Mini Reviews #3: BRING ON THE GAY

by - 4:03 PM

AKA: Ellie can't get her crap together enough to write full-on reviews for any of these books, so you get shortened versions of a bunch of reviews.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

4/5 high-functioning sociopaths


It had the perfect balance of drama, humor, and fluff, and Simon is such a fantastic narrator.  PLUS. DRUNK SIMON. I'M CRYING.

Also, this is a minor thing, but I really loved it - Simon is neither the darling of the drama department nor the lead in the school play; he plays a background character and still super passionate about acting. It's the first contemporary I've seen where the MC isn't a child prodigy in their chosen hobby OR someone who starts out not being good, but works really hard and manages to crush everyone regardless. I personally enjoy acting, although I don't have near the experience of most people and so will likely never get a lead role. Simon was so refreshingly relatable in that he's confident in his enjoyment of a hobby even if he isn't the best at it, which is something I kind of needed when I read it.

Although I admit I shipped Simon less and less with Blue as we started narrowing down who he was - I still shipped him with the guy Blue turned out to be, but much less than the two alternatives that were considered throughout the book - this was a sweet yet exciting read with an amazing narrator. *shoves a copy in your hands* READ.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

4/5 nerdy kittens

I know I've already talked extensively about this book, but -

This. Freaking. Book.

This is the most realistic contemporary I can ever remember reading - it shows with brutal honesty how freaking hard it is to not fit in, to not feel like you belong in the world. It shows how depression isn't just "feeling sad". It shows how those with mental illness need people to care about and take the time to try to help them rather than ostracizing them. It's one of the few books I've ever read that depicts a story I seriously feel could happen to myself or someone I love.

This needs to be a required read for everyone working in teenage education and every teenager in the education system.

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

4/5 baby dragons

I'll admit, this book and I didn't like each other at first. The writing was choppy, and there were awkwardly large + unnecessary amounts of description. But a few chapters in, I fell in love.

I don't know if I got used to the writing style or it improved or what happened, but suddenly I was totally engaged and on the edge of my seat at every turn. I fell in love with the characters, especially Khalid and Rahim (TARIQ AND RAHIM, I SHIP IT SO FREAKING HARD). The theme of the story - that oftentimes, the people on the other side of the argument aren't horrible villains, they're average people just like us - also really resonated with me. I'm quite excited for the next book :)


Let's chat! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What have been your most recent reads? Comment below, and remember that you are all very beautiful pickles <3



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  1. "bring on the gay" ellie im dead okay. that title literally reminded me of some girl in my science class who's gay so yeah. xD

    and well i guess i'm going to pick up those books later, as for books are my best friend now so yeah.


  2. High functioning sociopaths, nerdy kittens, and baby dragons are absolutely the best possible way to rate books. Speaking of the books, I haven't read any of them...but I love that Simon is super relatable. And I think I am now literally the only person who hasn't read the Wrath and the Dawn. It's been on my TBR for ages but...anyway, I'm totally adding Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock because that sounds INTENSE. Although I do have to admit that I AM a little tired of people with depression being depicted as violent and murderous... Awesome reviews, Ellie!

    1. Ahhhh thank! NO WORRIES, THERE ARE PLENTY OF POPULAR BOOKS I HAVEN'T READ. Like Percy Jackson. What is this Half-Blood summer camp thing? Don't ask me.
      I hope you enjoy it!

      - Ellie

  3. I love these mini reviews! And I loved Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I'm happy that you liked it too ♥
    Amy xx

    Little Moon Dragon


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