Tag Archives: Julie Anne Peters

Rage – A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters

aKnopf, 2009

Lesbian – High School

Johanna has been nursing a wild crush on Reeve, who she scarcely knows. She grasps at the opportunity to make a place in Reeve’s life for herself, even as Reeve pushes her away, and as her friends, and ex-lovers of Reeve’s warn her that she’s getting into trouble. Reeve lives in a home permeated with violence, drug and alcohol abuse. She struggles to survive and protect her brother Robbie, who is perhaps autistic. She can’t risk letting anyone get close to her, and violence is the only way she knows to push people away. Johanna, however, keeps coming back for more, in a pattern that becomes almost impossible to be willing to break.

Teens will find themselves deeply engaged in this very well-written book which deals realistically with the difficult issues raised; however, it is disappointing to read yet another LGBT novel that is so filled with pain and violence and hopeless relationships.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2000s, High School, Lesbian

How Beautiful the Ordinary, edited by Michael Cart

aBowen Press / Harper Teen, 2009

LGBTQ – High School

Editor Michael Cart has collected twelve stories about     LGBT youth identity in the form of short stories, graphic fiction, and verse, by well-known young-adult, and adult authors including Francesca Lia Block, Gregory Maguire, Jacqueline Woodson, Ariel Schrag, Emma Donoghue, and others.

There is something for everyone in this collection: stories of ghosts and girls trapped in walls serving as metaphors for transgendered teens trapped in the wrong body; handsome highway men and soldiers for a stable boy to lust after; stories of first love; and of first making love. One graphic short story is about two teens who make conflicting wishes when they meet a genie, leaving all three of them tortured; the other is about the San Francisco Dyke March.

While there is some sex, most of it is left to the imagination, good as in Julie Anne Peter’s “First Time,” and unsettling, as in William Sleator’s “Fingernail,” a disturbing story about the sex trade between older western men, and young boys in Thailand. In this particular story, the Thai “boy” is already a young man of twenty and thus technically legal, unlike much of the sex trade that actually takes place there between men and underage boys. But the abusive relationship that he finds himself in is almost equally disturbing.

Some of the stories may actually be of more interest to older readers than to teens: in particular, David Levithan’s “A Word from the Nearly Distant Past,” in which Levithan recounts the experiences of generations past as they dealt with being in the closet, dealing with the AIDS crisis, etc., and exhorts the younger generation to make sure that they live for future generations, as much as for themselves. Emma Donoghue’s “Dear Lang,” is a letter from a lesbian mother who has been denied access to her now sixteen-year-old son by his biological mother, in which she tells the story of how she came to be barred from his life, and how she is just now taking the chance of having another child with a new partner.

One of the best stories is Jacqueline Woodson’s insightful “Trev,” about a transgendered child, and the struggles he has with his family and at school to be who he really is. Trev’s mother both reassures him that he isn’t the reason his father left, and yet whispers her wish to him every night at bedtime, that Trev will wake up “my sugar and spice, and everything nice.”

Recommended for all teens.

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, Sexually Explicit

Rage, a Love Story by Julie Anne Peters

413DdVKHeIL__SL75_Alfred A. Knopf, 2009 0375852093

Johanna has been nursing a wild crush on Reeve, who she scarcely knows. She grasps at the opportunity to make a place in Reeve’s life for herself, even as Reeve pushes her away, and as her friends, and ex-lovers of Reeve’s warn her that she’s getting into trouble. Reeve lives in a home permeated with violence, drug and alcohol abuse. She struggles to survive and protect her brother Robbie, who is perhaps autistic. She can’t risk letting anyone get close to her, and violence is the only way she knows to push people away. Johanna, however, keeps coming back for more, in a pattern that becomes almost impossible to be willing to break.

Teens will find themselves deeply engaged in this very well-written book which deals realistically with the difficult issues raised; however, it is disappointing to read yet another LGBT novel that is so filled with pain and violence and hopeless relationships.

Leave a comment

Filed under *** A good read, 2000s