Reviews

Some Girls Bind: A Genderqueer Journey to Self-Discovery

Some Girls BindTitle: Some Girls Bind
Author(s): Rory James
Series: 
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Genderqueer
Published: February 1st 2019 by West 44 Books
LGBTQAI+:  Genderqueer (they/them) protagonist, gay side characters.
I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jamie knows that she isn’t like other girls. She has a secret. She binds her chest every day to feel more like herself. Jamie questions why she is drawn to this practice and why she is afraid of telling her friends, who have their own secrets. Could she really be genderqueer?

Rating: 4 stars

When I look in the mirror,
I don’t see a girl and
I don’t see a boy. I just see
my goofy glasses and Beatle-like hair.

Let’s get this out of the way first: the formatting of the ARC I read is horrible. There is a part where the same section repeats 4-5 times, and there are words that are either missing, or look more like keysmashes than actual words, and I have to try to figure out what it was supposed to be. I’m going to try my best not to let this affect my rating and opinion of the content itself.

I was a little skeptical when I saw that this book is written in a poetry-ish style (as in: no rhymes or real logic, but all the lines are really short for some reason), and I often wished that it had been written in prose instead – but despite that, this book felt really real. Seriously, some parts were as if they were taken straight from my internal monologue as an AFAB genderqueer/nonbinary person.

The whole book is really introspective, and there isn’t really a plot other than finding yourself, figuring out your identity, trying to figure out what others would think, etc. There are supportive parents, unsupportive parents, supportive friends, queer side characters, and going to poetry readings by queer poets. There was also a part about the dangers of unsafe binding, and how you might resort to it if you’re desperate but you really shouldn’t.

The main character also doesn’t have a love interest and kind of questions their romantic orientation, so if you’re looking for a queer book without romance, this might be your thing? They don’t consider being aro, though.

Overall, I’m rating this book 4 stars because other than the formatting issues I don’t really have anything negative to say about it. I personally found the main character really relatable and close to my own personal experience, and I can’t recall any parts that could have been offensive or hurtful – but others might think differently, so proceed with caution.

~ Alexa

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Reviews

Afterlife: Foxes, Grief and the Meaning of Life [12 Days of Clink Street]

AfterlifeTitle: Afterlife (Goodreads | Amazon)
Author(s): Tracy Ogali
Series: 
Genre: Poetry, Fantasy?
Published: July 15th 2016 by Clink Street Publishing
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

What do you do when your life falls apart? Who do you turn to for help? This is a story about how to come to terms with the tragedy of losing a loved one. Fox is lost, consumed by grief, unable to move on with his life. Until one day he has an epiphany, so strong that he decides to go on a quest around the world to search for the meaning of life. He meets all the wise creatures that provide him with their philosophy. But nothing works. He feels like a failure. Then, out of the blue, a voice speaks to him: a butterfly. She agrees to show him the way, and it is here, with her guidance, that fox begins to learn about nature, who he is and the true wisdom of life and death.

I understand, but you must still try.

Was that title ominous? Sorry about that. But no, really.

I was drawn to Afterlife immediately when I saw the fox on the cover, because… well, I may or may not have a weakness for foxes. Then I read the blurb, and I realised that this was a book about dealing with grief in a seemingly kid-friendly way, and I was really curious how that would work out.

In the end, Afterlife surprised me in several ways. I initially assumed that the illustrations would be bleak or colourless to go with the depression and grief, but all the pictures were unique, and most of them colourful. When I got to the end, I realised that the reason they had different unique art styles is that the illustrations were done by not one illustrator, but a group of art students. And let me tell you, they did a great job. The illustrations with the butterfly were especially amazing.

The stanzas were usually easy to follow, although I felt like the message sometimes got a little too abstract for children maybe, and the rhymes were sometimes a little… odd. Nevertheless, the story was meaningful, and it was interesting to see the Fox’s journey and what the different animals thought about the meaning of life and death. I also loved how it was shown that it’s okay to grieve but you must eventually move on and heal.

I am also somehow the first person to rate and review this on Goodreads, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

**

I thank Clink Street Publishing & Faye from Authoright for inviting me to be a part of this event. I received a copy of the above book for free in exchange for an honest review.

**

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Reviews

Review: the witch doesn’t burn in this one & DROPKICKromance

These two poetry collections come out on the same day and they are by two halves of a couple, so I decided to review them together despite my differing opinions on them.

I received an early copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Release date: March 6th, 2018

38338999the witch doesn’t burn in this one

The first collection of the women are some kind of magic series has been on my wishlist since forever, so I was really excited when I got to read this one. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

I have heard people talk about how empowering Amanda Lovelace’s poetry is, and I definitely enjoyed many of the poems – I loved the little references to the way women survive and support each other, the body positivity, and the confidence in every poem. Still, there were almost none that really shook me to the core the way I expected.

Truthfully, many poems in this collection felt repetitive and redundant, repeating sentences I’ve heard many times in feminist circles. Make no mistake, it’s still incredibly important to say these things! But it simply didn’t feel as revolutionary as I expected based on what others said.

I did love how the formatting of the poems varied, and there were some unconventional ones I loved, e.g. “how to prevent getting sexually assaulted”. I also loved some others, e.g. “confidence isn’t egotism” and “confidence isn’t healthy”.

Still, poetry for me is mostly about emotional response, and this collection simply didn’t awake those emotions in me. Somebody else might like these poems more than I did and get more strength for them, though.

(note: This poetry collection deals with heavy topics such as abuse and rape, as well as misogyny, fatphobia and a long list of other things. There is a mostly-complete trigger warning list at the beginning, which is pretty useful.)

My rating: ★★★☆☆

38338999DROPKICKromance

This was one of the best and most powerful debut poetry collections I’ve read.

I loved the composition and how all the poems together told one story – I read the whole thing almost in one sitting because I was eager to know what happens next. The way Cyrus described every small detail of his two very different relationships was captivating, both the toxicity of the first relationship, and the little, loving, everyday moments of the second.

As someone who’s used to fiction, reading some of the poems was strange – there were some events that weirded me out and yet I couldn’t really “disagree” or judge, since this was someone’s real, actual life, not the relationship of two fictional characters. I’ll have to get used to this if I read more personal poetry, but I still enjoyed the poems in this collection.

My rating: ★★★★★

~ Alexa