Thursday, 20 November 2014

Review on 'Two Boys Kissing'

When Harry and Craig decide to attempt the world record for the longest kiss, they don't realize that they will become the focus point for other teen boys around the world going through the same things as them. While they kiss, events start to unfold for other gay teens, including Peter and Neil, who have been together for a year, and Ryan and Avery who have only just met. Meanwhile Cooper is addicted to gay hookup sites, but feels empty inside. Although they all have separate lives, they all share the struggle of being gay in a homophobic world.

I thought this book was amazing and really captured the thoughts and feelings of the characters. I loved that so many issues were dealt with, such as relationship problems, coming out, homophobia, depression and gender identity. The gay characters are all very different as individuals, but as a group they share the same problems.

I think gay teenage boys would be able to identify with this novel, as sadly many of them have homophobic parents, and choose to stay in the closet for as long as possible to avoid confrontation. We live in a world where the older generation tend to cling to what they see as social norms. Being gay used to be a crime which could be punishable by imprisonment, and some people still see it as “abnormal” or “not natural.” It's not uncommon for parents to estrange themselves from their gay child, which is shown brilliantly in Craig and Cooper's cases.

I loved Avery, as it is even rarer to come across a transsexual character in YA fiction than it is to come across a gay character. Ryan's acceptance of Avery for who he is was adorable , and I loved how a big deal wasn't made out of it. I thought Avery was a strong character for standing up for himself, and empathised with him for not feeling 100% confident about his body, as I feel as if every teenager, no matter their gender or sexuality has felt like this at some point.

Cooper's storyline was important, as teenagers feeling unsafe in their homes is a huge issue. A lot of teenagers feel like Cooper does, but do not get the help they need, which results in hundreds of teen suicides every year. The book gives a strong message that teenagers shouldn't be like Cooper, and should get the help that they need.

I thought the narration was slightly strange, and it put me off the book slightly to start with, but got into the flow of things as it went on. The issue of gay men in the past not getting the help they needed having contracting AIDS is important, but I found it slightly strange that they were narrating from the afterlife, and gave a supernatural sense to an otherwise contemporary novel.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It is aimed at an audience of gay teenage boys, but as I am neither of those things and still enjoyed it, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA contemporary novels.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Review on Twisted Fate #1 Fate's Exchange

Alyssa Frank's fate was not to die, so when a brutal attack by a group of teenagers causes her untimely death, she is given a second chance at life. Alyssa must do things differently this time, and escape the clutches of death. But having been given no clues as to what she is meant to do, Alyssa must face D-Day alone. That is until a mysterious and gorgeous new student named David joins the school, and quickly forms a strong relationship with Alyssa. As D-Day approaches, Alyssa must tread her path carefully and finally escape the clutches of Death.

The first thing I thought when I started reading this book was that it reminded me of my favourite Supernatural episode, 'Mystery Spot'. I loved the idea of Alyssa having to come back to the same spot each time she died so that she could do things differently, and I felt that it was a bit like

I really enjoyed the first half of the book, and each time that Alyssa died in a different way, I was looking forward to finding out what she had to do to get out of the loop and stay alive until the weekend. I did however find myself wondering what would have happened if she had stayed at home instead of going to school, and found it slightly strange that she didn't really consider this option.

There are some strong themes in the book, particularly centred around rape. Although there is not an actual rape scene, I felt that it could still be triggering for some people, and thought it was worth a mention in case anyone finds it too upsetting to read about. I did however find that the topic was covered brilliantly, and showed how such an awful act can be life changing for rape victims.

I loved the introduction of David, and how he was hiding his true identity from Alyssa. His conflicted emotions of loyalty and love played out brilliantly. I did however find that the plot centered around the romance too much, and by the middle of the novel, Alyssa's relationship with David seemed to be more important to her than the fact that she could die at the end of the week, so I felt that she needed to sort out her priorities. I did enjoy the romance between them, and loved the idea of a supernatural being dating a human girl, but I felt that it would have been more enjoyable for me personally if it had been more of a sub plot, as I was far more interested in the storyline of Alyssa dying, and found it quite tedious to read through chapter after chapter of making out and going on dates before the story got back on track.

I liked the ending, and the hint that David would once again have to protect Alyssa. I also loved how one of the Sisters was keeping a secret about Alyssa's fate, and I would love to carry on reading this series to find out what that is. 

You can purchase Fate's Exchange HERE