lgbt books

Book Playlist for How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Hey, galaxy travelers! Today I’m here with another book playlist for you guys and it’s one for the amazing book How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake. If you guys didn’t know this already, I’m in love with How to Make a Wish and if you want to you can read my review here. The story about Eva and Grace is one that will pull you and it will make you feel a wide range of emotions from beginning to end. If you want to listen to my interpretation of How to Make a Wish you can do so through my playlist.

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The playlist only has 10 songs and I worked really hard on finding the perfect ones (I redid this playlist about two times just to get it right). I really hope you’ll like the songs I chose. I tried to make the playlist take you on the same journey as the book does. I hope this playlist will give you similar feelings as the book did. If you haven’t read How to Make a Wish yet, you can add the book on Goodreads and buy the book on Amazon and Book Depository.  You can listen to my playlist down below or on Spotify and YouTube.

Will you be listening to the playlist? Have you read How to Make a Wish yet? What did you think of it?

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{THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN} Havamal’s Guide to the Northern Point for the Undersea Tourist

THE SEAFARER’S KISS COUNTDOWN: One Day Left – Guest Post by Author Julia Ember

Hi galaxy travelers, and welcome to the last day of my The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember Countdown. Today I have the most exciting thing for you, a guest post written by Julia Ember (the author of The Seafarer’s Kiss). The post is a guide for everything undersea tourists might need to know about the Northern Point, home to Ersel, Havamal and the other mermaids and mermen in The Seafarer’s Kiss. Havamal will be your guide so for all of you sea creatures out there, down below is Havamal’s Guide to the Northern Point for the Undersea Tourist.


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Welcome! As many of you know, due to a change in regime, we at Northern Point have recently become more accessible to other merclan travellers. My name is Havamal. I have lived in this glacier all my life and served as a King’s Guard, so it will be my pleasure to take you on this tour. To prepare you for your arrival, I’ve put together a brief guide:

(1) Food

At the North Point, your meal options will consist of several species of locally caught fish, crustaceans, ice algae and occasionally seabirds. We also use kelp for flavouring. North point is especially known for our delicious arctic cod and silverfin tuna.

We hunt as a group, using pearl-head spears and nets woven from kelp. All meals are eaten in the glacier’s central dining hall, located at the heart of the ice fortress.

Guests are encouraged to join the clan on hunts, but please be aware that any killing of mammals such as seals or whales is strictly prohibited. We have advanced communication which allows us to make trade deals and war agreements with the whales. They are friends not food!

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(2) Places to See

Beluga Bay

Part of an estuary where fresh water from the land flows into the sea, the Beluga Bay is home to several pods. The whales make their home here because the fresh water is warmer, leading to thinner ice on this part of the ice-shelf, and more abundant breathing holes. They are very friendly towards both merpeople and humans.

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Drowned Seafarer’s Wreck

With the number of icebergs we have near the North Point, there are an abundance of ships decorating our seabed. But the most impressive wreck is located almost directly underneath the merclan fortress. This titan was once a proud warship, rather than one of the small whaling vessels we commonly see. It has multiple rooms and chambers, all more or less untouched since it sank over a decade ago. When I was a young merman, this was one of my favourite places to explore.

Be careful though, lots of merpeople talk of hearing screams coming from the depths. We think it may be haunted.

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(3) Precautions

Ice Bears

In the water, most healthy merpeople can easily outswim and outmaneuver the ice bears. However, all of us must visit the surface to recharge our heating scales with sunlight. During your time on land, you must be exceptionally careful. These bears will wait beside beluga surfacing holes as well, hoping to snatch the unsuspecting from the water. While on land, we are especially vulnerable as we cannot quickly get back into the sea.

Should you encounter a polar bear while on the ice shelf, the best thing to do is heat your scales to as high a temperature as you can tolerate. Then, hit the bear with your tail. This will not kill the bear, but may incapacitate it long enough for you to reach the ocean.

Orcas

We have a tenuous alliance with the local orca pods. However, peace has not always been maintained. Sometimes, juvenile whales can become aggressive and violate the treaties. Their elders will usually bring them back into line quickly, but one should always approach these predators with respect and caution.

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What did you guys think of Havamal’s Tourist Guide of the Northern Point? Does it make you more excited to read The Seafarer’s Kiss? If you haven’t pre-ordered The Seafarer’s Kiss yet you can do so here:

You can pre-order The Seafarer’s Kiss on Amazon, The Book Depository or on Duet Books’ website. Add the book on Goodreads here.

About the Author

Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.

Connect with author Julia Ember at Julia-Ember.com, on Twitter @jules_chronicle, and on Facebook at facebook.com/juliaemberwrites.

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ARC Review of How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

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downloadHow to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Publication Date: May 2, 2017.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.

Genres: Young Adult, LGBT, and Contemporary.

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Selling points: Bisexual representation, explores different kinds of grief and has an interracial relationship.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

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Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, for my eARC of How to Make a Wish. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Trigger warning for parental neglect and emotional abuse, as well as implied sexual assault (one of the characters implies they were inappropriately touched at a bar, but the scene is not on the page).

How to Make a Wish surprised me, and had a lot of the aspects I want and crave in an excellent book. All of my friends who read this book early swore it was amazing and How to Make a Wish really delivered, and then some. This book has complex and fully fleshed characters that you will instantly fall in love with. I laughed, I cried (more like bawled like a baby) and was filled with utter joy because of this book, because of Grace’s bravery and Eva’s strength, and their shared love for each other. This book really is something special and I would recommend it to everyone who loves a young adult book that doesn’t shield away from the sad and messy parts of life, the beauty that exists between all of it and the complexity of loving someone and still knowing they’re not treating you right.

What really makes you fall in love with How to Make a Wish is the characters. We have the protagonist of the story, bisexual Grace Glasser, and her relationship with her mother, a mother who is reckless and acts like a child, making Grace the adult in the relationship. It was truly heartbreaking to see Grace deal with her mother, constantly being crushed by her expectations for things being better this time. Grace dreams of becoming a pianist, but even that dream seems impossible when her mother is completely dependent on Grace. However, there is also Luca, Grace’s best friend, and his mother and their support and love for Grace is endless and beautiful. Grace is basically a part of Luca’s family. Luca knows Grace likes no one else and he loves her so much, despite their ups and downs. Their friendship was one of my favorite parts of the book.

“But it was so easy. Up there, I didn’t belong to a messed-up mother. She wasn’t the grieving daughter. We were just Grace and Eva.”

Then we have Eva, biracial, gay and the love interest of the story, who moved to live with Luca’s family after her mother died unexpectedly. Eva had a hard time dealing with life without her mother, in a new place where nothing is the same, not even her love for ballet. I fell in love with Eva immediately, she is sarcastic and strong, and a character I think many will feel for. When Grace and Eva meet, there was an instant connection. Two lonely, motherless girls found comfort in spending summer nights together at the top of a lighthouse and before they knew it, it became something so much more than just two girls finding contentment in each other. I love Grace and Eva’s relationship because it’s so soft and tender, which is something I really miss in f/f relationships. There is something so incredibly heartwarming about the connection Eva and Grace has and I love how this book shows us the insecurities and complexities that exist with it.

“Then her whole hand slides across my whole hand, and our fingers are all mixed up, pale and dark, lavender on dark purple, wrapped over and around. The tree creaks ominously, but I don’t care. I forget about everything that came before this – every [pissed off] and jealous emotion I had from earlier tonight, gone.”

You can’t discuss How to Make a Wish without mentioning the writing. Blake truly draws you in with her use of words and imagery, and the voice of Grace is one that makes it impossible to put the book down. There are funny and sarcastic moments, sad and heartbreaking scenes, and everything in between, and Blake delivers in her execution. How to Make a Wish has amazing bisexual representation and a masturbation scene that needs to be celebrated since they are so rarely featured in YA books.

All in all, How to Make a Wish is a book you need to put on your radar this spring and summer. This book is so beautiful it hurts. You will fall in love with Grace, Eva, and Luca and see their struggles, their happy moments, and most importantly of all, their happy endings despite life not being easy or fair. This story is about grief, freedom and the complexity of love. How to Make a Wish is a magical mess of beauty, sadness, love, dreams and wishes and a book that deserves all of the praise in the world.

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Happy Release Day To The Paths We Choose (feat. Author’s Dream Cast)!

Happy Release Day to The Paths We Choose by Maria Hollis!

We have reached the end of this release week and this amazing and enchanting book about Lily and Mayte is finally out. To celebrate this amazing day with you guys I have Maria Hollis’ dream cast of the characters in her book. They are just amazing, and you have to check them out below. You can add The Paths We Choose on Goodreads here and buy it on Amazon here.

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First of all, we have the protagonist of The Paths We Choose, Lidiane “Lily” Monteiro Ferrari who is portrayed by Bárbara Ferreira. She is determined, organized and somewhat rude but loves her friends, her chosen family, more than anything. In The Paths We Choose you will see what happens after Lily and Mayte have a one-night stand at a party at Mayte and Chris’ shared apartment.

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Next up we have the love interest of the story, Mayte Eliza González who is Chris’ roommate (Chris is one of Lily’s close friends) and the fancast for her is Kristina Elise. Mayte is kind and cares deeply for others. She has an architect degree and loves to create art. She is moving to Florida to do her masters, which is why Lily and Mayte keep things very casual between them after their one-night stand.

Continue Reading ➞

{The Paths We Choose Release Week} Interview with Author Maria Hollis

The Paths We Choose Release Week: Day Four – Interview with Maria Hollis

Hi everyone, there’s only one day left now until The Paths We Choose is out and free in the world. To celebrate this I have an interview with the author Maria Hollis as a part of the blog tour for her book. Check out the other blog posts for the tour here. I seriously love her answers to my questions and hope you will too. Exciting things are coming so I hope you’re ready. Now don’t forget to pre-order the book on Amazon here and to add it on Goodreads. To see my earlier posts for my The Paths We Choose Release Week feature, go here.

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1. What was your favorite part about writing The Paths We Choose?

So many things! This is definitely a story that felt so close to my heart. Writing about a Brazilian girl like me was such a nice experience. I could include little bits of things here and there that only Brazilian people would understand. There are so many books written by U.S. authors that just don’t get what being Latinx means so being able to bring all these different characters to talk about themselves was something I loved to do. And I hope to keep doing that in the next books.

The friendship between all the girls was also a really important thing. My friends have been my strength for such a long time and having a story like that is such a gift. We need more books with female friendships as the driving force of a story.

2. What do you feel is the biggest difference between The Melody of You and Me and The Paths We Choose? 

Writing The Paths We Choose made me a lot more self-conscious and nervous about other people’s reaction. I didn’t plan myself a lot for how The Melody of You and Me would look like for other people because I truly believed only a few of my friends would read it. My thought was “well, if I get 10 dollars out of this novella it’s a win already!”. Now I’m trying to change a bit to fit what a bigger range of readers want to read. The main plot will stay the same, that’s not changing. But receiving feedback from so many people is definitely helping me go a step further to make the characters and the story always better.

As to the story, I think TPWC brings a romance that is a bit less typical for the genre. There are a lot of stories where the couple falls deeply in love and they know this is the right thing to do and they’ll do everything for each other. I love that Lily and Mayte work so well as a couple but they aren’t sure of anything. And that sometimes the journey and experience of being with someone is already worth it.

3. Your books take place in a town called Lillac Town and I was wondering if we could get some more information about this town?

I created Lillac Town because I’ve never been in the U.S. so I couldn’t be completely accurate if I choose an actual city that exists. But also, because I never really like describing cities in my stories, not even when I’m writing about my own. It’s just a personal thing, I guess. It’s supposedly set in an imaginary area of Pennsylvania. In the text, I describe just a few things here and there because I feel that this isn’t that relevant for the stories I’m telling right now. How most people move there because of the University and the Callaway School of Music and Ballet. It has this small town feeling but its population is mainly students with a few family neighborhoods and commercial areas. I have a little map I created to know where each character lives. Maybe I’ll ask for a friend to make a better version of it and show it to the readers until the end of the series.

4. Lily and her friends every Wednesday evening have Girl’s Night, what are some of the things they have done in the name of Wednesday’s Girl’s Night?

Usually, they set up board games or watch movies together. I feel like there would be many discussions on what movie to choose since they have very different tastes. We have Anika who likes the typical romantic comedy, Hope’s a sci-fi enthusiastic and Lily’s bored by most movies. In the end, Karen probably chooses an indie LGBT+ movie that will make everyone happy. Cooking together, sharing things about their lives and cleaning the house are a few other things they do. Sometimes, if they’re feeling in the mood, they even go out to karaoke night. The idea is that they always do things together without the interruption of outsiders or partners. The next book will also have more things about the girls so I don’t want to give everything away in case I want to use it in the future.

5. What does the future look like for the Lillac Town series?

Well, by now most people know that Karen is the next POV. And if you read TPWC, you obviously know who’s her love interest. It’ll be an interesting book to write. What I can say right now is that there’s a very personal reason as to why Karen moved to the U.S. and we’re gonna go deep on that. She has a lot of sadness that she tries to hide with her charming personality.

Since the beginning, I decided that if TMOYAM did well enough I’d publish 4 novellas in the Lillac Town Series about women falling in love with other women in many different ways and I’m standing on this decision. I hope to get all of them out until 2018. It’ll be hard to say goodbye now that I feel so attached to all these characters but I think we’re all ready to start new adventures too! But for now, we still have more two love stories that I know people will love to read.

What did you think of the interview? Are you as excited as I am for the book to come out tomorrow?

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{The Paths We Choose Release Week} Official Book Playlist

The Paths We Choose Release Week: Day Three – Official Book Playlist

Hi, can you all believe it’s only two days left now until April 6th and The Paths We Choose? So exciting! Today I’m sharing with you guys the official playlist for The Paths We Choose made by the author, Maria Hollis, and I couldn’t be more excited. This playlist has so many amazing songs, I was so happy when I first saw it. I have collected all of the songs into a playlist on YouTube so it’ll be easier for you guys to listen and you can do so here. The playlist has 11 songs and fits the book so well, I know you guys will love it.

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I hope you haven’t forgotten to add and pre-order The Paths We Choose on Goodreads and Amazon, do so here and here. If you want to see my earlier posts for The Paths We Choose you can do so here.

Do you plan on listening to the official playlist? If yes, when? Before, during or after you’ve read the book?

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{The Paths We Choose Release Week} My Book Playlist

The Paths We Choose Release Week: Day Two – My Fanmade Book Playlist

Hi readers, and welcome to another post of my The Paths We Choose Release Week. It’s only three days left now until the book is released into the world and I couldn’t be more excited. If you missed it, yesterday I published my review of the book and you can read it here. However, today I have something else for you. My book playlist for The Paths We Choose. Seriously I had so much fun making this one, and I hope you guys will love it as much as I do. The playlist has 12 songs and can be listened to on both Spotify and YouTube. I hope you enjoy!

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If you haven’t added the book on Goodreads yet you can do so here. You can also pre-order the book on Amazon (which I really recommend since you’ll get it asap when it comes out) and that you can do here.

Will you be listening to my playlist? Do you plan on pre-ordering The Paths We Choose? I really think you should!

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Waiting on Wednesday #6 The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz

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Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. This week I’m anticipating The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz. This book sounds so good I need summer to come sooner.

28147258The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz

Expected publication: July 25, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT

Add to your To Be Read shelf on Goodreads.

Pre-order on Amazon or Book Depository.

Synopsis: Mercedes Moreno is an artist. At least, she thinks she could be, even though she hasn’t been able to paint anything worthwhile since her award-winning piece Food Poisoning #1 last year.

Her lack of inspiration might be because her abuela is lying comatose in faraway Puerto Rico after suffering a stroke. Or the fact that Mercedes is in love with her best friend, Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her true feelings.

Despite Mercedes’s creative block, art starts to show up in unexpected ways. A piano appears on her front lawn one morning, and a mysterious new neighbor invites Mercedes to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate.

At the Estate, Mercedes can create in ways she never has before. She can share her deepest secrets and feel safe. But Mercedes can’t take anything out of the Estate, including her new-found clarity. As her life continues to crumble around her, the Estate offers more solace than she could hope for. But Mercedes can’t live both lives forever, and ultimately she must choose between this perfect world of art and truth and a much messier reality.

What book are you anticipating this week? Are you also excited for The Gallery of Unfinished Girls?

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Cover Reveal for The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis

Hi everyone and welcome to the cover reveal for The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis, the standalone sequel to The Melody of You and Me by the same author. The publication date is yet to be announced but this book is one you don’t want to miss. Without further ado, here is the cover for The Paths We Choose…

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The synopsis for The Paths We Choose is the following:

Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.

Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.
A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs.

Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.

Add the book on Goodreads.

Author Info

M. Hollis could never decide what to do with her life. From the time she was a child, she has changed her ideas for a career hundreds of times. After writing in hidden notebooks during classes and daydreaming during every spare moment of her day, she decided to fully dedicate herself to her stories. When she isn’t scrolling around her social media accounts or reading lots of femslash fanfiction, you’ll find her crying about female characters and baking cookies.

Twitter | Goodreads

What do you think of the cover? Isn’t it just beautiful? Will you be reading The Paths We Choose when it comes out? 

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Review of First Position by Melissa Brayden

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ac8239918332a2152e54ee0ef2f56414ef2d4658.jpegFirst Position by Melissa Brayden

Publication Date: August 16, 2016.

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books.

Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Adult, and Lesbian.

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Selling points: Diversity in ballet, opposites attract and beautiful character development.

Purchase here: Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis: Anastasia Mikhelson is the rising star of the New York City Ballet. She’s sacrificed creature comforts, a social life, as well as her own physical well-being for perfection in dance. Even her reputation as The Ice Queen doesn’t faze her. Though Ana’s at the peak of her career, competition from a new and noteworthy dancer puts all she’s worked for in jeopardy.

While Natalie Frederico has shown herself to be a prodigy when it comes to ballet, she much prefers modern dance and living on her own terms. Life is too short for anything else. However, when the opportunity to dance with the New York City Ballet is thrust upon her, it’s not like she could say no. Dealing with the company’s uptight lead is another story, however. When the two are forced to work side-by-side, sparks begin to fly onstage and off.

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Thank you, Bold Strokes Books, for my review copy of First Position. I received this review copy in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the review copy and are subject to change upon publication.

First Position is a really great book. It’s a book I want to say I love, even if it has its flaws. This book explores the ballet community, injuries, love, emotions, and unexpected change, and it does it so well. First Position is a book about opposites attracting, the passion within, and in the end, it also explores what’s truly important in life.

“Jeans and a soft-looking white T-shirt. No dance clothes. No shoes. Ana looked like a person. A very pretty person, in fact. Her hair was down, and it fell just past her shoulders in subtle waves, thick and dark.”

What I love about First Position is slowly but surely getting to know Ana and Natalie. This book is about rivals turning into lovers, and to see that in a ballet environment with two girls is absolutely amazing. They go through so much, both good and bad, and at times this book even made me cry. It is raw, genuine and isn’t afraid to explore topics that professional athletes often face. Seeing Ana and Natalie grow, both as individuals and as a couple is something I love about First Position. They constantly challenge each other, support each other, and their love for each other is one I think is really important.

“The music began and they leapt into motion. Dancing side by side. Ana took her by the hand and led her upstage, never breaking eye contact. Natalie moved into her body and then away, just as always, only this time her temperature climbed. She spun. They danced, Ana’s hands on her waist, her stomach, her thighs. The flashes of emotion, the give and take of the characters, added a whole other element, and dancing through that dynamic with Ana…had her body thrumming beneath Ana’s touch.”

This story is electric, magical and if you are a fan of books about ballet then First Position is a must read in my book. It shows its reader that ballet does not have to be a white and straight space, where there is only room for classic dances between men and women. This book shows us that there can be so much more, and that is the most captivating thing about it. This book breaks boundaries within the ballet and dancing world, and it is not afraid to do so.

The biggest flaw this book had, and the reason I cannot give it five cake slices, is Audrey, one of the major side characters. In the book, she made several comments that really just felt wrong. Honestly, I wish her character had been completely cut out from the book, or just changed because she served no purpose and did more harm than good.

“What? Do I look worried? I’m not worried. That is just my Russian face.”

All in all, First Position is a story about love, acceptance, trauma and finding where you belong in the world. It’s beautiful, funny and a little bit sad, but what First Position really managed to make me feel is hopeful. Sometimes life doesn’t end up the way you expect it to, but that just means new doors open, and a beautiful new thing is waiting for you.

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