LGBT YA Week - Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

This review is part of the LGBT Teen Novels Week, hosted here.
For more information about the week, head over here.

I read this book after reading the blurb, which specifies something in the book which you only discover a third through the story. I can't talk about this book without mentioning that something, so if you like starting a book without knowing anything about it - DO NOT read any further. I have loved this book with all my heart and I think it is a very beautiful story about acceptance, friendship and being yourself.

Summary from Amazon:
Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. But things start to look up when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Sage Hendricks befriends Logan at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. Sage has been homeschooled for a number of years and her parents have forbidden her to date anyone, but she won’t tell Logan why. One day, Logan acts on his growing feelings for Sage. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy. Enraged, frightened, and feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage and disowns her. But once Logan comes to terms with what happened, he reaches out to Sage in an attempt to understand her situation. But Logan has no idea how rocky the road back to friendship will be.


Wow. What a book! Reading Sage's story through Logan's eyes was a real emotional roller-coaster. I have only read one book about a transgender teen (Luna, by Julie Anne Peters) and from reading articles in the press, I knew it wasn't easy, but this book touches on so many subjects which transgender teens face every day that I think this book really is a must read. I loved it so much that I couldn't write anything about it for several days and I'm afraid I simply cannot give it justice.

Logan only has a year left in high school and then he can escape his small town trailer-life to build a future with his girlfriend of three years. The problem is, she cheats on him and he becomes a complete mess, unsure about his future. It's only when new girl Sage appears at school that he gets out of his hole. She is different from all the other girls and he can't help but be attracted to her. But Sage has been home-schooled for most of her teenage years and has very strict parents. There is also a secret she hides: Sage was born a boy. That's when their friendship really is put to the test.

Sage has realised that there was a difference between boys and girls when her sister was born. From then on, she has always acted as if she was a girl. Her parents, and her father in particular, tried to make her do "boy" things to make her change, as if she could. Years of self-hate, self-harm, suicide attempts and unhappiness follow, until she turns 18 and decides to go back to school for her last semester before graduating.

Despite the absence of his dad and his economic situation, Logan has had a happy life. He is conscious of the fact that he won't be able to go to a fantastic college and have a great job, but he doesn't let it make him feel down. He has only had one girlfriend and doesn't have a lot of experience with girls, but nothing could ever prepare him for Sage. 

Reading the story through Logan's eyes is one of the most interesting aspect of this book. He comes from a small town, he has never met an "actual gay" and feels that they're mostly perverse. He isn't a bad guy or anything, he is just influenced by his environment. A large part of the book is about Logan trying to understand Sage, but it's also about Sage learning from Logan. 

I felt the characters were brilliantly portrayed and full of flaws. Logan's reaction to Sage's secret is ugly, his prejudice and misconceptions are ugly too, but he tries. The very fact that we can see from Logan's point of view how hard it is to wrap one's head around this makes the story ring true. I did think that Sage is conveniently rich and independent enough to take illegal drugs which make her look truly feminine, but I guess the story wouldn't have worked otherwise.

There are many many themes presented in the book and I felt they were all sensitively done. Sage has to deal with the dichotomy between her outside and her inside, but also with what it means to be a woman now (lack of respect from men etc.). The book is beautifully written and the message is raw and powerful.

The last part of the book is really heart-breaking and I really loved where the story went. The author added some comments at the end which was really great to read.

This book is truly wonderful and an eye-opener in many respects. Read it.

LGBT YA Week - Guest Review of Beyond Evie by Rebecca Burton

This review is part of the LGBT Teen Novels Week, Hosted here.
For more information about the week, head over here.


Please welcome Lauren from I Was A Teenage Book Geek who will be reviewing Beyond Evie by Aussie writer Rebecca Burton.

Summary from Amazon:
Charlotte has a good life. She′s a gifted athlete and she loves hanging out with her friends. It's true, she doesn′t talk much about how she feels since her father′s death -- but that′s just Charlotte. That′s the way she is. Now there′s something else she doesn′t talk about, either. How can she tell anyone about what happened last year? How can she tell anyone about Evie?


Beyond Evie is not your everyday YA coming out story. It’s the bittersweet tale of sixteen-year-old Charlotte’s first love, as narrated to her first love, the eponymous Evie. By turns frank and wistful, it’s a little like reading a love letter intended for someone else. You, Evie, Charlotte repeatedly addresses her audience, drawing the reader into her confidence with an intimacy both powerful and, at times, even uncomfortable.

Narrator Charlotte doesn’t think of herself as a storyteller; she prefers science to literature, fact to fiction, and she’s not a talker by nature. She’s not used to sharing her secrets, and we soon learn that she’s only doing so now because she’s realised it’s too late. Whatever happened between her and Evie is already over. She never really told her how she felt about her, and telling the story now is her way of working through everything she’s kept bottled up inside for so long.

Evie, in contrast, is an elusive character. She’s wily and impulsive and rebellious.  She’s an enigma for narrator and reader to puzzle out together, but she’s no manic pixie dream girl – Charlotte’s far too pragmatic for that. There’s an ordinariness to her, and that adds to her authenticity somehow; she’s real, and that enhances the realness of Charlotte’s feelings. It’s impossible to read the story without believing, wholeheartedly, in Charlotte’s every word.

Beyond Evie is the work of an Australian author, and she brings a real sense of place to the story. Charlotte’s connection to the world around her comes to life in a way that’s irresistible to the reader; the laugh of the kookaburra, the scent of the eucalyptus trees. It’s vivid and evocative and beautiful.

Although this is the story of one girl’s attraction to another, it doesn’t fit neatly into the category of lesbian fiction. Charlotte’s focus is on distilling the truth of her first love, rather than questioning her sexual orientation or trying to put a label on herself. It’s about her own feelings, not other people’s reaction to them – about love at its purest. It’s a coming-of-age story, and one that will touch the hearts of those who might usually avoid LGBT ‘issues’ in their reading.

Intense and poignant, Beyond Evie is the kind of book that will stay with you long after the last page. If you’re looking to read off-the-beaten-track YA, don’t miss this one.


Thank you for this review, Lauren! I really like the idea that the book isn't about "being gay" but what Charlotte feels. I'll definitely read this one!

LGBT YA Week - Guest review: Becoming Nancy by Terry Ronald

This review is part of the LGBT Teen Novels Week, hosted here.
For more information about the week, head over here.

Please welcome Kirsty from The Overflowing Library 
for this guest review of the Adult/YA crossover novel
Becoming Nancy!

Summary from Amazon:
For David Starr, being cast as Nancy in the upcoming school production of Oliver! is quite a shock. But David is up to the challenge. Living in a three-bedroom semi in 1970s' working-class East Dulwich, surrounded by his somewhat colourful relatives, he is bright, smart-mouthed, fanatical about pop music and ready to shine. Rehearsals begin, and he strikes up a friendship with the handsome yet enigmatic Maxie Boswell, captain of the school football team. As their alliance deepens it appears they might become more than just good friends, but that can't be right, can it?
Discovering a confidant in empathetic teacher, Hamish McClarnon, and spurred on by his no-nonsense best friend, Frances Bassey, David takes on the school bully, the National Front, and anyone else who threatens to stand in the way of true love.
Vibrant, warm, and full of life, this uproarious and touching coming-of-age novel, set against the backdrop of South-East London in the thrill of the late seventies, will transport you straight back to your first music obsession and the highs and lows of your first love.


I must admit this isn't a book I normally would pick up. I read very little adult fiction but was pitched it for review saying it was very much a cross over novel and I agreed to give it a go and I'm so glad I did.

I thought David was a brilliant character. We met him as he has just about come clear in his mind about his own sexuality and follow him as he comes out to his friends an family. I though he was really warm and geniune and loved the relationships he had with the people around him.

I loved David's teacher/gay role model Hamish. I loved that in him David saw the man he could become ... one that was both comfortable with his sexuality but also quite happy to take on anyone that dared to give him grief about it or harrass others. You can certainly see his influence as David grows as a character and becomes more comfortable in his own skin.

I loved this historical setting (yes I know people would disagree and say it isn't historical yet but I studied the time period as part of my History degree so I'm going with it). I liked seeing the attitudes and ideas that were prevalent at the time especially when you consider it is set about the same time as the brixton race riots and only a few years after homosexuality was no longer considered a crime in the UK.

What I loved about this book is that is was very much a book with a story to tell - teenage boy in the 1970s who after coming out as gay has to deal with a huge amount of grief from other parties who treat him horribly because of their bigoted and homophobic view points which it does well. However it does it in such a brilliant way that it doesn't come across as odd or patronising. 

As a word of warning to my younger followers who are considering reading this. There is a lot of swearing in this book and there are scenes with sexual content which are quite graphic so maybe not one for younger teens / tweens.

To sum in in short it's like a gay, less irritating and wittier Adrian Mole. I throughly enjoyed it as a heart-felt coming of age story with a brilliant morale and story to tell set in a modern history backdrop. Brilliant.


Thanks Kirsty for this wonderful review!