[Review] I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe — probably not, but maybe — more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.

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[Review] Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “KING CITY” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.

Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.

Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “KING CITY”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures … if they can ever find it.

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[Book Recs] Summer Lovin’

Lately I’ve been in the mood for some beach reads — it seems like many of my friends are as well, so here are some of the summer romances, and summery contemporary books, I enjoyed or look forward to reading! (As a side note, many of these will be queer recs because that’s who I am as a person what I tend to read and love.)

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The LGBTQ+ Rep Book Tag

Apparently I somehow missed this Pride book tag in my search earlier this month, but luckily I was tagged by the creator, V @ The Sassy Library Fox! As always, I’m going to make things more challenging for myself — this time, by not repeating any of the books I used for my (original) Read the Rainbow tag.

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[Review] The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

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[Book Recs] Queer Retellings

With so many books with awesome LGBTQIA+ representation, I know my indecisiveness would make it impossible to make recommendation posts if I didn’t further narrow down the criteria. (Last year for Pride I shared some of my favorite books with Bisexual/ Pansexual Protagonists and with Demisexual/ Grayace Protagonists.)

Today I bring you six retellings with queer central characters, because I love a good retelling; in the hands of a talented author, it’s a brilliant opportunity to explore how different facets of the characters’ identity — i.e., sexual and/or romantic orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity — affect their beliefs, behavior, and the story they lead.

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[ORIGINAL] Read the Rainbow Tag

Happy Pride Month, friends! While planning this month’s posts I went looking for Pride-themed book tags and only found a couple, so today I’m bringing you an original set of prompts that I hope you’ll enjoy, regardless of whether you identify as LGBTQIA+ (including questioning, that’s completely valid) or are “just” an ally. 

This tag is based on the Progress Pride Flag (shown in the post header) and the meanings of different rose colors (as compiled from multiple sources), because why not?

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[Review] One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that.

But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane.

All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one — namely, displaced in time from the 1970s — she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

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