Finding Beta Readers: Some Advice

So as many of you know, I recently finished a book. It’s a book that can be accurately described as, “X-Men, but in a basement.” And because I wanted to know if it was good enough to publish, I started looking for beta readers. Since then, I’ve swapped manuscripts with two people and received three in-depth critiques so far, of which I am grateful for.

(Side note: I also sent out a manuscript to three other people, who have yet to even make a comment on the document. Which makes me wonder: did they not like the book? Or have they just not gotten around to finishing it? Either way, if you’re one of these people, and you still plan on critiquing said manuscript, please know that the document you’ve got is now out-of-date. I’ve already received three critiques, after all, and I’m already returning to the revision stage. If you’d like to read the updated version, let me know, but I should warn you, it may take a few weeks before you get it.)

So, yeah, I’m basically a professional beta reader now. Not a big deal.

And as someone who’s critiqued many people’s work in the past and has been critiqued several times myself, I’ve got some advice to share. This advice goes for people sharing entire manuscripts, or for those posting smaller bits of writing at places like Destructive Readers. Really, if you want anyone at all to read any piece of your writing, this advice is for you.)

1) For the love of God, proofread your work first.

Let me tell you about the first person I swapped critiques with. She sent me the document, and after reading the few paragraphs I thought to myself. “Oh dear. What have I got myself into?”

It wasn’t just that the story itself sucked. That would be understandable. The problem was the typos. So many typos. At least one in every paragraph, and she wrote short paragraphs. Now, I am no saint with typos, as my readers can attest, but had this person clicked the “spelling & grammar” option, at least half of these errors could’ve been fixed.

This guy knows how I felt

And the thing is, this writer did a great job critiquing my manuscript, so it wasn’t like she didn’t have have a proper grasp of the English language. Instead it seems like she busted out a first draft and sent it to me without a second glance.

Don’t do this. Don’t make your reader spend so much time fixing something you could easily fix yourself. Because now instead of focusing on the story, the characters, the world-building, etc., the reader’s going to get bogged down on the little details. Plus, it’s kind of rude. It’s like if you ordered something at a restaurant, and the chef came out and just threw all the individual ingredients at you.

(No, it’s not like that? Alright, I’ll work on my metaphors.)

2) Don’t get defensive.

This hasn’t happened to me personally, but I’ve seen other people on places like “Destructive Readers,” (or even worse: on actual Amazon reviews of a self-published book), where the author got defensive and lashed out at the negative reviewer. Don’t do this. No matter how misguided or mean-spirited you think the critique is, say thank-you and move on. Because critiquing is not a debate. You’re not going to change the readers’ mind by telling them they “just didn’t get it.” 

I get that writing is a personal experience for most, and it’s easy to take things personally. But I’ve critiqued a lot of really terrible, embarrassingly bad stories over the last year or so, and not once did I find myself judging the person who wrote it. Most people are able to separate the story from its author, and are not going to think less of you for writing a shitty book. (Unless the book is like, aggressively racist or whatever.) They will, however, think less of you for not being able to handle criticism.

3) Remember, you don’t actually have to follow anyone’s advice.

You should still follow point #2, of course, but that doesn’t mean you should listen to every little thing they have to say. Sure, if more than one person points something out, it’s almost definitely worth addressing, but there’s been times where I looked at a beta reader’s advice and thought, “nope!”

Because sometimes, beta readers are wrong. Sometimes they simply have different tastes or opinions that don’t match the audience you’re aiming for or the vision you have. And that’s okay. It doesn’t take any validity away from their other points, and it doesn’t make you an egotistical jerk for not listening to that one part of their critique.

And because I only wrote this post to rant about points one and two, here are a couple of minor bits of advice that I will elaborate very little on:

  • If you’re asking someone to critique your story, make sure to actually tell them what it’s about, and how long it is.
  • One person sent me a copy of her manuscript where it ended mid-sentence. And I emailed her and said, basically, “Is this a mistake, or are you trying to pull off a Sopranos, here?” Because if it were the latter, that would be a pretty ballsy move. Not even The Sopranos was able to pull off a Sopranos ending. She responded with, essentially, “oops, my bad. Here’s the real document,” and sent me a version of the manuscript that was slightly more polished, and came with an actual ending. And I was pissed because I just spent two weeks pushing myself through a typo-ridden manuscript only to find out I’d been given the rough draft by accident.
  • So, don’t do that last bullet-point.
  • (And yes. That person was the same writer from advice #1.)
  • Okay, enough giving you guys advice, I’m just gonna rant some more. How the hell do you accidentally send someone the older copy of your manuscript, and not realize it at all during the weeks he spent critiquing it? There’s carelessness, and then there’s that.
  • I wasted two weeks of my life, dammit.
  • Okay, more like around fifteen hours or so of total work put in, but still.
  • Excuse me while I go chop down a tree.

Wow, so this post quickly veered off track. I’d like to end this post by saying good luck to all you writers out there, and I’d like to say thank you to those who critiqued my manuscript. You’re the best.

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Young Adult Tropes I’m Actually Okay With

People like to bash on the YA genre, and for good reason. I mean, have you read Twilight? I haven’t, but I heard it’s awful.

There’s been a lot of criticisms of the genre that I agree with — the overemphasis on love triangles, the dark and brooding love interests, the Chosen One prophesies — but there are a couple common complaints that I can’t help but feel aren’t actually bad ideas. Such as:

Image result for why you little

1) The Bad/Absentee Parents Trope

“Why can’t we have good, normal, loving parents for once?” people say. “Parents who aren’t dead or abusive or mysteriously disappeared?”

To which I respond: “Now how is that interesting?”

When Harry Potter was battling dementors in The Order of Phoenix, not once did I think to myself, “Man, I really wish his parents were here to sort this all out for him.” Not once throughout Eleanor and Park did I think, “this would be so much more exciting if Eleanor’s stepdad was not an abusive, misogynist jerk.” And yes, I am simplifying the argument for the sake of comedy, but hear me out:

I don’t want to read about normal parents, especially in a fantasy/sci-fi novel. I mean, have you met most parents? They nag. They worry. When I tell them I’m going out in the middle of the night to investigate the nearby haunted house where that one girl was found murdered by a mysterious unnamed entity, they’re never okay with it. Whenever I read a story with normal parents, I always find those scenes — you know, the scenes where’s there’s that inevitable conflict between the parents’ concerns and what the main character knows is right — to be such a drag on the story. I just want to skip over it and get to the good stuff.

And there’s a reason this trope is so popular to begin with. Teenagers don’t like their parents. Sure, they love them, but only because they have to, and they certainly don’t want to spend more time with them than absolutely necessary. (Note: cases may vary.) And whether wrongly or not, by the time a kid gets into their teen years, they start to see their parents more as obstacles to get around, rather than the larger-than-life role models they used to be. When I was a young, angsty fifteen year old, (as opposed to the strong, knowledgeable eighteen year old I am now), I identified with stories where the parents were antagonists, because that’s how I saw myself.

2) Insta-Love

“Sup girl,” said Devin Devinsky, sitting on his totally bitchin’ leather motorcycle. “Wanna make out?”
Lisa felt a flutter in her chest. Was this love?

I used to hate this trope, but then it happened to me in real life, so now I’m more forgiving. The heart wants what it wants, people, and sometimes it wants a douchey guy on a motorcycle.

The key, in my humble-as-fuck opinion, is that the Insta-Love has to be forbidden in some way or another. Like if one of them is engaged to someone else, of if it’s an LGBT relationship in a non-LGBT+ friendly environment, or why not both?

Lisa was engaged to that douchey guy on the motorcycle when she met Ruth, a douchey girl on a motorcycle. “Sup,” said Ruth.

Lisa felt a flutter in her chest. Was this love? But … she had never felt that way about a girl before, and yet this was stronger and more passionate than anything she had felt for her fiance. But her wedding was next month! Did I mention this takes place in the 1950s? Plus she had a bomb strapped to her chest that would explode if she left Devin, so that’s another source of conflict right there.

I’d read this story. Presumably it ends with Lisa and Ruth shooting their way out of a courthouse and stabbing Devin Devinsky with the American flag, like this. (Just replace Mel Gibson with Lisa and Homer with Ruth, and it’ll be a perfect representation of how I imagine this story to end.)

3) School is Seemingly Nonexistent.

I feel like every time there’s a YA book set during the school year, people complain that none of the main characters ever have to study or deal with homework. This complaint has never resonated with me, for a few reasons:

First off, this complaint always seems to be made by straight A students, students who take AP classes and actually open the textbooks to study. And good for them and all, but this does not represent the majority of students, or at least those in the U.S. public school system. You know how many times I studied in high school for more than twenty minutes, outside of finals? Literally not once, and I was one of the good students. I was taking the hard classes. The normal students taking the normal classes always seemed to have free time, and they never seemed to be doing any work outside of school. And when I think back to my high school years, I rarely think about all the assignments I had to do, because those aren’t interesting. One of the big rules of writing is to skip the boring stuff, and Rosey Evergreen’s trigonometry homework is included in that category.

And secondly, if my love interest died in a car accident, or if I discovered I was the chosen one in a world that I never knew existed, I would immediately stop caring about high school. Compared to fighting the Dark Lord, or stopping a vampire from killing all your friends, or any of the other crazy plots from so many YA novels, high school does not matter

(But seriously, stay in school, kids.)


And that’s all for me. I could only think of three things, because my noggin’s been a bit wobbly as of late. If you agree, feel free to comment below, and if you disagree: get lost, you filthy commie!

But for real, comment below. I’d appreciate it.

Ten Books I Plan to Read in 2017

My last post like this was all the way back in 2015, and it’s funny because I still haven’t read most of those books. But this year will be different, I say, for the fourth year in a row.

Image result for the winds of winter

1) The Winds of Winter, by George R. R. Martin.

That’s right, I’m calling it. This book will be published this year. I know I said this last year and the the year before that, but I mean it this time. I mean, he has to finish it eventually, right?

Right?

Image result for perks of being a wallflower
What a boring cover

2) Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

I pick this book because it’s short, it’s supposed to be great, as well as an easy read. That’s what I love about YA books: they’re all quick to read, even when they’re bad. Plus, Emma Watson was in the movie adaptation, and come to think of it, I haven’t seen her act in anything since Harry Potter, so I hope to watch it after finishing this. 

Image result for extremely loud and incredibly close3) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathon Safran Foer

I remember seeing the trailer to this movie and thinking, “I don’t know what this is about, but I like it.” I never got to see to see the movie, but I heard the reviews for both it and the book were very divisive. It was either the most beautiful, heartwarming novel you’ve ever read, or a three hundred page piece of trash that belongs in the depths of hell.

I will get to decide which it is.

Image result for the kite runner

4) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Fun fact, I actually read the first fifty pages or so, and found it fascinating. Sure, the main character was kind of a jerk to his friend, but I assume he’ll grow out of that. Plus I really want to learn more about the history of the middle east. The gist of what I know is this: Afghanistan got fucked over real bad in the 1970s, and I’m pretty sure the Russians were responsible, because the Russians are sort of awful like that. Although I’m sure the U.S. was also at fault in one way or another, because at one point in the novel Henry Kissinger was mentioned, and that guy’s famous for being a bit of a war criminal. Either way, I doubt this book has a happy ending.

Image result for the road book

5) The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

I also read about 80 pages into this book, and I loved every moment of it. Although I do find it kind of arrogant of the author to just ignore the rules of punctuation. “Pff, I don’t need commas or quotation marks,” I can imagine him thinking. “My story is just that powerful.

Image result for doctor sleep

6) Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

I know, I know. It’s been over three years and I still haven’t read this book. However, I recently started getting back into King’s Dark Tower series, after putting it aside for a long time, so I think I’m ready to go back into his work. 

Image result for The price of salt

7) The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith

It’s a romance novel about two lesbians in the fifties, which was recommended to me by Engie from Musings from Neville’s Navel. While I wasn’t a fan of The Maze Runner, I do tend to love most of the books she recommends me. Like A Game of Thrones, or Between the World and Me, or The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Or V for Vendetta.

So intend to get around to reading this book, and the pages will be soaked with my heart-shaped tears.

Image result for life the universe and everything

8) Life, the Universe, and Everything, by Douglas Adams

This is the third book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and if it’s half as funny as the first two, I will be in for a good time. 

Seriously, though. You know how rare it is for me to laugh out loud when reading a book? Usually I just smile, or exhale out of my nose, but Adams sends me into fits. And then I find myself thinking about scenes from the books months afterwards and I crack up again, and then I have to explain to people why I just started laughing for seemingly no reason.

Image result for i am legend book

9) I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson.

I remember seeing the Will Smith movie adaptation for this, and thinking, “meh, seven out of ten.” But apparently the book is completely different? Also, the book is currently sitting on a shelf in my basement, and no one knows how it got there, which adds quite a bit to its mystique.

10) Maggie Stiefvater’s new book, whatever it is.

Stiefvater’s become one of those authors whose books I would immediately buy the moment they were released. Other authors include John Green, Markus Zusak, George R. R. Martin, and Suzanne Collins. If any of them publish a new book this year, I guarantee I’ll be buying it, no matter what the circumstances.


So what are you planning to read this year? And if you’ve read any of the novels above, feel free to share your (non-spoilery) thoughts. Oh, and Happy New Year!

In Which I Sorta Kinda Need Glasses?

Are glasses really this effective?

Fun fact: I found out my grade for AP Calculus today and well, uh, it’s not that great. Pretty terrible actually. In fact I think it’s the worst grade I’ve ever gotten in anything in my life, which is saying something since in seventh grade, I accidentally skipped a bubble on a multiple choice test, and every single answer after that question came out wrong as a result.

I can only imagine how the conversation’s gonna go when my parents find out about it. Based on past occurrences, it should start off with shock and anger on their part.

“A [grade removed]?! How the hell did you get a [grade removed]!” they ask. I’ll probably respond with a shrug, which gives off the impression that I don’t care about my grades, which isn’t the best impression to give off in such a situation. 

Then after a little bit they’ll just be concerned, and they’ll likely go ahead and assume that something is horribly wrong.

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you doing drugs?”

“Yeah, but that’s not really the main issue right now.”

“Then what is the problem?”

I pause for dramatic effect. Max Richter’s Afterimage 1 plays in the background. The camera zooms in on my face as I burst into tears. “I need glasses!”

Everyone gasps. My mother collapses from the shock and my father’s face grows red with anger. The pet dog quietly leaves the scene. “Don’t you know?” my father says, “That the Black family has prided itself, for countless generations, on our perfect vision?”

“But dad—“

“You are no son of mine. Get out of my house, you freak.”

Perhaps getting bit by a radioactive spider will solve this problem.

Okay, so I don’t think the conversation will actually go like this, but it is true that I really do need to see an eye doctor or something. For the most part, I could see fine, but it’s starting to become a handicap in the classroom. This became an undeniable fact just a few days ago, when I tried and failed to take notes in class.

I was near the back of the classroom, squinting at the board, trying to decode the small, horrific handwriting of my Calculus teacher. Is she writing in hieroglyphics? I found myself wondering. I could’ve sworn I saw the illuminati symbol in there, and that troubles me.

Eventually I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Fine. I’ll switch seats.”

So I moved to the only other seat available, only one row in front of me. This did not help much. And all the time I could’ve spent listening to what the teacher was saying, I instead spent trying to figure what the hell she’d written down. 

I asked around if anyone else had the same problem, but nope, everyone else can read her handwriting just fine. 

And while my family doesn’t actually have perfect vision (I think everyone over thirty has glasses) I myself have always been proud of my eyesight. I used to pass those doctor eye tests with ease. “Good job, Matt,” the Doctor used to say. The subtext being, “because you have superior eyesight, that means you are also a superior person.”

(I think I may have been the only one who picked up on that subtext.)

Oh well. I guess it’s all downhill after this. I know that as you get older, your senses slowly start to go, but I was hoping I’d first lose one of the lamer senses, like the ability to feel pain. That would actually be pretty cool. I would never lose a single game of bloody knuckles.

Is there a point to this post, you ask?

Yes. The point is that no one in the history of the universe has ever felt the pain I’m feeling right now, and you should all send me pity flowers in the mail. Also, if you happen to own the world’s smallest violin, now would be a good time to whip it out and start playing.

___

So for those of you who currently own a pair of glasses, what’s it like? How helpful are they? If I got contacts, what’s the likelihood of me accidentally stabbing myself in the eye? (I have no idea how contacts work.) 

I kind of want to run George R. R. Martin over with my car.

So I don’t usually do the daily prompt, but yesterday’s prompt looked like a nice little goldmine of possible humor, so I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. The prompt is:

Kick It

What’s the 11th item on your bucket list?

 

Of course, in order for my eleventh item to gain any significance, I should probably tell you my first ten, which are the following:

1) To save someone’s life

2) To take someone’s life. (Preferably Jeb Bush, but I’ll settle for his loved ones.)

3) To get thrown in jail for a joke I made on the Internet. (#2 should get this done.)

4) To get a book published.

5) To somehow join the cast of Orange is New Black.

6) To work a night shift as a paramedic. (I have no idea why, but this really appeals to me.)

7) To become old and overweight enough so that I could get a job as Santa Clause at the mall.

8) To Kill a Mockingbird.

9) To become fluent in another language. (Could it be dothraki? I wanna learn dothraki.)

10) To sign up for sky-diving, only to back out at the last moment. 

And number eleven is . . .

. . .

. . .

To meet one of my favorite authors in real life. 

Ha! Didn’t see that coming, did ya? Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met a famous author in real life. Well, maybe I did and I just didn’t recognize them at the time. I’m reasonably sure that both John Green and Stephen King were within thirty miles of my house at one point, because 1) Stephen King totally name-dropped my hometown in one of his short stories, and 2) A major plot point of John Green’s Paper Towns has to do with the sort-of town of Agloe, New York, which (fun fact!) is also sort of close to where I live.

Unfortunately, both of these stories were written before I became a fan of their work, so if I had bumped into them at one point while their doing research, I don’t think I would’ve known. 

That being said, if I had to pick the author I’d most want to meet, it would be either Maggie Stiefvater or George R. R. Martin. For completely different reasons.

I want to meet Maggie because there’s a whole bunch of questions I’m dying to ask her, mainly:

  1. “The check engine light in my car is back on, and I just got it back from the repair shop yesterday. What’s up with that?”
  2. “Also, my car makes squeaking sounds whenever it’s really cold out. Is that normal?” And:
  3. “How do you pronounce your last name?”
You can’t deny Martin’s sense of fashion.

If I ever met up with George R. R. Martin, I’m not sure what I’d say. I’d ask him about his books, although somehow I don’t think he’d want to talk about it, considering that rather unfortunate case of writer’s block he’s had on and off for the last, oh, fifteen years or so. (The poor guy.)

Instead I’d ask him, “Hey, would you mind if I ran you over with my car? Because Stephen King had a similar problem as you with his Dark Tower series. I don’t know what exactly was his issue with that story, but it was only until after he was hit by a car that he started to write them at a fast pace.”

He’d probably say no, or maybe he’s become so desperate at this point that he’d actually consider it. Either way, I’m running that fucker over. I’ll slam on my gas pedal so hard he won’t even see me coming. Hopefully I’ll get to meet Maggie before I meet him, so she could give me advice on how do this with the least likelihood of killing the guy. 

Please don’t judge me. I love Martin’s books. I’ll just do whatever it takes to get more of them. 

In Which an Idea I Made in Jest Becomes Surprisingly Serious

So a few months ago, I wrote a post in which i briefly mentioned hearing the ice cream man outside at two o’clock in the morning, and mentioned how that would make a really good horror story. People commented agreeing with me, and suddenly an idea for a story formed in my head, a story about someone (or something, eh?) who uses the ice cream truck in the middle of the night to lure kids outside without their parents knowing.

Then I did some research about the ice cream man, and oh boy, did I realize that this was the story I was meant to tell.

I wrote the prologue, which involved an abused, disfigured boy being kidnapped by an ice cream man with no eyes (you know, just normal prologue stuff), and then had to resist the urge to keep writing, because I’m working on another WIP, and I know that when I try to work on two projects, things never work out well. I usually just go back and forth, making ridiculously slow progress with both of them.

So I worked on my original WIP, and kept working on it, but that nagging voice at the back of my head kept saying, “Hey. Hey, Matt. You should work on that other story. You know, the one about the evil ice cream man?”

“No,” I said to the voice. “I know from many past experiences that that would only end badly.”

“But but but, ice cream!” said the voice. “You have all these great ideas. You can even use that drive-thru shooting scene that you tried to work into your other WIP but couldn’t because it didn’t fit.”

(The drive-thru shooting scene is an idea I came up with on one of those slow days working the McDonald’s drive-thru. Basically, I realized just how easy it would be for someone to go through the drive-thru and shoot me in the face as I handed them their food. They could just drive away, maybe wipe the blood off their car, and switch the license plate around and no one would ever know who it was. Except me, of course, but I’d be dead. I realized afterward that this would make an amazing surprise death scene.)

“Okay, fine!” I said. “I’ll focus on the other story,” and that was that.

So I titled the story, “I Scream for Ice Cream,” because of course I did, and I’ve been making decent progress with it ever since. It helps that halloween’s right around the corner, which should help get me in the spooky mood. 

What is this story about, you ask? 

Well, the story centers around a teenage girl, her best friend, and her best friend’s drug dealer, as each of them are stalked by an evil creature who drives an ice cream truck, who may or may not be human. (Haven’t decided that yet. I’m going to do the Stephen King approach and just sort of wing it.) 

I may end up publishing this as one of those interactive blog stories, but I won’t do it until I’m completely finished. 

Some other facts about this story:

  • The story takes place in a town called Simmer Lake, and much like Long Island, the town has an evil, intangible presence within it.
  • The ice cream man has bizarre looking eyes. “His eyes were all pupil — two black ovals above his nose, watching nothing and everything at once.”
  • George Clooney will make a cameo appearance.
  • He won’t, actually. 
  • If it does become a weekly published-on-my-blog sort of story, I am totally naming the characters after my followers, so you could all hate on me when I kill you off.
  • That last point could get really weird if I end up writing a sex scene.
  • I’m probably not going to include any sexual content, though, so all is okay. Although one of the characters may be tempted. *winkity wink*

Well, that’s all I have to say about that. If anyone would like to have a character named after them, please let me know. I’ve already named a character after one of you, by the way. (I just felt like the name fit the character well, in that instance.) 

The Rainbow Book Tag

So I’ve recently been tagged in Nevillegirl’s post, “The Rainbow Book Tag,” (Hey look, we both used the same title!) and I was very excited to do it. The subject is LGBTQ+ YA books, a topic I’m not too savvy about, but I’m going to write about it anyway because I don’t think I’ve ever had. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve never written an LGBTQ+ related post on this blog. If someone were to only gain all their knowledge from this blog and this blog only, they’d probably think a homosexual was some sort of exotic fruit, or something.

look at all these homosexuals

But that’s not right. LGTBQ+ rights is an important issue, one that I have very strong investment in, so I should probably mention the subject every once in a while. Hence, this post:

RED
The color of passion and desire

If you could own only one LGBTQ+ YA story for the rest of your life, which book would you choose and why? What makes you desire that particular book so much that you just have to have it on your shelf – characters, plot, author, cover, et cetera?

Well this one’s obvious. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth, and not just because it’s one of the few LGTBQ+ YA books I’ve read.

If I had to pick my top ten books of all time, this one would be on it, somewhere. And if I had to make a list of top ten books everyone should read, no matter who they are or where they live, this book would be number one. Because the world would be a much better place if that happened.

ORANGE
The color of creativity

If you were to create your perfect LGBTQ+ YA book in your mind, what would it look like? Romance? Non-romance? Fantasy? Sci fi? Contemporary? Historical fiction? Some other genre/genre mix? Novel? Short story? What about the characters – lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, queer, questioning, asexual? Who would you want to write this novel? Would it have a happy or sad ending? Where would it be set? Is it a series or a standalone?

It would be an urban fantasy/thriller written by Maggie Stiefvater. The main character is a lesbian drag car racer with a sentient car. I say this because according this one post I read months ago on Stiefvater’s’ tumblr, she’s apparently planning to write a book featuring a female drag racer of some sort, so if anyone were to write this book, she’d be the best one for the job.

YELLOW
The color of sunshine and sand

Let’s talk beach books! Imagine you are going to the beach with a friend, who is looking for some YA LGBTQ+ books to read there. Which book(s) would you recommend?

Does The Dream Thieves count as an LGTBQ+ book? I hope so, because I’m picking it. It takes place during the summer, it’s a quick read and it’s surprisingly violent, compared to the books preceding it. (Oh yeah, forgot to mention. This is the second book in a four part series, “The Raven Cycle.” It’s one of those rare book series where each book is more gripping than the last.

GREEN
The color of money

If you could get any five YA LGBTQ+ books for free,
which five would you choose?

Well, the first would be Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli, because I’ve heard good things about it, and the synopsis is lit.*

The second would be The Miseducation of Cameron Post, because I’d like to read that again.

Then there’s Cinder, by Marissa Meyer, because who could say no to a retelling of Cinderella that features Cyborgs?

[Edit: I’ve been informed via helpful commenters that Cinder doesn’t actually have any LGTBQ+ themes, and that I had mistaken it for Ash, by Malindo Lo. Twas an honest mistake, I swear!]

Four would be Fans of the Impossible Life, by Kate Scelsa: “the story of a girl, her gay best friend, and the boy in love with both of them.” Well that can’t possibly end well. I’m intrigued.

And the last would be The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. I have no idea what its about, but I recognize the author’s name and it’s tagged under LGBTQ+ on Goodreads. So Oscar Wilde wrote a book featuring homosexuality in the slightly homophobic nineteenth century?  That’s pretty ballsy, I gotta say.

Indigo
The color of intuition

An LGBTQ+ YA book that you haven’t had the chance to read (yet) but have a really good feeling about.

Uh. . . Cinder, probably, because I haven’t heard a bad thing about it yet.

VIOLET
The color of dreams

You are hosting a tea party and can invite one LGBTQ+ YA author, two LGBTQ+ YA characters, and three non-LGBTQ+ characters (from any YA book) to any restaurant/place – real or fictional – you like. Who would you invite? Where would your party take place?

I’d pick Loras Tyrell from ASOIAF and Ronan Lynch from The Dream Thieves as my two LGBTQ+ characters, if only because I have literally no idea what would happen if they found themselves in the same room together. I can see their first meeting being either a) a complete disaster or b) the start of something wonderful.

For the straight characters, I’d pick Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, and Jon Snow, if only because I want at least three of the Starks to reunite at some point and I’m beginning to lose hope of that ever happening. It’ll be a tearjerker, I’m sure.

As for the LGBTQ+ YA author, I’d choose Emily M. Danforth, so I can ask her some questions I have about what happens to Cam after that final chapter of TMoCP. I need to know!

And, that’s all for today! Feel free to do your own post with this tag, if you want. Or you could answer the questions in the comments below. Or you could go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather, unless of course you live in a place whether the weather isn’t so great right now, but based off the map on my stats page, I’d say there’s a good chance you don’t. That’s right, I did my research.

*I’m using the tem “lit” now. Get used to it.