Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories | Blog Tour

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Title: Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories
Author: Edited by Michael Earp & stories by Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen Van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde & Nevo Zisin
Genre: YA Anthology
Publication Date: June 1st, 2019
Pages: 283 (Paperback)
Publishers: Walker Books Australia and New Zealand
Rating: See below individual stories for ratings

Synopsis

What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #LoveOzYA collection, twelve of Australia’s finest writers from the LGBTQ+ community explore the stories of family, friends, lovers and strangers – the connections that form us.

This inclusive and intersectional #OwnVoices anthology for teen readers features work from writers of diverse genders, sexualities and identities, including writers who identify as First Nations, people of colour or disabled. With short stories by bestsellers, award winners and newcomers to young adult fiction including Jax Jacki Brown, Claire G Coleman, Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Erin Gough, Benjamin Law, Omar Sakr, Christos Tsiolkas, Ellen van Neerven, Marlee Jane Ward, Jen Wilde and Nevo Zisin.

Rats by Marlee Jane Ward

This story wasn’t my favourite out of the book. It took me until about half way through the story to realise that this is set in either the future or an alternate Australia. There was some mention of robots and things, so that’s what gave it away eventually. My favourite part of this story was Maita! She was an interesting and fun character and I enjoyed her part of the story. The world & concept of the Rats was really interesting as well, once I figured out what was going on, and I would have liked to learn more about it but alas, the down fall of short stories, can’t be helped. The least interesting thing for me was the MC, whose name is I think Michelle. She was a bit flat for me and her attraction felt a bit forced.

In Case of Emergency, Break Glass by Erin Gough

I actually enjoyed this one a fair bit! It was kinda odd, a little confusing and super interesting. I won’t give a way anything as I feel like you need to just go in and be confused like the rest of us. But I enjoyed our MC, Amy, there was some conflicting emotions & thoughts going on which I think was done well. Then there was a super odd and fun twist which I enjoyed too. This is one that I 100% would have kept reading if there was more too it! It left on a bit of a cliffhanger, I guess you could call it, with Boz and I am curious!

Bitter Draught by Michael Earp

This one had a fantasy element, which I loved! Ya’ll know, Fantasy is my stomping ground! My negative thing with this one is that is 100% felt like the first chapter of a book rather than a short story. Maybe that was intention, I don’t know but it just felt incomplete to me & wasn’t well rounded at all. The MC, Simeon felt very one dimensional. There wasn’t much too him besides being a tad annoying. I did enjoy Wyll though, I found him interesting & I loved that he choose to live & do what he wants rather than settling because that is what others want. Wren I am super curious about. We got barely any time with them but they interested me from the start. Would like to know more about them & the background of the magically side of the world.

I Like Your Rotation by Jax Jacki Brown

First off, love all the rep in this one! Two Queer Wheelchair bound disabled females? Hell yeah! I really liked Drew in this story and I definitely preferred her to Jem. She is a very out going, accepting, open & free person which I really enjoyed. Jem was very much the other end of the spectrum, she was anxious, quiet, questioned her every action and was not the most confident when it came to being a disabled or queer person. I did enjoy the rep but Jem did irritate me a little and thats why I didn’t like her as much as Drew. The other character we meet is Jem’s dad who I actually really liked. Even if he didn’t fully understand he tried to help in his own way and it was always super sweet. This was a very character based story, so basically no world building.

Sweet by Claire G Coleman

Wow, just wow. This is my favourite story so far! This is set in a future alternate Australia and the concept of this world was so interesting! We got enough background to understand what was going on and the importance of the big reveal. There wasn’t much plot as this stories’ focus is definitely the characters and this world and I loved that! It was so unique and I would 100% read a full story by this author set in this world! Super vague, I know but you just need to read & experience this one for yourself!

Light Bulb by Nevo Zisin

Okay, straight up, I don’t get this one. I’m guessing that the darkness mentioned in this story is meant to represent depression but besides that I have no idea what happened in the story, I don’t get it and I don’t really see the point behind. If you do understand it then that is awesome, but I have no idea.

Waiting by Jen Wilde

Argh this was soo good! Jen Wilde has become and auto buy author for me after this! I’ve read Queens of Geek and loved it and now reading this, I loved it too! I want this story as a full novel so bad! Josie is freaking awesome and I love her! Audrey is amazing too and so strong for realising the bullshit and removing her self from it in a badass way! Vanessa I hated from the first sentence & Sully is just a dick. Everything about this story is well done, well written and just amazing! And SOO much Pride!! I really need to get my hands on a copy of The Brightsiders (i think it is) by Jen Wilde! LOVE IT!

Laura Nyro at the Weeding by Christos Tsiolkas

I didn’t love or dislike this one. I enjoyed that it is was from the view point of a seasoned queer couple (I guess you could call it), rather than new romance & a developing romance, unlike the other stories & really most of the LGBT+ books I have read. I also liked the other themes the story features but I just felt a little underwhelmed by this one. It was good, just didn’t wow me.
And on an unrelated note, I don’t see why this is in a YA anthology when the characters are much older than typical YA. It said in one part that the MC’s partner was 10 when their family moved 25 years ago, so that makes him 35? So unless the MC is with a much older person, then I don’t really think this is YA. There was a couple short sections set in the past when the MC was a kid & teen, but for the most part, not really YA.

Each City by Ellen Van Neerven

This is another confusing & underwhelming one. I get the general idea of the story but the writing was very bland & also very choppy. It felt like a long story with pieces removed to make it shorter. It was just kinda meh and I didn’t really care for it at all & still don’t really see any point or plot to it really.

An Arab Werewolf in Liverpool by Omar Sakr

I really didn’t care for this writing of this one. Did we really need to know about you washing your hairy armpits or your Aunties Tits shaking?!?! Nope, not at all. Story would of gone just the same without knowing the finer details thanks. I didn’t even finish this one, the writing was just annoying me too much.

Stormlines by Alison Evans

This was a decent story. It wasn’t amazing but it was interesting & enjoyable. The world was very interesting and I enjoyed learning about it. There isn’t really a plot to this one, it’s more about the characters & the world. Which I didn’t hate. We were learning about the characters & world enough that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on the plot. I would probably continue reading this is there was more to it, mainly as I’m curious.

Questions to Ask Straight Relatives by Benjamin Law

I really enjoyed this one. It was short and didn’t really have a plot, nor a real focus on characters specifically. It was more just kinda in the head of this one character. It makes you think & question things that you mat see as just ‘normal’ & I really liked that about it.

Overall

Overall, there was good & bad in this book! I never go into anthologies expecting to love every story, it’s just not realistic. But overall, there were enough good stories to out way the average & bad ones. So I’m happy!

You can purchase a copy for yourself at any of the links below.

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Queens of Geek
Author: 
Jen Wilde
Genre: YA Diverse Contemporary
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017
Pages: 288 (Paperback)
Publishers: Swoon Reads
Rating:
4 star

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When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

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Absolutely love it! I have had hair a very similar colour so as soon as I saw this cover back at the start of the year I wanted to pick it up.

This was the only photo I could find when I had full pick hair. So, yes is it a pretty crappy photo, but oh well. Also, when I sent it from my phone to my mac the colouring went kinda off too, on the mac it makes it look really bright and it kinda lost the actual strands of my hair and just looks like a big pink blob. Hopefully, that is just my computer doing that and it looks normal to you guys.. Gotta love technology.

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Okay, so I have one major issue with this book. I am Aussie and so is the author. Also, so is 2 of the main characters and the third is a former American that now lives in Aus.
But it is clear that this book was written to appeal to the American audience. Why do I say that you aks?? Well while I was reading I came across a couple things that are not accurate to Australians. For one thing, the spelling of COLOUR! They used the American spelling COLOR in this book, which really irritated me.
The second major thing is the word FRIES! I have never heard any Aussie call them Fries, we call them CHIPS! So please explain to me why exactly does in the book Charlie walk into the room and say “Do I smell fries?” and also in Taylor’s head she calls them fries. I would understand if it was Jamie calling them fries, as I said he is a former American. But why would the two girls that are meant to be born and raised in Aus? It just doesn’t make sense and it frustrated the hell out of me. As an Aussie myself I don’t agree with using words that suit another country when you are trying to represent your own! I would have let it slide if it was a non-Aussie author, but come on!

I was so annoyed with this that I was actually putting it on my insta story. Here are 2 of those pics.

Anyway, that little rant over. Besides that, I did enjoy the rest of the writing. This book was honestly one of my quickest reads, I feel like. It took me a total of 4hrs and 15mins to read this book. Which just felt crazy, I literally read it overnight!

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I  enjoyed the plot of this book even if it was a little predictable, but to me the majority of contemporaries I have read are predictable. So I don’t really judge them on that.
But still, I enjoyed it and I really enjoyed the whole Queen Firestone thing. Skyler Atkins is definitely the J.K. Rowling of that world.

There isn’t much I can say as like I said it’s kinda predictable and fairly standard for a YA contemporary.

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I love the diversity in this book! Charlie is an Asian-Australia Bisexual and Taylor has social anxiety and is on the autism spectrum. I can’t speak about the rep for autism and anxiety as I don’t have either of those things. However, as a bisexual, I did enjoy the bisexual rep and thought it was really well done.
I especially liked when Charlie had an argument with her ex-boyfriend when he said he doesn’t believe in bisexuals as I have literally had the same conversation with my best friends mum when discussing the Marriage Equality vote that is happening in Aus atm. #voteyes

As for Taylor, I can’t speak of the rep as I already said but I did really enjoy her. It was good seeing her develop and come to accept the things she has to deal with and trying new things.

I also really liked Jamie, he was interesting, fun, flirty and obviously paid a lot of attention to his best friends as he could read them really well and knew when something was off.

Charlie was really cool too. She a bit more bold but was kinda struggling too and again it was really good seeing her develop and adapt to what has been happening in her life.

Reese was an ass! It’s as simple as that. Cheating is never okay! I don’t give a damn what excuses you try and swing. He was up himself and a jerk. If I had of been Tay in that scene at the party I would have kicked him in the balls and punched him in the nose. Give him an actual reason to call me her a ‘bitch’. But that’s just me haha.

I really enjoyed Mandy, at first I thought she might have played the annoying manager roll but that was not the case. She was pretty fun really.

Brianna was a really interesting character too. It was good seeing that even someone who usually doesn’t suffer from any of those issues can have it sneak up on them. I really liked how Taylor dealt with it and help her out and they basically instantly became friends purely because they both liked Queen Firestone.

Josie was also a nice addition to the story and another diverse character. I’m pretty sure she suffered from the same things as Taylor, anxiety & on the Autism spectrum. Having a character come in that has the same issues and is overcoming them and could give Taylor some good advice was a great addition and really helped Taylor develop.

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I really enjoyed the book. It was a fun and easy read and also a cute diverse contemporary. Besides that big issue I had I really enjoyed the writing. The plot was a bit predictable, but I find most contemporaries predictable so it didn’t really bother me. I love the characters, they were all written really well and I even enjoyed Reese as a character as he was written well and represents a large group of people even if he wasn’t nice, he was necessary.
Overall a really good book.



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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