Genderbent tropes and queer identity: 3 Books That I Read for Pride 2022

Okay, so. This post is a month late! I know, I know, I’m sorry. But life happens, and long story short, May, June and July have ganged up on me. So I haven’t been active much, haven’t been reading much as I used to. However, I was still able to read a few books from my Pride TBR for this year!

And let me just say, I have been blessed with three amazing books! So here’s a quick rundown, as well as my mini reviews!

Flip The Script

Summary: An aspiring K-drama teen actress falls for the actress who plays the second lead in their show, instead of her fake co-star boyfriend.

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I think: This was my first read this June, and I can’t help but think how fitting it is. Flip the Script was just so cute and so fun, and most importantly, it shed some light on the queer community in South Korea and the entertainment industry in particular. It also gave us hope of what may come and what we can do to make a difference.

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ARC Review: If We Were Us

Title: If We Were Us
Author: K.L. Walther
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐💫
Genre/s and Tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+ rep, M/M romance
Publication date: June 1, 2020
Goodreads synopsis:

Everyone at the prestigious Bexley School believes that Sage Morgan and Charlie Carmichael are meant to be….that it’s just a matter of time until they realize that they are actually in love.

When Luke Morrissey shows up on the Bexley campus his presence immediately shakes things up. Charlie and Luke are drawn to each other the moment they meet, giving Sage the opportunity to steal away to spend time with Charlie’s twin brother, Nick.

But Charlie is afraid of what others will think if he accepts that he has much more than a friendship with Luke. And Sage fears that things with Nick are getting too serious too quickly. The duo will need to rely on each other and their lifelong friendship to figure things out with the boys they love.

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I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Sourcebooks Fire!

When I first saw the cover of this book, I immediately liked it! And then I read the synopsis and I was just so excited because it seemed like a fun contemporary read for me. I was right!

If We Were Us is a fun and entertaining read, with similar vibes as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda!

My thoughts on If We Were Us

What I love most about If We Were Us is the fact that it’s funny, light-hearted, but can still be very gut-wrenching in some parts. It explored the characters’ flaws and issues, and their insecurities and mistakes. It was good to see these characters try to deal with them and overcome them by the end of the book. I also particularly adored the friendships and the dynamics between several characters! There’s Charlie and Sage, Luke and Sage, and Nick and Charlie!

I did, however, feel like it lacked in the romance department. I wanted more build-up, I wanted more flashbacks, I wanted more details, especially when it came to Nick and Sage’s relationship. Nick claimed he had feelings for Sage even before, but I didn’t see that nor did I feel it. I needed romance that’s believable, romance that will sway me. But in the end, I wasn’t fully convinced. So, I was disappointed about that.

Another thing is that, the writing style was okay, but sometimes it left me confused. Several times in the book, there were references to something or someone or some place or event, but those things/persons/places/events were not explained or given primary details.

On the other hand, I love how this book perfectly captured the ridiculously frustrating stereotype/idea that a girl and boy can’t be close friends without having feelings for each other. In the story, it has affected families, friends, the whole Bexley school body. This needs to stop, and this story just proves how bad that mentality can be.

Overall, If We Were Us was an entertaining read! I recommend this book to those who are looking for cute, short reads! (And those who are looking for books that has the same vibes as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda!)

Quotes from the book

We will hold that umbrella for you, I kept thinking. You won’t brave the storm alone.

“I’d realized Nick had feelings for Sage. She was smiling at the camera, but he was smiling at her.”

“I just had no idea,” he continued in a near-whisper, like he hadn’t heard me. “I had no idea it was even possible to feel this way about a person…””

*Note that these quotes may differ from the published copy.


Buy If We Were Us

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository


How about you guys? Is this book in your TBRs? Are you excited for its release? Tell me in the comments!

Book Review: Red, White & Royal Blue

Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre/s: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Comedy, LGBTQ+
Goodreads synopsis:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

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Hi there book nerds! It’s been a while (life has been busy), but guess what? I managed to finish a book last weekend and IT IS AWESOME.

Red, White & Royal Blue is a delightful, heartwarming, and hilarious story that will surely make you cry, laugh, and ultimately, fall in love. This is one of my most anticipated reads this year, and boooyyy, it did not disappoint.

Y’all this book. I just feel like, this book has almost all the things I want to see in a contemporary novel: the angst, the fluff, the drama, the smut (YES, THE SMUT. This book is NOT YOUNG ADULT. The author has stressed this out so many times already.), lovable characters, excellent dialogue, interesting plot, family and friends themes, identity theme, coming-to-terms-with-sexuality bits, pining, enemies-to-lovers trope, and probably a lot more things but I just can’t remember them as of this moment! 😂 But anyway, I’ll try to talk about them one by one.

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Book Review: Been Here All Along

Title: Been Here All Along
Author: Sandy Hall
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+
My rating: 3/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis:

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee and having his choice of colleges. They do not include falling head over heels for his best friend and next-door neighbour, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do . . .

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong . . .

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Hi book nerds! I’m back with another book review! I started reading Been Here All Along just because I wanted to read an ebook alongside my physical read (which happens to be Reign of the Fallen), but I finished reading this one first!

This was a good read, a fast and fun one. And although the plot seemed too easy and predictable at times, it was still pretty enjoyable. I definitely recommend this to those who are looking for a short and sweet contemporary read!

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The writing

The writing was okay, it was light and it was easy to follow.

There are four perspectives, though, so that can be a little confusing, not because of timelines or the different thoughts of the characters, but because you’ll be wondering “oh, why does this character have a perspective? What does he/she have to the with the plot? Do they have a bigger purpose or part? What’s going to happen in their arc now?”. Stuff like those.

 

The characters

The characters were fine and it was easy for me to connect with the main characters, especially with Gideon and Kyle.

I love how they’re all facing their own problems. As I’ve mentioned, there are four perspectives, and these four characters all have their problems that they’re going through. I wish the author delved more into that though, because some conflicts in each perspective were only partly-solved. I was really waiting for the characters—especially Ezra and Ruby—to truly overcome and face their problems head on, I wanted to see more of their character development.

Another thing is that Gideon and Kyle’s feelings for each other seemed a bit rushed for me. I mean I get that they’re best friends, and I LOVE the best friends to lovers trope, but I didn’t see much of the “buried” feelings as they say, or the gradual realization that they have feelings for each other. I still like their pairing though, haha!

The plot

As I’ve mentioned above, the plot can seem too easy and predictable at times. Like it’s something that I’ve already seen in other YA contemporaries (the plot actually reminds me a bit of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda). The good thing about this is that, readers will definitely get that happy ending they’re looking for. This is why I totally recommend this book as sort of a palate cleanser, in case you’ve been reading a lot of fantasy novels or books with heavy or emotional issues. Been Here All Along is a fun and light read, for sure.

There are a couple of subplots as well, that I feel like wasn’t answered or tackled completely. It left me a little bit unsatisfied because unsolved or partly-solved subplots are some of the banes of my existence. Apart from that, everything was good.

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Overall this was a fun read and I give it three stars! How about you guys? Have you read this before or not yet?

And now that we’re in the topic of short/sweet contemporaries, go suggest some in the comments!

Book Review: Puddin’

Title: Puddin’

Author: Julie Murphy

Series: Dumplin’ #2

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

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This book has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year now and it’s only this week that I decided to read it AAAAAHHHHH. I liked Dumplin’. It was okay for me, it definitely has a special place in my heart but it didn’t blow me away. Puddin’, however, blew my mind and captured my heart. This book is all sorts of amazing.

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