Switch

Switch by Douglas Davey is a bildungsroman. It explores the struggle of a bisexual young man coming to terms with his feelings and with prejudice from bullies. Being bisexual is confusing for him and his friends, with everyone questioning how he really felt about his girlfriend.

The narration is great, and makes it feel like Sheldon is a real person. The footnotes are funny and informative, but I’m not sure teens will enjoy them as much as I do.

This is a book that could be helpful to a teen who is questioning their sexuality. It explores different opinions and misconceptions about bisexuality that they may face. You don’t have to be gay to enjoy the novel, but sexual orientation is the main focus so it will probably appeal the most to those who can relate or have friends they are trying to understand.

There are no explicit sex scenes in this novel, it’s more about the identity struggle than the actual sexuality.

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Review: Afterworlds Part 1

Halfway through the book I can’t refrain from posting a review

Scott Westerfeld masters the incredible feat of spinning the webs of two complex stories into one cohesive novel. There’s the story of the young writer, experiencing the joys and challenges of being on her own for the first time in her life. Then there’s the story she’s writing- A paranormal romance with terrorists, a serial killer, ghosts, and a schoolgirl crush on a sexy reaper inspired by Hindu legends.

In the surface story the protagonist is living her dream but learning the downfalls of being an adult. Westerfeld pokes fun at the practicalities we don’t think of when we are starting out- like the need to own a mop, and the incredible portion of your budget that goes to food and rent. Despite these tidbits of realism Darcy’s story is one of wonder. First love, networking with the authors she worships, exploring New York… It’s like a more optimistic version of the show Girls. Beautiful diction and literary jargon that will appeal to the nerd in you. Lesbian flirtation, internal debates over what constitutes virginity, and the Angelina Jolie Paradox for your other side.

There are some excellent instances of insight from Westerfeld, such as the concept of a budget “in the corner of the bar like a noisy ghost, sometimes laughing at her, sometimes shrieking and rattling its chains”  which creates a fantastic mental image, and succinctly explains the challenges of being limited by your funds when you just want to have fun with your friends.

The story within the story unfolds unlike any paranormal romance I’ve read. Lizzie’s traumatic experience in an airport is cinematic. I was engulfed in her story, picturing it effortlessly. The tale is much darker than I anticipated, having become accustomed to fluffy paranormal stories that Westerfeld himself pokes fun at in the framing narrative. I’m haunted by several images in her story. The frantic passengers pressed up against the locked gate, the tear gas lifting to reveal bodies, and the gnarled trees in the bad man’s yard- just to name a few. I would love to make a book trailer for this book, but I really don’t have the budget to do it justice- I can only picture it in my mind.

Ok back to my reading….. I’ll post my thoughts on the second half soon