I gobbled up everything I could find. Unlike in the previous decade, when finding gay protagonists in YA was a difficult task (or bi protagonists! or poly and pansexuals!) I found myself with many fabulous options. And so, many years after the fact, I read the books I needed when I was a teen. And I read the books I needed now. The books that would help me heal, cope, find closure. Be happy with what had been, and what was now.
Here are my favorites of the bunch:
FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe
FAR FROM YOU has so many awesome components: a bisexual protagonist, a twisty murder mystery, and a gritty, realistic storyline. As the mystery unfolds, so does Sophie’s history, in a way that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved trying to guess who the killer was, while at the same time being drawn in by Sophie’s lifelong friendship with Mina and Trev. Such a fabulous read!
TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levithan
This YA contemporary is a sweet story about two boys kissing, but it’s also so much more. Multiple storylines unfold and weave together, telling the story of boys falling in love, falling out of love, rekindling their friendships, and discovering what family means. On top of all that, TWO BOYS KISSING has stories about boys coming out, boys who’ve been out for a while, and everything in between. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE by Maureen Johnson
THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE is the bittersweet story of three girls (one gay, one bi, one straight) navigating the summer after high school graduation and planning their futures. The thing I loved about this book is that it’s a story about both love and friendship, and neither takes center-stage; both are perfectly balanced.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF GLOBAL WARMING by Francesca Lia Block
I’ve been reading Block’s work for close to a decade, and when I heard she was writing a female-driven ODYSSEY with a queer protagonist, I couldn’t wait to dig in. And this story didn’t disappoint! Along with Block’s time-tested talent for lyrical writing and beautiful imagery (even in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles), I loved seeing the characters from THE ODYSSEY re-imagined with such creepy flair.
And so it went: queer YA literature helped to heal my broken heart, and inspired, well, everything I’ve written since. It’s no surprise that of the five main characters in THE LAST CHANGELING, four of them identify as queer. And when a homophobic bully tries to keep same-sex couples from attending the prom, it’s up to these characters to organize a revolution!
About the Author